It is estimated that about a quarter of all American adults – over 54 million people – are afflicted with arthritis, a painful inflammation of the joints that can limit activity and negatively impact quality of life. More than one in every four adults with arthritis report severe pain from the disorder, according to figures compiled by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Traditional medications associated with the treatment of arthritis are effective but may produce harmful or even fatal side effects. These effects have led the medical community to seek safer alternatives. Medical cannabis may represent a path forward for people struggling with arthritis, providing pain and inflammation relief without the dangerous side effects of traditional arthritis medications.
Facts About Arthritis
While there are over 200 medical conditions that affect joints in the human body, the term arthritis means “joint inflammation”. The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis, which is characterized by pain, stiffness, and swelling of the joints and the tissues surrounding them. Another form, rheumatoid arthritis, is an immune disorder that produces symptoms similar to other forms of the inflammation. Arthritis is typically associated with the elderly, but the condition can affect anyone at any age, including children. According to studies conducted by healthcare organizations like the CDC, direct annual costs associated with arthritis exceed $140 billion each year, and the condition is a leading cause of work-related disability.
In many cases, the pain and swelling associated with arthritis can be so severe that people are unable to perform daily tasks such as bathing, dressing, and preparing meals. Left untreated, the condition can lead to significant reductions in mobility. Of course, this greatly affects quality of life.
How is Arthritis Treated?
After assessing the condition and its symptoms, medical professionals typically treat arthritis with two forms of medication: analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs. Analgesics, sometimes referred to as painkillers, relieve pain, but do not counter the inflammation and swelling associated with arthritis. Anti-inflammatory drugs counter both pain and inflammation, and can be administered orally or topically.
Unfortunately, both of these medication-oriented treatments have their share of unpleasant and even dangerous side effects:
- Prescription painkillers, particularly those that are opioid-based, have high abuse potential, can be addictive and can lead to accidental overdose deaths. In fact, it is estimated that about 70,000 people died from drug overdoses in 2017 alone.
- Anti-inflammatory medications, specifically non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs, can harm the digestive system, leading to ulcers, bleeding, and erosion of the lining of the digestive system and esophagus. Chronic use of NSAIDs may also raise blood pressure to dangerous levels, negatively affecting the circulatory system.
These dangerous side effects have spurred research into safer alternatives. The medical community is hopeful that medical cannabis, which has shown promise in limited clinical trials, can be an effective treatment for arthritis without harmful side effects.
Medical Cannabis in Treating Arthritis
There are hundreds of chemical compounds found in cannabis, including a class of compounds known as cannabinoids. One of these, a compound known as cannabidiol or CBD, has shown great promise in treating pain and inflammation in a variety of medical conditions including arthritis. CBD is non-psychoactive; in other words, it does not produce the “high” sought after by recreational marijuana users.
Since 2001, medical cannabis has been legal in Canada for treating health conditions like arthritis. Numerous U.S. states have adopted medical cannabis laws, allowing medical professionals to treat arthritis patients with cannabis and cannabis-derived products, particularly those that are high in CBD content. CBD can be applied topically to joints affected by the condition, and provides relief without dangerous or unpleasant side effects. Medical cannabis may also be ingested orally to provide pain and inflammation relief.
Further research must be conducted into the effects of medical cannabis on treating arthritis and other diseases, and in the United States, clinical trials and studies are ongoing. For now, patients with arthritis have reported significant reductions in pain, swelling, and stiffness after using CBD oils and extracts. There is hope for the millions of people afflicted by this condition, and medical marijuana products may one day be responsible for dramatic improvements in quality of life without the dangers of traditional medications used for treating arthritis.
About King Harvest
King Harvest Wellness is a California based collective that is dedicated to providing patients with safe, lab-tested, whole molecule CBD and THC Cannabis Oil medication(s). We offer Diagnosis-Specific Cannabis Oil protocols with a holistic approach to healing that is designed to complement Western medicine and related therapies. For more information about our products and services, call us at (877) 469-4584 for a free consultation, or email us at Members@KingHarvest.org.