Arthritis is a very common condition that impacts the lives of millions of Canadians across the country. Considering how debilitating and uncomfortable arthritis can be, it makes perfect sense that more patients than ever are considering medical cannabis consumption as an arthritis treatment. If you or a loved one is interested in medical cannabis for arthritis, read on below to understand how best to take the medication to treat symptoms.
Best Marijuana Consumption Methods for Arthritis Pain Relief
There is a rapidly growing body of evidence that points to the effectiveness of medical cannabis for pain relief.
Study after study has shown that taking medical cannabis for chronic pain can positively impact quality of life among patients battling all manner of conditions, from migraine pain, to inflammation, to fibromyalgia, to many of the chronic pain conditions predominately affecting seniors.
The simple fact is that medical cannabis has shown to be effective at mitigating pain symptoms, including arthritis pain, in a variety of studies.
So while you have good cause to be confident in the benefits of medical cannabis consumption for arthritis, the next step is figuring out which method is best when using medical cannabis for arthritis.
An Overview of How to Take Medical Marijuana for Arthritis Pain
Typically, there are three common methods of applying medical cannabis for arthritis treatment. These methods are:
- Topical application
Below, we’ll break down what each method entails and look at which may be best for your treatment.
Pros and Cons of Each Consumption Method for Arthritis Pain Relief
Inhaling Cannabis for Arthritis Pain Relief
In terms of inhaling medical cannabis, you have a couple of different options.
The first we’ll look into is vaping.
Vaping, which is nearly odourless, is thought to be easier on the lungs relative to smoking (the other inhalation option). Vaping works by heating the plant to a very high temperature, vaporizing it rather than burning via the application of flame.
Vaping can be done through a vape cartridge—purchased from a Licensed Producer—and usually contains 0.5g to 1g of cannabis concentrate that is attached to a battery and used as needed.
Alternatively, patients can purchase a vape that can be used with dried cannabis flower or one that allows you to use your own concentrate and refill as needed. This option can be costly as vapourizors can cost anywhere from $100 to $700+ depending on the features and size of the unit. While there has been concerns around vaping due to health issues reported in the United States, it is important to note that Health Canada does not allow Canadian Licensed Producers to use additives like Vitamin E acetate that caused the health issues in the United States.
Smoking, by contrast, is cheaper and easier to access, but does often carry with it the typical drawbacks that smokers face—namely, a harsh strain on the lungs. And while smoking cannabis is different than smoking cigarettes in myriad ways (namely, the lack of nicotine), there are still potentially harmful chemicals that you will ingest should you opt to smoke your medical cannabis.
Ingesting Cannabis for Arthritis Pain Relief
With ingestion, we have three main methods of consumption.
Edibles involve eating your medical cannabis. This is simple and easy for many patients, as it requires no other equipment or training (we all know how to eat, after all). Edibles also don’t leave behind a strong odour or expel smoke.
The issue with edibles, however, is that their effects can be hard to predict. The tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that produces the mind-altering effect isn’t usually evenly distributed throughout the body, resulting in more unpredictable euphoric highs.
Capsules or softgels are an effective method of ingestion that can be more predictable than edibles but can also take longer for the body to absorb. Eating fatty foods (cannabis is fat soluble) helps.
Finally, tinctures involve having a drop of medical marijuana administered orally. They are great for receiving precise dosages, and the pain-relieving effects typically last longer compared to other administration methods. The downside is that it does take longer to kick in and can have an aftertaste.
Applying Cannabis to Skin for Arthritis Pain Relief
When applying medical cannabis directly to the skin, you generally have two options available to you.
Topical ointments won’t get you feeling that euphoric high (and in general, have almost no psychological effects), but will quickly help to relieve pain. One of the drawbacks is that they can be quite pungent.
Bath bombs are also an excellent way to get relief from symptoms while taking a much-needed soak. Like topical creams the bath bomb releases its THC and/or CBD into the bath water and is absorbed into the skin. Patients often indicate they see effects peak the day after using the bath bombs.
Transdermal patches are adhesives that carry medical cannabinoids. They’re an excellent option for long-lasting pain relief, as the dosage is delivered slowly. They’re also, however, one of the most expensive options. Moreover, they usually aren’t as effective as other methods for dealing with severe pain.
How Much CBD Should One Consider Consuming?
For those with arthritis, there are no established medical guidelines for the exact dosage most patients should take. Having said that, there are some guidelines from the Arthritis Foundation:
- Patients should be aware of the cannabidiol (CBD) content of their medication, especially in liquid form, as this can help determine the dosage.
- Start off with a lower dosage and work your way up. Whatever your preferred delivery method, start off with a lower dose and increase it every two weeks if you’re finding that it’s effective without causing any unwanted side effects.
- Beware too much THC and the psychological side effects. Some patients may be unbothered by the THC, but others might find it overwhelming.
- If you’re not feeling any effects after several weeks, it’s best to speak with a doctor about the next steps.
- If you experience any side effects when using medical cannabis, inform your doctor right away. If they are severe, stop taking the medication until you’ve had a chance to notify your doctor.
Medical Cannabis Consulting for Canadians
When it comes to medical cannabis consumption as an arthritis treatment, there are a variety of methods, each with their own pros and cons.
But the good news is that taking medical cannabis for arthritis could be an effective way to manage your symptoms.
If you’re ready to see if you can benefit from medical cannabis for pain relief, get in touch with us at Medical Marijuana Consulting (MMC).
Our cannabis clinic takes a holistic approach to prescribing medical cannabis. We guide our patients through the medical marijuana system so they can access medication that could lessen their symptoms.
We’ll build your personal treatment plan from the ground up. You’ll have access to a team of physicians, psychiatrists, and nurse practitioners, able to provide prescriptions, assist you in getting your prescription costs covered through your insurance provider (if eligible), and help you select a licensed producer.
Our white-glove treatment means you’re never alone. MMC also offers one-on-one educational sessions on everything you need to know about medical cannabis, including how to safely consume medical marijuana.
Want to grow your own medical cannabis at home? We can help you apply for a Grow Your Own License with Health Canada.
At MMC, we want to make access to medical cannabis as simple as possible for as many people as possible. Join our Ambassador Program and receive $15 for every person you refer to MMC that becomes a patient. To learn more about Medical Marijuana Consulting and how you can secure a prescription as part of your personalized medical cannabis treatment plan, book a consultation online, contact us at 844-312-5143, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.