Arthritis sufferers who medicated with cannabis reported experiencing better sleep, improved physical function, and reduced depression and anxiety.
By conservative estimates, at least 54 million American adults have doctor-diagnosed arthritis, according to the Arthritis Foundation, and many of them are turning to cannabis to treat their painful symptoms, inflammation, and mood swings.
A Survey Conducted by Creakyjoints for Arthritis Sufferers
CreakyJoints, an online arthritis support community, conducted a survey and presented a summary of the results at the 2019 Annual European Congress of Rheumatology (EULAR) meeting in Madrid, Spain, to ascertain how arthritis sufferers perceive and use medical cannabis and cannabidiol (CBD).
The survey results are positive, found more than half of 1,059 respondents have used cannabis to relieve chronic pain. Nearly all, 97%, said cannabis did ease their pain.
The vast majority of patients surveyed by CreakyJoints said they used cannabis or CBD to treat a host of symptoms related to arthritis but not limited to pain or inflammation. These uses included improving sleep, physical function, and alleviating depression and anxiety that come from dealing with constant pain.
Dr. Benjamin Caplan, a primary care family physician in Boston, noted that cannabis as medicine works across different systems in the human body and that when someone has pain every day it becomes a disabling condition.
Caplan said that up to 27% of the general population suffers from rheumatoid arthritis (RA) – an autoimmune disease which, if untreated, can damage cartilage, the elastic tissue that covers the ends of bones in a joint, as well as the bones themselves.
"We know cannabis is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent that functions differently from other drugs like Tylenol, Ibuprofen, steroids, or the biological options that work on the immune system and can present severe side-effects," Caplan told Weedmaps News.
CBD Can Helped Control Pain and Reduce Inflammation
A report called "Joint for joints – cannabinoids and the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis” published in the journal, Current Opinion in Rheumatology in May 2019, concluded that CBD demonstrated "anti-arthritic effects independent of cannabinoid receptors" and helped control pain and reduce inflammation.
Undertaken by a team of German researchers at the University Hospital in Duesseldorf, Germany, the study noted that the body's endocannabinoid system (ECS) is capable of combating joint pain related to RA.
The German team noted, "An increasing number of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are using cannabis to treat their symptoms, although systematic studies regarding efficacy in RA are lacking."
In a post-survey analysis of the study done in Spain, Director of Patient-Centered Research at CreakyJoints, W. Benjamin Nowell, cautioned not to rely too much on anecdotal responses.
"Anecdotally, and via this survey data, we know that there are many people with arthritis who benefit from marijuana and CBD products," Nowell said in the analysis. "However, we have to temper our potential excitement about adding these products to an arthritis management strategy because there is so much yet to learn … ."
Caplan agreed that further research is needed but does not discount anecdotal accounts.
Source: Maureen Meehan