There is a growing number of arthritis patients who say they’ve been able to find relief by using medical cannabis. And there’s also a growing body of medical research that supports these firsthand reports. This article will give you a thorough overview of what we know about cannabis and arthritis.
Arthritis At A Glance
Arthritis is one of the most common health conditions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that roughly 1 out of every 5 adults in the U.S. suffers from it. There are at least 52.5 million people in the U.S. diagnosed and that number is expected to reach 67 million by 2030.
Arthritis typically affects people’s joints. A person with this condition will experience pain, aching, stiffness, and swelling around their joints. It can make it difficult for patients to move and function normally.
Cannabis Can Treat Arthritis
There’s already a huge population of arthritis patients who use cannabis to treat their condition. In fact, a study published in 2014 found that more than half of all medical cannabis patients in Canada use the plant to treat their condition.
And the science seems to support using cannabis to treat the ailment. So far, researchers have found a few key ways that cannabis can help a person with arthritis find relief.
One of the primary ways has to do with managing pain. Cannabis is widely used as a general painkiller. By affecting both the body and the mind, cannabis can help decrease many of the pains and aches associated with arthritis.
Cannabis can also treat specific joints that are affected by arthritis. Researchers in China found that people with the condition have high levels of CB2 receptors in their joint tissues. And since cannabis triggers these receptors, it could be used to help decrease the swelling and pain in affected joints.
And finally, Dr. Jason McDougall thinks that chemicals found in cannabis can actually repair the nerves responsible for arthritic conditions. He said that a patient’s nerves are like “wires that have been stripped of their coating.”
As a result, “they’re all bare, they’re all raw and responsible for feeling a lot of pain. What we hypothesize is that by locally administering these cannabis-like molecules to those nerves, we’d actually be able to repair them and reduce the pain.”
Final Hit: Cannabis Can Treat Your Arthritis
As with so many aspects of medical cannabis, there is often a large gap between patients’ experiences and mainstream medical practice. While a huge number of arthritis patients have reported success using cannabis, many scientists and doctors say we still need more research.
“There’s been a lot of experimental evidence to show that cannabis could be effective at treating the pains of arthritic conditions as well as the inflammation and helping with fatigue,” McDougall said. “But we really need more clinical studies to try and understand the benefits and potential limitations of using cannabis.”
With that said, the research that has been done so far seems to suggest that cannabis can be used to successfully treat arthritis. And that’s right in line with what so many patients are already experiencing.