Arthritis is one of the most common chronic conditions in the United States with roughly 54 million adults currently suffering from it.
There are many different forms of arthritis, including rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, but the condition basically comes down to deterioration and inflammation of the joints. The causes vary, but factors that might play a role include previous injuries, weight, genetics and aging.
Without a cure, it’s important to be proactive in managing the condition in order to mitigate its effects. Regular physical activity, strengthening the muscles that support our joints, and maintaining a healthy body weight are all important steps towards improving quality of life when suffering from arthritis. In spite of all these efforts, pain management can still be difficult.
Helping the body control the inflammation in arthritic joints is vital to reducing the pain experienced by patients. Over-the-counter medications are one approach, but doctors have been exploring more natural alternatives. In one study, rats suffering from their own form of arthritis responded positively to the application of topical CBD gel to their painful joints and experienced a reduction in inflammation. While that’s all well and good for our rodent friends, the potential for cannabinoids to improve the condition in humans is also being explored.
Dr. Jason McDougall is currently studying the potential for cannabinoids to support pain management in arthritic patients and possibly improve the condition over time. Dr. McDougall’s work is focusing primarily on the non-psychoactive cannabinoids, such as CBD. In his description of nerves in arthritis patients, he points out,
“[The nerves are like] wires that have been stripped of their coating. They’re all bare, they’re all raw and responsible for feeling a lot of pain. What we hypothesize is that by locally administering these cannabis-like molecules to those nerves, we’d actually be able to repair them and reduce the pain of arthritis.”
The extensive study will hopefully provide some much needed help for current and future arthritis sufferers.