Updated on January 30, 2019. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
If you or a loved one has received a psoriatic arthritis diagnosis, you likely want to learn as much as you can about treatment. You can be better prepared to manage symptoms and lead a more comfortable and fulfilling life when you have a good understanding of the condition. As an often-painful condition, psoriatic arthritis needs to be diagnosed and treated early to prevent further damage to your joints.
Your doctor may recommend various conventional treatments, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and corticosteroid injections, to help alleviate your psoriatic arthritis symptoms. But you may be worried about the risk of side effects of some traditional treatments and feel apprehensive about going down these routes.
You’re within your rights to explore other psoriatic arthritis treatment options and do what’s best for your own health and well-being. If you’re feeling concerned about your current treatment, why not consider trying medical marijuana? You’ll be delighted to know it promises to relieve some of your psoriatic arthritis symptoms, including pain, inflammation, insomnia and more.
Below, we’ll examine the alternative treatment of medical marijuana for psoriatic arthritis. You’ll also find out more about the symptoms, history and different types of other treatments for the condition.
Caused by an overactive immune system, psoriatic arthritis results in joint inflammation. It tends to mostly affect people with psoriasis, an autoimmune disease that results in a skin condition similar to a scaly rash.
The types of psoriatic arthritis include:
Now you know more about the types, let’s turn our attention to the history of psoriasis, as reported by the National Psoriasis Foundation.
Psoriatic arthritis affects your musculoskeletal system and skin. Your lower back, wrists, ankles, knees and distal joints are the most commonly affected body parts involved if you have this condition.
Musculoskeletal symptoms include:
Skin symptoms include:
Other symptoms to look out for are:
Psoriatic arthritis can be an exhaustingly painful condition. You may feel embarrassed due to any noticeable changes in your joints.
Don’t worry if this sounds like you. Medical marijuana could be the lifeline you’ve been looking for to help you lead a normal and pain-free life!
Take a look at this fact presented by the Arthritis Foundation to learn about the prevalence of psoriatic arthritis in the U.S.
Read through these statistics from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases to find out who it most commonly affects.
Your treatment plan for psoriatic arthritis depends on the severity of your symptoms.
Your physician may prescribe you with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) if your disease only affects a few joints and is mild. NSAIDs treat inflammation and pain. However, side effects of NSAIDs can include:
The likelihood of experiencing side effects increases the longer you use NSAIDs. You should take these drugs at the lowest dose possible for the shortest time needed.
Corticosteroid injections may help acutely inflamed joints, although they can cause osteoporosis and weight gain.
Your doctor may prescribe stronger disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) and/or antitumor necrosis factor (TNF) agents when your condition affects multiple joints and is persistent. DMARDs can cause rashes and stomach upsets and can be toxic to your bone marrow or liver. TNF can cause a range of side effects, from headaches and coughs to stomach pain and weakness.
In the U.S., lawmakers have long debated the legalization and use of cannabis for psoriatic arthritis and other conditions. While many people are familiar with its recreational effects, did you know pot has medical benefits, too?
Pot contains two specific cannabinoids, cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). These two compounds can help control pain, and can be especially helpful for reducing chronic inflammation. Cannabinoids have been proven to have an active role in the reduction of joint inflammation, while inhibiting the progress of conditions that cause swelling and inflammation throughout the body.
Both these compounds participate in a physical pathway that decreases the manufacture and release of cytokines, the cells that cause inflammation. These also inhibit the functioning of STAT1 that is a crucial factor in inflammatory response.
THC and CBD also bind to your own cannabinoid receptors throughout your body. They then do the job of regulating inflammatory pain.
Cannabis could significantly alleviate your psoriatic arthritis symptoms. Individuals take medical marijuana for the treatment of the following psoriatic arthritis symptoms:
Once you have your medical marijuana card for medical cannabis for psoriatic arthritis, you can visit dispensaries and browse the strains and products that best treat your symptoms. If you’re in doubt, it’s worth talking to your medical marijuana doctor or budtender about your options.
In the meantime, we’ve put together a quick guide to help you get started. First, let’s take a look at the different categories of strains and their best medicinal uses:
Indica strains have a sedating whole-body effect and can, therefore, be beneficial for treating conditions like:
Sativa strains give you the energy you need when you’re unwell. Symptoms best treated with Sativas include:
Hybrid strains have the qualities of both Indicas and Sativas. Adding a Sativa to an Indica strain provides mental clarity with less of a sedative effect. Combining Indica and Sativa should lower the likelihood of a pure Sativa giving you anxiety.
So, let’s look at some strains that can help you for your psoriatic arthritis symptoms:
Psoriasis rashes can be extremely painful and itchy. Your doctor can prescribe you topical creams and lotions. However, you may want to use a more natural treatment:
Chronic pain can significantly hinder your quality of life. The following strains of marijuana for psoriatic arthritis can offer you relief if you’re feeling uneasy about taking prescription painkillers:
Nerve pain is another debilitating symptom of psoriatic arthritis. Strains to combat this include:
Because of the pain associated with your psoriatic arthritis, you may find you can’t get the quality of sleep you need. The two strains below might be helpful if you’re battling insomnia:
Now you know about some of the best strains of medical pot to alleviate your symptoms, let’s look at the most helpful methods of marijuana delivery.
Particularly if you’re new to cannabis, you should begin with a low dose and slowly work your way up from there until you find the optimum dosage for you. As you won’t always feel the effects of pot immediately, you should introduce marijuana slowly into your system. Dosages vary significantly between individuals, too. A dose that works well for someone else might be too strong or too weak for you.
Some factors that impact the effect include:
There are many ways you can take pot. Pick out a few you’re interested in and see how things go. Methods include:
Doctors and patients alike are becoming more educated on the current benefits, research and legalities of prescription cannabis. To date, Connecticut has approved severe psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis as a qualifying condition for the use of medical marijuana. Other states have approved arthritis, inflammatory autoimmune-mediated arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis as qualifying conditions. We expect to see more states approve various types of arthritis for qualified medical marijuana use in the future.
If you’re currently seeking a way to relieve your psoriatic arthritis symptoms naturally, search for a medical marijuana doctor or dispensary today to find out more about cannabis and psoriatic arthritis.