The Benefits of Treating Arthritis With Cannabis Topicals

Arthritis is a painful and sometimes debilitating condition characterized by joint swelling, pain, and stiffness, along with a decreased range of motion.

As a consultant for cannabis patients, I often work with those who are suffering from arthritis and looking for alternative ways to manage the painful condition. Often these patients come to me when they have exhausted the conventional options.

When arthritis gets severe, painkillers (such as opiates) are usually the primary treatment that these patients are receiving. But opiates have their limits. Patients adjust to their dose and it has to be continually increased. In some cases, opiates can actually increase sensitivity to pain. Many have already reached the highest allowable dose and will receive less and less relief from the drug as time goes on. Patients who have been relying on that pain relief are suddenly left without any recourse.

Thankfully, cannabis offers new hope for safely and effectively managing arthritis. As a potent painkiller and anti-inflammatory agent, cannabis has helped many with their arthritic symptoms. It can also be used safely in conjunction with opiates, so patients who are still using opiates, or tapering off of them, don’t have to worry about dangerous interactions. Research shows that cannabis use actually allows patients to decrease their opiate use, and in states where cannabis is legally accessible, opiate-related deaths have gone down by 25 percent.

In addition, research suggests that cannabis can do more than just ameliorate the symptoms of the condition, it may also be able to reverse it, leading to increasing improvements in mobility, inflammation and pain. Research shows that arthritis patients actually have a higher level of CB2 receptors in their damaged joints, than most.

One study, conducted in Canada, researched the effects of topical applications of cannabis on rheumatoid arthritis. The researchers behind it believed that saturating the patients CB2 receptors with cannabinoids will not only aid with pain relief but may actually repair the joint damage that has already been done.

Treating Arthritis with cannabis topicals

In my own experience with arthritis patients, topical applications of cannabis have been extremely helpful. Patients often complain that the topical isn’t doing much at first, but with regular saturation, they experience a gradual but significant change in their pain and mobility.

Those looking to try treating arthritis with cannabis topicals should start by finding a topical cannabis product that they can regularly apply. For patients with mild arthritis, you might start with a regular strength topical. I am a big fan of Leafy Botanicals’ hard lotion balm, as well as their massage oil. These topicals not only work well, but they smell delicious, with hints of lavender and rosemary.

For those with more severe arthritis, I recommend Fleurish Farm’s extra strength balm. This incredibly potent product was designed specifically with arthritis sufferers in mind, and I have seen it deliver immediate pain relief to some of the most severe arthritis patients I have worked with. This whipped balm is unscented and made entirely of oils that score a zero on the pore clogging scale, so it is light and hypo-allergenic enough for even the most sensitive skin. It’s also infused with high-quality rosin, a solventless cannabis concentrate, which contains powerful terpenes in addition to the cannabinoids found in most topicals.

Whether you are using topicals, edibles or inhaling it, cannabis can help ease the pain of arthritis and may even lead to long lasting improvements in joint health. If you are one of the 50 million people struggling with daily arthritis pain, cannabis just might be the perfect solution. Talk to an MD who specializes in cannabis to find out if it is right for you.

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Buds & Baby Boomers

Steve,
51, remembers well the first time he got high.

“I was
a freshman in high school and my friend Chovi from India found me on the
handball court where I had been spray-painting images of Alfred E. Newman with
a stencil I’d made,” says Steve. “Chovi must’ve been about 4’6” and had this
massive afro shaped like a square helmet that was three sizes too big for his
face. The guy was hilarious based on looks alone. I had low expectations,
because I had tried pot twice before and had never felt anything. And I didn’t
notice much from this at first, either, but it turned out to be a creeper.”

Heading
home, Steve remembers “feeling like Albert Hofmann on his famous bike ride”
after discovering the formula for LSD. Then, suddenly, he found himself overly
high and met with a locked door at his parent’s house – meaning he’d have to
confront his mom.

“Oh
God, my mom was going to have to let me in,” he recalls. “I couldn’t face my
mom like that. As soon as she opened the door, I pushed past her and dashed up
the stairs. She shouted up to me all concerned, ‘Is everything okay?’ And I
shouted back, ‘Yep! Everything’s great, Mom!’ And I locked myself in my room
and played my KISS records.”

