Updated on January 29, 2019. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
The root of many of the debilitating symptoms associated with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is inflammation. This autoimmune disease develops because the immune system goes haywire. Instead of aiding the body against disease and infection, it begins attacking healthy cells.
Inflammation is a normal process associated with the immune system. However, in patients with RA, inflammation can lead to debilitating complications and extreme pain.
Medical marijuana has many compounds with medicinal benefits. These compounds, known as cannabinoids, even have anti-inflammatory properties, making cannabis a great option for RA patients looking to decrease inflammation and pain.
There are many strains on the market, but they all fall under three general categories: sativa, indica and hybrid strains. There are also strains with higher concentrations of CBD or equal levels of THC and CBD.
Inflammation is an essential response to injury or foreign bodies. The immune system uses inflammation to fight infection and initiate the healing process. Unfortunately, when a patient has an autoimmune disease, inflammation works against them.
When the immune system is out of whack, it treats normal, healthy tissue as if it’s a problem. This causes it to attack, damage and potentially kill healthy cells. In patients with rheumatoid arthritis, joints are the target. As the immune system attacks these joints, they become swollen and inflamed, which leads to:
Although there is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, medical marijuana is an incredible option. It’s well-known for treating all types of pain, including pain caused by inflammation. Best of all, it also has anti-inflammatory properties.
Cannabinoids in marijuana, specifically CBD and THC, work with our body’s endocannabinoid system to benefit it in surprising ways. These compounds stop inflammation on multiple fronts:
There are hundreds of strains available in states across the U.S., but here are a few with known anti-inflammatory properties:
Our advice is here to offer some guidance, but it shouldn’t replace that of qualified professionals. We suggest meeting with a marijuana doctor in your state or contacting a local dispensary for more help picking a strain. They can speak to you about your individual needs and recommend options based on your specific symptoms. Plus, each dispensary is different and may have different strains available. Start your search today!