Is it right for you? Where do you start?
By Rebecca Gillett, MS OTR/L, Live Yes! With Arthritis co-host and arthritis patient
Finding treatments to help alleviate the chronic pain of arthritis can be challenging, at best. It can be overwhelming to find treatments and medications to alleviate pain that don’t cause other issues. When you have lived with chronic pain for years, you know there is not a one-size-fits-all fix for the various aches and pains you experience.
So perhaps you have considered turning to medical cannabis products containing CBD (cannabidiol) and/or THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, the chemical that produces a “high”) to treat your arthritis symptoms. If you decide to go down that path, you will arrive at a buffet of products and treatments, depending on your state’s laws, that can be beyond confusing. Where and how do you start? What’s the best type of product to use for your particular needs?
Full disclosure: I’ve never inhaled, so I’m not an authority on the matter. I do live in Colorado, so products are readily available and seem to be showing up everywhere I go. Over the past few years, I have tried CBD products in various forms to help alleviate neck and back pain, some with minimal amounts of THC and others only CBD. I’ve also tried CBD edibles in hopes of it helping with sleep. My personal experience has been that some topical CBD products have helped with reducing my joint pain, but minimally. Edibles did not agree with my digestive system, so not for me.
All of this, of course, after discussions with my rheumatologist. We talked about whether using CBD would be a good idea as a bridge between my infusion treatments or to address sleep issues. I am fortunate to have an amazing rheumatologist who is all about shared decision-making and open communication. The fact that I can have a conversation with her about alternative treatments is important, and I know not all patients have this experience with their doctors. You are the expert of your own body, so finding a doctor who is willing to listen to your thoughts and concerns is so important.
On this episode of the Live Yes! With Arthritis Podcast, “Medical Cannabis & Arthritis,” Kevin Boehnke, PhD, University of Michigan School of Medicine, again joins my co-host Julie and me to talk about medical cannabis – also known as medical marijuana – and why the science community has shifted from this nomenclature. He will discuss research on the use of medical cannabis for arthritis and provide some guiding principles for you if you’re considering trying it for your arthritis symptoms. Tune in today.
Be sure to check out the Arthritis Foundation’s CBD Guidance for Adults With Arthritis for information, and use this as a starting point for a conversation with your doctor.