That
was 1977. Three businesses and a home in the wealthiest zip code of the Bay
Area later, Steve finds himself enjoying a new wave of Mary Jane’s alluring
wiles. Only these days, instead of rolling a doobie, he puffs his vape pen.

Steve’s story isn’t particularly unique. Baby boomers across the nation are getting reacquainted with cannabis after a hiatus from pot through their middle years. According to a 2012 study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration comparing trends with 2002, cannabis use among people between the ages 50-54 and 60-64 has almost doubled. Meanwhile, pot use among boomers age 55-59 has more than quadrupled. And they’re not merely dabbling. The National Institute of Drug Abuse reports that baby boomers are regularly consuming cannabis an average of once a week. And these numbers are expected to rise. By the end of 2015, nearly 111 million Americans over 50 were projected to be cannabis consumers, according to research by IBISWorld. That figure could jump another seven percent by 2020.

Baby boomers across the nation are getting reacquainted with cannabis after a hiatus from pot through their middle years.

Partly
responsible for this reefer renaissance is the rapidly increasing social
acceptance of cannabis as a medicine and recreational choice. 

“When
medical marijuana became a thing and I realized I could get a pot prescription
and get my anxiety issues under control at the same time, that’s when I got
reacquainted with pot,” says Steve.

Indeed, studies suggest that boomers are using cannabis medicinally more than recreationally, often to deal with age-related issues such as chronic pain, depression and rheumatoid arthritis. Even Steve calls his vape pen “the most entertaining anti-anxiety medicine I’ve ever been prescribed.” In fact, the only time he labels his cannabis consumption recreational is in the context of a bad trip.

“When I
first came back to it around 2009, I had just met a lady, so I asked the
budtender to give me the very best they had. I didn’t ask for a strain that
does a particular thing, or makes you feel any particular way – just the best.”

The budtender recommended OG Kush, a name that he says he’ll always remember just so that he can avoid its super strength. 

“It was
unbelievably intense,” he says. “Way too advanced for my old-school roots. I
brought it with me to my lady friend’s house, thinking I’d impress her with how
hip I was. We had tickets to a show, but ended up just sitting on the couch for
about four hours. Not talking, not moving; I wasn’t even sure she was still
there most of the time. Every now and then, she would laugh, then I’d start
laughing. Then it would be silent again for another hour. That was awkward. I
will never smoke a strain that strong again, not unless I’m method-acting for
the role of a corpse. There was nothing recreational about that experience at
all.”

With
potency five to 10 times greater than the Mexican swag smokers enjoyed in the ’70s,
baby boomers are understandably trepidatious about coming back to cannabis.

“I miss
the giggling,” continues Steve. “Pot back then used to be really light and
giggly. Today’s pot is too heavy for me. It weighs me down.”

Despite the industry’s race to breed strains with the highest THC possible, options do exist for baby boomers who want to get pleasantly elevated without blasting off into the stratosphere. Cannabis with THC in the low double-digits – say, the 10-14 percent range – may provide a low-impact way to get a gentle buzz. And with the advent of the vape pen, boomers are strolling the path back to pot with more ease and grace than ever.

“Last
year, I was bed-ridden after a skiing accident,” recalls Judith, a 60-year-old
San Francisco travel agent. “All I could do was lay in bed taking pain killers
and watching Netflix. The pain pills had me so groggy and out of it that I
would suffer through [the pain] as long as I could before finally giving in and
taking one. When my son came over and offered me a puff off his new vape pen –
my first thought was, ‘My goodness, what kind of robot joint is this?’ But let
me tell you, it literally changed my world.

“I
mean, it [worked] faster than the pain pills, and it didn’t turn me into a
zombie,” she says. “Pretty much one little puff every hour or two kept my pain
at bay, and I have to admit, it was pretty fun, too! I mean, I was laughing at
things that, on the pills, I couldn’t do more than stare at with my eyes glazed
over. With that little pen, I felt like myself again. And bonding with my son,
watching documentaries and laughing at movies together, was a brilliant,
unexpected bonus. Now when I have friends over, we’ll have a little vape with
our tea.”

