3 Popular Questions About Marijuana & Arthritis Answered

Arthritis is a fairly common condition in which inflammation of the joints causes pain, stiffness and trouble moving. Because cannabis exhibits anti-inflammatory properties, some arthritis sufferers anecdotally say that the plant has helped with their condition. Cannabis also causes fewer side effects than traditional treatments do—mainly nonsteroidal drugs that can also cause ulcers, stomach pain and diarrhea.

We’ve compiled our most popular questions about how marijuana can be an effective treatment for arthritis pain. We hope you find this information useful if you or someone you know is thinking about treating arthritis with cannabis.


Q: I have severe rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. What solution is best to relieve my chronic pain?

Answer: @dredmunds Cannabis may be useful in the treatment of both rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and fibromyalgia. Cannabis has both immune-modulating properties and anti-inflammatory properties in addition to analgesic effects. Because both RA and fibromyalgia are systemic illnesses, most patients administer either vaporized or ingested cannabis. Strains or products with a higher CBD/THC ratio have been effective in alleviating chronic pain while lessening psychoactive effects of the medicine.

Also, for musculoskeletal discomfort in general, many patients have found topical salves to be beneficial in treating localized joint or muscle pain. One benefit of this approach is that most, if not all, of the cannabis does not enter the blood stream, so there are no systemic effects; therefore, topicals can be used comfortably during the day as well as the night.


Q: My husband has severe arthritis in his hand. Cannabis oil has been recommended, what is best?

Answer: @andrewvanmd Cannabis can be utilized in a number of ways for arthritis relief. You may want to start with topical creams applied directly to the arthritic areas. Tinctures of a whole plant cannabis preparation with CBD and THC can be applied under the tongue and should take effect within 20 minutes. Inhaled cannabis will provide more immediate relief. Try a variety of methods and see what works best for you.

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Q: Would you recommend Sweet ReLeaf topical for arthritis pain or migraines?

Answer: @ryan I have used many topicals and Sweet ReLeaf is consistently one of my favorites! From my observations, they also have the strongest formula for the price. I always keep one at my desk for wrist pain and find it very effective at reducing my pain and swelling if things flare up. I would highly recommend Sweet ReLeaf for your wrist pain.

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Photo credit: Ant Rozetsky

If you’re new to cannabis and want to learn more, take a look at our Cannabis 101 post. HelloMD can help you get your medical marijuana recommendation; it’s easy, private and 100% online.


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