Cannabis is a plant that has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. It’s known to reduce pain, inflammation, and stress levels. You may be wondering if it can help with arthritis? Cannabis contains compounds called cannabinoids which are thought to have analgesic effects on arthritic joints by reducing the inflammatory process of the disease. It also has anti-spasmodic, neuroprotective, and antioxidant effects. The most abundant cannabinoid in cannabis is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which has well-documented analgesic effects. However, its psychoactive properties are not compatible with everyone suffering from arthritis.
The use of medicinal cannabis to relieve suffering from chronic conditions is becoming increasingly popular, especially as the stigma surrounding it diminishes. Cannabis contains many compounds, including terpenes and flavonoids, which have anti-inflammatory properties. This makes it a viable treatment option for those who have inflammatory arthritis. These compounds can be very beneficial during the inflammatory process where they inhibit mediators responsible for inflammation, such as cytokines or chemokines. In addition to this, phytocannabinoids have been found to have anti-arthritic effects through inhibition of prostaglandins and leukotrienes, which are inflammatory mediators produced by the body. They also stimulate apoptosis or programmed cell death in synovial cells or those found within joints which slows the progression of arthritis.
When used for inflammation associated with arthritis, cannabis can be taken as a capsule containing raw cannabis extract oil, an oral spray containing a mixture of THC and CBD, a topical cream containing CBD oil, or smoked in herbal form after being mixed with tobacco or herbs. Those who smoke cannabis report experiencing relief from the pain within minutes due to its analgesic properties. Others have successfully managed chronic conditions using a CBD-infused ointment, cream, or oil. Researchers have documented the use of medicinal cannabis in treating the pain associated with arthritis and other similar conditions such as lupus erythematosus. They have found that cannabis is equipped with anti-inflammatory properties to relieve pain and stiffness associated with arthritis, osteoarthritis, or rheumatoid arthritis—users of the plant self-reported reduced pain levels, improved sleep quality, and improved well-being.
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is involved in regulating pain. Those who suffer from arthritis produce fewer cannabinoids than what they need to function optimally, which results in uncontrolled inflammation, poor sleep, and low mood. The cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2 are found within the brain and immune cells where THC binds to them, releasing dopamine that reduces chronic pain levels. Cannabinoids can therefore be used to normalize the ECS by replacing those deficient within the body. One way to achieve this is by using cannabis or cannabinoid supplements. These can be taken orally, inhaled, or applied topically. They are available in many forms, including patches, oral sprays, and dermal creams. Those that have arthritis also commonly experience pain in their muscles which cannabis can reduce. Cannabis is often used to relieve the pain associated with rheumatism. This form of inflammatory arthritis is caused by an infection within the body resulting in chronic joint inflammation leading to severe muscle or joint pain.
Cannabis helps those who have arthritis because it relaxes blood vessels, allowing greater blood flow to painful areas of the body, reducing stiffness, relieving aches, and improving sleep quality. In conclusion, cannabis can enhance the quality of life when used to relieve pain associated with arthritis.