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Medical Marijuana & Psoriatic Arthritis

Medical Marijuana & Psoriatic Arthritis

Medical Marijuana & Psoriatic Arthritis

Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition affecting more than seven million Americans. It’s characterized by red, itchy areas on the skin and thick patches called plaques. The disorder is caused by a problem in the immune system. T-cells, which usually kill bacteria and viruses, begin attacking healthy skin cells. Psoriasis is the most prevalent autoimmune disease in the country.

Most patients with psoriasis suffer from a mild case of the disorder, with only occasional flare-ups. However, psoriasis can lead to a more serious condition known as psoriatic arthritis. Swollen fingers and toes are the first sign that you may have this. It leads to inflammation of the joints, a common symptom of any type of arthritis. Psoriatic arthritis affects 40 percent of the patients with psoriasis.

But what causes psoriatic arthritis? And what can you do to treat this painful condition? Medical marijuana is gaining attention because its medicinal properties have many applications to many medical conditions. Not only is it showing promise as a treatment for symptoms associated with psoriasis, but it can also help with psoriatic arthritis.

Cause and Symptoms of Psoriatic Arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis develops when the immune system doesn’t just attack healthy skin cells, but the joints as well. Like psoriasis, there may be stretches of time when patients don’t experience any arthritic symptoms, but then flare-ups produce inflammation, swelling and pain. Even a mild form of psoriasis can be accompanied by joint pain associated with psoriatic arthritis.

The root cause of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis is unknown. However, it’s likely a combination of genetic, immune and environmental factors.

The symptoms associated with psoriatic arthritis are similar to other types of arthritis or autoimmune diseases:

  • Swollen toes and fingers
  • Stiff and swollen joints
  • Nail pitting
  • Lower back pain
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Pain in feet
  • Fatigue
  • Pain when walking or climbing stairs

Psoriatic arthritis isn’t always limited to joint inflammation. It can also cause inflammatory symptoms in other parts of the body, such as the:

  • Spine
  • Tendons
  • Cartilage
  • Eyes
  • Lining of the lungs
  • Aorta

Treating Psoriatic Arthritis with Medical Marijuana

Most doctors should treat psoriatic arthritis separately from the symptoms associated with psoriasis. The medications used for psoriatic arthritis include NSAIDs, anti-inflammatories and immunosuppressive drugs. However, each of these have serious side effects associated with them. When psoriatic arthritis becomes severe, surgery may become necessary.

Medical marijuana is showing incredible promise as a treatment for all types of arthritis, including psoriatic arthritis. Plus, unlike other medications for psoriatic arthritis, it can also help treat the underlying psoriasis. Here are the benefits of using cannabis as a treatment for your psoriatic arthritis:

  • Pain Relief: The most common compounds found in marijuana, THC and CBD, are effective pain relievers and can help the pain associated with the arthritic symptoms.
  • Reduced Inflammation: It reduced inflammation in many ways, one of which is by curtailing the manufacture of cytokines, or cells that cause inflammation.

With inflammation and pain being the major concern of most psoriatic arthritis patients, medical marijuana is an amazing therapy for those struggling with this condition. If you are interested in pursuing a medical cannabis license in your state, our advice should not replace your doctor’s. It’s important to speak to a medical professional about your condition and concerns.

If you’d like more information on how medical marijuana could treat psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis, contact a marijuana certified doctor or a dispensary near you.

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