Arthritis and Medical Marijuana

What is Arthritis?

Arthritis is an inflammatory condition of the joints, usually one or more joints.  To date, there are approximately 100 types of arthritis.   The most common type is osteoarthritis, which occurs after injuries to the joints, infections, and most commonly advanced age.  form of joint disorder that involves inflammation of one or more joints. Other arthritis types include psoriatic, rheumatoid,  autoimmune, and septic (stemmimg from infection).

Most patients tend to complain of joint pain hat is persistent and typically localized to the affected joint.  The pain in arthritis originates from inflammation in and around the joint, damage to the joint caused by the disease process, strains of muscle from restricted range of motion due to stiffness, and the wear and tear of the joint on a daily basis.

Despite the type of arthritis, there are common symptoms involving joint stiffness, a spectrum of pain levels, joint swelling, and constant pain in and around the joint.  

  • Inability to use the hand or walk
  • Malaise and a feeling of tiredness
  • Weight loss
  • Poor sleep
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Tenderness
  • Difficulty moving the joint

How is Arthritis treated?

There are several types of medications that are used for the treatment of arthritis. Because of the longevity of arthritis, the treatment typically starts with medications that cause the least amount of side effects. More medications are added on an as needed basis.  In general, arthritis treatment depends on the type of arthritis.  Acetaminophen is used to treat osteoarthritis, while NSAIDs (Non Steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs) like ibuprofen is used to treat inflammatory arthritis.  The problems with these medications lie around their side effect profile, such gaastrointestinal discomfort, cardiovascular issues, renal disease, and liver toxicity.

How marijuana can help Arthritis.

Medical marijuana has been shown to help treat the pain and inflammation of the this joint disease.    Marijuana is believed to be more effective than the typical medications used to treat arthritis.  Of note, the common side effects caused by prescription or over the counter medications, are not present with medical marijuana.  It is well known that cannabis is great for pain control and decreasing inflammation.  Additionally, avoiding strong, addictive narcotic medications is very beneficial.  This issues here are tolerance, dependence, and addiction.  Many patients are unaware of the very dangerous potential problems with narcotics and that it is a national threat to our well being according the Drug Enforcement Agency of the Federal Government.  The main side effects of cannabis include euphoria, sleepiness, cough, exercise intolerance, increased appetite, lethargy, and dizziness.  Marijuana should not be used with patients with schizophrenia, unstable angina, cardiac ischemia, or those driving.



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