Arthritis is a general term for joint disorder, which involves inflammation of joints. More than a hundred different forms of arthritis are known by modern medical practice, but the most common are osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease caused by infection or trauma), and rheumatoid arthritis (autoimmune form of arthritis). The main complaint of individuals affected by any form of arthritis is joint pain. Pain is persistent, and may be localized around the affected joint, or, if multiple joints are inflamed, throughout a certain area. Other common symptoms include: joint swelling, stiffness, inability to move the joint, redness of skin around the joint and local temperature increase in the affected area.
Arthritis is a type of condition, to which treatment may bring more discomfort than the disease itself. Many of the traditional medications, usually prescribed to treat arthritis, produce side effects that may weaken the overall health condition of the patient. Being a natural alternative painkiller (analgesic properties of marijuana have been documented in cancer-related studies), medical marijuana can help ease pain without exposing the body to undesirable side effects. As a pain reliever, medical marijuana has been proven to be less addictive than opiates, flupirtine and COX-2 inhibitors, commonly used to control chronic pain.
Moreover, medical marijuana may help battle the inflammatory counterpart of arthritis. Recent research has shown that cannabinoids, contained in marijuana, may be considered for treatment of inflammatory diseases such as arthritis. While THC component of cannabis is an effective analgesic, CBD (cannabidiol) component has unique immunomodulatory benefits which help the immune system fight diseases. These benefits are even more important for people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, since their immune system is not working properly.
Of course, one should not rely on medical marijuana alone as a panacea for the arthritis disease. But as a supportive treatment, it is affordable and has less risk of complicating the patient’s condition.