Many of us experience the odd ache and pain first thing in the morning, but did you know that the 1 in 5 Canadians living with arthritis experience this kind of discomfort all day long?
Arthritis is a burden to both society and the patient. Arthritis costs the Canadians more than $33-billion a year!
This common condition is characterized by painful swelling and stiffness in the joints. The chronic pain associated with this disease can become so unbearable that arthritis is now one of the leading causes of disability here in Canada.
In this article, we explore how medical cannabis can help the arthritis population deal with their pain and how it’s a viable component to treatment.
Arthritis: a condition affecting millions of Canadians
Many people associate arthritis with aging, but there are a growing number of Canadians in their working years who report living with this disease. Overweight and obese individuals have a higher likelihood of developing arthritis.
It is essential to understand how arthritis itself is not just one condition. The word arthritis is broken down like this: arthro = joint and itis = inflammation.
The term is used to refer to over 100 diseases that are characterized by inflammation of the joints and body. To name a few, these conditions include osteoarthritis (OA), inflammatory arthritis (IA), rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and gout.
With the painful symptoms that occur with arthritis, it is not surprising to learn that most Canadians diagnosed with this condition take multiple medications to help manage their pain. Although surgery is sometimes an option, many people living with arthritis rely on the following medications to treat their symptoms:
- Analgesics for pain relief
- Over the counter varieties like Tylenol
- Prescription opioids containing oxycodone or hydrocodone
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) to reduce inflammation and ease pain
- Over the counter varieties like Ibuprofen
- Counterirritants to reduce joint pain
- Corticosteroids to reduce swelling
- Hyaluronic Acid injections to lubricate the joints
Although many of these options can be effective in the short term, some lose their efficacy with prolonged use, while others run the risk of dependency.
But what if there was an ancient, natural treatment to address the pain and inflammation of arthritis?
An Ancient, Natural Arthritis Remedy
Treating arthritis with cannabis is not a modern idea. Back in 2700 B.C., Emperor Shen-Nung, known as the Father of Chinese Medicine, would often prescribe the plant to treat a variety of arthritic conditions from gout to rheumatism.
Today, medical cannabis continues to be an effective treatment option for those suffering from arthritis pain. In fact, it is estimated that around two thirds of Canadians currently using medical cannabis are doing so to help manage arthritis symptoms.
Despite this link between medical cannabis users and arthritis, there remains a deficit of properly funded research. This can deter many physicians from recommending this healing plant, and leaves many patients feeling like prescription medicine is their only option.
Luckily, the Canadian Arthritis Association is so supportive about the possibilities of cannabis treatment, they are funding future research between the disease and it’s treatment through medical cannabis.
How Does Medical Cannabis Treat Arthritis Pain?
In our bodies, we have a complicated network of receptors known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This biological system plays a role in many physiological processes, especially when it comes to pain sensation and mood.
Although many of the cannabinoid receptors are found in the brain and immune system, researchers have found an abundance of the CB2 receptors in the joints of arthritis patients.
The phytocannabinoids found in cannabis are able to bind to these receptors to help mediate pain and fight inflammation. There is also some experimental evidence that cannabis can help treat the fatigue associated with arthritis.
While most of the current research supporting these findings are conducted with animal studies, more research is popping up using human subjects. A 2006 study involving 58 arthritis patients discovered a significant analgesic effect using cannabis based medicine to treat rheumatoid arthritis. In this particular case, researchers chose to administer equal amounts of THC and CBD to reflect the proportions of cannabinoids that would have been used historically to treat pain.
Additionally, there is a study underway with an estimated completion time of July 2019 that has recruited Canadians suffering from OA. This research effort will explore the benefits of treating arthritis with vapourized cannabinoids, and will help determine patient preferences and observe functional outcomes of this treatment option.
Could Medical Cannabis Help your Arthritis Symptoms?
If you are suffering from the chronic pain and fatigue associated with arthritis, medical cannabis may be a good option for you to help treat your symptoms.
The best way to know if medical cannabis can help you manage your arthritis is to come in for a medical consult with a physician at one of our medical cannabis clinics in Calgary and Edmonton.
Visit our Calgary and Edmonton Medical Cannabis for Arthritis Clinics
Appointments for Alberta residents are free and covered by Alberta Health Services. Prior to your medical consultation with one of our licensed physicians, you will be educated on how medical cannabis works in our body and how it reacts to our endocannabinoid system.
During your education session with a Cann-Expert, you will learn:
- The main differences between an Indica, Sativa, and Hybrid strain
- Benefits of THC, CBD, and Balanced strains
- The body’s unique Endocannabinoid Systems (ECS)
- The timing of inhalation vs ingestion
At the time of your consultation, your Revolution Medical Cannabis doctor will review your medical history and ensure that cannabis will not conflict with any medications you’re currently taking.
Our Calgary and Edmonton medical cannabis doctors will then prescribe the best treatment plan for you. Our team will guide you in selecting a licensed producer as well as the registration. Alberta residents schedule your appointment today.
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