Medical marijuana for arthritis

Medical Marijuana and Rheumatoid Arthritis: Pros and Cons of the Different Delivery Systems

Potential Pros and Cons of 7 Marijuana Delivery Methods for People With RA

1. Topical Ointments

Pros: They don’t make you high, and you get fairly immediate pain relief in a targeted area — like painful joints or low-back pain — for a couple of hours.

Cons: Some people complain of the odor, and the effects don’t last as long as inhaling or ingesting it. Tishler doesn’t believe that they’re worth the money; in his experience, they “seldom work as advertised.”

The Verdict: “The huge advantage here is that you don’t have any psychoactive effect,” says Rav Ivker, DO, a holistic family physician in Boulder, Colorado and author of Cannabis for Chronic Pain: A Proven Prescription for Using Marijuana to Relieve Your Pain and Heal Your Life. “I have seen very few downsides with the topicals. The effects have a short duration, but when it wears off, you can just apply the ointment again.” Dr. Ivker is a fan of pain-relieving creams that contain a combination of CBD — one of the active cannabinoids in marijuana — and arnica.

Related: Can Medical Marijuana Help Rheumatoid Arthritis?

2. Pills and Capsules

Pros: Dosage is consistent, it doesn’t require inhaling, and the pain-relieving effects can last for up to eight hours.

Cons: They can be expensive, and sometimes the medicinal effect doesn’t take place until an hour or two after ingesting it. “But cannabis is fat soluable, and it can be absorbed more quickly if you ingest it with a fatty food,” says Ivker.

The Verdict: Pills and capsules may be the most consistent delivery system. “I like these primarily because of the consistent dosing,” notes Ivker. “Tablets and capsules last a long time like an edible, but you know exactly how much medicine you’re getting every time you do it.”

3. Edibles

Pros: They are odorless, involve no smoke or vapor, and are easy to administer. And the medicinal effects can last up to eight hours. “This is good if your pain is constant and severe,” says Dr. Tishler. You can find medical marijuana candy, such as gummy chews.

Cons: They affect everyone differently, and the THC isn’t usually evenly distributed throughout the product. In other words, you can eat the same-size piece of an edible two days in a row and have a very different effect. Plus, there’s the calories.

The Verdict: “I don’t like edibles because they are way too inconsistent,” says Ivker. “If we talk about marijuana as a medicine, you need to be able to depend on it doing what it’s supposed to do. Most of the patients that I have worked with have had a previous bad experience with an edible.”

4. Transdermal Patches

Pros: Transdermal patches are adhesive patches containing cannabinoids. The medication is absorbed through the skin and enters the bloodstream, affecting the entire body. The effect lasts for a long time. It delivers slow release, long-duration, pain-relieving cannabis into the bloodstream without the need for ingesting or inhaling it.

Cons: This is one of the most expensive delivery systems, and isn’t as effective for severe pain as other medical marijuana options, says Ivker.

The Verdict: “The cannabinoids in patches are absorbed within a half an hour, and if you don’t want to feel the effect anymore, you can peel off an adhesive patch and the effect will dissipate,” says Ivker. “And if you only have it on for a short time, you can use it again.”

5. Vaping

Pros: It’s nearly odorless, easier on the lungs than smoking, and has an immediate medicinal effect. “Vaporizers are like miniature ovens,” says Ivker. “You are basically cooking. The ideal temperature for most vaporizers is 375 degrees, just like your oven. It heats the plant and you inhale a vapor, and it provides relief within two to three minutes, just like smoking it does.”

Cons: The best kind of vaporizing machines — those that use the plant and not a fluid — can be pricey (between $250 and $300). And vaporizers that use oil cartridges get very hot, which can be irritating to the throat and lungs.

The Verdict: “I recommend vaping to my patients,” says Ivker. Adds Tishler: “Vaporizing cannabis flower (not concentrates) produces little to none of the dangerous chemicals associated with tobacco smoke, so it is likely safer than smoking.”

