27 September 2011

This For That: Arthritis

Arthritis (from Greek arthro-, joint + -itis, inflammation; plural: arthritides) is a form of joint disorder that involves inflammation of one or more joints.

There are over 100 different forms of arthritis. The most common form, osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease) is a result of trauma to the joint, infection of the joint, or age. Other arthritis forms are rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and related autoimmune diseases. Septic arthritis is caused by joint infection. – Wikipedia entry on Arthritis

The most common cause of disability in The United States today is arthritis. With over 20 million people suffering each day from a severe loss of functionality, arthritis accounts for one million hospitalizations each year along with 45 million outpatient visits.

The total loss to our economy from arthritis is estimated to be roughly $100 billion from lost earnings and health care costs. Not to mention the costs from health care problems related to arthritis, lke obesity, which in turn can lead to diabetes and heart disease.

The most common symptoms of arthritis are swelling and stiffness around the joints, resulting in various levels of pain. On the higher end of the pain scale sufferers can become completely debilitated.

While many people use harmful prescription drugs to cotrol their symptoms, many choose a safer alternative to reduce the inflammation that causes them joint pain: cannabis.

According to recent scientific research (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080720222549.htm) the substance beta-carophyllene is present in 12% to 35% of the cannabis plant’s essential oils. This substance is key is triggering the CB2 receptor in our tissues, reducing inflammation. Once the receptor is activated the tissue sends out less pro-inflammatory signal substances, bringing relief to sufferers of arthritis and other ailments that cause joint pain.

Many medical marijuana patients find that cannabis strains high in the cannabinoid CBD bring the most relief to their inflammation symptoms. Stay Native Medicine on Facebook – who studied at Oaksterdam University in Oakland, CA – told me that two high-CBD strains work well for them: Purple Erkle and Bubblegum.

Since CBD is not psychoactive like THC is, many breeders have been “weeding” out CBD in favor of higher THC contents, but this doesn’t do juch good for patients looking for the medicinal properties contained in CBD.

Harlequin is a well-known CBD-rich strain from the bay area in California. A sativa dominant hybrid, Harlequin was tested at Steep Hill Lab in Oakland, CA and came back with a 4% CBD content (considered high – no pun intended) and only 2% THC, meaning it’s a very good medicating strain for this with inflammation who don’t want the “high” cannabis with a lot of THC can produce.

Our friends at Humboldt Relief checked with some of their patients and said, “One of our patients said Jane Doe relives his symptoms. I’ve also heard that Ingrid works well for this ailment. Topical cannabis ointments may be effective as well as edibles. One of our patients swears by Cannamilk for pain and as a sleep aid.” Many arthritis suffers have found relief from topical oinments made from cannabis oil.

From ProjectCBD.org comes more strains that have consistently tested high in CBD content, such as Sour Tsunami which was stabilized by Lawrence Ringo of the Southern Humboldt Seed Collective. Some batches of ST have tested at 10%+ CBD with only 6-7% THC. It seems Mr. Ringo created the strain to deal with his chronic back pain, but the anti-imflammatory effects would work well on arthritis joint pain also.

Cannatonic is another good strain for inflammation. From Resin Seeds in Barcelona, Spain, Cannatonic has a misleading name since the 6% CBD does an admirable job offsetting some of the effects of the 6% THC.

From Aunt Zelda’s Natural Edibles comes the suggestion of Grand Daddy Purple, which they say works wonders in  “cannaoil, and [we] have had excellent results baking, cooking, and even topical [with GDP].”

Jamacian Lion is another CBD-rich strain that can be found in the bay area, including at Harborside Healthcenter, which had its own part to play in the story of JL. It seems the grower of this strain was low on funds due to his house being robbed and he brought some processed Jamican Lion flowers to HHC to sell.

When they had Steep Hill test the flowers, they came back with almost 9% CBD content compared to 5% THC. The rest, as they say, is history – and very beneficial to patients.

Finding the right strain for you is not an exact science, and some trial and error is necessary. Consult your family, friends, doctor and budtender to see if they can help you find the best strains for your ailments. This is especially true if you are looking for a high CBD strain since there are so few as compared to strains that are bred for high THC levels.

Joe Klare
26 September, 2011
the 420 TIMES

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