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Arthritis is one of the earliest ailments for which cannabis was used as treatment. Arthritis covers a wide range of inflammatory conditions but typically refers to two forms of joint inflammation. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disorder characterized by severe inflammation of a joint’s interior lining. RA can cause chronic to severe pain, permanent joint damage, and disability. Osteoarthritis (OA) of the bones is characterized by loss of cartilage in the joints, typically the hands, hips, knees, and spine. Common OA symptoms include pain, stiffness, loss of motion, and deformation of the joints.  Cannabis effectively treats pain for most patients but may not be well tolerated by older, more cannabis-naive arthritis patients.

The ability of cannabis medicines to distract from arthritis pain is well established. Various cannabinoids elicit a range of anti-inflammatory responses. It has been demonstrated that the endocannabinoid system and its receptors are found in the synovial membrane of joints. It is believed cannabinoids may play a role in the protection of cartilage in the joints.

Molecules to target Arthritis

THC is the primary pain-relieving molecule in cannabis. In addition, THC has often been cited as having twice as much anti-inflammatory activity as hydro-cortisone. Patients suffering from both forms of arthritis would benefit by targeting this compound, Again. Low dose is the key. The potent anti-inflammatory effects of THC and CBD help control pro-inflammatory factors secreted by cells associated with tissue damage that occurs in several forms of arthritis. It is difficult to find a medicinal compound in cannabis that doesn’t have anti-inflammatory properties when you get down to it. This includes many of the terpenes as well as these minor cannabinoids: THCa, CBN, CBDa, CBC, CBN, and CBG

 CBG synergizes the anti-inflammatory effects of the other cannabinoids and has anti-inflammatory properties of its own, so it should be targeted along with the others when addressing the symptoms associated with arthritis.  Of course, these compounds also have painkilling aspects, so cannabis ingested medicinally at proper dosing is particularly effective against most forms of arthritis.

THC dosage for arthritis pain should follow the “sweet spot” model for cannabis-induced distraction from pain. Start with 5 milligrams of THC and slowly increase the size of subsequent doses until pain relief peaks.

Regarding essential oils (terpenes), the anti-inflammatories are beta myrcene, beta-Caryophyllene, Alpha-pinene, borneol, 1,8- cineole, and delta-3-carene. I would target these.  All of these terpenoids are included for their pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties. Eucalyptol has some pretty powerful antinociceptive properties as well and should probably also be targeted.

Best method of ingestion 

Different ingestion techniques should be employed for rheumatoid as opposed to osteoarthritis. Oral cannabis preparations are an excellent choice for rheumatoid arthritis because their effects are long-lasting. For osteoarthritis, vaporized cannabis is particularly effective because the medicinal benefits are felt immediately.