Related: Rheumatoid Arthritis: Next-Level Pain Relief

6. Tinctures

Pros: These liquids, usually administered with a dropper, have historical gravitas, since “through the first three decades of the 20th century, tinctures were the only method of administration of medicinal cannabis in this country,” says Ivker. It is also easier for the user to experiment and determine the exact dosage that works best for their individual symptoms. And the pain-relieving effects last twice as long as inhaling, with none of the lung irritation.

Cons: The effect is not as immediate as inhaling; it can take as long as 45 minutes for the effects to kick in. Tishler doesn’t believe that they’re worth the money, either; as with the ointments, in his experience, they also “seldom work as advertised.”

The Verdict: While some people swear by tinctures, others don’t. Many argue that tinctures provide consistent and individualized dosing. “When you prescribe a prescription drug, you’re just guessing on the dosage. But here you can determine exactly how much works well for you,” says Ivker. He suggests starting by taking four or five drops under the tongue and waiting an hour to see how you feel. If after an hour and a half you don’t feel relief, you can take more.

Related: Stretching for Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain Relief

7. Smoking a Joint or Pipe

Pros: It’s easy to get access to it, less expensive than other medical marijuana delivery systems, and inhaling cannabis has an immediate pain-relieving effect.

Cons: “It’s the most unhealthy method of administration because it irritates the respiratory tract, and smoke contains toxins that contribute to more inflammation throughout the body,” says Ivker.

Smoking is a risk for many diseases, including heart and lung disease. Women with rheumatoid arthritis already face an increased risk for progressive lung diseases, such as emphysema; any type of smoke is especially problematic for people with RA.

Another downside is that the duration of action is short, usually only two or three hours.

The Verdict: “It’s the most popular delivery system, but I discourage people from doing it,” says Ivker. Tishler agrees that any risks outweigh benefits for people with RA. “Cannabis smoke contains many of the same carcinogens and poisonous gases as tobacco smoke. There is every reason to believe that it would be just as harmful.”

Tishler notes that while studies have suggested there aren’t any irreversible negative effects of smoking cannabis, they are inconclusive. Don’t smoke, period.

Additional reporting by Cathy Garrard

“It’s possible. But we are a ways away from answering that question definitively.” With cigarette smoking, it took decades to determine true long-term effects, Dr. Pacula noted. “We haven’t done the studies of cannabis, particularly the high-potency cannabis available today, which could begin to answer many important questions. We don’t have any idea of long-term effects. It’s a scientific research agenda, not something definitively with one or two studies in the near future.”

Very little research has addressed concerns specific to rheumatologists.

What Do We Know?

Daniele Piomelli, PhD, professor of Anatomy & Neurobiology in the School of Medicine and director of the Institute for the Study of Cannabis at the University of California, Irvine, reviewed the evidence for cannabis as a potential therapeutic agent. Very little research has addressed concerns specific to rheumatologists, such as the chronic pain associated with rheumatologic conditions. One recent study concluded there is insufficient evidence to recommend any cannabinoid for symptom management in patients with chronic pain associated with rheumatic diseases.3

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic autoimmune inflammatory disease. It is characterised by affecting multiple joints simultaneously and by the presentation of diverse general non-specific symptoms and manifestations in other parts of the body. Without proper treatment, in its advanced phases, the disease can result in major physical limitations and a marked deterioration in quality of life.

RA is typically manifested through pain, swelling and stiffness or difficulty in moving different large and small joints. In some cases, the joints affected follow a characteristic pattern. The general symptoms, which sometimes precede manifestations of the disease in the joints and tend to persist throughout its development, basically include general tiredness, malaise, slight fever, loss of appetite and loss of weight. Extra-articular manifestations —which normally occur after the disease is fully established— mainly affect the skin, blood vessels, heart, lungs, eyes and blood.

RA is much more frequent among women than men and tends to appear in elderly patients, although it can begin at any stage of life and can affect anyone, regardless of race, sex or occupation.

