Many of the anti-inflammatory steroids and medications currently on the market come with a long list of side effects, some of which you probably won’t experience, but are enough to scare you just from reading the label. If you’re looking for another form of treatment for inflammation you may be experiencing, cannabis is a good alternative. It’s not a new form of treatment either, despite its increasing popularity for medicinal benefits in recent decades. Using marijuana as an anti-inflammatory has been around for thousands of years across multiple cultures.
Compared to the medications you can get at a pharmacy, cannabis has relatively fewer side effects. Other steroids may cause symptoms such as decreased immune strength and muscle weakness. Cannabis, on the other hand, has minor side effects such as dry mouth and an increase in appetite. For this reason, it is a popular recommendation for patients with cancer and other conditions in which inflammation is prevalent, especially because it contains cannabidiol (CBD). In multiple studies tested on both human and animal subjects, CBD was found to suppress cytokine production. Cytokines are signaling proteins released by the immune system that trigger inflammation in the body. CBD’s ability to decrease cytokine production is helpful for individuals suffering from conditions like dermatitis and arthritis.
If you’re uncomfortable with smoking a joint, there are plenty of other methods of taking marijuana. Vaping has a smaller footprint since you are just inhaling vapors, and edibles won’t affect your lungs at all. In addition, cannabis topicals in the form of salves, lotions, and transdermal patches are growing in popularity for their anti-inflammatory properties that can be applied directly to the skin, often without the psychoactive high effect. Cannabis-infused topicals are able to bind to endocannabinoid receptors (which respond to cannabinoids such as THC and CBD) in the body in order to bring pain relief to the applied area.
The benefits of cannabis as an anti-inflammatory are both significant and abundant. The side effects are minimal, and there are a wide range of methods to try if you’re not comfortable with smoking. The next time you’re on the way to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription of steroid cream, consider trying something else first, maybe at your local dispensary (or, if you live in a non-recreationally legal state, consider asking for a medical marijuana prescription).