There are 1.5 million adults in the United States who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis.
If you’re part of this group, you’re probably feeling desperate for relief from the often debilitating joint pain that accompanies RA.
You also may not be interested in taking over-the-counter or prescription painkillers. If so, there are lots of natural remedies that you can use instead to manage your pain instead.
Over the last few years, one natural option that has been making a lot of headlines is cannabis oil. Keep reading to learn about this treatment and how it can benefit you.
What Is Cannabis Oil?
Cannabis oil is a substance extracted from the cannabis plant.
Because the cannabis industry is relatively young, there is a lot of confusion about the differences between cannabis oil and CBD oil.
Both products are extracted from the cannabis plant. But, the main difference is the presence or absence of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
THC is the primary psychoactive component of cannabis. In other words, it’s the part that gets you high.
CBD oil contains cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive cannabinoid. It also has a low concentration of THC — typically less than 0.3 percent.
Hemp-derived CBD oil is legal in many states, including some in which medical cannabis is not. This makes it more accessible to a larger population.
Cannabis oil, on the other hand, contains a higher concentration of THC.
Because of this higher concentration, this oil is more strictly regulated. It’s only available in states that have legalized medicinal or recreational marijuana.
Can Cannabis Help Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Both CBD oil and cannabis oil have been shown to improve the pain and inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis.
CBD and THC help with immune system modulation. This makes them great relief aids for the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
These cannabinoids also help with anxiety and depression, two conditions that often accompany rheumatoid arthritis.
For people who want to wean themselves off of prescription painkillers, medicinal cannabis is a great option.
By using CBD or cannabis oil, patients can experience relief without the negative side-effects that come with many prescription medications.
Benefits of Using Oil
When they start using cannabis to relieve their pain, many people are intimidated by traditional administration methods like smoking or vaping.
CBD and cannabis oil are a less intimidating alternative. They’re also easier to consume and dose since you just have to fill up a dropper and squirt it in your mouth.
Oil is also a more appealing option for people who want to consume cannabis more discreetly. It can even be mixed with foods or drinks if you don’t like the taste.
What the Research Says
Many organizations are pouring money into research to prove that cannabis can effectively treat rheumatoid arthritis.
At this time, much of the evidence in favor of medicinal cannabis is anecdotal. However, there are some clinical studies that have yielded promising results for the industry.
For example, one five-week study found that patients who received regular doses of CBD oil experienced a significant decrease in pain and inflammation. CBD oil also helped slow the progress of their rheumatoid arthritis.
Another study found that THC also does a great job at minimizing inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis, as well as other autoimmune diseases, such as colitis and hepatitis. THC also boosts the immune system and protects the patients who consume it.
Other Ways to Use Cannabis
It’s okay if you’re not interested in using cannabis oil but still want to utilize medical cannabis to treat your joint pain.
There are many other ways that rheumatoid arthritis patients can use medical cannabis to relieve their symptoms, including the following:
Smoking or Vaping
Smoking and vaping are probably the two most popular ways to consume cannabis.
They’re also typically considered the easiest and most effective options.
This is because, when cannabis is smoked or vaped, it bypasses the digestive system and is absorbed through the lungs. Users feel the effects of the drug quicker, making it a good alternative for people with arthritis or chronic pain.
Topical salves are another good option for people who want to consume cannabis more discreetly or don’t want to smoke it.
There are many CBD salves available in dispensaries. But, they can be difficult to acquire in states that haven’t legalized cannabis.
Some companies sell CBD salves and other topical products online. But, the quality of these products can be questionable.
Tinctures are cannabis-infused alcohol extracts. They were once the most popular method for consuming cannabis, but they’ve fallen out of favor over the years.
To consume a cannabis tincture, simply place a few drops under your tongue. It’ll be absorbed quickly.
As with smoking or vaping, it bypasses the digestive system and enters the bloodstream through the mucous membranes. This makes tinctures a fast-acting option that’s perfect for people who need immediate relief.
Tips for Using Medical Cannabis for Pain Relief
In order to have a good experience when using medical cannabis, keep these tips in mind:
Sample Different Strains
There are a variety of cannabis strains out there, and they all have different effects. Indica strains are more relaxing, for example, and sativas are more stimulating.
You can also find CBD-heavy strains that will be more calming and relaxing than other, THC-heavy varieties.
Try Different THC and CBD Ratios
Some people prefer to only consume cannabis products that are high in CBD and low in THC. This works fine for some. But, CBD and THC actually work better when they’re consumed together.
It may take some time to figure out the right CBD-THC ratio for you. If you live in a state where medical cannabis is legal, you can talk to your doctor to see what they recommend.
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