The most frequent initial symptom is morning stiffness (especially in the joints of the hands and feet), experienced after night-time rest. This entails considerable difficulty in moving the joints accompanied by pain. Morning stiffness may be accompanied by tiredness, fever, loss of appetite and muscle weakness (which sometimes appear weeks or months before the pain) as well as indications of inflammation of the joints — swelling, warmth and redness of the affected joints.

The course of the disease varies greatly; in some people, advance of the lesions stops spontaneously, whereas in others it continues throughout their lives. In the most common scenario, the disorder develops over many years or throughout the patient’s entire life, alternating between periods of relative or complete calm and other periods –known as “flare-ups”– when symptoms are exacerbated. Flare-ups normally last a few weeks or even months.

During flare-ups, the joints affected become swollen and hot and are painful and difficult to move, especially on waking in the morning. Without proper treatment, these flare-ups tend to become more frequent and longer-lasting. As a result, the affected joints gradually lose mobility, with the appearance of very characteristic deformities which distinguish RA from other forms of arthritis. Without treatment, RA usually results in a significant deterioration in functionality and quality of life.

Treatment for RA consists of a series of general measures related to lifestyle, rest and exercise, combined with pharmacological therapy, in which a wide range of drugs may be used; in some cases, surgical intervention may be recommended. Unfortunately, there is still no cure for the disease. However, taken together, all the therapeutic measures currently available can alleviate the symptoms and improve the prognosis, with a very positive impact on the patient’s quality of life.

The best therapeutic results are achieved with early diagnosis and when treatment is established in the initial phases of the disease.

Autoimmune diseases constitute a major group of illnesses. For reasons that are not fully understood, the immune system, responsible for defending the body erroneously identifies certain tissues as being foreign and reacts against them as if they posed a threat.

Cannabinoids and rheumatoid arthritis

Cannabinoids such as THC and CBD can be useful for treating rheumatoid arthritis. RA is an autoimmune disease and we know that cannabinoids act by modulating the activity of the immune system. When the immune system over-reacts and its activity increases, autoimmune diseases may occur. The immune system erroneously identifies normal structures and tissues in the body as being foreign and rejects them. This is what happens after a transplant, and it is why immunosuppressant drugs are administered to prevent the tissue or organ from being attacked and destroyed by the patient’s own immune system.

Cannabinoids modulate the activity of the immune system. We know that the endocannabinoid system regulates activity of the immune system, and in autoimmune diseases, they have an immunosuppressive effect, reducing the activity of the system, and thus contributing to improvement in such pathologies.

Although cannabinoids are immunosuppressive, there is no evidence that already immunodepressed subjects (e.g. patients with HIV) suffer more opportunistic infections as a result of consuming cannabis. Indeed, cannabis is commonly used among HIV patients to alleviate symptoms, increase appetite and improve general quality of life.

Cannabinoids also have an analgesic effect which is mainly attributed to THC, but can be implemented by using different ratios of THC/CBD. By managing the relative proportions, it is possible to minimise the psychoactive effect of THC without reducing its analgesic effect.

In this way, the patient’s activity will not be limited by psychoactive effects (which many find unpleasant). In RA, the analgesic effect is very important, since the essential problem is inflammation, which causes varying degrees of pain, moderate or severe in some cases.

When working with RA patients, it is also important to treat the inflammation with the fewest possible side effects. We know that corticoids can be effective in acute phases of the disease. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs (aspirin, ibuprofen, diclofenac, indometacin, etc.) can also be used. However, nearly all these drugs are gastrolesive and in the medium term can result in metabolic overload in the liver. In addition, they inhibit the action of THC when administered with it.

Lifetime treatment with corticoids or NSAIDs should therefore not be considered, given their side effects.

In analgesic doses, cannabinoids have never posed a metabolic problem in the liver, which is where they too are metabolised. Similarly, no problem of renal excretion or toxicity has ever been detected with such treatments.

Patients suffering chronic pain may also suffer sleep alteration. In the case of RA, nocturnal pain may also prevent proper rest and the structuring of the different sleep phases. The result is that sleep is non-restorative. Cannabinoids can be of use in improving sleep quality. By using THC and CBD, it is possible to induce sleep quite effectively, determining the night-time dose with different proportions of THC/CBD.

