What is Inflammation?
Inflammation is the process by which the body responds as if normal tissues are infected or abnormal. The body releases white blood cells into blood or tissues in order to protect outside invaders. Common symptoms of inflammation include redness, swelling, pain, heat, and a loss of function at the damaged site.
How can marijuana help?
Marijuana is well known for its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties, but when deciding on a particular strain to medicate with, it is important to select a cannabis strain with a robust cannabinoid profile in order to maximize the anti-inflammatory effects. The reason why cannabis is an effective form of medication for arthritis patients is due to its ability to interact with the endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system is capable of mitigating pain and reducing inflammation when its CB1 and CB2 receptors are activated - either by naturally-produced endocannabinoids or by phytocannabinoids found in cannabis. Recently, it was discovered that CB1 and CB2 receptors are located in the knee joints of rheumatoid and osteoarthritis patients. Further tests also conclude that arthritis patients also contain two endocannabinoids (anandamide and 2-Arachidonoylglycerol) in their synovial fluid, whereas healthy patients do not, suggesting that the endocannabinoid system attempts to counteract the inflammatory effects by producing more cannabinoids. In 2004, GW Pharmaceuticals tested the efficacy of cannabinoid-based medicine on arthritis patients and found that CBM produced “statistically significant improvements in pain on movement, pain at rest, and quality of sleep,” while having little to no adverse effects.