Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients Are Using Medical Marijuana — Here’s Why
As the greying of America occurs, more and more baby boomers are retiring, and the country is facing a deluge of health-related costs from its aging population.
Chief among those costs is the burden of treating chronic arthritis — a painful, common joint disease for which there is no cure and limited treatment options.
But the greying of America is coinciding with a revolution in the understanding of how medical cannabis works on arthritis pain.
There is a large body of both pre-clinical and patient-reported support for the use of cannabinoid therapy for both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. A few clinical trials also exist. The active ingredients in marijuana —“cannabinoids” like THC and CBD — work to suppress immune system over-activity, and this type of over-activity causes the inflammation and pain of rheumatoid arthritis.
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease associated with cartilage degradation resulting in multiple forms of pain including neuropathic pain — one of cannabinoids’ chief indications.
Yet 3 out of 4 doctors know almost nothing about the use of cannabinoids for arthritis. It’s not taught in medical school.
However, medical marijuana laws are on the books in 35 U.S. states and patients are taking control of their health by self-educating, and seeking out cannabis-specialized clinicians who can recommend them the botanical.
“Arthritis pain is reported as one of the most common reasons for persons using medical herbal cannabis in North America,” a 2014 study found. “‘Severe arthritis’ is the condition justifying legal use of cannabis in over half of all authorizations in Canada.”
Patients are accessing cannabinoids for arthritis pain through a variety of sources: they’re smoking or vaporizing raw cannabis flowers high in THC and CBD to get fast-acting, body-wide relief from arthritis pain. They’re also ingesting cannabinoids in the form of infused foods and tinctures. This method is slower-acting than smoking, but longer-lasting with more intense physical rather than psychological effects. They’re also using topical ointments rich in a broad spectrum of cannabinoids that are rubbed directly onto sore joints for relief.
Patients in advanced medical cannabis economies like those in California, Colorado, Washington, and Oregon have a wide variety of options to choose from.
Among them, products like Care By Design’s line of tinctures and mouth sprays, and Sensi Chew’s line of medicated edibles. According to patient self-reports gathered by CBD.org and others, arthritis patients are finding great relief with these products, especially 4:1 formulations of CBD:THC.
“My mom suffers from chronic joint and arthritis pain and has been unable to sleep. She started using Sensi Chew CBD and she feels so much better,” stated “GG” of Los Angeles, CA.
“The only thing that works for my arthritis is Sensi Chews. I take ½ to 1/3 dose in the evening and it relieves swelling and inflammation and helps me sleep. The effects last for almost 2 days. I’ve recommended it to many of my friends who have the same needs,” stated “JJ” from Santa Barbara, CA.
“I’ve had extreme pain and arthritis in my knees and Sensi Chew 100MG CBD works wonders,” said JC, from Los Angeles, CA.
Patients are finding these products by using sites like WeedMaps.com to locate physicians and dispensaries in their area, as well as review their menus.
As modern science catches up with what folk healers have known for 5,000 years — more arthritis patients will be using cannabinoids than ever before.