Proper rest is very important and for many patients, it is the first problem that needs to be addressed. Without restorative rest, little improvement can be expected in the other symptoms.

Appetite loss can also be a problem for many patients. Small doses of THC administered half an hour before meals increase appetite and ensure the patient does not suffer pathological weight loss. For some patients, THC/CBD treatment improves appetite. However, in some cases, it may be necessary to resort to THC on its own, administered before meals.

Because the doses of THC involved are low (around 5 mg), there is no limiting psychoactive effect, given that CBD is also being taken, which minimises any such effect.

Mood alteration is another issue for some people with RA, a chronic autoimmune disease, for which treatments are currently only available for the symptoms (pain and inflammation), but not the underlying cause. In such cases, the anxiolytic and anti-depressant effect of CBD may be very useful.

One of the great advantages of using cannabinoids is that many different symptoms can be treated with the same family of molecules. This aids better tolerance and makes management easier for the doctor as well.

Because of their low toxicity, cannabinoids have no potentially serious toxic side effects. This is another reason why they may be very useful for RA patients. Nonetheless, it should be noted that, the results of studies in this area with RA patients have not been as satisfactory as hoped, although they have been very positive for some patients. It is also important to remember that treatment may require therapeutic tools, as well as pharmaceuticals.

What is CBD? CBD, short for cannabidiol, is an active compound found in the cannabis plant. CBD is not intoxicating but may cause some drowsiness. The CBD in most products is extracted from hemp, a variety of cannabis that has only traces (up to 0.3%) of THC, the active compound that gets people high.

Does CBD work for arthritis? Animal studies have suggested that CBD has pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties, but these effects have not been validated in quality studies in humans. Anecdotally, some people with arthritis who have tried CBD, but not all, report noticeable pain relief, sleep improvement and/or anxiety reduction.

Is CBD safe to use? Research evaluating the safety of CBD is underway. At this point very little is known. So far, no serious safety concerns have been associated with moderate doses. CBD is thought to have the potential to interact with some drugs commonly taken by people with arthritis. Talk to your doctor before trying CBD if you take any of the following: corticosteroids (such as prednisone), tofacitinib (Xeljanz), naproxen (Aleve), celecoxib (Celebrex), tramadol (Ultram), certain antidepressants, including amitriptyline (Elavil), citalopram (Celexa), fluoxetine (Prozac), mirtazapine (Remeron), paroxetine (Paxil), sertraline (Zoloft), and certain medications for fibromyalgia, including gabapentin (Neurontin) and pregabalin (Lyrica).

Are CBD products legal? CBD products derived from hemp are no longer considered Schedule I drugs under the federal Controlled Substances Act, but they still remain in a legal gray zone. There are changes underway on federal and state levels that will ultimately clarify the laws and regulations related to CBD-based products and sales. Despite that, they’re widely available in nearly every state and online. People who want to use CBD should check their state laws.

Taking the First Step

Should I give CBD a try? Without quality clinical studies on CBD and arthritis, doctors have not been able to say who might benefit from CBD, at what dose and in which form, who likely won’t benefit and who should avoid it. Still, there is agreement on several points:

  • CBD is not a substitute for disease-modifying treatment for inflammatory arthritis.
  • Patients who are interested in trying CBD should first talk to the health care provider who treats their arthritis before trying CBD. Together, they can review what has worked or not worked in the past, whether there are other options to try first, how to do a trial run, what to watch for and when to return for a follow-up visit to evaluate the results. Keep a symptom and dose diary to track effects.
  • Quality CBD products can be expensive, especially when used for prolonged periods. To avoid wasting money, be completely sure that the product is truly having a positive effect on symptoms.

What type of product should I consider? CBD-based products can be taken orally, applied to the skin or inhaled. There are pros and cons for each.

