Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
While arthritis involves the painful inflammation of one’s joints, Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disease (a condition in which the individual’s own immune system attacks itself) characterized by chronic and systemic inflammation throughout several parts of the sufferer’s skeletal system and body. It is a severely disabling ailment that often comes with chronic pain. The ailment is not restricted to just one’s joints, but may also affect one’s skin, eyes, lungs, heart, blood, and or nerves.
The exact cause of Rheumatoid Arthritis is unknown, although genetics, diet, hormonal, and environmental factors are all believed to contribute to its development in sufferers. The disease affects everyone differently and it may develop gradually or quickly. Current medical advances do, however, offer a number of treatments and therapies aimed at tackling the symptoms of RA as well as with helping the disease go into remission.
Using Cannabis to Treat Rheumatoid Arthritis
Cannabis is a complex medicinal plant that may actually be used to treat a variety of debilitating symptoms caused by a surprisingly large number of ailments. Its usefulness as a non-lethal medicine (you cannot die from an overdose of cannabis) cannot be overstated and its versatility in terms of how it can be consumed and as to how it can be useful for so many illnesses is something to be excited about. However, it is important to remember that consulting with your primary care physician should be your first priority when considering incorporating cannabis into one’s medical regiment and that cannabis is to be used as an adjunct therapy and not a replacement. It is also your responsibility to communicate with your doctor as to how your use of cannabis has affected your health and of your progress with utilizing medical cannabis.
With that said, studies have shown that cannabis may be quite useful for treating individuals suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis for the following reasons: reducing joint pain and swelling; suppression of joint destruction; and with helping to prevent progression/worsening of the disease.
Beneficial Cannabinoids and Terpenoids Useful for Treating Rheumatoid Arthritis
The cannabis plant offers a plethora of therapeutic benefits and contains cannabinoids and terpenoid compounds that are useful for treating the painful symptoms of RA. Many of the current studies and research surrounding cannabis as a treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis are focused on the anti-inflammatory properties of Cannabidiol (CBD) and on the usefulness of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) as an effective pain-reliever.
In one study by Malfait et al., published in March of 2000 it was stated that, “Taken together, these data show that CBD, through its combined immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory actions, has a potent anti-arthritic effect in CIA (collagen-induced arthritis).”