Vape
pens are becoming ubiquitous as a discreet way for cannabists, many of them
boomers, to consume concentrated versions of the plant. Because it lends itself
so easily to taking just one puff at a time, the vape pen provides users with
an easier way to manage dosage. And because the oil contains such a high
concentration of THC to begin with, one hit will often suffice.

“That’s just a classy way to get high, in my opinion,” says Steve about vape pens. “Mine even doubles as a stylus. It’s my new favorite way to get high.”

Originally published in the print edition of Cannabis Now.

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How to Use CBD Oil for Pain?

CBD oil offers the pain-relieving results of marijuana minus its psychoactive effects. It lets people benefit from the great uses of the cannabis compound CBD without the herb’s high and its side effects. CBD is a popular abbreviation of cannabidiol, which is an essential cannabis component. As per several experts and the findings of many […]

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Treat the Aches & Pains of Aging with Cannabis Topicals

Almost half of adults aged 65 or older have arthritis. The Center for Disease Control says arthritis and other rheumatic conditions represent a leading cause of disability among U.S. adults — and the leading cause for the past 15 years.

And since the risk of arthritis increases with age, there will only be more patients searching for effective alternative treatments for pain as the senior population grows.

Among them is Jane, a 67-year-old woman who suffers from osteoarthritis and has found relief by using cannabis.

Jane developed osteoarthritis in her knee from years of working on her feet, a condition exacerbated by the weight she gained over the past 20 years.

She uses a cane to walk and says her pain medication leaves her groggy and depressed, with no desire to leave her home. Her daughter saw the negative impacts the medication was having on her mother’s mood and gave her a topical salve containing THC and CBD. It relieved her pain enough to be able to set aside her cane when she is at home.

Seeking further non-euphoric relief, Jane explored different ratios of CBD and THC in capsule form to help with her pain (especially at night) and found a balance that not only reduced her use of pain medication, but also relieved her anxiety and depression.

Cannabis can be utilized at therapeutic levels for both pain relief and the maintenance of inflammation. Many seniors start with non-euphoric solutions like cannabis topicals, which can mean using lotions, salves, roll-ons and even medicated epsom salts for soaking or hot compresses.

Jane likes that using topicals and edibles gives her the ability to enjoy time with her family and manage her pain without grogginess — and without the smell that comes from smoking.

She isn’t alone; many patients with inflammatory arthritis have been successfully treating it with topical use and experimenting with ratios of CBD to THC in edibles. And there’s data to back up those personal experiences — research is showing that topical administration of cannabis has proven to have analgesic effects in animal models of inflammatory and neuropathic pain, especially for the control of breakthrough pain.

In fact, a study published in Rheumatology discovered that rheumatoid arthritis patients have more CB2 receptors on their cells than other arthritis patients. Recent research also found that psoriasis plaques can be treated with topicals high in CBD because the anti-inflammatory effects help reduce the plaques, without thinning the skin like a steroidal cream.

Maria Mangini is a pioneer of the medical cannabis and psychedelic research movement, and a family nurse practitioner. She says that 70 percent of the patients she consults see her for pain issues and noted a large percentage of those patients suffer from some type of arthritis.

She says osteoarthritis patients may benefit from the synergistic effects THC has with opioid receptors, creating greater pain relief with less opioid use. She added that if the joint pain is not too deep (as in hip joints), a topical medicine could prove useful in treating pain as well.

With the opioid epidemic still in full swing and the FDA’s recent warning that all non-aspirin NSAIDs put patients at increased risk for heart attack, stroke and heart failure, is it any wonder that our fast-growing senior population is becoming more open to alternative therapies? Or that cannabis — one of the most effective natural medicines on Earth — is now becoming a bigger part of the conversation?

Originally published in the print edition of Cannabis Now. LEARN MORE

TELL US, have you ever tried a topical?

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Does CBD help with arthritis pain?

If you have chronic arthritis pain, you may be wondering about cannabidiol (CBD) as a treatment. CBD, along with delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other chemicals, is found in marijuana. But unlike THC, CBD is not “psychoactive” — that is, it does not cause the intoxication or high associated with marijuana use.

