Cannabis Inhibits Arthritis-Related Cartilage Breakdown, New Study Finds

A team of Chinese scientists has discovered that cannabinoids help prevent the progression of osteoarthritis by inhibiting a protease enzyme associated with the degradation of joint cartilage.

Cannabinoid treatments are effective for reducing osteoarthritis-related cartilage breakdown, according to a new studypublished in Molecular Medicine Reports. Osteoarthritis is caused by “wear and tear” on the body’s joints. Over time, cartilage between joints breaks down, causing pain, stiffness, and swelling.

A research team at China’s The Second Xiangya Hospital of Central South University examined the effect of a synthetic cannabinoid on a group of metalloproteinases known to contribute to cartilage breakdown and the progression of osteoarthritis. The researchers, led by Ying Kong, found that the cannabinoid effectively inhibited the activity of the metalloproteinase group. The findings suggest that cannabinoids protect cartilage cells and delay the joint space narrowing associated with arthritis.

“In conclusion, to the best of our knowledge, the present study provides the first in vitro evidence supporting that the synthetic cannabinoid… inhibits [metalloproteinase activity],” Kong wrote in the study’s conclusion. “This suggests a novel mechanism by which cannabinoids may prevent cartilage breakdown in [osteoarthritis].”

The study’s results propose that cannabis could potentially play an active role in treating osteoarthritis, which affects 20 million people in the United States.

Additional Findings on Cannabis’ Effects on Arthritis

Kong’s findings echo the discoveries of earlier studies, in which cannabis was shown to possess anti-arthritic effects. In one study, the daily administration of cannabidiol (CBD), one of the major components of cannabis, significantly reduced joint damage in arthritic mice. Other studies have reiterated the anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive effects of cannabinoids that inhibit joint damage. In addition, cannabis has proven effective for reducing joint pain in arthritis patients.

Means of Acquiring CBD Products

CBD hemp oil, when derived from the mature stalks or seeds from hemp, is federally legal to consume in all 50 states in the United States.  Additionally, arthritis patients living within one of the 24 states that have established medical marijuana legislation may be able to get cannabis access through local dispensaries. Each state has different legalization laws and lists of approved conditions. As of now, medical marijuana access has been approved for arthritis for patients in CaliforniaIllinois and New Mexico. Several other states, such as ConnecticutMassachusettsNevadaOregonRhode IslandWashington, as well as Washington D.C., will consider approving medical marijuana for the treatment of arthritis provided it’s recommended by a licensed physician. Numerous other states have also approved medical marijuana for the treatment of chronic pain, a symptom commonly associated with arthritis.

This article may contain certain forward-looking statements and information, as defined within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and is subject to the Safe Harbor created by those sections. This material contains statements about expected future events and/or financial results that are forward-looking in nature and subject to risks and uncertainties. Such forward-looking statements by definition involve risks, uncertainties.