There are over 100 types of arthritis, the most common being osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease), fibromyalgia, gout, and rheumatoid arthritis (also an autoimmune disease). The symptoms associated with arthritis are pain or tenderness in the joints, inflammation, and stiffness. Arthritis also causes breakdown of cartilage, which normally protects a joint, allowing it to move smoothly. When cartilage breaks down, bones rub together and create pain and inflammation. Arthritis can be acute or chronic. In the former case, the cause is found and treated or just goes away. In the latter case, the cause is never identified and a person lives for years or the rest of their lives with arthritis.
The common symptoms of arthritis are:
- Joint pain
- Joint swelling
- Reduced ability to move the joint
- Redness of the skin around a joint
- Stiffness, especially in the morning
- Warmth around a joint
Solutions include lifestyle changes, such as getting more low-impact aerobic exercise, range of motion exercises, sleeping 8 to 10 hours per night, changing the home to make activities easier, and eating healthier foods and foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids (which are prevalent in hemp oil). Physical therapy, massage, water therapy, and heat or ice are also beneficial.
In animals, it has been found that "Cannabinoids have analgesic, immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory properties and attenuate joint damage in animal models of arthritis" ("Arthritis and Cannabinoids: HU-210 and Win-55, 212-2 Prevent IL-1Alpha-Induced Matrix Degradation in Bovine Articular Chondrocytes In-Vitro," a study by the Biomedical Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University in England). In another study, "Cannabinoids in the Management of Difficult to Treat Pain," conducted by the company GW Pharmaceuticals, states:
Sativex ®, a cannabis derived oromucosal spray containing equal proportions of THC (partial CB1) receptor agonist ) and cannabidiol (CBD, a non-euphoriant, anti-inflammatory analgesic with CB1 receptor antagonist and endocannabinoid modulating effects) was approved in Canada in 2005 for treatment of central neuropathic pain in multiple sclerosis, and in 2007 for intractable cancer pain. Numerous randomized clinical trials have demonstrated safety and efficacy for Sativex in central and peripheral neuropathic pain, rheumatoid arthritis and cancer pain. An Investigational New Drug application to conduct advanced clinical trials for cancer pain was approved by the US FDA in January 2006. Cannabinoid analgesics have generally been well tolerated in clinical trials with acceptable adverse event profiles. Their adjunctive addition to the pharmacological armamentarium for treatment of pain shows great promise.
These are compelling reports that show promise for treating arthritis with cannabinoids.