Cannabis has many wonderful healing properties and one of these is the ability to treat arthritis pain. In this article we will discuss the best methods to use cannabis for arthritis pain to include smoking vs edibles. While smoking cannabis has it’s place and it’s benefits the edibles can provide relief for longer periods of time and it eliminates the stigma of being a “pot head”.
A Little About Me and my Arthritis Pain
While arthritis has different causes one fact remains the same. It hurts. A lot. I’ve seen first hand how debilitating this condition can be as I have it.
For me arthritis is in my lower back, both ankles, right shoulder and my hands. This is due to me having injuries suffered on and off the job and the doctors always said when I hit 50 that I’d pay for it with arthritis. They were correct. Some times it hurts to walk or even get out of bed.
Up until a few years ago I didn’t know how much cannabis would help my condition. I was taking a lot of over the counter pain relievers such as Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Aspiriin and other such drugs. On occasion I would end up at my doctors office to get Opioids and muscle relaxers but only in the extreme cases, maybe twice a year. I knew that this wasn’t a long term solution so I began a lifestyle change.
The first solution was and still is total diet/exercise change. This wasn’t easy by any means but if I wanted a long term solution this was where it had to start. By doing this I lost 65lbs, defeated type 2 diabetes without medication and then I started researching all that I could on cannabis pain relief. I wanted and needed to know what strains to use, how to use cannabis for pain (smoking vs edibles) and how to make my own edibles. I needed to know how to make them because the retail shops and even the medical dispersaries are expensive! Making my own has saved me quite a bit of money. In the end I can make my capsules for .15 cents each instead of the $1.00 each at the shops. Some are even more money than that.
Cannabis Edibles vs Smoking Cannabis for Arthritis Pain
There is a lot of new (within the last 5 years) evidence of how and why Cannabis is great for relieving arthritis pain. I’ve seen it firsthand within myself and others that are close to me. The question becomes “How do I use it?” Great question so here we go!
For those who aren’t familar with edibles they take many forms such as brownies and other baked goods, capsules, oils, tinctures and more. You can “eat to treat” by consuming brownies or other baked goods but you need to watch sugar content as it can cause more inflammation and negate part of what you’re trying to accomplish. I’m a diabetic so I have to take extra care on what I use. The good news is you can still “eat to treat” by using oil in your coffee, on salads, toast and other items with no sugar!
Smoking cannabis will give you relief from arthritis pain but it won’t last as long or be as effective. This is because of how your body processes it. When you inhale cannabis smoke you are getting your THC and CBD for pain and the relief is almost immediate. This is great when you need relief right away but it doesn’t last nearly as long as eating an edible or swallowing a capsule with oil inside. The effects of smoking cannabis will vary with each individual but typically the effects dissapate within a couple hours or so where as edibles last upwards of 12 hours.
Smoking cannabis, while it is gaining more mainstream acceptance is also still frowned upon by society. If you’re renting a place even in a legal state your landlord might have issues with it. This is another reason that edibles have overtaken the sale of the actual cannabis itself. People are finding that while they love cannabis they don’t love the stigma that comes from smoking it.
It comes down to what you’re more comfortable doing but overall injesting cannabis has more, lasting beneifts and it relieves you of the stigma of smoking it. My brother in law recently started taking cocunut oil infused with cannabis in capsule form and in his own words “it has been nothing short of a miracle for me!” The only thing edibles will not do well is give you immediate relief. Depending on your metabolism they take up to 2 hours to process through your body and give you relief. For me personally I use coconut oil capsules and use the oil in place of butter at times. There are numerous ways to consume cannabis so be creative and have fun!
CBD VS THC What are the Differences?
Cannabis contains two primary active ingredients and for the sake of keeping things short and sweet I’ll go over the definitions here and how they treat arthritis pain.
The first component we will cover is CBD or Cannabidiol. CBD is all the rage these days as we see new products almost daily and while some of the claims are true there are some “snake oil salesmen” out there so make sure you are geting a pure product that works.
The claim that CBD won’t get you high is true. This is another great benefit especially when your job may have random drug testing for THC, or you can’t use THC because it would affect your skills (such as truck drivers, for example). Hoever CBD is almost as powerful as THC in relieving pain and while more studies need to be conducted early indications are that it relieves arthritis pain in a couple different ways.
First it appears to be an excellent anti inflammatory. Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints and connective tissues in the body and CBD appears to coat the nerve receptors and other brain receptor systems. It protects them just as THC is being found to protect brain cells, not kill them. Secondly the opioid receptors are also affected by CBD but without the intoxication effect that THC or opioids themselves cause. This also may be why opioid withdrawls can be subdued and eventually eliminated with CBD products.
While more study is needed to definitively declare CBD as a stand alone treatment for arthritis there are some studies you can see for yourself here: https://www.medicalnewstoday.c…
Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC as it’s more commonly known is a psychoactive component of Cannabis. This is one of natures most powerful pain relievers and when combined with CBD there is no better one two punch in nature. In my experience THC is absolutely needed when my pain is severe, say a 7 or higher on a scale of 10. In that case the extra kick that the THC provides puts a smile on my face when the pain slowly dissapates. Studies have shown that at least 80% of medical users of cannabis for pain report excellent results, myself included! Since I’ve been making my own edibles I haven’t been to the doctor for pain meds for two years.
Studies are showing that 80% of medical users in the United States are using cannabis for managing chronic pain like rheumatoid arthritis and that 65% of Canadians are doing the same thing. Studies that have been conducted in Israel leave little room for doubt that this works and works well! You can find some of that research here: https://www.everydayhealth.com….
Our bodies were also designed with an endocannaboid receptor system so when you use cannabis to treat ailments like chronic pain our bodies are ready to receive! I won’t get into all of the scientific jargon I will post a link. Essentially it’s a system in our bodies that governs our appetites, pain, moods and more. Scientists are starting to figure out how this system works and as they do they find that cannabis binds with these receptors perfectly and is the main reason that cannabis works so well for multiple ailements including chronic pain! More studies are needed but the evidence exists and cannot be denied. THC and CBD both play a big role in how this system works and it appears the synergy of the two combined can’t be beat! The more detailed studies can be found here: https://www.everydayhealth.com…
At the end of the day it’s up to you!
While cannabis has all the qualities you need to relieve your chronic arthritis pain everyone is different and there’s a chance it won’t work for you. A slim one but a chance nonetheless. I recommend you consult with your doctor and your caregiver if you have one. Some doctors will say absolutely not because they’ve been trained to be against it for so many years. If that’s the case with yours then find another doctor. If he or she isn’t willing to at least look at it as an alternative you won’t make any headway.
Do your research and refer back to this site often. I will be posting more and more articles on edibles and how to make your own as well as the strains that work best for pain, moods, appetite and more! God bless you and live well!