DiDi Davis is founder of Sweet ReLeaf, a topical cannabis manufacturer located in California. Sweet ReLeaf has created one of the most effective and enjoyable topicals on the market today.
As Didi says, "We believe in the healing power of plants, specifically how the human endocannabinoid system communicates with the compounds found in cannabis. We like to call it intelligent medicine.”
In this piece, Didi talks about how cannabis topicals can help ease the pain and swelling caused by arthritis.
Medical Cannabis Helps Arthritis Patients Recover & Heal
According to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly 50% of people over the age of 65 in the U.S. will be diagnosed with arthritis. Although arthritic pain is also diagnosed in hundreds of thousands of children under the age of 18, most arthritis patients are retirement age or older.
Arthritis commonly affects the hands and feet, with the exception of osteoarthritic pain, which causes hip pain and stiffness. The term arthritis refers to more than 100 joint conditions that cause stiffness, mild to severe pain, swelling and sometimes deformity. There’s no cure for arthritis (except gout).
However, breakthrough studies have linked cannabis as a contender for even the most powerful prescription drugs. Medical marijuana has an advantage that painkillers don’t have: It works with the patient's body to help them recover instead of just masking the symptoms of arthritis.
The Many Types of Arthritis
Despite the daunting number of arthritis forms, they can be categorized by one of the following types:
- Inflammatory arthritis
- Degenerative of mechanical arthritis
- Soft-tissue musculoskeletal pain
- Back pain
- Connective tissue disease
- Infectious arthritis
- Metabolic arthritis
Arthritis in its various forms affects patients in different ways and carries with it different symptoms. This means that there’s no one way to treat it.
Traditional Arthritis Pain Management Medications
Prescription drugs are the most common treatment for arthritis pain management. These prescription treatments can help reduce pain and treat symptoms such as swelling, stiffness and tenderness. Various types of medications are administered depending on what type of arthritis a person is dealing with.
Prednisone is an oral steroid prescribed to reduce inflammation in arthritis patients. Side effects include nausea, vomiting, headache, restlessness and weight gain. It’s most commonly prescribed as a short-term therapy due to the severity of its side effects.
Acetaminophen & Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs
Acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are common over-the-counter medications prescribed to relieve pain. Acetaminophen, though effective in treating arthritic pain, doesn’t address the accompanying inflammation. NSAIDs, though used to treat pain and inflammation, are processed through the liver; therefore, continued use can cause serious damage to this organ.
Disease-Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs
Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) are often used by patients with rheumatoid arthritis. This medication essentially slows the progression of the disease by acting on the immune system. Side effects include upset stomach, bone marrow and liver damage, and shortness of breath.
Alternative Pain Management Options for Arthritis
For patients who seek alternative treatments for their arthritis, there are a few options that have proven to be effective, especially when accompanied by overall lifestyle changes. Exploring alternative treatments can help a patient live a normal life and even enjoy an active one.
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese method of healing. Practitioners use extremely tiny needles to trigger points in the body that release endorphins where it’s needed the most.
Hot and cold therapies provide temporary relief from the burning sensations and stiffness that come with arthritis. Cold compresses, soaking in a hot shower or using hot paraffin wax can ease pain and/or swelling and increase blood circulation.
Other alternative therapies include:
- Nutritional supplements such as turmeric or fish oil, which are natural anti-inflammatories
Study Shows Cannabis Reduces Arthritis Pain
Medical marijuana has the ability to treat the entire body without debilitating side effects—and often without any side effects at all. Cannabis is a known analgesic, with powerful pain-reducing components that rival prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications.
A study funded by Arthritis Research UK that’s specifically meant to identify how cannabis works in arthritis patients has begun to make a clear connection between marijuana and pain. In this study, scientists examined nerve cells called CB2 receptors and found that activating specific marijuana pathways produced an anti-inflammatory effect. This is a groundbreaking clinical discovery, since inflammation is a major hindrance for patients with arthritic pain. These patients often rely on harmful prescription drugs for relief.
Cannabis Topicals Can Help Alleviate Arthritis Symptoms
Cannabis topicals provide a unique solution for patients with arthritis, mainly because their side effects are nonexistent. With proper and regular use, cannabis topicals can:
- relieve arthritis pain almost immediately
- reduce inflammation that accompanies arthritic joints
- gradually restore mobility in arthritis patients who’ve been forced to live a stationary life
Cannabis topicals don’t travel through the bloodstream, as is the case with ingestion and inhalation. Therefore, marijuana-infused topicals don’t produce a euphoric high. Patients who use cannabis topicals can essentially apply their product to the desired area and return to their activities without interruption. Whether they operate heavy machinery, work in a corporate environment or care for children during the day, folks with arthritis find cannabis topicals can often be a life-changing therapy with none of the psychoactivity that comes with consuming cannabis, specifically tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
Arthritis Patients Can Start by Consulting With a Cannabis Doctor
The best thing to do is to speak to a health-care professional who understands how cannabis works with the body. A great place to start would be by requesting a consultation with a doctor on HelloMD. Ask any questions you have concerning products to try, how to take them and how they may affect your life. If you’re recommended to receive medical marijuana, you can order a product from Sweet ReLeaf to reduce your arthritic pain and inflammation.
The best advice for anyone living with arthritis pain is to explore all possible options before resorting to the prescription drug path. Cannabis provides a treatment option that works with your body to heal. This can mean the difference between taking one medication after another to combat pain and medication side effects, and living a life unencumbered by joint pain.