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How Does Medical Marijuana Combat Inflammation?

December 11, 2019 • • Uncategorized

Among medical marijuana’s many benefits is its ability to fight inflammation, therefore reducing symptoms for a variety of conditions.

Many of the disorders medical marijuana treats involve an inflammatory response within the body. Inflammation is the immune system’s way of fighting infection, injury, or illness. When our body senses a bacteria or virus, it sends out white blood cells to combat the infection. The same phenomenon occurs when we’re injured in order to heal our damaged cells.

Yet sometimes the body reacts to inflammation when there is no infection or trauma. In short, the body attacks its own immune system, causing pain, swelling, and joint stiffness. Autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease , Crohn’s disease, and fibromyalgia fall into that catatory. People suffering from those disorders often experience chronic pain that diminishes their quality of life. 

For many patients, medical marijuana provides the relief they need to enjoy a life free of pain. Fortunately, the state of Ohio has approved medical cannabis as therapy for a number of disorders stemming from inflammation.

How Medical Marijuana Fights Inflammation

Within our bodies are cannabinoid receptors that regulate the immune system. These receptors include CB1, present mostly in the brain, and CB2, which works in the cells of the immune system. 

Medical marijuana contains two active cannabinoids — CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) — that bind with the body’s cannabinoid receptors. This reaction effectively acts as another weapon in the fight against inflammation. CB1 and CB2 receptors are also found in the digestive tract, which explains why medical marijuna has been an effective therapy for inflammatory bowel disease. 

Another ingredient in medical cannabis, beta-caryophyllene, affects the CB2 receptor, as well. Because beta-caryophyllene doesn’t affect the CB1 receptors, it doesn’t produce the “high” the other active substances do.

In addition, medical marijuana inhibits the production of cytokines , molecules that stimulate immune system cells to rush to the area that has been injured or infected. By reducing cytokines in the body, medical marijuana effectively eliminates inflammation. 

Studies Show the Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Marijuana

Several scientific studies support medical marijuana’s anti-inflammatory properties. In 2010, Canadian researchers analyzed the effect of cannabis on chronic neuropathic or nerve pain . (Multiple sclerosis and cancer treatments may cause neuropathic pain, which can be treated with medical cannabis in Ohio.) After inhaling 25 milligrams of a 9.4 percent solution of cannabis three times a day for five days, participants reported a reduction in pain.

It’s important to note that there are several strains of medical marijuana, some of which are better at fighting inflammation than others. Strains containing a high amount of CBD are considered the top options for treating chronic pain and inflammation. The Sativa strains, in particular, possess properties suited for the treatment of inflammation, arthritis, and Crohn’s disease. In Ohio, the staff at one of the state’s dispensaries can help patients choose the strain that works best for their inflammatory disease.

Thinking About Medical Marijuana?

If you suffer from a condition that causes chronic pain and inflammation, the staff at Lakewood Medical Clinic can discuss medical cannabis as a treatment option. We’ll guide you through the medical marijuana card application process and monitor your progress as you proceed through treatment. Contact us today for an appointment so you can learn more about medical marijuana’s potential to help patients suffering from inflammatory diseases.