Arthritis isn’t just one disease — it’s a term for the more than 100 inflammatory disorders that affect the joints and cause pain. It’s also incredibly common: As of 2018, roughly 91 million people in the U.S. suffered from arthritis (37 percent of the population), according to an analysis of National Health Interview Survey data. The majority of those cases were osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Osteoarthritis is primarily found in the hips, hands, knees, and spine. It’s considered wear and tear on the cartilage that cushions the bones where they meet in the joint. If the cartilage wears down enough, the bones may end up rubbing together. This can happen over time, or more quickly depending on the kind of job you work or if you have a joint injury. Symptoms usually include pain, swelling, stiffness, tenderness, and loss of flexibility.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory autoimmune disorder that generally affects the hands, wrists, and knees. Unlike the wear and tear of osteoarthritis, RA involves the immune system attacking healthy cells throughout the body and causing damage to the lining of the joints. The disease often progresses to larger joints, like the ankles, knees, elbows, and hips, and may also affect other parts of the body, like the skin, eyes, and nerve tissue. Typical RA symptoms include painful, swollen joints, as well as fatigue and fever. Treatments include medications, physical therapy, and sometimes surgery. Cannabis and CBD can also ease the pain and swelling associated with arthritis. You can get expert opinion and research on arthritis and cannabis as a treatment here at cannabisMD.