By mouth. CBD that is swallowed, whether in capsules, food or liquid, is absorbed through the digestive tract. Absorption is slow and dosing is tricky due to the delayed onset of effect (one to two hours), unknown effects of stomach acids, recent meals and other factors.

Capsules can work for daily use after a safe, effective capsule dose has been established. Experts discourage taking CBD via edibles, like gummies and cookies, because dosing is unreliable, and they are appealing to children but do not come in childproof containers. Like any medicine, edibles should be secured out of sight and reach of children.

CBD can also be absorbed directly into the bloodstream by holding liquid from a spray or tincture (a liquid dosed by a dropper) under the tongue (sublingual) for 60 to 120 seconds. The taste may not be pleasant. Effects may be felt within 15 to 45 minutes.

On the skin. Topical products, like lotions and balms, are applied to the skin over a painful joint. Whether these products deliver CBD below the skin is unknown. Topical products may also include common over-the-counter ingredients such as menthol, capsaicin or camphor, making it difficult to determine if a positive effect is due to the CBD or another ingredient.

Inhaled. CBD can be inhaled via a vaporizing, or vape, pen. However, inhalation of vapor oils and chemical byproducts carry unknown risks, particularly for people with inflammatory arthritis. For this reason and because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating vaping in association with widespread hospitalizations and deaths from severe pulmonary disease, vaping is not recommended.

How much CBD should I use? While there are no established clinical guidelines, the medical experts consulted by the Arthritis Foundation recommend the following for adults:

  • When preparing to take a liquid form, be aware that the CBD extract is mixed with a carrier oil, so there are two measures to know: the amount of the liquid product to take (the dose) and the amount of CBD in each dose.
  • Go low and slow. Start with just a few milligrams of CBD in sublingual form twice a day. If relief is inadequate after one week, increase the dose by that same amount. If needed, go up in small increments over several weeks. If you find relief, continue taking that dose twice daily to maintain a stable level of CBD in the blood.
  • If CBD alone doesn’t work and you are in a state where medical or recreational marijuana is legal, talk to your doctor about taking CBD with a very low-dose THC product. Be aware that THC, even at low levels, may get you high, creating cognitive, motor and balance issues. Try THC-containing products at home or at night first, so you can sleep off any unwanted effects.
  • After several weeks, if you don’t find relief with CBD alone or with a combination of CBD and very low THC, CBD may not be right for you.
  • If you experience any unwanted side effects when using a CBD product, immediately discontinue use and inform your doctor.

Medical Marijuana for Arthritis

Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the United States according to the Arthritis Foundation, affecting more than 50 million Americans. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition characterized by wear and tear on the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition that causes painful swelling, stiffness and limited mobility in the joints. These symptoms are created when the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells, according to Medical News Today.

In the 29 states in which cannabis is legal for medical and/or recreational purposes, many individuals who have rheumatoid arthritis have successfully used this treatment for symptom relief. Here’s what you need to know about using marijuana for arthritis relief.

How It Works

Two of the main compounds in the cannabis plant, cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), are similar to the body’s natural endocannabinoids and thus can interact with the receptors for these chemicals in the brain. When this occurs, neurotransmitters in the brain are released and send messages to the body’s cells to produce various effects.

According to Healthline, CBD specifically acts on the CB1 and CB2 receptors, which reduce pain and inflammation. This compound also alleviates the symptoms of autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis by acting on immune system receptors. In some individuals, this slows down the progression of a chronic immune disease and lessens its symptoms. For those with rheumatoid arthritis, this could include fever and fatigue in addition to the disease’s characteristic joint pain and stiffness.

The Research

Several studies have looked at the efficacy of cannabidiol oil (CBD) in treating the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis or another immune condition. A 2006 study published in the Oxford journal Rheumatology found that a CBD-based oral medication called Sativex improved pain, reduced inflammation and improved sleep for study participants with rheumatoid arthritis, and was associated with minimal side effects.

In 2008, a study published in the journal Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management reviewed the use of CBD-based medications to treat chronic pain that was unresponsive to other medications and treatments. Researchers found that the drug was well-tolerated among the participants and led to better sleep and decreased pain.

