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Cannabis Fights Cartilage Loss in Arthritis

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knee-1406964_1280A recent study published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health shows that synthetic cannabinoid treatment reduces osteoarthritis-related cartilage breakdown. This isn’t exactly breaking news to us, or any avid cannabis aficionado, but it is fantastic that evidence like this is being shared with the rest of the world, in a competent and comprehensive way. There have been decades of anecdotal evidence showing us that this is true, but since the federal government refuses to re-schedule the plant, studies confirming the evidence have been sparse, if at all.

The two main types of arthritis are osteo and rheumatoid. Osteoarthritis is the more common, less severe form of the disease and is estimated to affect more than 20 million Americans. Osteoarthritis can be caused by a number of things, including everyday wear and tear, obesity or injury, and it forces eventual breakdown of protective joint cartilage. It is the most common joint disorder suffered by patients. While it typically plagues the joints of the hands, knees, hips and spine, osteoarthritis can strike any joint in the body. This condition results in stiffness, chronic (and often severe) pain and limited mobility.

Due to cannabis’ analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, it makes sense that the plant would act as an effective treatment option for osteoarthritis patients.

The most recent study, conducted by researchers at The Second Xiangya Hospital of Central South University in China’s Hunan province, provides scientific evidence to support “a novel mechanism by which cannabinoids may prevent cartilage breakdown in OA (osteoarthritis).”

Dr. Ethan Russo, a friend of CULTURE, has repeatedly spouted the medicinal properties that cannabis can have for arthritis, “Science has now demonstrated that the THC component of cannabis is a very effective analgesic (pain killer) [while] the CBD (cannabidiol) component has unique immunomodulatory benefits . . . supporting benefits in treatment of . . . arthritis.”

Many doctors have become strong proponents of CBD as a treatment for osteoarthritis. It is great for pain and inflammation, but it is more appealing to masses because it is not psychoactive. CBD is prescribed for children, seniors or just anyone who does not desire to or cannot afford to experience a euphoric, psychoactive effect along with their daily medicinal regimen.

This new study and published support is a great step toward mass acceptance of cannabis in the medical and public communities.

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