Medical Cannabis Can Help Arthritis Patients

Posted by SWC Team

Sep 11, 2015, 11:12:16 AM

More than 31 million people in America suffer from arthritis, a painful disease that causes inflammation, pain, and swelling to joints in the body.  This limits movement, and causes physical pain along with frustration and anxiety that comes along with chronic suffering. There are two types of arthritis: osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.  Both are serious and both can be treated with medical cannabis. 

  1. Osteoarthritis is known as “arthritis of the bones” because it is caused by the wearing of cartilage (flexible tissue at the ends of bones) in mostly elderly skeletal systems.  Osteoarthritis is generally caused from many years of wear-and-tear on the skeletal-muscular system.  In some cases however, osteoarthritis may manifest as chronic inflammation in the joints from injury.  Osteoarthritis is more common than Rheumatoid Arthritis, and currently affects more than 10 million people worldwide.  There are no drugs to modify or cure this condition, and the treatment approach is generally focused around pain control through prescription painkillers such as opiates, APAP, or other painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs.  These drugs can create side effects as they treat pain. 
  2. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder where the immune system attacks the synovial membranes in the body, which facilitate joint maneuverability. As this wears away, cartilage is also destroyed and bones become eroded, causing a number of symptoms, mainly pain and limited movement in the joints.  RA can afflict anyone at any age, but it’s most common in the elderly.

Arthritis patients are often treated with medications such as NSAID’s, steroids, nonacetylated salicylates, DMARD’s, and prescription analgesics as well as non-prescription analgesics.  These drugs often have side effects such as nausea, pain, and other non-symptomatic health issues.  Some of the drugs commonly used to treat arthritis can even cause tinnitus (constant ringing of the ears,) or even complete loss of hearing.  Cannabis presents a solution to control the negative side effects of these medicines, or even eliminate the need for some of them for some patients.

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As an arthritis patient ages, bone health becomes even more crucial to their well-being than it did previously.  The skeletal system is dynamic, constantly re-modeling itself and undergoing changes.  Natural skeletal movement and reconstruction can lead to destruction and degradation of connective bone tissues such as the synovial joints, causing pain, wearing down bones, and leading to reduced mobility of the joints.  Cannabis is a treatment option which is protective of the skeletal system, because medical cannabis has shown to be positive for maintaining bone health, as well as controlling pain.  In the past, Researchers from Tel Aviv had found that the skeleton is regulated by cannabinoids and that bone formation is stimulated by cannabinoids and their receptors throughout the body, meaning that cannabis is inhibiting bone loss while managing pain and other symptoms.

Cannabidiol, or CBD, has been proven to stimulate bone growth as well as provide protection to the other bones in the skeletal system.  According to a study published in the Journal of Bone Health and Medicine by Dr. Yankel Gabet, CBD alone promotes “markedly advanced” healing in broken bones by enhancing and speeding up the maturation of the collagenous matrix in the bone, a microstructure which provides the basis for mineralization of new bone tissue.  With CBD therapy, according to Dr. Gabet’s study, the broken bones will not only heal faster, but be harder to break than a bone left untreated with CBD. 

Besides just healing bones, cannabinoids such as THC and CBD are metabolized in the body and turned into healing cannabinoid variants/metabolites.  These metabolites are believed to significantly relieve inflammation, pain, and other musculoskeletal symptoms of arthritis. 

Using cannabis to treat arthritis is a beneficial step in the healing and treatment process of both types of arthritis.  Since cannabis not only heals bone damage, but also controls pain and alleviates tension, it is a good option for arthritics that deal with the suffering which the disease causes and want to find an alternative method of treatment. 

As always, we suggest you discuss your treatment options with your physician.

Resources used in the writing of this article:

 

 

Learn more about how cannabis can be used as treatment for serious diseases.

Topics: Education & Research