Research published in 2014 in the European Journal of Neuroscience found that the endocannabinoid system played a role in relieving osteoarthritis pain in rodent studies, though more research is needed with human subjects to confirm this link.

2016 research used topical CBD gel to treat rats with arthritis. Results published in the European Journal of Pain reported that the rodents experienced reduced joint pain and inflammation associated with the treatment.

Most recently, a 2017 study published in the journal Pain found that CBD had positive effects on degeneration, pain, and inflammation for rats with osteoarthritis. The authors suggest that cannabis is a safe, therapeutic way to treat joint pain associated with this condition.

Although these results are quite promising, research opportunities have long been limited by the illegality of cannabis at the federal level, including its classification as a Schedule I drug with no recognized medical use. As medical marijuana becomes more widespread at the state level, larger human studies will be conducted to fully understand the effect of CBD and THC on the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, chronic pain, and other conditions.

Using Cannabis for Arthritis Pain Relief

Those with arthritis have a range of options when it comes to treating the pain associated with this condition. According to Everyday Health, some of the most common treatments available include:

  • Topical ointments may provide immediate pain relief to the affected joints for targeted treatment that lasts up to a few hours. This form of medical cannabis doesn’t create the psychoactive effects that occur when the substance is smoked or inhaled with a vaporizer. These creams and lotions can be reapplied as needed.
  • Pills, capsules and oil tinctures that contain cannabis can provide pain relief for rheumatoid arthritis for up to eight hours. This method also has the benefit of a consistent dosage, but may take up to two hours to work after the medication is taken.
  • Edibles, such as baked goods and candies infused with cannabis, offer long-lasting relief for severe pain. However, the effects are quite strong and sometimes inconsistent.
  • Transdermal patches deliver cannabinoids through the skin for a pain-relieving effect. It offers a long-lasting effect without smoking or ingesting the substance; however, many patients find it’s not as effective for severe arthritis pain as other methods.
  • Vaporizers are used to heat cannabis oil so that it can be inhaled without the effects and smell of marijuana smoke. This type of treatment offers an immediate effect and dosage can be gradually increased when additional pain relief is needed.
  • Smoking marijuana through a pipe or joint offers fast relief, but many people with rheumatoid arthritis dislike the smoke smell and the irritating effect on the lungs. Relief lasts two to three hours compared to up to eight hours with vaping.

When taking a new type of medical cannabis for the first time, you’ll have to work with your doctor closely to find a dosage that alleviates your symptoms without unwanted side effects. Many patients start with a small dose and gradually increase consumption to a therapeutic level. Product strength varies dramatically from as little as 2.5 milligrams of CBD oil to as much as 1,000 mg in a single dose.

Many people with rheumatoid arthritis use medical cannabis successfully with few or no side effects. However, minor side effects you may experience include changes in appetite, diarrhea, fatigue, and nausea. These may be more pronounced the first time you try medical marijuana, especially if you also take other drugs for rheumatoid arthritis.

Best Strains To Relieve Arthritis Pain

While there are few scientific studies correlating specific strains with arthritis symptom relief, crowdsourcing feedback from current cannabis users is a popular method to discover which weed strains may be helpful. The database Leafly collects information from medical cannabis patients worldwide to help determine the best marijuana strains for various medical uses, including the best strains for arthritis pain. The following strains are often listed among the most effective for those suffering from pain, joint stiffness, lack of sleep and/or loss of mobility associated with arthritis.

Blackberry Kush is a common medicinal strain for pain relief, creating a relaxing effect that induces sleep and enhances relaxation. This strain is an indica, which means it has a strong impact on the body compared to a more energizing sativa strain.

Blue Dream is a sativa strain that fans report has strong pain-relieving effects without inducing fatigue. This makes it ideal for those with arthritis who struggle with stiffness and inflammation that impact daytime activities.

