Arthritis is an extremely painful and difficult condition to live with. The near constant pain and discomfort that is experienced by those who suffer from arthritis has a significant impact on quality of life. Patients often spend a great deal of time and even money looking for relief. There are a number of remedies available, some more effective than others. There is increasing attention being given to the ways that medical marijuana can be used to reduce pain and deal with the symptoms of arthritis. For many patients it proves to be a natural way to manage their pain that doesn’t have a lot of the side-effects of other medications, particularly opiates. In fact, in light of the current epidemic of opioid addiction, there are many marijuana doctors who advocate for increasing the use of marijuana in different forms to treat painful and chronic conditions like arthritis. Marijuana is also considered a natural way to deal with pain that has fewer side effects than other medication. In this article we will explore what arthritis is and how it can be treated with medical marijuana.
What is Arthritis?
According to the Mayo Clinic, as defined on the clinic’s website, “Arthritis is the swelling and tenderness of one or more of your joints. The main symptoms of arthritis are joint pain and stiffness, which typically worsen with age. The most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.” The pain associated with osteoarthritis is caused by the breakdown of the cartilage which cushions bones. How to get a medical weed in florida. The pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis is caused by the body’s immune system attacking the joints. Both types are painful and require treatment to manage pain and help patients a quality of life.
How is Arthritis Managed?
There are a number of ways that the pain and discomfort associated with arthritis is treated. Many treatment options are not medications. They include simple things like resting and getting enough sleep, heating pads, cold compresses, ice packs, exercises, tai chi, and yoga. Occupational and physical therapy can help keep joints limber and prevent stiffness. Hydrotherapy, stretching, massage, and acupuncture can also help. Sometimes surgery helps to correct joint damage and replace cartilage that has been broken down. How to get medical marijuana in florida. A number of different drugs are prescribed for patients. These include over-the-counter painkillers like acetaminophen, motrin, and ibuprofen, as well as opioids like OcyContin or hydrocodone. Well there are a number of marijuana treatments for arthritis, many patients find that marijuana or CBD oil is a highly effective tool for pain management. In fact, there is now a growing number of marijuana doctors who are happy to prescribe it for their patients in states where it has been legalized for medicinal use.
How Does Marijuana Treat Arthritis?
To begin with, marijuana is a plant (cannabis sativa) that contains a number of different chemicals. Many of them do affect you when smoked, ingested or applied topically to the skin. THC, or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and CBD, or cannabidiol, are probably the best known of them. Each of them helps with chronic pain but in different ways. The endocannabinoid system is basically a communication structure made up of brain cells or neurons that send chemical messages, known as neurotransmitters. THC disrupts this communication which inhibits pain receptors and it also floods the brain with dopamine. That dopamine is responsible for the “high” that is experienced by people who use marijuana. Much like other opioids, it allows pain to fade into the background of a pleasurable buzz. CBD oil, on the other hand, does not produce a “high”. Like THC, it does affect the endocannabinoid system. It can activate some of the neurotransmitters in your brain and inhibit other neurotransmitters. One example of this is anandamide, which is a compound known to be responsible or regulating pain. CBD oil increases production of anandamide and thus reduces pain. It is also thought that CBD oil calms inflammation of the brain and nervous system. This is beneficial to people who are suffering from immune-system responses such as rheumatoid arthritis. It also helps reduce pain and ease insomnia.
Is Marijuana the Right Treatment for Your Arthritis?
There are a number of methods for using marijuana as a way to treat pain associated with arthritis. Smoking it in the form of a joint is a popular one. Today ingesting edible pot that has been baked into treats like brownies or cookies or incorporated into candy is a popular way to consume it. It can also be ingested in a capsule form or brewed in a tea. Creams, oils and tinctures that can be applied topically are also growing increasingly popular as a tool of pain management. Which method of delivery is best will vary depending on your type of arthritis, level of pain, and, of course, your own individual taste. It is always smart to consult a marijuana doctor or other trained medical expert who understands the different strains of marijuana and how they will affect you. We will end on one note of caution. Marijuana has been widely used both recreationally and medicinally for many years but, until recently, it has been illegal and has not been widely studied by doctors and researchers. Early studies do suggest that it can be helpful in reducing chronic pain. More scientific study is needed to ascertain the best ways to use marijuana for pain relief. Also, further research is needed in order to be ascertain how it interacts with other drugs that arthritis patients may be taking (eg. medicine for blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, and other chronic conditions). Again, it is wise to consult with a marijuana doctor or other medical expert on the best way to use it for pain relief.