Medical marijuana is rapidly becoming a sought-after alternative to traditional treatments and various medications. While there is a vast amount of conditions that can potentially be addressed using marijuana and its’ components, rheumatoid arthritis seems to be one of the newest and most promising areas to be affected. Rheumatoid arthritis, also known as RA, is commonly referred to as a joint disorder. However, it is an autoimmune disease that acts quite differently than most other types of arthritis. RA presents itself when a person’s immune system works too hard and attacks healthy joints and connective tissue throughout the body. This attack leads to swelling, inflammation, fatigue and severe, chronic pain. These factors have made rheumatoid arthritis an ideal candidate for the use of medical marijuana to help reduce and subside many of the symptoms.
Strict laws, regulations and in some places, a continued ban on marijuana and CBD for medical use have made it difficult to conduct actual studies on humans. There have been several small studies which have highlighted the effectiveness, safety, and potential of using this type of natural treatment for varying ailments. The composition of marijuana lends itself to becoming a real game changer for those who suffer from RA for multiple reasons. More than 1 million people, of all ethnicities and race, have been diagnosed, thus creating an enormous desire for fast, safe and real treatment options.
The list of side effects of RA is extensive and can vary for each person. Physical effects can include moderate to debilitating pain, fatigue, aches, swelling, fever, and loss of appetite. More serious complications can range from nerve damage and anemia to bone loss or joint erosion. Mentally, individuals can suffer from depression, low self-confidence, anxiety, and hopelessness. It has been proven that marijuana can help with many of these symptoms. It also lacks many of the adverse side effects often found in traditional treatments for RA. Commonly prescribed medications such as steroids, NSAIDS and DMARDS carry risks for stomach and liver damage, elevated blood pressure as well as a weaker immune system.
There are anecdotal evidence and research that upholds the theory that medical marijuana can act as an anti-inflammatory, providing relief from swollen, inflamed joints. But there are other promising benefits that can be derived from the plant. Marijuana contains THC as well as CBD. While both have natural, anti-inflammation properties, CBD has shown more potential to improve symptoms and side effects. Reduction in pain, less dependency on manufactured medications and improved movement are just some of the benefits that have been recorded by RA sufferers when using medical marijuana. It also seems to be quite successful in helping to fight fatigue. Certain strains of marijuana have all natural, sleep enhancing components. A night of more restful sleep helps individuals counteract the tiredness that comes along with the struggle of rheumatoid arthritis. CBD can help with mental ailments like depression and anxiety as well.
There are numerous ways to use medical marijuana or CBD as treatment. Smoking is not recommended. Edible treatment options make it possible to ingest the marijuana and while the effects could take longer to present themselves, they tend to last for a more extended period of time. Drops or tinctures can be placed under the tongue to be dissolved. This method allows cannabis to be released directly into the blood. There are transdermal patches as well as topical creams that can be applied to the specific area of joint pain. This allows the beneficial components to seep into the skin. Finally, some individuals choose to use vaporization. Vaping has become increasingly popular but there are still some questions about the effects of long-term use.
It is important to keep in mind that there is still a multitude of legal issues concerning the use of medical marijuana. These laws, rules, and regulations vary from one state to the next. They must be closely researched and followed to avoid any potential criminal behavior. It is also imperative to consult a healthcare professional before beginning any type of medical treatment, especially one using CBD or marijuana. They can explain the potential side effects, interactions, and issues with that regimen. Overall, the future of medical marijuana and battling RA seems incredibly hopeful.