Granddaddy Purple is a strong indica strain designed to promote deep physical relaxation. For this reason, it’s commonly used to treat arthritis and other forms of chronic pain, particularly for nighttime use when deep sleep is desired.

Formerly known as Girl Scout Cookies, GSC is an intense, powerful strain that many patients find provides long-lasting relief from severe arthritis pain. It’s a strong indica so it’s best for nighttime use, especially if you have trouble sleeping because of your pain.

Jack Herer, named for the renowned marijuana activist and created in the Netherlands in the 1990s, combines bodily pain relief with a cerebral impact that provides energy and clarity for daytime use. If you have to go to work but are struggling with arthritis pain, many in the same situation use this as their go-to medication.

Tangerine Dream is a hybrid strain that was actually handcrafted to meet the needs of medical patients who struggle with chronic pain but need to be clear and lucid during the day. Fans of this strain report elevated mental clarity along with deep physical relaxation.

Trainwreck is commonly used by those with arthritis, migraine headaches and severe chronic pain when they need fast, effective relief. It’s also reported to have an uplifting, euphoric effect, which makes it appropriate for those struggling with depression and anxiety.

Trident CBD is a favorite among medical cannabis patients who don’t want the high feeling associated with high-THC strains. This CBD-heavy option fits the bill, reportedly providing relief of pain and inflammation without impacting function. This makes it an outstanding choice for daytime pain.

While there has been no research on HONEY® products and their ability to treat symptoms related to arthritis, we offer many of these strains known to help alleviate pain and other symptoms associated with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Our high-quality cannabis oil cartridges allow our customers to vaporize their favorite strains for easy dosage and convenient, discreet symptom relief. Use our store locator to find a store near you that sells HONEY® products or call 510-246-3772 to learn more about our disposable vape pens, cartridges, and accessories. We’ll be happy to help you explore the benefits of medical marijuana for arthritis.

Medical Marijuana: How It’s Providing Pain Relief for Arthritis Sufferers

If you’re experiencing arthritis pain and want to avoid traditional pain medication, medical marijuana may be able to help. Thanks to advancements in research, medical marijuana can now be used to relieve all kinds of chronic pain symptoms.

At Nostalgia Family Medicine in Longwood, Florida, Dr. Brandon Fletcher can determine whether you are eligible for medical marijuana use, so you can minimize your pain in a way that’s comfortable for you.

How does marijuana work to reduce pain?

The medical benefits of marijuana are becoming more widely known as researchers continue to release data about its therapeutic properties.

Besides helping patients feel more relaxed, research shows that marijuana use for arthritis is effective because the cannabis plant contains cannabinoids. Because our bodies have cannabinoid receptors, the chemicals in cannabis attach to our cells, which help target the source of pain and discomfort.

Not only that, but arthritis sufferers are especially known to have higher levels of CB1 (cannabinoid) receptors than other people. A recent study by the University of Kentucky revealed that the cannabidiol (CBD) oil in marijuana activates those receptors, reducing arthritis pain and inflammation. Better yet, many people who have used marijuana for pain relief have reported very few side effects.

If medical marijuana is the best solution for your arthritis pain, Dr. Fletcher can show you how to obtain a legal medical marijuana card.

How can I know if medical marijuana is right for me?

Because there are different strains of marijuana out there, you’ll want to consult a reputable, licensed marijuana practitioner like Dr. Fletcher to determine whether marijuana will work for your current health condition and lifestyle. During your comprehensive evaluation, he will ask you questions such as:

  • When are your pain symptoms strongest? At what time of day, and after which activities?
  • What is the bigger issue for you: the inflammation or the pain?
  • Do you have difficulty sleeping?

In addition, Dr. Fletcher will take a detailed account of your medical history, and that of your immediate family.

If medical marijuana is an appropriate solution for your arthritis pain, Dr. Fletcher will work with you to determine the right strain to use, as some forms of marijuana are more concentrated in CBD than others.

Ready to learn more?

If medical marijuana sounds like it could be a good solution for you, call us at 407-543-1270 or request an appointment on our website. We look forward to hearing from you.

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