Arthritis is a common ailment that causes inflammation and pain in a joint. According to the CDC, an estimated 54.4 million adults have doctor-diagnosed arthritis. Of these, 23.5% are women, while 18.1% are men.
With the aging US population, CDC experts estimate that arthritis will increase in the coming decades. In fact, by 2040, experts project that an estimated 78.4 million US adults aged 18 years and older will have doctor-diagnosed arthritis. Two-thirds of these will be women, while a third will be men.
Studies show that medical marijuana can offer relief. If you currently live in California, you can acquire a medical marijuana card for use when buying cannabis from local dispensaries.
Does Arthritis Qualify You for a Medical Marijuana Card in California?
For patients who have arthritis, medical cannabis is a great choice. Not only will cannabis help to keep pain and inflammation under control. But it can help in managing other ailments such as mood disorders and lack of appetite.
Most people don’t know that arthritis is not a single disease. There are more than 100 types of arthritis and related conditions. This is according to the Arthritis Foundation.
- Degenerative Arthritis
- Inflammatory Arthritis
- Metabolic Arthritis
- Infectious arthritis
Types of Arthritis
The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis, a form of degenerative arthritis. Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage on the ends of bones wears away. When this happens, bones begin to rub against each other, causing pain. It also leads to stiffness and swelling.
The most affected joints are those in the:
Over time the pain becomes chronic, and you may end up losing strength. Experts identified the following risk factors:
- Family history
- Excess weight
- Previous injury
Rheumatoid arthritis is a form of inflammatory arthritis. It occurs when the human body generates internal inflammation to prevent disease and get rid of infections. If your immune system is not working correctly, it will mistakenly attack your joints.
Your immune system does so with uncontrolled inflammation. This causes joint erosion. Besides causing damage to the joints, inflammation causes damage to your eyes, internal organs, and the rest of the body.
Experts believe that environmental factors and genetics trigger autoimmunity. Other forms of inflammatory arthritis are gout, psoriatic arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis.
When it comes to metabolic arthritis, uric acid forms in the body. It occurs when the body breaks down prunes. For people with high levels of uric acid, it happens when the body produces more than needed.
In some people, uric acid can build up and form crystals. This results in joint pain. In some cases, gout may occur, especially if the levels of uric acid are not reduced. If unchecked, this condition can become chronic.
Lastly, we have infectious arthritis. It occurs when a fungus, virus, or bacterium enters a joint and triggers inflammation. Examples of microorganisms that may infect your joints include:
- Hepatitis C
In many cases, antibiotics may clear the infection, but it may turn chronic if not treated early.
Does Medical Cannabis Work for Arthritis?
In California, marijuana has been legal even before the passing of the S.420 Marijuana Revenue Regulation Act. The passage of Proposition 215 was a great victory to the people of California, especially those who have arthritis. The bill gave them a right to buy medical marijuana to alleviate the symptoms of arthritis.
Traditional treatment methods for arthritis have dangerous side effects. A good example is Tylenol, which exacerbates bleeding and liver issues. Other drugs interfere with the immune system to fight infections.
With cannabis, this is not the case. Growing evidence reveals that medical cannabis is excellent at alleviating pain. This is because the active ingredients in cannabis – THC, and CBD – interact with pain receptors in the body. This impacts how the brain and spinal cord process pain.
In 2018, researchers sought to find out if cannabinoids can treat rheumatic diseases. Preliminary clinical trials explored the effects of cannabis on rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
Evidence from the clinical trials reveals that CBD is an effective treatment for rheumatic diseases. Researchers found that cannabinoids affect apoptosis and cytokine production of immune cells. As such, they act as immune modulators.
Cannabinoids possess therapeutic potential for diseases such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Another study sought to find out the characteristics of chronic pain patients in seeking treatment with medical cannabis.
The study involved 139 patients – 87 males and 52 females. Most patients had more than one pain syndrome. What researchers discovered is that cannabis alleviates the symptoms of arthritis.
Researchers have also found that cannabis has anti-inflammatory properties. As such, medical cannabis has the potential to treat chronic pain. They first discovered that patients with arthritis also have high levels of CB1 receptors.
They concluded that marijuana triggers the activation of CB1 receptors reducing pain and inflammation.
How to Get a California Medical Marijuana Card for Arthritis
In California, patients and their caregivers can grow, legally use and possess cannabis for medical use thanks to Prop 215. If you suffer any form of arthritis and would like to use medical marijuana as a treatment, apply for a California medical marijuana card online. To obtain one, you must schedule an appointment with your doctor.
At the doctor’s office, he will carry out a diagnosis to determine if you have any form of arthritis. If the doctor finds out you have any form of arthritis, he will issue a written recommendation.
With the written recommendation, you can visit a local dispensary and buy medical marijuana for use. It’s important to remember that you must present the recommendation letter at the local dispensary. It’s also essential to have the letter while in possession of marijuana.
If a law enforcement officer stops you, present the written recommendation letter. To get the medical marijuana card, you must provide proof of residency and your California issued ID. Remember, you must be 18 years and older to apply for a medical marijuana card for yourself.