There’s a good chance you’ve tried it already: according to a Gallup poll in August of 2019, about 14% of Americans report using CBD products, and the number one reason is pain. The Arthritis Foundation conducted its own poll and found that 29% reported current use of CBD (mostly in liquid or topical form), and nearly 80% of respondents were either using it, had used it in the past, or were considering it. Of those using it, most reported improvement in physical function, sleep, and well-being; of note, a minority reported improvement in pain or stiffness.

Perhaps you’ve been tempted to try it. After all, most types of arthritis are not cured by other treatments, and CBD is considered a less addictive option than opiates. Or maybe it’s the marketing that recommends CBD products for everything from arthritis to anxiety to seizures. The ads are pretty hard to miss. (Now here’s a coincidence: as I was writing this, my email preview pane displayed a message that seemed to jump off the screen: CBD Has Helped Millions!! Try It Free Today!)

What’s the evidence it works? And what do experts recommend? Until recently, there’s been little research and even less guidance for people (or their doctors) interested in CBD products that are now increasingly legal and widely promoted.

But now, there is.

A word about arthritis pain

It’s worth emphasizing that there are more than 100 types of arthritis, and while pain is a cardinal feature of all of them, these conditions do not all act alike. And what works for one may not work for another. Treatment is aimed at reducing pain and stiffness and maintaining function for all types of arthritis. But for certain conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, conventional prescription medications are highly recommended, because these drugs help prevent permanent joint damage and worsening disability.

In addition, individuals experience pain and respond to treatment in different ways. As a result, it’s highly unlikely that there is a single CBD-containing product that works for all people with all types of arthritis.

What’s the evidence that CBD is effective for chronic arthritis pain?

While there are laboratory studies suggesting CBD might be a promising approach, and animal studies showing anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects, well-designed studies demonstrating compelling evidence that CBD is safe and effective for chronic arthritis pain in humans do not exist. A randomized trial of topical CBD for osteoarthritis of the knee has been published, but in abstract form only (meaning it’s a preliminary report that summarizes the trial and has not been thoroughly vetted yet); the trial lasted only 12 weeks, and results were mixed at best. One of the largest reviews examined the health effects of cannabis and CBD, and concluded that there is “substantial evidence that cannabis is an effective treatment for chronic pain in adults.” But there was no specific conclusion regarding CBD, presumably because definitive studies were not available.

Of course, there is anecdotal evidence and testimonials galore, including reports of dramatic improvement by people who tried CBD in its various forms (including capsule, liquid, topical, and spray) for their pain. But we are still waiting for well-designed, scientifically valid, and rigorous clinical trials (such as this one in progress) that are so badly needed to answer the question of just how helpful CBD may be to people with chronic arthritis pain.

Are there downsides to CBD treatment?

As with any treatment, there can be downsides. CBD is generally considered safe; however, it can still cause lightheadedness, sleepiness, dry mouth, and rarely, liver problems. There may be uncertainty about the potency or purity of CBD products (since they are not regulated as prescription medications are), and CBD can interact with other medications. For pregnant women, concern has been raised about a possible link between inhaled cannabis and lower-birthweight babies; it’s not clear if this applies to CBD. Some pain specialists have concerns that CBD may upset the body’s natural system of pain regulation, leading to tolerance (so that higher doses are needed for the same effect), though the potential for addiction is generally considered to be low.

There is one definite downside: cost. Prices range widely but CBD products aren’t inexpensive, and depending on dose, frequency, and formulation, the cost can be considerable — I found one brand that was $120/month, and health insurance does not usually cover it.

Are there guidelines about the use of CBD for chronic arthritis pain?

