Arthritis is the umbrella term for literally hundreds of joint-related disorders, pretty much all of them painful, including rheumatoid arthritis and the most common form, osteoarthritis. Though often associated with aging, arthritis doesn’t discriminate. Approximately 54 million Americans have been diagnosed with arthritis and 7 percent of those tens of millions are 18-44 year olds.
There are many ways to treat the discomfort that comes with arthritis—from creams to pills to joint wraps—but ofttimes the best medicine is all-natural. In many arthritic cases the very best medicine is actually cannabis, which also comes in a variety of forms, such as capsules, tinctures and salves.
So how best can arthritic pain be relieved with marijuana? It depends on the situation and how active of a lifestyle you lead. For a 21-year-old athlete experiencing arthritic symptoms, salves used in conjunction with what the doctor ordered may just do the trick without any of the side effects of cannabis, like getting high. But truly, whenever possible, the best answer is a combination of cannabis remedies.
Creams and salves are obvious choices, as you can rub in the soothing lotion, which is often combined with other medicinal herbs, right where it hurts. Not all lotions and potions are created equal, though. If you’re in a legal or medical state, use a cream with activated THC along with other cannabinoids and plant components (they won’t alter mindsets if that’s a concern). If you don’t live in a legalized state, a hemp/CBD cream will also help, just look for the words “full-spectrum” or for other cannabinoids to be named.
All told, a mixture of methods will help alleviate the pain in more ways, thus providing more relief. Adding an oral tincture to the rub remedy helps to loosen up stiff joints throughout the body. As arthritis is often caused by inflamed tissue between the joints, the anti-inflammatory aspect of cannabis really helps mitigate tender and sore areas by bringing down swelling.
Luckily, for states that haven’t gone all the way green yet, non-psychoactive CBD concoctions are also known to be anti-inflammatory. All cannabinoids are utilized by the body’s own endocannabinoid system, where they fit in like puzzle pieces. The system runs throughout the body and brain, thus relieving pain pretty much wherever when ingested, smoked or vaped. Layering topicals, tinctures and toking is a surefire way to feel better all around, and all aforementioned methods kick in almost immediately, so they’re easy to gauge if indeed psychoactive.
If the arthritis calls for the big dogs, it’s time to bring in capsules made of full spectrum hemp oil, high-THC cannabis oil or an activated edible. If taking either of the latter two, wait at least an hour after the initial dose before taking more to see where your pain level and headspace land. Unlike vaping, smoking, rubbing lotions or dropping tinctures, edibles and capsules take awhile to kick in, but then they really go to work, offering a heavy body high and maximum relief.
No matter what age arthritis hits, cannabis can help put stiff joints in motion, relieve swollen tissue and make for a higher quality of life. Movement is key whether 44 and under, in the senior bracket or somewhere in between. Add some flexibility and relief to living with arthritis by using the cannabinoids available to you and that work best with your lifestyle.