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Arthritis and Medical Cannabis

Arthritis and Medical Cannabis

Definition

Arthritis is an umbrella term describing any disorder that affects joints and bones. The two main types are osteoarthritis (aka degenerative bone disease) and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis (degenerative bone disease) is the most common form of arthritis.

Potential Efficacy / Quality of Evidence (Low, Average, High) of Arthritis for Medical Marijuana

Average – potentially high, especially for autoimmune-related forms of arthritis.

Cannabinoids, Terpenes/Terpenoids, Strains and Ratios that May Help

CBD may help fight inflammation and keep joints lubricated.

CBDA and THCA may also be useful.

CBD:THC 20:1; CBD:THC 3:1; CBD:THC 1:1.

Medical Cannabis Pros

May help treat arthritic pain [1], which is associated with inflammatory, nociceptive and neuropathic pain.

Could be an anti-arthritic [2] and help repair old bones.

CBD oil may act as an anti-inflammatory [3] and “lubricant” [4] for joints affected by arthritis.

Medical Cannabis Cons

No definitive proof of efficacy as of yet; or cannabinoids may be effective for some arthritic patients, but not all.

More research is needed in order to look at what types of arthritis can be treated with cannabis – there are some indications that osteoarthritis requires a different treatment to rheumatoid arthritis.

More About the Condition

Osteoarthritis (degenerative bone disease) is the most common form of arthritis. Osteoarthritis usually forms as a result of age and/or the use of other medications, especially corticosteroids. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder mostly affecting the hands and/or feet. Symptoms or any type of arthritis include joint pain, stiffness, swelling, warmth & redness, a decreased range of motion and sometimes even affecting muscles and other organs.

A study [5] by Dr. Sheng-Ming Dai of China’s Second Military Medical University found that there are unusually high concentrations of CB2 receptors in the joint tissue of arthritic patients. CBD may help activate the pathway of these CB2 receptors and decrease inflammation. Other studies [6], like those undertaken by Dr. Jason McDougall and Melissa O’Brien [7], show that cannabinoids may help repair the joint tissue. Different cannabinoid ratios may be needed for different types of arthritis.

Arthritis sufferers are usually given a mixture of antibiotics, NSAIDs such as ibuprofen, steroids such as prednisone, and disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) such as azathioprine (purine synthesis inhibitor) and chloroquine (IL-1 receptor suppressor an anti-malarial). Steroids may actually thin the bones with long-term use, so some of the current treatment methods are certainly a double-edged sword.

 

Quotes from Experts

“Natural phytocannabinoids and synthetic derivatives have produced clear activity in a variety of models of joint pain in animals. These effects are the result of both inhibition of pain pathway signalling (mostly CB1) and anti-inflammatory effects (mostly CB2). There are also numerous anecdotal reports of the effectiveness of smoking cannabis for joint pain. Indeed, it is the largest medical request for the use of the drug. However, these reports generally do not extend to regulated clinical trials for rheumatic diseases. Nevertheless, the preclinical and human data that do exist indicate that the use of cannabis should be taken seriously as a potential treatment of joint pain.” Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28967368 [8]

https://arthritis.ca/treatment/medication/medical-cannabis [9]

Case Studies – Patient Stories

https://www.flowertown.com/video/cannabis-success-story/ [10]

 

References

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24494687

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10920191

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4851925/

[4] http://thehempoilbenefits.com/cbd-oil-rheumatoid-arthritis

[5] https://academic.oup.com/rheumatology/article/53/5/802/1798167/Expression-of-cannabinoid-receptor-2-and-its

[6] http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/dalhousie-researcher-investigates-use-of-marijuana-for-arthritis-pain-1.3142592

[7] https://www.researchgate.net/publication/324472768_Cannabis_and_joints_scientific_evidence_for_the_alleviation_of_osteoarthritis_pain_by_cannabinoids

[8] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28967368

[9] https://arthritis.ca/treatment/medication/medical-cannabis

[10] https://www.flowertown.com/video/cannabis-success-story/

 

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Possible Efficacy

Average

Positives

Negatives

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