Contrary to common belief, arthritis can affect people of all ages and not just the elderly. There are various treatments available to help arthritis patients deal with the pain. However, not all conventional medications work for everyone. This is the reason why more and more patients suffering from arthritis turn to medical cannabis for relief.
What is arthritis?
Arthritis is an ailment of the joint characterized by inflammation. It is accompanied by joint pain, which is referred to as arthralgia. If the condition involves only one joint, it is called monoarthritis; for two to three joints, it is called oligoarthritis; and for four or more joints, it is called polyarthritis.
It is said that arthritis actually includes up to 200 different joint conditions and diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, gout, lupus, fibromyalgia, and osteoarthritis, among many others.
The types of arthritis range from the ones related to the wear and tear of cartilage, to the ones associated with the inflammation resulting from overactive immune system. The different types of arthritis make up the most common chronic illness among Americans.
In fact, 23% of Americans and 15% of Canadians are suffering from some form of arthritis. But this number is steadily on the rise.
Symptoms of arthritis include limited function of the joints due to pain and stiffness. Inflammation of the joints is also characterized by swelling, redness, warmth, and tenderness. In large joints like the knee, damage can include loss of cartilage and limitation of motion. Meanwhile, when the small joints are affected, such as the fingers, there can be bone growth and loss of grip.
Traditional treatment for arthritis include analgesics, immunosuppressants, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroids, and counterirritants.
How cannabis helps with arthritis
Cannabis-based supplements have become increasingly popular among people who have arthritis. In fact, in countries and in states where medical cannabis has been legalized, arthritis is always included in the list of qualifying medical conditions.
This means that arthritis is among the several medical conditions that make an individual qualified to get prescription for and to use medical marijuana.
Cannabis is known to have effective anti-inflammatory properties. It contains cannabinoids — mainly tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) — that help fight pain and inflammation.
Researchers first discovered that the joints of arthritis patients have extremely high levels of CB1 receptors. Because of this, they concluded that the substances in cannabis that interact with these receptors have the potential to reduce inflammation and pain.
In another study, researchers also discovered that THC can change molecules that lead to the suppression of inflamamtion.
Moreover, researchers at the University of Kentucky applied CBD topically and found that it can relieve pain and inflammation connected with arthritis. And what made CBD better is that it possesses great therapeutic potential yet does not cause any side effects.
There was also another study that found that early CBD treatment can keep pain and nerve damage at bay for osteoarthritic joints.
What these studies show is that THC and CBD work together, but that cannabis strains with high CBD content may be the best choice as it gives patients the best of both worlds: relief from pain with clear headedness and no strong psychoactive effects.
Best cannabis strains for arthritis
If you are looking for the best cannabis strains for your arthritis, know that before you begin experimenting, you should consider not only what you would like to achieve (which is pain relief) but also your lifestyle. Know what time of the day your symptoms usually occur. Determine if you would rather treat your pain or your inflammation. Do you have a hard time sleeping?
It is important to know that different strains have different effects. Some are sedatives, while some are energizing. Some have higher THC levels while some have higher CBD levels.
Some of the strains you may want to look into include:
Cannatonic: popular medical hybrid strain, high CBD levels, low THC, mainly used for pain and muscle spasms, great for relaxing during the day
Girl Scout Cookies: high THC, great for beating depression and stress, usually recommended for severe pain
Anesthesia: recommended for night-time use, very sedating, strong body-high and cerebral buzz
Harlequin: relaxes but does not sedate and intoxicate, has high CBD content, popular for fighting pain and inflammation especially those associated with arthritis.
Harmonia: slightly higher CBD than THC, makes you clear-headed and ready for your daily tasks
We also suggest that you look into strains like Remedy, ACDC, Death Star, Pennywise, and Power Plant.