Until recently, little guidance has been available for people with arthritis pain who were interested in CBD treatment. Depending on availability and interest, patients and their doctors had to decide on their own whether CBD was a reasonable option in each specific case. To a large degree that’s still true, but some guidelines have been published. Here’s one set of guidelines for people pursuing treatment with CBD that I find quite reasonable (based on recommendations from the Arthritis Foundation and a recent commentary published in the medical journal Arthritis Care & Research):

Dos:

  • If considering a CBD product, choose one that has been independently tested for purity, potency, and safety — for example, look for one that has received a “Good Manufacturing Practices” (GMP) certification.
  • CBD should be one part of an overall pain management plan that includes nonmedication options (such as exercise) and psychological support.
  • Choose an oral treatment (rather than inhaled products) and start with a low dose taken in the evening.
  • Establish initial goals of treatment within a realistic period of time — for example, a reduction in knee pain that allows you to walk around the block within two weeks of starting treatment; later, if improved, the goals can be adjusted.
  • Tell your doctor(s) about your planned and current CBD treatment; monitor your pain and adjust medications with your medical providers, rather than with nonmedical practitioners (such as those selling CBD products).

Don’ts:

  • Don’t make CBD your first choice for pain relief; it is more appropriate to consider it if other treatments have not been effective enough.
  • Don’t have nonmedical practitioners (such as those selling CBD products) managing your chronic pain; pain management should be between you and your healthcare team, even if it includes CBD.
  • For people with rheumatoid arthritis or related conditions, do not stop prescribed medications that may be protecting your joints from future damage; discuss any changes to your medication regimen with your doctor.

The bottom line

If you’re interested in CBD treatment for chronic arthritis pain or if you’re already taking it, review the pros, cons, and latest news with your healthcare providers, and together you can decide on a reasonable treatment plan. Depending on the type of arthritis you have, it may be quite important to continue your conventional, prescribed medications even if you pursue additional relief with CBD products.

We may not have all the evidence we’d like, but if CBD can safely improve your symptoms, it may be worth considering.

Follow me on Twitter @RobShmerling

The post Does CBD help with arthritis pain? appeared first on Harvard Health Blog.

Topicals: The Real Gateway Drug for Senior Citizens

Cannabis topicals are having a moment. From
A-list celebrities using Lord Jones balms to soothe aching feet at the Golden
Globes to professional athletes debuting their own line of muscle rub,
transdermal products infused with cannabinoids seem to be everywhere.

But it isn’t just millennials and the Hollywood elite jumping on the bandwagon. An increasing number of senior citizens are also turning to topicals, often desperate to alleviate a painful and often debilitating condition that affects nearly 54 million American adults: arthritis.

The disease, which causes aches, swelling and stiffness in the joints and muscles, is typically treated with a combination of medications including steroids and opiates, which may have dramatic side effects. However, cannabis is becoming a popular and viable alternative. Infused creams and lotions work when the products’ cannabinoids bind to the network of cannabinoid receptors called CB2 receptors on the skin, without needing to enter the bloodstream. This means people using topicals infused with psychoactive cannabinoids such as THC will not feel a cerebral effect — only localized relief. Transdermal patches, however, do allow the cannabinoids to enter the bloodstream and travel to receptors in the brain, but because the release is so slow, it’s also unlikely to impart a high feeling.

While research on the efficacy of topicals is limited, there have been some promising results. A 2015 study published in the European Journal of Pain found that, when applied transdermally to rats with arthritic joints, the cannabinoid CBD (cannabidiol) offered relief. Another study conducted in 2017 on rats with osteoarthritis (the most common type of arthritis, wherein bone cartilage breaks down over time) concluded CBD prevents pain and nerve damage. In fact, scientists are also exploring evidence that concludes CB2 receptors themselves may be responsible for regulating inflammation — one of the main issues arthritis causes.

The science is still early, but according to Radicle Health founder and nurse Eloise Theisen, CBD topicals appear to help with inflammation and itchiness, but people should try a THC topical — or a combination of THC and CBD — if they’re not finding relief from a CBD-only product.

Since the average senior citizen in the United
States takes around five prescription medications daily, concerns about
interactions between drugs, side effects and potentials for abuse have many
seeking another way.

And since those who might be averse to getting high from smoking or eating cannabis are often not intimidated by using a non-psychoactive cannabis balm, topicals offer a way to discover the healing properties of cannabis while eliminating the fear of Grandma and Grandpa getting too buzzed.

‘Once He Went Off the Pharmaceuticals….’

Karen Rumics Averill is a 63-year-old business
owner from Oregon who began making her own cannabis-infused topicals a few
years ago to help her husband. He was suffering from a severe type of arthritis
called ankylosing spondylitis, also known as “curved back syndrome.”

