Over the last few years, scientists have been studying the effects of cannabis on a wide range of medical issues. Many studies already exist proving its benefits for treating chronic pain, and millions of users worldwide attest to this fact. More and more, people are ditching drug stores in favor of dispensaries in Antioch, since marijuana is now an accepted strategy for effective pain management.
However, will it work for pain as severe as osteoarthritis? For some, it does. For others, it may not be enough. For everyone, it is worth trying. Marijuana contains cannabinoids, the active compounds that have medical value. These include tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, and cannabidiol, or CBD, as well as many others. Most of them have pain-relieving properties, especially when they work together.
All cannabinoids have therapeutic value, as scientists are now discovering in abundance. Cannabinoids work in the human body the same way that its natural endocannabinoids do, meaning they are compatible with the endocannabinoid system responsible for most body functions. These include memory, appetite, immune health, and yes, even pain and your perception of it.
However, everybody responds to cannabinoids differently. Furthermore, how you take it also changes its effects on you. For example, smoking marijuana is very different to, say, eating it. Whatever your methods of consumption, the sooner cannabinoids enter your bloodstream, the faster they will work. For pain, smoking is the quickest way of finding relief, with edibles being the slowest.
Pros of Marijuana for Osteoarthritis
Cannabis treats osteoarthritis in a few different ways, and this multiple-pronged approach is the reason for its effectiveness. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, it works by targeting and eliminating joint inflammation and by numbing your perception of pain. It also triggers a healthier immune response, relieves muscle spasms, and treats the side effects of prescription painkillers.
For severe and chronic pain, such as osteoarthritis, marijuana forms part of a multimodal plan for pain management. Your doctor may recommend it to reduce reliance on painkillers, lower your prescription dosage, and even wean yourself off narcotics entirely. Despite this, many patients fear a life without painkillers, so what are the other advantages of cannabis therapy?
Marijuana is All Natural
Cannabis, especially in its flower form, is unprocessed. Flowers are 100 percent natural, a direct product of nature. Oils, edibles, and other forms of cannabis go through an extraction process, but if the company is honest and complies with best practice, then methods such as supercritical CO2 extraction use no solvents to extract cannabinoids in their purest form. There are no chemicals in cannabis.
Marijuana is Safer
It is impossible to overdose from cannabis. You can certainly consume too much THC, which is unpleasant at best, but it will never risk your life. Unlike prescription painkillers, pot has never killed anybody, accidentally or otherwise. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, opioids kill around 78 people every day. It is also safer to use in conjunction with other medications.
Marijuana is Less Addictive
The current opioid epidemic sweeping across America is a national crisis. These drugs are highly addictive and prescribed for seemingly every ache and pain. Osteoarthritic patients quickly become dependent, since life without relief is simply unbearable. However, marijuana is mild and non-addictive. There is no risk of life-threatening withdrawal symptoms if you stop for a day or two.
Marijuana has Fewer Side Effects
Cannabis has far fewer side effects than pain medications, and those that it does have are not dangerous. According to WebMD, you might feel anxious, confused, and even hallucinatory on marijuana, with a faster heart rate, dizziness, and dry mouth. However, painkillers can cause stroke, heart attack, seizures, erectile dysfunction, vomiting, constipation, and even death.
Marijuana can Reduce Painkillers
Cannabis can make you need less painkillers. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, one study found that of participants in a recent study, “97 percent of the sample strongly agreed or agreed that they are able to decrease the amount of opioids they consume when they use cannabis.” You require fewer painkillers when you use weed with them, and you can eventually ditch them altogether.
Cons of Marijuana for Osteoarthritis
Although the benefits of using cannabis to treat osteoarthritis far outweigh the negatives, there are still some disadvantages to consider. Before visiting dispensaries in Antioch or typing “marijuana dispensary near me” into your favorite search bar, do your homework and talk to people who are already using it. Talk to your doctor first and remember to ask him or her about the following potential issues:
Marijuana Not as Effective
Everybody reacts differently to cannabis therapy. Although everyone with mild to moderate pain will attest to its effectiveness at treating it, those with more chronic, severe pain, such as osteoarthritis, may still need to use some painkillers to get relief. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, many studies prove that cannabis offers temporary pain relief, but none proves this over the long-term.
Marijuana has a Stigma Attached
Over the last century, heavy and hard-hitting propaganda has brainwashed people into thinking that cannabis is harmful. During prohibition, the media onslaught focused on its dangers. Although still federally illegal, views are quickly changing, socially, politically, and culturally. However, some still feel uncomfortable using previously illegal “street drugs” as medication. This stigma will take time to die.
Marijuana has No Insurance Coverage
Insurance providers are hesitant to cover medical marijuana. Because it is still illegal at the federal level, they could encounter legal and other penalties. Furthermore, doctors may not “prescribe” cannabis, but only recommend it. Patients bypass medical facilities entirely to get it at dispensaries in Antioch, which limits access and makes coverage even more difficult. Expect to pay for it out of your own pocket.
For patients suffering from osteoarthritis, cannabis therapy is a must-try. The only way to know if it will honestly work for you is to try it yourself. Type “marijuana dispensary near me” into your search engine and see which dispensaries in Antioch come up in the results. Once you have a list, check their reviews, product selection, and helpfulness before parting with any of your hard-earned dollars.