Cannabis and Osteoarthritis
As osteoarthritis has now become a global cause of arthritis; the most long-lasting joint disorder affecting over 30 million men and women in the US and over 250 million worldwide, it has now become a condition of concern for both men and women. With osteoarthritis, easy tasks like opening a jar, standing or walking around the grocery store can be very unbearable because of the chronic pain that accompanies the condition.
Up till date, only a few treatments have been able to provide patients suffering from arthritis effective relief, making them resort to potential-addictive painkillers, anti-inflammatory medications, and even invasive surgery.
However, in the recent years, many people suffering from osteoarthritis are beginning to turn to the use of medical marijuana for the treatment of their arthritis as it tends to bring relief for their pain, inflammation, and other osteoarthritis symptoms without the fear of any side effects.
What Is It to Know About Osteoarthritis?
First, arthritis is a medical condition where the joints at certain parts of the body are inflamed causing pain, swelling, stiffness and disability. Hence, osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis resulting from breakdown of the protective cartilage at the joints of bones in the body. Usually affecting such joints as the joints in the hands, knees, spine and hips.
Osteoarthritis could be of two types; primary and secondary osteoarthritis. Primary osteoarthritis is the most common and occurs due to wear and tear and mechanical damage to cartilage tissue. It’s an age factor; the more you use your joint, the higher the risk you have.
Secondary osteoarthritis, on the other hand, arises from defects, injuries and congenital abnormalities. Disorders that change the normal structure and function of your cartilage. This type of osteoarthritis is usually found among younger people.
What are the Causes and symptoms of osteoarthritis?
Basically, osteoarthritis is caused by natural aging of the cartilage and joint or repetitive use of the joint over time as in primary osteoarthritis. If osteoarthritis is found in multiple members of a family, that could reflect its genetic basis. Congenital abnormally formed joints and hormone disturbance as in diabetes are usually associated with osteoarthritis.
Another cause of this disorder is obesity. It is only logical that obesity is a risk factor as it causes osteoarthritis by increasing the mechanical stress and workload on the joint and cartilage.
Osteoarthritis is common among weight lifters, soccer players and long-distance runners especially osteoarthritis of the knee.
Unlike other forms of arthritis, osteoarthritis affects only the joints and not organs streamlining its symptoms to pain at joints, pain during movement, loss of flexibility, swelling, stiffness of joints and creaking of affected areas.
Treatment Options for Osteoarthritis
When a person comes down with osteoarthritis to the extent that he needs medical help, doctors put them on low doses of drugs, simple physical therapies and exercises and proceed to surgery, joint repair and replacement techniques and arthrocentesis.
Osteoarthritis doesn’t have a cure that takes the illness away. The point of medication is to manage it and reduce joint pain to the nearest minimum. Hence, cannabis as a treatment.
How can Cannabis help with treating osteoarthritis?
#1: Cannabis eases pain
Medical marijuana has two main active ingredients; THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabinol). These chemicals interact with the endocannabinoid system in the brain controlling pain levels and helping to reduce the sensitivity of pain in your joints.
Osteoarthritis causes discomforting pain but because of the anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties of CBD and THC, it makes Medical cannabis a good drug to relieve pains resulting from osteoarthritis.
#2: Cannabis controls inflammation
CBD from cannabis effectively disrupts the progression of osteoarthritis, protection the joints from damage by reducing inflammation at arthritic points. Research and publications have shown that cannabis effectively cures inflammation involving arthritic patients. Psychoactive THC was discovered to dampen the immune system and deactivate proteins that causes inflammation. By interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system, THC and CBD is able to induce the anti-inflammatory respond that the body fails to do naturally.
#3: Cannabis has antioxidant properties
Cannabis as an antioxidant can help minimize inflammation and pain due to oxidative stress on the body’s joint system. It is safe to use Medical marijuana or cannabis to treat osteoarthritis and it doesn’t produce the high effect. Medical cannabis has worked where other forms of medication have failed.
What other symptoms of osteoarthritis can medical cannabis treat?
Pain and aches in the joints are not the only symptoms that occurs from osteoarthritis. Just as it happens in many autoimmune conditions, an aggravated chronic inflammation and immune system can affect the whole body.
According to recent researches, when medical cannabis is used for the treatment of osteoarthritis, it does not just get rid of arthritis pain, but also calms the immune system and cause a relief to other related symptoms like:
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Tingling and numbness in the hands and feet
- Psychological ailments such as anxiety and depression
- Morning stiffness