“He was initially put on Enbrel, which is an
injection, and he was actually receiving twice the dose that is normally
required,” Averill said. “Then, [the doctors] put him on Oxycontin and Vicodin
and then all of a sudden one day, at two in the morning, we’re rushing him to
the emergency room for a bleeding ulcer and they had to remove him from all of
those drugs.”

She believes the drugs her husband had been
prescribed were actually making his condition worse.

“Once he went off of [pharmaceuticals], he became
more mobile, more active. He wasn’t comatose on the couch because he was
over-medicated.”

Averill began experimenting, utilizing byproducts
from top-shelf indica strains to infuse in coconut oil, creating a THC-infused topical.

“Actually, my 94-year-old aunt is now using it
for her arthritis. She called me
yesterday and said it works great!” Averill said.

Bringing Seniors to Cannabis

For many within the cannabis industry, one of the biggest challenges is getting accurate information to the general public — without being overwhelming or unconvincing. After getting phone call after phone call from seniors asking about their transdermal product, the team at NanoSphere Health Sciences decided they needed to focus not on getting their products to seniors, but on bringing the seniors to them.

“A lot of times, the way that a senior gets our
product is because a niece or nephew, granddaughter, son or daughter has gone
in, bought them the product and then told them that they need to use it, versus
them actually going into the dispensary and purchasing the product themselves,”
said Crystal Colwell, marketing director for NanoSphere.

So the company decided to partner with several dispensaries in their home state of Colorado, offering residents of nearby assisted living facilities and 55-plus communities round-trip bus rides to their locations in order to educate them on the many useful applications of cannabis. They also work with the non-profit group Realm of Caring in order to further their outreach towards the senior citizen demographic. Colwell says the feedback has been remarkable.

“We had one woman who had such severe arthritis
in her hands that she was unable to open her hands all the way,” Colwell said.
“One of her most favorite things to do is to write letters and handwritten
notes. She started using NanoSerum on her hands and she was using it once a day
for a month and after the first month she was able to open her hand and hold a
pen or a pencil in her hand again. Within a two-month time span, she was
actually able to write handwritten notes again.”

Colwell adds that while it will take time to
dismantle all the misinformation about marijuana and the ways it can be
consumed, topicals offer a non-threatening introduction to a medicine that
could make all the difference.

“A lot of misconceptions that senior citizens
have is that the only time you can get relief from cannabis is if you smoke it
or you ingest as an edible,” she said. “Once they learn that there are
alternative applications, that’s when they become intrigued and it gets their
mind going.”

TELL US, have you used cannabis topicals?

Originally published in Issue 37 of Cannabis Now. LEARN MORE

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Arthritis Sufferers Lead the Way for Advancing Cannabis as Pain Medicine

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. And it’s working.

CreakyJoints, an online arthritis support community, conducted a survey 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 results are positive. More than half of the 1,059 surveyed had tried cannabis to manage their arthritis symptoms; fully 97% of them said it eased their pain.

Arthritis Foundation is Listening

On Sept. 24, 2019, the Arthritis Foundation released a series of CBD guidelines for the first time along with suggestions for adults with arthritis. The move came about as a result of its own national survey, conducted in July 2019.

“While CBD is controversial and its effectiveness inconclusive, people with arthritis aren’t waiting to try it to treat their pain,” Cindy McDaniel, Arthritis Foundation Senior Vice President of Consumer Health and Impact, said in a press release

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 a medicine works across different systems in the human body and that when someone has pain every day it becomes a disabling condition.

“It’s not like one’s joints hurt just today. When it’s the 50th day in a row of being in agony and not sleeping well, people very soon can start feeling depressed,” said Caplan, founder of the CED Foundation and Clinic in Boston.

(Gina Coleman/Weedmaps)
Arthritis sufferers who medicated with cannabis reported experiencing better sleep, improved physical function, and reduced depression and anxiety.

Patient Perspective

Jean Howell is a New York City tango and tai chi instructor who has suffered from arthritis for the past seven years and recently started to use medical cannabis.

