Join in on Joint Pain Solutions: Medical Marijuana for Arthritis

Fifty million adults. And over 300,000 children.

That’s how many Americans have arthritis. Every day. In other words, 1/7th of the US population experiences joint pain on a regular basis. Arthritis, it appears, is rampant. And it doesn’t only affect grandma.

People with arthritis are affected routinely — it’s hard to drive, write, type, walk, pop open a can of cola or scrub a sink. Exercise, weight, and diet all can play a part in the cause or severity of arthritis, but ultimately the symptoms might not be fully alleviated, and some might not be able to change lifestyle in any case. And specifically, one of arthritis’s main associations is unavoidable: Aging.

Currently, the main way to treat arthritis pain medically is via the same drugs as for a headache, namely: aspirin (Anacin, Bayer, Bufferin, Ecotin, and Excedrin); ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin); naproxen sodium (Aleve); or acetaminophen (Tylenol).

The trouble with these medications is that they are meant for short-term use — fewer than 10 days. Long-term usage can be the cause of ill-symptoms, depending on each medication and the patient’s medical history.

Worse yet, the above medications might not work for some arthritis pain. About 60% of patients will respond to any single NSAID, and 10% of rheumatoid arthritis patients will not respond to any NSAID. In cases where the drugs don’t alleviate arthritic pain, harsher pain relief medications are indicated by physicians. For some, that means morphine or opioids. For others, it means biologic response modifiers. But these types of medications also have unwanted, even dangerous side effects. Some strong morphine-like pain pills cause euphoria, and they may cause addiction and death even with a small overdose. Another example is oxycontin, a morphine-like opioid drug, which might even be more addictive and lethal than heroin. And biologic response modifiers such as adalimumab (Humira); etanercept (Enbrel); infliximab (Remicade), and anakinra (Kineret) are prescribed to either inhibit or supplement immune system components called cytokines. However, lupus symptoms, MS, and even seizures — though rare — are associated with some biologic response modifiers; symptoms cease when discontinuing the drug.

Hope Exists

There is one pain relief option whose side effects are rare in healthy individuals, even for long term usage: Marijuana, also known as cannabis. There are different forms of cannabis used for alleviating pain in general, and arthritis symptoms in particular. Some forms involve THC (causing the psychedelic euphoria, or “high” feeling) which provide pain relief, whereas others more so include CBD’s — cannibidiols — which are associated with inflammation reduction, and do not produce the high.

For many arthritis sufferers, hope exists with the use of medical marijuana. If medical marijuana is legal in your state, contact a local medical marijuana dispensary for more information on dosage.

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