Arthritis is the leading cause of work disability, affecting nearly 25% of adult Americans and 350 million people worldwide.
Treating pain with opioids has become increasingly common, which has brought us to a global crisis. Between 21% and 29% of patients prescribed opioids for pain misuse them, potentially leading to heroin or fentanyl use.
In short, yes, you can use cannabis for arthritis. Do what works for you and your symptoms. But more studies are needed to determine if the plant can prevent and fully treat the condition.
Cannabis has been presented as a solution to treating conditions like arthritis because of a significantly lower risk of addiction and mild side effects. However, there’s a gap between the research and medical claims made by cannabis companies.
Cannabis and Pain
In 2020, U.S. Pharmacist estimated that 2.1 million Americans use medical marijuana, and around 62% report using the plant to treat pain.
It appears that both CBD and THC can be used as a treatment for pain and conditions like arthritis. Still, experts are hesitant to recommend using either as a treatment for pain, citing the lack of evidence.
Why We Don’t Have Sufficient Evidence of Cannabis for Arthritis
Several factors have kept cannabis research regarding pain moving at an agonizingly slow pace. The two most prominent factors are prohibition and the challenges with conducting large-scale clinical trials.
For decades, the focus of cannabis research has been to uncover the dangers of using the drug. Things are looking up recently, but even today, about half of the money for research in the U.S. and Canada is awarded to organizations researching misuse and harms of cannabis.
Clinical Trials of Cannabis for Pain
Conducting studies on pain is difficult. Even without the challenges of running large-scale studies with a schedule 1 narcotic, pain is relatively subjective. The research must rely on the patient’s personal experience with cannabis.
It’s challenging to conduct the quality of research needed for a major government agency like the FDA to recommend taking marijuana for arthritis or chronic pain.
CBD Studies Shows Promise for Arthritis
Hemp has become accessible in most parts of the world. Many people use CBD or an extract primarily containing CBD with other cannabinoids to combat arthritis and its symptoms.
While there are small studies with promising results, the conclusion by the scientific and medical community is that “CBD shows promise in reducing the side effects of arthritis, but more long-term studies are needed to examine whether it can prevent and fully treat the condition.”
There have been multiple studies, however, that suggest CBD can reduce the causes and side effects of arthritis in animal models. Three of the most successful studies are:
- A 2017 study found CBD reduced early phase inflammation and prevented pain and nerve damage in rat osteoarthritis.
- A 2016 study revealed a topical lowered inflammation and pain-related behaviors in a rat model with arthritis.
- A 2011 study found CBD reduced inflammatory pain by affecting the pain stimuli in rats.
Animal models aren’t as promising as large-scale human trials, but they do show that cannabinoids like CBD could provide the mechanisms needed to reduce inflammation that causes arthritis.
Scientific Research: Medical Marijuana for Arthritis
One of the most promising pieces of evidence that supports using medical marijuana for arthritis is a 2019 survey by CreakyJoints presented at the Annual European Congress of Rheumatology in Madrid, Spain.
The review found that of the 1,059 arthritis patients surveyed, 57% reported using CBD or medical marijuana to treat their condition. A staggering 97% who used marijuana reported improvement in their symptoms, and 93% of patients that used CBD reported positive results.
What Cannabis Doctors Recommend for Arthritis
For now, it’s up to you to determine if cannabis can potentially treat the root causes of your arthritis, such as inflammation. CBD has been shown to help users get better sleep and reduce the anxiety caused by arthritis. Experiment with what works for you.
Most cannabis doctors recommend a product with high levels of CBD and a low concentration of THC to combat pain. Keep in mind, though, that there still isn’t any evidence suggesting medical marijuana can be used to cure arthritis.
An Easy Way for People with Arthritis to Break Down Weed
For those with arthritis, we know that using your hands can be challenging due to pain, swelling, and stiffness. If you’re looking for an easy method of breaking down your weed, consider milling – not grinding.
While a traditional grinder requires you to use force and heavy turning, the Flower Mill is a grinder alternative that’s easy on your hands. The fastest tool on the market, our mills gently crumble your bud to a fluffy consistency with little effort.