“An aspect of arthritis, in fact, all pain, that does not get enough attention is how depressing it can be,” Howell said. “The knee pain just getting on and off the bus was enough to put me in a rotten mood for the rest of the day. I’m now using a THC/CBD balm and I can’t tell you how relieved I am.”

While arthritis is generally treated with over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs, large numbers of sufferers are turning to cannabis, with or without their doctors’ blessing.

“I refuse to ruin my kidney, liver, etc., with NSAIDS [non-steroidal anti-inflammatories] or worse, opioids,” Howell said. “I stopped seeing the physicians who prescribe them.”

CreakyJoints, part of the Global Healthy Living Foundation, noted that nearly half of those surveyed started using cannabis without their doctors’ knowledge.

“Our study found that there’s a disconnect between what patients want to know and what their providers are able to discuss.”

It stands to reason, Caplan said.

“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. “We don’t see that with cannabis.”

(Gina Coleman/Weedmaps)
At least 54 million American adults have doctor-diagnosed arthritis, according to the Arthritis Foundation, and many of them are turning to cannabis to successfully treat their painful symptoms, inflammation, and mood swings.

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.  

Difficult to Treat

A recent cross-sectional survey, published in the September 2019 issue of Rheumatology and Therapy journal, revealed that nearly three-fourths of RA sufferers who responded were dissatisfied with their treatments, do not achieve their treatment goals and experience symptoms that affect their daily activities.

Another study may have some answers.

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.

“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,” the German team noted.

Studies vs. Anecdote

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. In fact, he finds them important.

“There is still not enough of what modern medicine calls the gold standard — randomized trials or review trials that collect multiple studies — but anecdote is not meaningless,” Caplan said.

“Stories we hear from individuals are very meaningful and worthwhile,” Caplan said. “We live in a scientific culture that thinks we should discount anecdotes and only pay attention to the highest quality data, which I think is misleading and not fair.”

New York tango dancer Howell could not agree more.

“Cannabis has been around for thousands of years. Scientific research is only starting to catch up. Those of us who use it for pain know it works.”

Feature image: A survey conducted by CreakyJoints, an online community for arthritis sufferers, found more than half of 1,059 respondents have used cannabis to relieve chronic pain. Nearly all, 97%, said cannabis did ease their pain. (By Gina Coleman/Weedmaps)

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Is CBD An Effective Treatment For Gout?

While roughly 4% of Americans suffer from Gout in one form or another, many get no relief from conventional pharmaceutical drugs given by their doctors. That could be why some Gout sufferers are turning to CBD instead.

Healthy lifestyle, eating foods that aren’t too fatty, doing regular exercise. All of these measures are useful when it comes to treating the pain from Gout. However, Gout is an excruciating condition, and sometimes there’s no choice other than to use prescription medications.

The problem with these medications though is that many drugs are toxic, addictive, and come with other nasty side effects. We’re taking a closer look at Gout and how CBD is being used by many people to treat it.

Gout Explained

Gout is a specific type of inflammatory arthritis which is triggered by abnormal levels of uric acid in the bloodstream. Gout’s medical name is Arthrothapy, and it affects people who overeat red meat, seafood, fructose, and alcohol. Over time, the excess uric acid in the blood forms into crystals which build up between the joints.

In turn, those sharp-edged crystals cause inflammation, which leads to periodic attacks of Gout. As any Gout victim will tell you, life is no picnic, and the pain that comes from these accumulated crystals is often severe. Characterized by pain, swelling, tenderness, redness, and heat, some people are left bedridden by Gout for days at a time.

Even though Gout can hit any joint in the body, the most common place for it is in the big toe. Intense pain follows weeks of recovery, and most of those experiencing Gout will have more attacks as the years go by. While some people are more prone to Gout genetically, it is a condition which is heavily influenced by diet in particular.

Another factor is that Gout affects more men than it does women, and usually affects people with a family history of the condition. Obesity, diabetes, and kidney issues also play a role in Gout, and at least 8 million Americans suffer from it at some time in their lives.

Conventional Gout Treatments

Unfortunately, Gout is a “chronic condition” meaning that there’s no known cure for it. It can be appropriately managed in some patients, but that’s often a case of trial and error more than anything else. The right balance of lifestyle changes and drugs can help many people with Gout.

