Cannabis topicals might not sound like the most intuitive treatment for arthritis. However, recent research — and years of my own work as a nurse and massage therapist — show that the plant has much to offer people who are living with this condition.
Arthritis is a disorder of the joints in the body that causes painful inflammation. The neck, shoulders, hands, spinal column, hips, knees, and ankles are some of our most notable joints — and they’re all common sources of pain. Arthritis is neither age nor gender specific. The inflammation caused by arthritis results in joint stiffness, swelling, redness, and the area can often be warm to the touch. 100 types of arthritis have now been identified and over 300 million people worldwide are plagued daily by this type of pain.
Clinical research studies regarding cannabis topicals and arthritis are still in their infancy. Recent findings show cannabinoids exhibit anti-inflammatory effects by activating cannabinoid type 2 receptors (CB2.) These receptors are part of the endocannabinoid system. Our endocannabinoid systems’ primary goal is cellular homeostasis, or balance. Our bodies naturally produce chemicals called endocannabinoids (which are nearly identical to chemicals produced in the cannabis plant, called cannabinoids) in an effort to activate these receptors. When a cannabis topical is applied to an inflamed area where CB2 receptors are present, the cannabinoids stimulate an anti-inflammatory response.
This is the science behind using cannabis topicals to treat arthritis, but the anecdotal evidence can be just as compelling. Throughout my career, I’ve seen firsthand the ways in which they can transform people’s lives. I’ve also had to answer a lot of questions about how and why they work — here are some of the most common ones.
Frequently Asked Questions About Using Cannabis Topicals for Arthritis
What’s the first question most arthritis patients have about medicinal cannabis topicals?
To see the answer and more questions about cannabis and arthritis please see here: CannabisMD