Can Cannabis Help Treat Osteoarthritis Pain?

Cannabis has been used for millennia to treat a multitude of medical conditions, including chronic pain. Osteoarthritis (OA) pain is one of the most common types of pain and patients often turn to medical cannabis to control their symptoms. Learn more about how can

Can Cannabis Help Treat Osteoarthritis Pain?

Osteoarthritis (OA) is one of the most common types of pain and patients often turn to medical cannabis to control their symptoms. While most of these reports are anecdotal, there is increasing scientific evidence to support the analgesic potential of cannabinoids to treat osteoarthritis pain. Cannabis is estimated to have between 85 and 113 different types of cannabinoids, including THC and CBD, which have proven medical value. Recent preclinical evidence supporting the role of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in controlling OA pain is described, as well as current clinical evidence of the efficacy of cannabinoids in treating OA pain in mixed patient populations. Cannabis use has been shown to reduce chronic OA pain and help limit joint damage.

As a pain reliever and anti-inflammatory, cannabis is unrivalled as a treatment for both pain and swelling, which are the most damaging symptoms of OA in adults. In addition, CBD and THC interact with endocannabinoid receptors in the gastrointestinal tract, calming intestinal inflammation. CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in cannabis not only reduce pain as a pain reliever, but also boost the immune system to help repair damage caused by osteoarthritis. Topical forms of medical marijuana have no psychoactive effects, even with THC, except for potent patches that can cause mild euphoria. Other states have laws that limit the THC content, but allow patients to consume cannabidiol (CBD) products that do not contain any of the psychoactive components of cannabis.

But unlike THC, CBD is not “psychoactive”, meaning it doesn't cause the intoxication or high associated with marijuana use. Medical marijuana contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabinol (CBD), two ingredients that activate the CB1 and CB2 receptors of the endocannabinoid system. THC can affect driving, so don't get behind the wheel for at least 8 hours after taking it. If you are interested in CBD treatment for chronic arthritis pain or if you are already taking it, review the advantages, disadvantages and the latest news with your healthcare providers and together you can decide on a reasonable treatment plan. One batch of marijuana or edible marijuana may have a much higher or lower amount of THC than another, or it may affect you differently. Researchers believe that THC, CBD, and other terpenes or flavor profiles work best when used together to reduce pain and inflammation (1).

This is known as the entourage effect). It is also possible to treat osteoarthritis with CBD alone for those who are concerned about the psychoactive effects of THC.