Marijuana and inflammation

Marijuana has gained attention over the past decade for its medicinal properties.

For example, one of the benefits that has recently come to light is the cannabis plant’s anti-inflammatory properties.

A lot of people come to us with this question: is THC anti-inflammatory?

Keep reading to learn more.


Is THC Anti-Inflammatory?

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a cannabinoid found in marijuana, has shown an ability to reduce inflammation. In one clinical trial conducted in mice, marijuana was shown to contribute to a 70% reduction of inflammation in the tested animals.

The scientists who conducted this study noted that the mice who saw the biggest impact were those with CB2 cannabinoid receptors, which are a part of the endocannabinoid system in the brain that’s affected by THC. The mice without CB2 receptors did not experience any reduction of inflammation.

In addition, both THC and cannabidiol (CBD), another compound found in cannabis, help to reduce the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and inhibit the activation of the brain’s Stat 1 transcription factor. Since the Stat 1 transcription factor plays a role in the body’s inflammatory response, regulating this part of the brain helps to reduce that response.

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Inflammatory Illnesses and Diseases

There are many different conditions known to cause chronic inflammation. While medical marijuana isn’t a cure for any of these conditions, it can help to alleviate some of the chronic pain symptoms they cause:

  • Diabetes
  • Arthritis (rheumatoid arthritis, etc.)
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Nerve damage (neuropathy)
  • Cancer
  • Inflammatory bowel diseases (Crohn’s disease, etc.)

Even the pain associated with brain disorders like Alzheimer’s disease can be eased through the use of medical marijuana.


Medical marijuana is effective at reducing inflammation



What’s the Best Method for Treating Inflammation With Medical Marijuana?

These days, cannabis makes a great alternative to dependency-causing pain medications.

Here are a few common and effective methods of administering cannabis for inflammation treatment:

  • Vaporizers: The go-to inhalation method for many patients
  • Oral: A convenient and relatively inexpensive option that offers a delayed onset of action
  • Transdermal: Offers a sustained release of THC and CBD through the skin
  • Topical: Targets specific areas of the body through lotions, oils, and creams
  • Suppositories: An efficient method that provides long-lasting relief
  • Sublingual: Get rapid relief at a controlled pace with tinctures and essential oils

Keep in mind that there are many different types of cannabis products on the market, and you may need to try a few before you find the one that works best for you.


Best Marijuana Strains for Inflammation

Medical cannabis strains rich in CBD appeal to patients looking for anti-pain, anti-spasm, and anti-inflammatory effects, all associated with chronic and acute inflammation. The suggested strains below can help treat inflammatory diseases and the symptoms that go with them. They may also treat common symptoms like pain, spasms, depression, anxiety, and more.

This is just a short list of available strains. There are thousands of cannabis strains, and new ones are created all the time.

Work with your dispensary budtender and experiment to find the strain that works best for you. Know that each strain works in a slightly different way for each person, too.


Side Effects of Cannabis for Inflammation

Some of the common side effects of marijuana include:

  • A “high” sensation: The use of cannabis can generate euphoric feelings, particularly strains high in THC. Many people enjoy this feeling of euphoria, but it’s important to know and plan for the fact that this high can interfere with certain activities, such as driving and work.
  • Drowsiness: When you use marijuana to treat inflammation or other symptoms, you may start to feel drowsy. This sensation can interfere with many daytime activities. However, it can be an advantage at nighttime when trying to fall asleep. You can request a sativa-dominant strain for when you know you need to stay alert.
  • Increased appetite: Some patients who use medical marijuana report an increase in appetite. This can be a positive or negative side effect, depending on the person. It is often a positive side effect if the patient normally has a low appetite or needs to gain weight for medical reasons.

Many patients find that medical marijuana’s benefits outweigh its potential side effects, especially when compared to the potential side effects of traditional medication.

After all, marijuana is an affordable and natural alternative to some of the high-cost, potentially addictive medications traditionally used to treat inflammation and chronic pain.


pot and exercise studies


Other Helpful Treatments for Inflammation

Other treatments for inflammation include medications, exercise, and diet. The type of inflammatory therapy your doctor might prescribe depends on your age, the type of illness you have, your overall health, the medications you’re taking, the severity of your symptoms, and your medical history.

Here’s some important information about each of these healthcare options:


Many pharmaceutical products exist to help decrease inflammation and minimize or even prevent the progression of inflammatory medical conditions.

Some medications may include:

  • Corticosteroids, such as prednisone
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen
  • Anti-malarial medications, such as hydroxychloroquine

Side effects of anti-inflammatory medications may include:

  • Stomach ulcers
  • Heartburn and stomach pain
  • Dizziness and headaches
  • Allergic reactions like wheezing, rashes, and throat swelling
  • Ringing in the ears
  • High blood pressure
  • Kidney or liver problems


reduce inflammation with excercise



Studies, both clinical and epidemiological alike, show you can reduce markers of inflammation through extended exercise over the long term.

For example:

The downside, of course, is that inflammation can prevent some people from exercising.


Some foods have inflammatory effects and can make you feel worse. Conversely, an anti-inflammatory diet can ease your inflammation symptoms.

While there’s no cure for inflammation (as it’s a wear-and-tear condition), these foods can help can help you combat inflammation:

Certain foods that might help you combat inflammation include:

  • Olive oil
  • Tomatoes
  • Nuts, particularly walnuts and almonds
  • Green leafy vegetables, like kale, collards and spinach
  • Fruits such as blueberries, oranges, strawberries and cherries
  • Fatty fish, especially mackerel, salmon, sardines and tuna

Some foods and drinks can even reduce your risk or prevent inflammation altogether. For instance, apples, blueberries, and leafy greens can offer protective compounds as they are high in polyphenols and antioxidants.

Studies have shown that nuts reduce inflammation markers and lower your risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Drink your coffee, too. Java contains anti-inflammatory compounds and polyphenols that protect against inflammation.


nutrition and exercise



Where to Get Medical Marijuana for Inflammation

You can find a medical cannabis dispensary in your state on our dispensary list. The list features dispensaries across the country and includes all the information you need, including location, hours, delivery information, reviews, and more.

If you’re interested in using medical marijuana to treat the symptoms of inflammation, consult a cannabis doctor in your state. They will help you obtain the treatment you’re seeking.

Use our cannabis doctor database to search for marijuana doctors in your area to find a knowledgeable and vetted physician who complies with state laws and can work with you on your treatment plan.


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