Is Marijuana Good For Arthritis? (The Good & The Bad)

Is Marijuana Good For Arthritis? The Good & The Bad

In my fight with RA, I came across a few “controversial” remedies .

The best example I could give you is marijuana – or herbal cannabis (its other name). At one point, it was really popular as a pain reliever.

  • But is it worth trying out this unusual remedy?
  • Is marijuana good for arthritis?
  • Can it really decrease the pain – or it’s just the fuss around it?

I couldn’t find a clear answer – so I tried to analyze several aspects about marijuana and arthritis.



#1 – Decreases Inflammation

No matter what people say – marijuana does relieve the pain:

  • Is Marijuana Good For Arthritis?doesn’t work overnight
  • but it works faster than many herbs

But here’s the great part about it – it doesn’t only help 1 kind of pain.

With marijuana, you will experience general relief (even if you have 3 parts of your body aching). 

How It Helps

Here’s what a 2014 Chinese studied found out:

  • arthritis patients have many CB2 receptors in their joints [1]
  • marijuana actually activates these receptors
  • once they are activated, inflammation decreases and
  • the same does the pain

Since there’s some clinical evidence behind – this is surely true.

So marijuana or herbal cannabis does decrease arthritis pain – according to studies.

How much it decreases it, well – that depends of other factors. 

#2 – CBD Oil Is Safe

Truth is – few people know about that Chinese study.

However – a lot more use marijuana for arthritis just because it helps. But they don’t use the herb alone, but its oil.

Now – how exactly can you tell CBD oil is safe? What does it do for pain?

How It Helps

Marijuana contains 2 anti-inflammatory compounds:

  1. CBD
  2. THC

Now – THC seems to be more effective and work faster, but it also has one big downside.

It makes you “get high”. So if you ever tried marijuana – it’s the THC that made you get so high.

On the other hand, CBD is less dangerous:

  • doesn’t work as well as THC
  • weaker effect overall
  • doesn’t cause this kind of side effects

So that’s why lots of people use CBD oil instead of whole marijuana herb. [2]  You can also apply the oil topically, so it’s a lot easier and safer. 

Now – lots of people say marijuana it’s dangerous, but that’s not true:

  1. If you choose CBD oil instead of the whole herb, it’s not dangerous at all.
  2. You can never get high from CBD oil.

Besides – CBD oil is available without a prescription.

You can find it in most retailers easily. Just keep in mind that it’s quite pricey.


#3 – Many Ways To Use It

When you hear about marijuana – you probably think about smoking, right?

Is Marijuana Good For Arthritis? The Good & The Bad

Well, if that was a reason to refuse this remedy – check this out:

  • there are lots of ways to use marijuana
  • smoking isn’t even recommended for pain relief

Besides, lots of doctors advise their patients to avoid smoking (even if it’s for pain relief).

How It Helps

So how exactly can you use marijuana for arthritis?

Well – lately, there’s been an increase in cannabis products:

  • Tinctures
  • sprays and patches
  • even suppositories
  • not to mention the eternal oil

You can use any of these forms – depending on what method you prefer.

But if you don’t like any, there’s more. You can also find marijuana in special chews or cookies.

So if you don’t want to feel like you’re taking a medicine – you can try these products. 


#4 – Improves Sleep Quality

People with arthritis have a really hard time falling asleep – usually because of the pain.

Well, medical marijuana helps with that too.

However – it doesn’t make you sleep better just because it relieves the pain. There’s another reason behind.

How It Helps

As I said – one of the main compounds from marijuana is THC:

  • it’s the responsible for that “high” feeling
  • it will also make you sleepy

Well – here’s what a 2008 study proved:

  1. Marijuana produces a deeper slee, (without dreams or nightmares). [3]
  2. It improves the quality of your sleep.

However, it’s not all that good. Getting a better sleep means that you’re getting a high quantity of THC.

THC is basically a drug – so that would cause you more harm than good. 

Besides, it’s not a sure thing. As it can improve the sleep quality for some persons – it can also damage it for others. So take an extra care.




#1 – Causes Serious Side Effects

The main reason why doctors don’t recommend medical marijuana is because of its side effects.

Is Marijuana Good For Arthritis? The Good & The Bad

But what if you use CBD oil?:

  • it doesn’t contain any THC
  • so it won’t give you any hallucinations

Well – even the safe CBD oil can have some potential side effects (but only if you take it by mouth).

Why It’s Dangerous

Any type of marijuana can cause:

  • mental problems
  • heart disease

In fact, the risks are much higher than in regular medicines.

Besides – they increase on the long term.

As arthritis is a chronic condition – you would need marijuana constantly to get pain relief.

But there’s more on the negative side:

  • people with arthritis are more likely to become depressed
  • it’s this condition that makes you feel bad

So if you add up marijuana, you have higher chances to end up in depression. 

From this point of view – I recommend you to stay away from it. Or you can at least ask your doctor’s advice before you try it out.


#2 – Addictive Potential

Do you think you could never become addicted to a real drug?

Do you think you could stop whenever you felt it was too much?

Well – think twice.

Even though you’re taking marijuana for medical reasons – that doesn’t make it less dangerous. 

Why It’s Dangerous

On the long term, marijuana could become addictive.

What exactly do I mean by this?

  1. You need to increase the dose to get the same effect.
  2. It’s like your body starts to tolerate this herb and needs more of it everyday. 

So that’s a really serious thing to consider before trying out marijuana for your arthritis.

Could you face an eventual addiction? Could you get over it?


My Verdict – Is Marijuana Good For Arthritis?

Short answer: Sort of – it’s natural and it does relieve the pain, but I don’t think it’s worth the risks:

  1. You will most likely become addicted to it at one point.
  2. It also has some unpleasant side effects (like depression).

Now – I personally have never tried marijuana for my RA. And at this point – I never plan to.

  • there are too many risks involved
  • if you have some health problems, it’s really dangerous

So my advice is to think twice and ask your doctor first.

If he thinks marijuana is worth the risks, then you may go for it. It’s all up to you.

But don’t forget that there are many other remedies that are less dangerous and more powerful.

And if it really matters, they’re also cheaper. 


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Heather Pharm.D.

Heather Tracy Foley is a Pharmacy graduate, Blogger and Author with a vast experience in health sciences. She has a particular interest in joint pain and rheumatology and spent several years studying health problems. You can find her on Pinterest or via email.

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2 Responses

  1. Visitor says:

    Thanks for taking the time to write this article. You gave a clear verdict which happens to agree with my opinion about weed & joint pain. They’re not really going well together. I think the risks are too high to be worth giving it a shot.

  2. Heather says:

    Hey there. Yes, I wouldn’t really advise people to try marijuana when we have other herbs that are famous for healing joint pain. Thanks for letting me know your opinion.

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