By Michael Hart, MD / MarijuanaBreak
In the U.S. arthritis is the most common form of disability and medical cannabis is slowly penetrating the market gaining acknowledgment as an effective medical treatment. But before we explain the benefits of cannabis as a treatment, let’s understand a little bit about arthritis.
Arthritis is so common that it affects 350 million people worldwide and around 40 million people in the States. Out of those, 2.1 million Americans suffer from rheumatoid arthritis which is seen to be the most common form of the disease worldwide.
While most people think that arthritis is just about the aches and pains associated with getter older, that is far from the truth. Two-thirds of people who suffer are under the age of 65, and there are hundreds if not thousands of children worldwide who suffer from some form of arthritis.
Arthritis: What is This Medical Condition
Arthritis is a term that describes a group of diseases that affect the joints in our body. Some forms of arthritis will even affect your connective tissues and organs, including your skin.
Those that suffer from arthritis will often experience:
- Swollen or stiff joints
- Reddish joints that are tender and warm
- Mobility problems
- Find it hard to do everyday tasks
There are different types of Arthritis, but the most common forms are Osteoarthritis, which is a form of Degenerative Arthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis which falls under the category of Inflammatory Arthritis.
Over time, the cushioning surface on the ends of the bones wears away causing pain, swelling, and stiffness. As time goes on these pains may become chronic. Degenerative arthritis is often caused by aging, excessive weight and can be hereditary. Severe cases of Degenerative Arthritis may lead to chronic pain resulting in limited mobility and affecting qualify of life. Degenerative Arthritis can be prevented by staying active and maintaining a healthy diet.
Rheumatoid Arthritis and Psoriatic Arthritis are examples of inflammatory arthritis. This type of arthritis appears when the body’s immune system is not able to fight off infections and diseases, by generating controlled inflammation, and instead, the body goes haywire with uncontrolled inflammation. The inflammation causes joint erosion and can damage internal organs. With any type of inflammatory arthritis, early diagnosis and aggressive treatment are critical.
This form of arthritis is initiated by a virus or fungus that enters the body and triggers inflammation. Salmonella, Shigella, Chlamydia and hepatitis C are examples of viruses that can lead to arthritis.
Metabolic arthritis is caused by high levels of uric acid that humans naturally produce. Uric acid is formed as the body breaks down purines, a substance found in many foods and human cells. In cases where the body produces high levels of Uric acid, the acid forms crystals in the joints resulting in joint pain.
What are the Main Causes of Arthritis?
While most forms of arthritis remains a mystery to most doctors, studies have found that the following causes may increase your chances of getting it;
It has been found that specific forms of arthritis, for example, rheumatoid arthritis are linked to certain genes.
According to recent statistics, most types of arthritis are more common in women. 60% of the people with arthritis are women. Gout is more common in men.
By default as you begin to age your joints start to wear down. It is important to exercise frequently to avoid this.
Those that carry excess weight force their joints and body to work harder than usual. The extra pounds tends to lead to arthritis in the knees.
Although injuries aren’t always in our control, they may cause joint damage that leads to specific forms of arthritis.
Arthritis Treatment Methods
Today there are many forms of Arthritis treatments including cannabis. Even though most won’t fully heal the condition, they will provide pain relief. Some analgesics include Tylenol, Percocet, and Vicodin. Over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as Advil, Motrin, or Aleve may also be taken to reduce pain and inflammation.
Inflammatory arthritis is often treated with disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs). Corticosteroids like cortisone are often prescribed by doctors to reduce inflammation.
Maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly can significantly reduce the risks of getting arthritis and it is often recommended by dietitians to eat less sugary foods that only aggravate inflammation.
Arthritis Effects Even the Famous
According to a recent publication by the Telegraph, Oxford University is preparing to launch a £10m research program around the effects of medical marijuana.
The program will be funded by Kingsley Capital Partners, who are expected to help expand the University’s marijuana cannabinoid research in specific medical conditions such as pain, cancer, and inflammatory diseases.
We all know Sir Patrick Stewart, the head of Kingsley Capital Partners, as Professor X, but unlike his fictional character that has super powers, Stewart has been suffering from ortho-arthritis for years and has been using medical cannabis to help his condition.
According to Stewart, cannabis even helps him in such a way that he can now make fists and sleep at night.
Marijuana Treatment for Arthritis
Over the last couple of years, marijuana has become a popular form of treatment for arthritis patients who want to avoid the potentially awful side effects of using pharmaceutical pain relievers such as prescription opioids and over-the-counter NSAIDS.
