Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease where the body attacks its own joint tissue. It’s a progressive and painful condition that can impact a person’s quality of life.
Medical cannabis is a great natural alternative for people suffering from RA, as it’s an effective pain reliever and anti-inflammatory agent. It also may help improve sleep.
What is cannabis?
The role of cannabis in treating rheumatoid arthritis is gaining traction because of its impressive anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects. This can help a person feel better and improve their quality of life, without the side effects of NSAIDs, opioids and steroids that are commonly prescribed to treat RA.
There are a variety of ways that people with rheumatoid arthritis can use cannabis to manage their pain and inflammation, including tinctures, edibles, vaping and transdermal patches. The best method for each patient will depend on their specific needs and pain tolerance.
Tinctures & drops: These are taken under the tongue and release medication directly into the bloodstream. This method offers consistent dosages and long-lasting effects. It also allows patients to control the amount of cannabis that they ingest, which can be helpful for those who are afraid of inhaling smoke.
Edibles: These are often baked goods infused with marijuana, which offer a more consistent dose than tinctures and drops. However, they can be more difficult for patients to digest and take.
Vaporization: This method is also popular for its fast-acting effects, but it is a riskier way to get the benefits of cannabis. It also may cause respiratory problems for some patients.
Topicals: This method of delivering cannabinoids into the body can be more effective than other methods, but it may not last as long. It can also be expensive.
Salves: These can be a good option for patients who are afraid of inhaling cannabis or those who need to be targeted. They are typically made with oils, such as olive oil or argan oil, which aid in dissolving the cannabinoids and allowing them to pass through the skin barrier.
Both THC and CBD have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties, which can be beneficial for a patient with RA. They work through different molecular pathways, which gives them the ability to target specific areas in the body where inflammation is occurring. This can be especially important for those who have rheumatoid arthritis because the immune system is weakened by the condition. By boosting the effectiveness of the immune system, THC and CBD can help patients experience relief from their pain.
How does it work?
The role of cannabis in treating rheumatoid arthritis is still being investigated by both the medical and research communities, but some studies suggest that it may be an effective treatment option for the disease. The endocannabinoid system plays a role in osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis by controlling pain and inflammation.
The endocannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2, are located throughout the body and control the body’s inflammatory responses and pain response. Both THC and CBD interact with these receptors to help reduce the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
There are many benefits of cannabis for rheumatoid arthritis including pain relief, reduced inflammation, and increased mobility. It’s an increasingly popular natural alternative to steroid medication and opioids for the treatment of joint inflammation, as well as chronic pain associated with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid disease.
THC and CBD are the main active ingredients in cannabis. THC works by attaching to CB1 cannabinoid receptors, while CBD only activates the CB2 receptors. By saturating these receptors, CBD reduces the inflammation and pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis.
Patients suffering from RA have more CB2 receptors in their synovial fluid (a thick, protective liquid that lines the joints) than people without arthritic disease. This is thought to be a key factor in the development of joint damage and inflammation.
However, saturating these receptors with cannabinoids may also help heal and repair damaged joints. A study published in Canada found that topical applications of cannabinoids helped rheumatoid arthritis patients to increase their levels of CB2 receptors and therefore experience greater reduction in pain, movement, and swelling.
Another benefit of cannabis for rheumatoid joint inflammation is that it’s not addictive, unlike some other pain medications. Those who suffer from RA often need to take painkillers for long periods of time, so this may be the perfect opportunity to try a natural alternative that has less side effects than opioids or steroid drugs.
In addition to the main cannabinoids, there are several terpenes that have been shown to provide pain and inflammation relief for arthritis. For example, pinene and humulene both have been shown to act as anti-inflammatory agents. They can also be a powerful bronchodilator, as well as having the ability to lower interleukins and prostaglandins.
What are the risks?
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that can cause inflammation and joint damage. It is common in older adults, but it can also occur in children and young people. It is caused by an autoimmune reaction that targets the synovial fluid, which lubricates joints. It can be difficult to diagnose and treat.
Medical cannabis can help to alleviate symptoms associated with rheumatoid arthritis, including pain, inflammation and stiffness. It can also be used to reduce reliance on opioid-based pain medications. It can also help to increase exercise levels and improve appetite – things that are important for patients suffering from this condition.
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) dysregulation is involved in many inflammatory diseases and has been linked to rheumatoid arthritis. It is believed that CBD and other compounds in the plant may inhibit inflammation by reducing the release of pro-inflammatory chemicals, such as interleukins and prostaglandins.
A number of terpenes found in cannabis are also anti-inflammatory, with pinene and humulene being two examples. These compounds have been shown to decrease inflammation by promoting a natural painkilling mechanism called CB2 receptor modulation.
In rodent models of rheumatoid arthritis, cannabinoids have been found to prevent disease progression by blocking the release of inflammatory mediators that cause damage and pain. In addition, studies have found that cannabinoids can reduce the risk of relapse.
Research into the role of cannabis in treating rheumatoid arthritis is ongoing. However, one clinical trial found that patients with rheumatoid disease who used medical cannabis experienced significant reductions in pain and inflammation.
Using cannabis is often recommended for people with RA by their healthcare provider. It can be useful for treating inflammation and pain and can also help to ease stress and promote better sleep.
As with all new treatment methods, it is important to start small and work up to a dose that provides relief. The Arthritis Foundation recommends starting with 1mg and titrating up by 0.5mg every four days.
Medical cannabis is an effective and safe way to treat rheumatoid arthritis. The main reason why is that it can provide effective pain and inflammation relief without the risks of opioid-based drugs or the need for steroid injections.
What are the benefits?
Rheumatoid arthritis is a common autoimmune disease that causes inflammation and pain in the joints. It is a progressive disease that can lead to joint damage and impairment of daily activities if untreated. While there is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, there are many treatment options available.
Cannabis is a safe and effective natural pain reliever, providing relief without the side effects of NSAIDs, steroids or opioids. It can also help to reduce stress and improve sleep, promoting a better quality of life for patients with RA.
The two major cannabinoids in cannabis, THC and CBD, work through the body’s CB1 and CB2 receptors to control pain and inflammation and suppress the immune system’s ability to attack healthy tissues. This can help to reduce the progression of rheumatoid arthritis, which is the main cause of disability and pain in people with this condition.
THC and CBD can be taken orally, applied topically, or ingested through edibles and sublingual tinctures. Topicals and transdermal patches can be particularly helpful for treating pain in specific joints in the body, such as the knees or shoulders. They may also help to reduce stress and tension, which can be particularly common in patients with RA.
Salves are another effective and easy-to-use option for reducing pain in the joints. Cannabinoids dissolve in oils and are delivered to the skin through the lipid layer of the skin. Some oils are ideal for this type of application, including olive oil, argan oil, and emu oil.
The terpenes in cannabis have also been shown to have an anti-inflammatory effect. Pinene, for example, has been shown to reduce pain and inflammation in a similar way to NSAIDs and corticosteroids.
While clinical trials are still in their infancy, it is believed that the use of cannabis can reduce the progression of rheumatoid disease. It can also improve the quality of life for sufferers, allowing them to live more normal and active lives free from chronic pain.
Despite the lack of clinical studies, many patients with RA are choosing to try medical cannabis as a treatment for their symptoms. It should be noted that a doctor’s assessment and consent are necessary before patients start taking medical cannabis.