Believe it or not, around 350 million people in the world suffer from arthritis. And, the number is certainly higher if we take into account that there are people who have the condition, but have not been officially diagnosed.
Since arthritis can be painful and unpleasant, it is good to know that there is a natural remedy such as cannabis that can help you relieve the condition without exposing yourself to the chemicals present in over-the-counter meds.
Before we learn more about cannabis, let us find out the most important information about arthritis.
This umbrella term encompasses chronic inflammation, joint disease or joint ache. According to the medical community, there are more than 100 distinct types of arthritis and anyone can experience them, regardless of their age, sex or race.
Some of the types of arthritis include back ache, fibromyalgia, gout, IBS, lupus, bursitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, lyme disease, spinal stenosis, scleroderma, and pagets.
Despite being very common, arthritis remains a very misunderstood illness. The term is very broad and it literally means inflammation of one or more joints. The symptoms may come and go and they can vary in intensity, i.e. they can be mild, moderate, and severe. They usually progress as the time goes by and become worse.
If left untreated for a long period, arthritis can cause permanent damage and disability and decrease one’s basic functions like walking or stair climbing. The disease usually settles in the joints that bear our weight, including the spine, knees, and hips; however, it may also happen in the fingers.
How Can Cannabis Help Arthritic Patients?
Since arthritis is an inflammatory condition and cannabis is known to fight off inflammation, it is no wonder that many people use it to get the needed relief. As many of you may already know, we all have a system inside of us known as the endocannabinoid system with the main receptors being CB1 and CB2.
They are located in different parts of the body. Our body naturally produces endocannabinoids which stimulate these receptors. In a similar fashion, cannabis has phytocannabinoids like CBD and THC which are molecularly similar to the endocannabinoids. These phytocannabinoids can also regulate the CB1 and CB2 and produce numerous physiological effects.
According to a study, the CB2 receptors were very high in the joint tissues of patients with arthritis so it was concluded that cannabis is pivotal for the activation of these receptors and consequently, for lowering the pain and inflammation.
In an arthritic patient, the nerves are like wires without their coating. Being bare and raw, they are experiencing a lot of pain. Hypothetically, experts believe that local administering of cannabis molecules to these nerves can help repair them and lower the pain and discomfort.
Findings have shown that the molecules of cannabis attach to nerve receptors and regulate the release of pain signals in the joint.
THC or CBD for Arthritis?
THC is known to be psychoactive, that is, it gets one high whereas CBD is non-psychoactive and it does not get us high. Both of these phytocannabinoids have their advantages and can help lower the inflammation in the body. Some may prefer CBD because it has no psychoactive effects.
CBD attaches to CB2 receptors and helps fight off joint inflammation while THC attaches to the CB1 receptors and lowers chronic ache. It is also beneficial for depression and anxiety, common in those with arthritis. If you decide to go with a THC strand of cannabis, choose indica over sativa because it can calm down your body and relax the mind.