Updated on January 30, 2019. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Richard Koffler, MD, Board Certified Physiatrist
Arthritis is a broad term that covers more than 100 different related conditions. Simply put, it’s joint inflammation that occurs in the connective tissue, joints and the tissue that surrounds these areas. Arthritis isn’t a respecter of person — it can affect anyone of any age, gender or race, though it is more common in women as they get older.
Although there are many types of arthritis, the most common kinds we see include:
The most common symptom of arthritis is, of course, joint pain. Swelling, stiffness and red skin around the affected joints can also be side effects of the condition. Many patients find they have decreased range of motion, too.
It’s important to receive an early diagnosis of arthritis so patients and their physicians can work out a treatment plan. However, this condition often develops into a chronic disorder that affects the patient’s quality of life. Cannabidiol (CBD) treatments have amazing anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties that could relieve symptoms and help patients manage this condition.
The study of the endocannabinoid system is a relatively new development in the medical and scientific fields. We’re just beginning to understand its importance in keeping the body healthy and maintaining its homeostasis. Endocannabinoid receptors play a role in every major system to regulate sensations of pain, digestion and even the immune system.
When a patient struggles with arthritis, two dominant symptoms are difficult to manage: pain and inflammation. These symptoms relate to our body’s endocannabinoid system. Under normal conditions, the system regulates the pain and helps control inflammation so it doesn’t get out of hand.
However, under the inflammatory conditions arthritis causes, pain receptors near the inflamed area amplify these sensations. This is what researchers believe causes intense arthritic pain. The endocannabinoid system also has difficulty controlling inflammation, causing this symptom to become chronic. CBD may be used to help treat these two major side effects of arthritis.
Since marijuana is a federally banned substance, many healthcare professionals have not given credence to its incredible medical benefits. But for centuries, it’s been used as medicine in cultures across the globe. That’s because of the incredible cannabinoids contained within the plant. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) gets the most attention since it’s both a dominant compound and the part of cannabis that makes users high. But in recent years, doctors have discovered CBD may be something of a miracle drug.
This cannabinoid is non-psychoactive, plus it provides many of the healthful benefits of the plant. What gives it such power in the human body is that CBD and marijuana’s other cannabinoids mimic our body’s own naturally occurring cannabinoids that are part of our endocannabinoid system. This allows it to influence this system in amazing ways.
For arthritic patients, the two effects CBD offers that make it such an effective treatment are its anti-inflammatory properties and analgesic or pain-relieving effects. It blocks painful neuropathic signals, regulating pain. Plus, it works naturally with the endocannabinoid system to decrease pro-inflammatory activities caused by arthritis and activate the body’s anti-inflammatory responses.
CBD medications come in many different forms and help treat the major symptoms associated with arthritis — pain and inflammation. Although there are other medications on the market that doctors may prescribe, CBD has the potential to be the most effective treatment for arthritis patients.
Not only does CBD combat these two main symptoms at once, but it is also safer than most prescription pain medications, which have a potential for dependency and abuse. Anti-inflammatories can sometimes cause dangerous side effects, especially when used over the long-term. In comparison, CBD medications only produce minor side effects that most users don’t even notice.
There are many kinds of CBD medications on the market, which is great for patients who prefer one form of ingestion as opposed to another. Some of the most common methods patients use to take CBD meds include:
One of the best products for arthritic patients are creams or ointments infused with CBD medications. These topicals can be applied directly to problematic areas of pain or arthritis inflammation. The medicine thus gets directly to where it needs to be without having to pass through the bloodstream first.
However, for patients who need more generalized pain relief, oral medications like tinctures and sprays can be applied under the tongue so the user can feel its effects quickly. Many patients prefer vaporizers because they can easily inhale CBD meds for the fastest possible relief. However, this type of medicating is harder to regulate. Capsules and edibles are available to many patients, but this requires the CBD to pass through the digestive system, so the effects take a bit longer to kick in but last for a more extended period
Since CBD treatments are still illegal because they’re derived from cannabis, to receive these medications, you must be part of your state’s medical marijuana program. If you’re interested in learning more about CBD and finding out if you qualify, make an appointment with a marijuana doctor near you.
Learn more about Arthritis and what makes medical marijuana an effective treatment for Arthritis’s symptoms.