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Arthritis and Medicinal Cannabis

Arthritis Awareness Month is an annual opportunity to shed light on the millions of Canadians living with arthritis and the impact it has on their lives. Arthritis, a term encompassing over 100 different conditions, affects people of all ages, genders, and backgrounds. While traditional treatments like pain relievers and physical therapy are common, there’s a growing interest in alternative therapies, including medicinal cannabis, for managing arthritis symptoms. Let’s explore the potential of medicinal cannabis as a complementary approach to arthritis management during Arthritis Awareness Month.

Understanding Arthritis

Before delving into medicinal cannabis, it’s important to understand arthritis and its various forms. Arthritis is characterized by joint inflammation, pain, and stiffness. The most common types in Canada are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, affecting millions of Canadians. These conditions can significantly impact a person’s quality of life, making effective pain management crucial.

Medicinal Cannabis and Arthritis

Medicinal cannabis has gained recognition for its potential therapeutic benefits in managing arthritis symptoms. While research is ongoing, several studies suggest that cannabis may offer relief in the following way:

• Pain Management: Arthritis pain is often chronic and can be challenging to treat. Cannabinoids, the active compounds in cannabis, have shown promise in reducing pain perception.

• Inflammation Reduction: Inflammation is a hallmark of arthritis. Some cannabinoids, such as CBD, possess anti-inflammatory properties, which may help mitigate joint inflammation in arthritis patients.

Improved Sleep: Many arthritis patients struggle with sleep disturbances due to pain and discomfort. Certain cannabinoids and cultivars may promote better sleep quality.

Enhanced Mood: Chronic pain conditions like arthritis can lead to depression and anxiety. Cannabis may have mood-enhancing effects, potentially improving the mental well-being of arthritis patients.

Reduced Medication Dependency: Some individuals with arthritis may be able to reduce their reliance on traditional pain medications, which often come with side effects, by incorporating medicinal cannabis into their treatment regimen.

A recent observational study found that medicinal cannabis use is associated with a reduction in opioid prescriptions among patients with osteoarthritis. This suggests that incorporating medicinal cannabis into the treatment regimen for osteoarthritis patients may help reduce their reliance on opioid medications. The study’s findings highlight the potential of medicinal cannabis as an alternative or complementary therapy for managing pain in osteoarthritis patients, potentially offering a safer and more effective option1.

Consulting a Healthcare Professional

While medicinal cannabis shows promise, it’s essential for arthritis patients to consult with healthcare professionals before considering it as part of their treatment plan. They can provide personalized guidance, including dosage recommendations, potential risks, and benefits based on an individual’s specific arthritis type and severity.

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Renslo, B., Greis, A., Liu, C. S., Radakrishnan, A., & Ilyas, A. M. (2022). Medical Cannabis Use Reduces Opioid Prescriptions in Patients With Osteoarthritis. Cureus. 

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Championing Medicinal Cannabis through our Patient Support Program
In 2018, the Canadian federal government committed to assessing the existing framework for medicinal cannabis. In support of this evaluation, the Medical Cannabis Access Survey (MCAS) was initiated, aiming to allow patients using medicinal cannabis to voice their challenges and offer suggestions for enhancing the future of the medical cannabis framework. The report highlights the challenges and underlines the need to advocate for medicinal cannabis as a paid health benefit. The findings from the Medical Cannabis Access Survey Summary Report, unveiled a startling discovery: only 6% of individuals received any form of coverage for medicinal cannabis expenses. This statistic underscores the significant financial strain experienced by patients in need of medicinal cannabis treatments. The report findings also concluded that almost 50% of individuals who had to stop taking their medicinal cannabis cited cost as the primary factor1. Accessibility to affordable healthcare is crucial as we advance in understanding the therapeutic potential and  it is imperative that we prioritize. Furthermore, the fact that 50% of individuals acquire medicinal cannabis from recreational sources, which lack authorization to offer medical advice, is a matter of substantial concern. Medicinal cannabis, like any other medication, should be under the guidance of a medical professional. These experts are trained to assess a patient’s condition, recommend appropriate dosages, and monitor its effects. When individuals resort to recreational sources, they forego the opportunity to receive personalized medical advice, which could lead to improper use, inadequate relief, or even potential health risks2. Starseed is the industry leader in medicinal cannabis and paid health benefits. Through collaborations with various unions and insurance partners, Starseed has advocated for the incorporation of paid health benefits related to medicinal cannabis for eligible beneficiaries. Central to this commitment is Starseed’s Patient Support Program, an initiative to enhance patient well-being. This comprehensive program includes evidence-based treatment approaches, patient education, prescription monitoring, and robust safeguards to ensure the safe and responsible utilization of cannabis. As advocates for patient-centered healthcare, we must work towards breaking down these barriers and ensuring patients have access to treatments that can improve their quality of life. Providing coverage for medicinal cannabis would alleviate the financial burden for patients and empower them to explore this viable treatment option. If you’re interested in delving deeper into the insights of the “Medical Cannabis Access Survey Summary Report,” find the full report here. For additional information on Starseed’s Patient Support Program or to learn more about medicinal cannabis as a paid health benefit,  please contact the Starseed team at References: [1] Balneaves, L., Brown, A., Green, M., Prosk, E., Rapin, L., Monahan-Ellison, M., Mcmillan, E., Zaid, J., Dworkind, M., & Watling, C. (n.d.). Medical Cannabis Access and Experiences in Canada Medical Cannabis Access Survey Summary Report Developed collaboratively by. Retrieved August 15, 2023, from [2] Costiniuk, C. T., MacCallum, C. A., Boivin, M., Rueda, S., Lacasse, G., Walsh, Z., Daeninck, P. J., Margolese, S., Mandarino, E., Jagpaul Kaur Deol, Sanchez, T., & Bell, A. D. (2023). Why a distinct medical stream is necessary to support patients using cannabis for medical purposes. 5(1), 25–25.
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How Cannabinoids Affect our Brain and Body
Cannabinoids are a class of compounds found in the cannabis plant. Cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are the two main cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, which contains over 100 other compounds. Cannabinol (CBN) and Cannabigerol (CBG) are minor cannabinoids that have recently been found to have therapeutic potential. The cannabis plant also contains terpenes, flavonoids and other compounds, which are known to have potential medical benefits and give each cultivar its unique scent and flavour. Cannabinoids and terpenes work together to create the “Entourage Effect,” which suggests that the many parts of the cannabis plant work better as a whole than in isolation. How Cannabinoids Affect our Brain and Body Endocannabinoids, which are cannabinoids made by our bodies, are vital to our own survival because they support development of our nervous system, sleep, appetite, bone growth, endocrine function, memory control, mood regulation, and many other processes. Cannabinoids act on the same receptors in our bodies and brains whether they are synthesized by our bodies (endo-cannabinoids), are from a plant (phyto-cannabinoids), or made in a lab (synthetic cannabinoids like Nabilone). As a trusted source of medicinal cannabis, Starseed Medicinal’s top priority is to offer a broad variety of high-quality products in different formats and cannabinoid profiles. Visit our shop to view our full suite of products. Visit Our Shop