If you’ve been thinking of cannabis to treat arthritis, muscle, and joint pain, you’re certainly not alone. You may even be doing this already. But is it a good idea?
New research from the University of Toronto shows that 1 in 5 – or 20% – of people who consult an orthopedic surgeon for musculoskeletal pain are using cannabis as a form of treatment.
And they seem to like it.
The study showed that 9 out 10 users said it was effective for pain management, while 40% said it decreased reliance on other pain medications, which could include opioids. Lastly, about 60% said cannabis products were more effective than other drugs.
And these weren’t all recreational marijuana users looking to get high. The products were used specifically to treat pain and most used cannabidiol, or CBD, a form of cannabis without psychoactive properties (…it doesn’t make you high).
If you’re interested in the stuff that does make you high, you’ll want to look for marijuana products that are higher in THC.
Most people take CBD as an oil or tincture that can be dropped beneath the tongue. But does it work?
As evidenced by the numbers above, anecdotal evidence for its pain-relieving qualities is strong. There are human trials underway to explore its efficacy for arthritis and as a pain-relieving treatment, but for now, effects are anecdotal or only evident in animal testing.
Animal studies have shown CBD can have an anti-inflammatory effect and lead to pain relief, along with some other benefits.
If it’s been on your radar or you’re thinking about trying CBD or THC for pain relief, talk to your doctor first. It has the potential to react with certain medications, so you want to make sure it does not interfere with anything you’re currently taking.
Dosing can also be tricky for beginners. Your best bet is to follow the directions on the bottle (if you’re using oil) and go from there. It’s likely some experimentation to find your effective dose will be required.
CBD doesn’t get you high and doesn’t appear to cause damage or put health in danger. It might be a worthwhile addition to your pain relief protocol.