Marijuana has been used for medical purposes from ancient times to nowadays. Unfortunately, also rheumatoid arthritis has been hanging around with humanity for centuries. Rheumatoid arthritis is just one of the diseases from more than 100 types of arthritis and related conditions that can cause emotional and physical suffering.
As rheumatoid arthritis progresses, the daily life and its tasks can become challenging and difficult, if not – impossible. According to Rheumatoid Arthritis Support network, this disease affects more than 1.3 million Americans and around 1% of the world’s population.
Rheumatoid Arthritis Explained
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease. Weirdly, the immune system of the body mistakenly attacks the joints creating an inflammation. Further, the inflammation causes the tissue that lines the inside of joints to become thicker. As a result, swelling and appears in and around the joints. Eventually, this can cause an irreversible joint deformity. Sounds scary, right?
Most commonly, RA affects the ankles, knees, elbows, feet, wrists and hands, and is symmetrical. Due to RA’s possibility to affect cardiovascular and respiratory systems, it is called a systemic disease.
Among the most common symptoms of RA are chronic joint pain and swelling, tiredness, depression, and stiffness.
Many speculate about the cause of RA and people being affected by it. Such popular misconceptions as RA being a disease of elderly people or being triggered by unhealthy eating, obesity, and stress, are false. It can appear at any age – be it a child, teenager, or an adult. It is a little discriminatory about gender though, women are more likely to get it rather than men. Also, the real cause of the disease still remains unknown to researchers. So far, genetic and environmental factors are assumed to be the major cause, along with a random immunological process.
Sadly, there is no cure for RA yet. However, by combining treatments such as drugs and physical therapies, it is possible to slow down the disease and control the damage done to the joints.
The physical therapies usually include special exercises to strengthen muscles, stretch the joints, and ease the symptoms, as well as hydrotherapy. Drug treatment involves taking painkillers and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, as well as disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs and steroids. In the worst case, surgery might be necessary – either to release a nerve or replace the joint.
Possible Treatment of the Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms with Medical Marijuana
Methods like special exercises and hydrotherapy are without a doubt options of a healthy treatment. Although combining several drugs at a time might help with the pain and inflammation, they also might have side effects. For example, even though the dosage of steroid tablets are kept to a minimum, they can cause thinning of the bones aka osteoporosis, weight gain, muscle weakness, cataracts, and even increase one’s vulnerability to infections. Moreover, regular use of painkillers can lead to nausea, vomiting, constipation, and even reduced ability to breathe.
However, medical marijuana without a doubt is a safer option, concerning all the side-effects. Patients with rheumatoid arthritis experience pain on a daily basis. A 2010 study found that cannabis effectively relieves chronic neuropathic pain. They concluded that three hits daily “for five days reduced the intensity of pain, improved sleep and was well tolerated”.
A 2006 study in rodents that were treated with CBD found out that CBD effectively reduced inflammation and pain signals. Thus, they made a conclusion that the cannabidiol has a potential of treating chronic pain.
Also, it appears that marijuana contains anti-inflammatory compounds. In 2014 study researchers discovered that THC can affect certain molecules, thus, suppressing inflammation. This quality of THC might be beneficial in the treatment of several autoimmune diseases including arthritis, colitis, and multiple sclerosis.
Marijuana can also effectively help with the tiredness and depression that comes along. For example, a sativa-dominant strain will provide energy like a cup of strong coffee, while an indica-dominant not only will relieve the pain but also – put to sleep.
My Own Experience with Rheumatoid Arthritis and Medical Marijuana
I was diagnosed with RA at 17. I had suffered strange pain in my joints for almost a year. But that pain wouldn’t stop and then the swelling appeared. The diagnosis came as a shock to me and my family – no-one expected my health problems being that severe. The thoughts of disability tormented me up to a point that I was also diagnosed with depression and prescribed anti-depressants.
I’m not against the contemporary health care, but I really didn’t like to take all of those meds. I took Serotonin and Xanax along with painkillers, Prednisolone (steroid tablets), and Ciclosporin (anti-rheumatic drug). Not only I was concerned about taking these meds every day, but also my mother. Even though my physical and mental health improved concerning RA and depression, I experienced side-effects like indigestion, nausea, and dizziness. It was difficult to keep up with the studies at the high school.
Although I had very little experience with medical marijuana at that age, I became interested in its benefits as a natural remedy. It wasn’t difficult to convince my mom. She saw my daily struggles with the side effects of drugs that I took. Also, she has always been interested in home remedies, so I was granted a permission to grow.
While I was waiting for my first harvest, I purchased weed from the local dealer. Soon, I was able to ditch the anti-depressants and painkillers. Luckily, I had a good first yield. It allowed me to cut back a little also on drugs I was taking for RA.
Almost 9 years of smoking medical marijuana daily and taking canna-oil have helped me to live a pain-free life without depression and getting a good night sleep. Also, I believe that it has assisted RA meds in reducing the inflammation considerably.
Keep Calm and Inhale the Herb!
Although the researchers continue their progress on proving the many benefits of medical marijuana, still, there are many naysayers, a lot of disbelief and fierce public resistance. I guess the only way is to keep the research on medical marijuana benefits going, keep proving them wrong, keep calm and smoke one of nature’s most healing plants!
- Posted by zionista
- On June 9, 2017
- 0 Comments