Millions of people across the globe are making use of medicinal marijuana, and recent scientific research has shown that this much-maligned plant can actually offer an array of medical applications and possible health benefits when used correctly and in moderation.
Studies into cannabinoids THC and CBD have shown how cannabis can be a possible complementary treatment option when dealing with all kinds of conditions, from cancer to epilepsy, chronic pain conditions, autism, and more, and there is increasing evidence to suggest that medicinal marijuana may be of use in treating patients of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) too.
This is a condition affecting more than 1.3 million Americans today, primarily affecting tissues around the joints that causes swelling, pain, fatigue, weight loss, and a range of additional symptoms such as depression and anxiety too. This guide will look at how cannabis may be able to help.
What does the research say about CBD helping with RA?
There have been many studies over recent decades looking into exactly how cannabis interacts with the human body, what sorts of effects it can trigger, and why it leads to certain feelings and sensations in the people who consume it.
A lot of research has focused on CBD. CBD stands for cannabidiol. This is a naturally occurring chemical constituent, known as a cannabinoid, which is found in the plant material of the cannabis plant. There are plenty of other cannabinoids too, like THC and CBG.
While there haven’t been many studies directly looking at how medical marijuana, some research has still been done on the matter. A study in 2006 , for instance, looked at how cannabis-based treatments could be used in RA patients.
The research team came to the conclusion, after several weeks of study, that RA patients enjoyed alleviation of their symptoms due to the use of cannabis-based medicine.
The subjects witnessed reductions in pain and inflammation throughout the affected areas of their bodies, with many also reporting that their quality of sleep improved and only mild side effects were reported.
Another study was carried out in 2016, this time looking at the use of CBD gel in rats with arthritis. Again, the results were encouraging, with researchers noting that the CBD gel was able to ease both pain and inflammation in the rats without any notable side effects.
There was also a major 2008 review of several studies on CBD being used to treat chronic pain conditions like RA. This review came to the conclusion that CBD was able to alleviate sensations of pain in people with chronic pain conditions, as well as improving their sleep patterns and general quality of life, without any major side effects.
There have also been many other studies and reports looking into CBD’s uses and benefits, with many finding that CBD has several beneficial properties and the ability to ease pain, soothe inflammation, reduce stress and anxiety, and so on.
How does all of this happen? Well, scientists are, as of yet, unsure regarding the precise functioning of CBD in the human body. However, they do know that CBD is able to interact with a system inside human bodies known as the ECS or endocannabinoid system.
The ECS is a complex system that still holds many mysteries, even to leading scientists, but it has been linked with a wide range of bodily processes and sensations like pain, fatigue, appetite,and so on.
It is believed that CBD and other cannabinoids influence the ECS in certain ways to generate positive triggers like a happier mood, less pain, and a stronger appetite.
How to use CBD for treating RA
One of the benefits of making use of CBD is the fact that there are several possible methods of consumption available, and each patient can find a method that works best for them and suits their own needs and preferences.
The most common method of consumption for medicinal marijuana is to smoke it. This is the most traditional method, and it can lead to fast-acting effects, as smoking allows for the cannabinoids to enter the bloodstream very rapidly.
A similar option is to vape the cannabis. Vaporizer devices like e-cigarettes and vape pens are becoming very popular in modern times and some studies have shown that they may be safer to use than the traditional smoking method, as vaping requires no combustion, so is less risky for the lungs.
You can also make use of CBD products like CBD oil, which can be dropped directly under the tongue. This requires no smoking or vaping or extra equipment, and it allows the CBD to enter the blood quickly and efficiently.
There is also the option of making use of cannabis edibles, such as brownies and cookies, which can either be made at home or purchased pre-made from various companies. Edibles take longer to have an effect, but the effects experienced tend to be more potent and long-lasting overall.
Finally, there are other possible CBD products that may be used in the treatment of RA and other chronic pain conditions, such as topical CBD creams which can be applied directly to the skin, allowing the CBD to penetrate straight into the areas that are the most painful and inflamed.
Can CBD be used with other medications?
While CBD may be able to offer benefits for RA sufferers such as pain relief and easing of inflammation , it’s important to note that it can interfere with the proper functioning of certain other medications.
Avoid using CBD with medications with “grapefruit” warning on the label. The warning indicated that people taking the certain medication must avoid consuming grapefruit or grapefruit juice.
According to the FDA it increases the concentration of the medication in the bloodstream and increases side effects. If you are using CBD for easing the symptoms of a certain condition it is always recommended, to consult with a doctor or other medical professional before taking CBD or using any associated products.
On this stage there are still research studies to determine the specific interactions between CBD and other medications.