Medical Cannabis Use for Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Scientific Look
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease where the immune system mistakenly attacks the joints and their surrounding tissues. It causes chronic inflammation and pain in the joints throughout the body.
The RA is different from other arthritis variants because it causes joint damage on both sides of the body. It sometimes affects other body areas, like eyes, skin, lungs, heart, etc.
Read ahead to learn more about how cannabis-based medication works in relieving RA pain, inflammation, and its symptoms, why Ayurveda doctors deploy it, and how you can use it for holistic improvement.
Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis
The RA is a complex disease and can affect the joints in various ways, causing:
- Joint swelling
- Multiple joint pains
- Joint stiffness
- Deformities in the joints, and
- Loss of proper joint function
Furthermore, the RA has other side symptoms such as:
- Intense fatigue
- Body pain
- Weight loss, etc.
These symptoms can range from mild to severe. It is essential not to ignore them and get the best medical consultation to treat the disease early.
Can You Use Cannabis-based Medication To Treat Rheumatoid Arthritis?
There has been a significant increase in the prescription of cannabis for managing Rheumatoid Arthritis and other rheumatic diseases. That is because the herb exhibits strong:
- Anti-inflammatory, and
- Immunomodulatory activity.
And since pain and inflammation are the major constituents of RA, it is no surprise that more and more people today are using it to find relief.
Furthermore, there is a long list of traditional medications for treating RA and its associated inflammation and pain. But people today are resorting to cannabis for their treatment because it treats RA without showing any side effects, unlike traditional drugs.
So yes, you can use cannabis to aid your RA treatment. But before using it, it is crucial to take the best medical consultation from Ayurveda doctors. You can reach out to Hempstreet to know how you can leverage cannabis’ therapeutic benefits and treat your RA.
How Does It Work?
Cannabis has certain chemical compounds known as cannabinoids. These cannabinoids bind with the cannabinoid receptors in the pain-related areas of the mind and the body.
When cannabinoids bind with those receptors, they activate them. It stops the release of chemical messengers from nerve cells and influences their behavior to produce the necessary therapeutic effects.
They furthermore activate inhibitory pain pathways, which suppress pain perception in the body.
Besides that, by activating the CB2 receptors, cannabis shows a strong influence on the immune system. It prevents immune cells like B cells, T cells, and macrophages from producing pro-inflammatory cytokine molecules, which play a major role in inflammation.
Hence, cannabis alleviates RA inflammation in the joint linings and in the body. This further decreases pain response and slows down RA’s progress.
That is why people use cannabis to treat various autoimmune diseases and inflammatory disorders along with their symptoms.
What Do Studies Have To Say?
In 2006, the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases conducted the first-ever controlled trial of cannabis on RA. After five weeks of cannabis consumption, the patients reported:
- Reduced inflammation
- Significant pain reduction
- Improvements in pain at rest and on movement
- Improved sleep quality
The British Society of Rheumatology conducted a study in 2020 on cannabis’ impact on Rheumatoid Arthritis.
It showed that nearly 20% of people suffering from RA actively consumed cannabis for therapeutic use. Furthermore, they reported a significant decrease in pain intensity and improvement in their symptoms.
In Shanghai, China, the Second Military Medical University studied how cannabis affected joint inflammation caused by RA.
It showed that cannabis influences the immune system by activating CB2 receptors and the immune cells. As a result, it inhibits the function of fibroblast-like synoviocyte cells. These are the cells that play a vital role in the development of RA and other inflammatory diseases.
Cannabis thus suppresses joint inflammation and deformities, improves joint function, and shows immense therapeutic potential for RA.
The University Hospital Düsseldorf, Germany, also researched the effects of cannabis on the pain caused by RA.
The study found that besides controlling inflammation, cannabis-based medication activates both the cannabinoid (CB1 and CB2) and the non-cannabinoid receptors. This effectively reduces the pain and shows anti-arthritic effects.
There are many such studies and researches on the effects of cannabis on RA conducted by medical institutions and Ayurveda doctors worldwide. And medical practitioners today are acknowledging the immense benefits cannabis has to offer to their patients.
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) affects nearly 14 million people in India. For RA patients, pain and inflammation are the most vital concerns. With the strong pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties of cannabis, it is no surprise that an increasing number of patients choose to use it over conventional medication.