Almost 400 million people around the globe suffer daily from arthritis and that figure doesn’t include all of the patients in pain who are undiagnosed. Using medical marijuana to treat arthritis isn’t a new idea but it is one that is getting a lot of mainstream coverage as more and more states legalize medical and recreational marijuana. Let’s look at how medical marijuana can help with arthritis and whether it may be for you.
What exactly is arthritis?
Most people associate arthritis with joint pain and that’s accurate but there are more than a hundred different types of arthritis affecting each person differently. Some may have back pain while others suffer from carpal tunnel. Some can manage the symptoms with simple over the counter medications while others need strong opioids to function. While arthritis is incredibly common there is still much that is unknown about this disease. Arthritis is not only painful but some types can cause permanent damage if they are left untreated.
How Does Marijuana Help
Arthritis is essentially a disease of inflammation and the compounds in cannabis can help to reduce inflammation. That is essentially why so many people are turning to marijuana in various forms to help manage their arthritis pain. Now let’s look at that in a bit more detail. We all have in our bodies an endocannabinoid system. This system has receptors CB1 and CB2. You can find CB1 receptors in the nervous system, glands, organs and connective tissue. CB2 receptors can be found in the rest of the body. We produce cannabinoids on our own that stimulate these receptors.
Two compounds found in cannabis, THC and CBD are phytocannabinoids are similar to these endocannabinoids and they can interact with these receptors. This interaction is what provides the pain relief that arthritis sufferers are looking for.
Research into Cannabis and Arthritis
There is a research project that is going on in Canada that is trying to see if medical cannabis can not only relieve the pain of arthritis but help you to repair the joints. The study is to decide if the anti-inflammatory properties can repair your joint or it just manages your pain. There are other studies looking into how stimulating the endocannabinoid system uses antioxidants to repair cell damage.
It is safe to say that the effects of cannabis on arthritis and other inflammatory diseases deserve further study. It may be an effective method in treating arthritis.