Patients who are living with conditions that cause chronic pain have very limited options when it comes to managing this in the long-term. Many of the available treatments have an array of drawbacks and side-effects that make them a poor choice for lots of people. This is why an increasing number of people suffering with arthritis and chronic pain are looking into medical marijuana as an option.

The Canadian Arthritis Society is funding research into the use of medical cannabis for conditions such as arthritis, and they report that two thirds of Canadians taking medical cannabis are doing so to mitigate the painful symptoms of arthritis. Not only does this imply that marijuana is a good remedy for the symptoms of arthritis, but it could also be effective for other long-term chronic pain conditions. ‘Arthritis’ commonly refers to joint pain, but this embodies a wide range of conditions such as lupus, fibromyalgia, gout and more.

There is the assumption that arthritis is a condition affecting people over 65, but as much as 56% of arthritis patients of Canada are actually younger than 65. In addition, arthritis affects a significant proportion of the population: approximately 15% of Canadians and 23% of Americans are afflicted. In the UK, it is estimated that 10 million people have arthritis. That is a lot of people who can be helped by the plant.

Everywhere that has legalised medical marijuana includes arthritis on the list of conditions it can help with. Research has found that cannabinoids in medical cannabis can reduce inflammation and pain. This effect makes it ideal for treating chronic pain and arthritis. Another recently published medical review suggested that medical marijuana is also effective for a type of arthritis called rheumatoid arthritis, which affects 27% of patients over the age of 52.

A study in 2016 conducted on rats looked at the use of CBD gel in treatment of arthritis. Rats receiving 0.6mg or 3.1mg of CBD gel a day saw no improvement in their pain or inflammation scores. Rats receiving 6.2mg of CBD gel a day experienced a reduction in pain and swelling. Rats receiving 62.3mg of CBD gel a day saw similar results to those receiving 6.2mg a day, and there was no notable difference in the pain reduction with the significantly larger dosage. While more human studies are needed, this research also supports the anti-inflammatory and pain relieving effects of CBD gel.

Not just seniors, but people of all ages, are overcoming any preconceptions and stigma they may have about the herb and embracing its positive effects. Any skeptics are quickly won over by the improvements to their quality of life and pain management. The other anti-inflammatory alternatives like steroids, ibuprofen, and so on can have very severe side effects. While cannabis is still being studied in the medical field, it is proving to be a safer option with far fewer drawbacks. Researchers are in agreement that these substances have a lot of potential for use in pain management.