Natural Care

How cannabis fights inflammation

Older woman suffering from arthritis and shoulder pain inflammation

Google searches for the term ‘inflammation’ have more than doubled in the last 15 years. Considering the impact inflammation has on our bodies, it’s no wonder it’s on our minds.

A natural part of the healing cycle, acute inflammation is a temporary response to injury or infection, resulting in swelling, tenderness and increased local temperature. Acute inflammation is a necessary function of the body’s defense system, and something we all deal with from time to time.

But when that natural processes continues longer than it should, or fires up when nothing’s wrong in the first place, the result is chronic inflammation.

Left unchecked, chronic inflammation can lead to DNA damage and tissue death, and is linked to the development of several diseases, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes,  stroke, Alzheimer’s disease and certain cancers.

Chronic inflammatory conditions include all types of arthritis, and autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBS), lupus, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Grave’s disease, type 1 diabetes and celiac disease. Medical researchers Roma Pahwa and Ishwarlal Jialal, call chronic inflammatory diseases the “most significant cause of death in the world.”

How does cannabis help inflammation?

THC and CBD, two of the cannabis plant’s best-known cannabinoids, or naturally-occurring chemical compounds, are known anti-inflammatories. THC alone “has twenty times the anti-inflammatory potency of aspirin and twice that of hydrocortisone.”

Other ingredients commonly found in cannabis are also anti-inflammatory, including the terpenes humulene, pinene, linalool, limonene and especially caryophyllene.

Every cannabis strain contains a unique composition of cannabinoids and terpenes – and therefore a unique mix of anti-inflammatory qualities. More research is needed to match specific plant qualities with specific conditions, but we can safely say that virtually every strain of cannabis possesses some degree of anti-inflammatory qualities.

And in a roundabout way, cannabis may also ease inflammation by soothing conditions that can aggravate it, such as stress and insomnia.

What else helps with inflammation?

There’s no silver bullet for systemic or chronic inflammation, but there are some preventative healing practices, which will be familiar to anyone who’s ever asked a medical doctor or “Dr. Google” how to live well: quit smoking, exercise regularly, clock a good night’s sleep, stay hydrated, and choose fruits, vegetables and whole grains over fats, sugars and alcohol.

How can I get a cannabis prescription for inflammation?

Natural Care frequently sees patients dealing with the pain of inflammatory conditions such as autoimmune disorders and arthritis, as well as aggravating conditions like insomnia and stress. Book a free consultation with a Natural Care prescriber to see if cannabis might be right for you.

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