 

However, prescription medications for gout often come at a price, and that’s not just in terms of money. Pain killers and corticosteroids can alleviate Gout when it’s at its worst, but those drugs have side effects, primarily if used long-term or in high doses.

Gout patients are told as a matter of course, not to drink too much alcohol and to stay away from fruit packed with sugar, red meat, and other fatty foods. Remaining hydrated and keeping in shape also helps greatly when it comes to Gout.

Sure, these medications and lifestyle changes help to manage the symptoms of the Gout for a while, but they are seldom a long-term solution. That could be the reason why so many people suffering from Gout are turning to CBD as their go-to remedy, in favor of visits to the doctor and prescription medications.

CBD For Gout

CBD is a compound inside cannabis and hemp, known for its medicinal and therapeutic properties. Some people use CBD to treat anxiety, others to treat insomnia. However, as CBD is a known, natural anti-inflammatory, it’s also successful in treating Gout for many patients.

While scientific studies and medical research are yet to delve into the connection between CBD and Gout in any substantial way, there’s plenty of studies showing that CBD can be useful in the treatment of arthritic conditions. Being a type of arthritis, Gout can also be treated by the right amount of concentrated CBD for some sufferers.

Cannabis and specifically the CBD compound, influence something called the endocannabinoid system found in the body. This system operates by an intricate network of receptors located in the organs and brain. These receptors, called CB1 and CB2 receptors, are responsible for managing daily human processes such as mood, appetite, and memory.

This system also plays a role in regulating pain and inflammation. Furthermore, CBD works to increase levels of anandamide in the body effectively. This compound binds with the CB1 receptors and blocks pain signals from the brain.

Best CBD For Gout

CBD comes in a variety of different forms and delivery systems. However, not all delivery systems are equal, and that principle also applies to CBD (depending on how it was extracted and other factors). CBD oil tinctures are a great way of taking CBD for conditions like Gout.

This is down to the fact that when CBD is taken in the right dosage, via the stomach, it offers slow-release and well-rounded effects. For immediatte relief from acute pain from inflammation, vaping CBD E-liquid or smoking CBD flowers is a good option. This surrounds the fact that when CBD is taken via the lungs, the effects are felt immediately and potently.

When taking CBD for Gout, it’s best to start low and take it slow. Some experts recommend a starting dose of 20-30mg of CBD per day, but some CBD products come with dosing recommendations on the bottle. CBD also comes in topical cream form, and that is much-loved by some arthritis and Gout sufferers. CBD topicals can locally relieve the area affected by the inflammation, while the CBD oil has a chance to work its way through the stomach and into the bloodstream.

Final Thoughts

For Gout sufferers, life can be a daily struggle. When the inflammation starts and the pain sets in, many people resign themselves to weeks or even months of ongoing and debilitating pain. Eating healthily, staying away from red meat, lobster and beer is advisable, as is regular exercise. However, sometimes people have no choice but to go to their doctor to get some pain killers when the inflammation gets too much to handle.

Fortunately, CBD is becoming an increasingly popular way for Gout sufferers to treat their condition and is also safer and often more cost-effective than prescription medications. When buying CBD for Gout, always ensure you purchase products from reputable CBD vendors only, and check for any third-party lab results carried out on the product you’re interested in.

The post Is CBD An Effective Treatment For Gout? appeared first on CBD Testers.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Wednesday, June 19, 2019 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// New Proposal Could Be New York’s Last Chance To Legalize Marijuana This Year (Marijuana Moment)

// Minnesota hemp farmer faces felony charges over products’ THC content (Star Tribune)

// Medical marijuana bills in N.H. advance to governor’s desk (Boston Globe)


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// Cannabis firm High Times going to court over Culture Magazine acquisition (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Marijuana Amendments Cleared For House Floor Votes (Marijuana Moment)

// Low levels of THC in marijuana don’t increase crashes: study (OHS Canada)

// R.I. medical marijuana cultivators feel betrayed by state budget (Herald News)

// 57% of Arthritis Patients Have Tried Cannabis. 90% Found It Helped (Leafly)


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