While it has been common knowledge in eastern countries that cannabis can effectively treat arthritis related pain, now scientific studies around the cannabis plant are beginning to confirm those thoughts.
In recent studies, cannabis has been shown to reduce inflammation and pain in patients with the most common types of arthritis. Thanks to the two major cannabinoids, THC and CBD, patients expressed an ease in their pain after using cannabis.
Furthermore, only a few years ago, researchers from the University of South Carolina discovered that THC, one of the cannabis plant’s cannabinoids, can change critical molecules of epigenome, leading to suppression of inflammation.
Another study published in the journal Rheumatology by Dr. Sheng-Ming Dai of China’s Second Military Medical University found that unusually high levels of CB2 receptors were found in joint tissues of arthritis patients. This led them to conclude that the use of cannabis had a positive effect in combating inflammation by activating the pathways of CB2 receptors.
Cannabis Cannabinoids; THC vs CBD
While there are over 100 different cannabinoids, the two most popular ones are Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, commonly referred to as THC, and cannabidiol, known as CBD. THC is the primary psychoactive component of cannabis which gives the effect of what recreational users call the “high.” CBD is considered to be a non-psychoactive component of cannabis that acts as a counter ingredient against THC. It basically helps reduce the high. What most people don’t realize is that both cannabinoids have healing properties.
THC is a strong anti-inflammatory and pain killer and has been shown to assist patients suffering from arthritis. THC is also an antispasmodic, bronchodilator, muscle relaxant – a powerful neuroprotectant and antioxidant. As a matter of fact, it has twice the anti-inflammatory power of hydrocortisone and 20 times of aspirin.
Similar to THC, CBD comes in all levels but is generally no more than 12% of the cannabinoid content of the cannabis plant. Unlike THC, CBD provides potent therapeutic benefits without the euphoria.
THC and CBD are believed to have a synergistic effect meaning that when they are both present at therapeutic levels in a marijuana strain, they are more effective than simply alone.
While CBD was once constantly in the shadows, giving THC all the spotlight, it is now slowly coming into the light due to its healing properties. Similar to THC it has versatile benefits and is helping patients who suffer from conditions such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, alcoholism, epilepsy, cancer, antibiotic-resistant infections, PTSD and neurological disorders.
One of the most amazing aspects of CBD is its combined strong anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and neuro-protective properties which assist in the treatment of Alzheimer’s and Arthritis. Cannabis is now thought to be one of the most effective treatments for these conditions.
So, without further ado, here is our list of best marijuana strains that help patients worldwide combat Arthritis
5 Best Marijuana Strains for Arthritis
#1 The Girl Scout Cookies Cannabis Strain
Girl Scout Cookies, aka GSC, is one the best cannabis strains on the market to treat pain. This amazing hybrid strain is known for its high THC content that produces powerful, full-body pain relief.
#2 The Cannatonic Cannabis Strain
Go into any dispensary and ask about his marijuana strain and you’ll get and immediate response; “This cannabis strain is great to treat pain and inflammation.” Cannatonic has a low THC, high CBD content and produces a mellow high that is typically short-lived. It’s the perfect marijuana strain for pain relief and won’t get you couch-locked.
#3 The Famous ACDC Cannabis Strain
As the rock band put it, this is the T.N.T of all strains. It’s the ultimate powerhouse strain that will blow that pain away. ACDC is a Sativa-dominant strain and originates from Cannatonic. ACDC stands out for its low THC, high CBD ratio providing its patients with immediate pain relief without the high.
#4 The Harlequin Marijuana Strain
For those of you who need to function during the day and want to avoid a euphoric high, Harlequin is the perfect strain. This Harlequin Sativa dominant cannabis strain usually has a 5:2 CBD: THC ratio which makes it a super effective strain for treating conditions such as arthritis pain.
#5 The Canna Tsu Cannabis Strain
Due to this strains magical CBD powers, it has become a popular strain used to fight inflammation. Packed with a high CBD, low THC ratio, this strain will keep a clear head and allow you to focus on other things apart from the pain associated with arthritis.
Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve received a ton of emails telling us about the benefits of raw juicing cannabis. Raw cannabis juices and are packed with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds. By juicing cannabis, you can also benefit from Cannabinoid acids and larger doses of vital nutrients.
Final Thoughts About Cannabis as a Treatment for Arthritis
Medical marijuana is only now coming into the light in regards to its therapeutic benefits and how it is helping people with their day to day conditions. One of those conditions is Arthritis.