In partnership with The Fresh Toast

From joint pain to the often debilitating effects of arthritis, corticosteroid injections have been a staple in treating pain and inflammation for the nearly 30 million Americans who suffer from osteoarthritis (OA). With new research showing the long-term effects of one of the most widely used treatments for OA, doctors and researchers are concerned about the risks of injections and the potential risks associated with cortisone.

A Boston University study published this month found that patients who had been given the drug by injection found that they were at risk for "accelerated progression of OA or adverse joint events after treatment." That said, if a patient was treated for osteoarthritis over a shot of cortisone, it may have accelerated the progression of the disease, including complications, joint destruction, and bone loss.

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Interestingly, the study found that certain pre-existing conditions, such as age and Caucasian race, appeared to increase the risk for the outcome even further. Researchers recommended pre-injection MRI pre-screening to better identify the area and see if the risk could be accurately assessed before the dose was administered.

Understand the effects of cannabis on OA

Cannabis and CBD oil have long been cited and used for inflammation and joint pain. Not only have they helped with chronic pain conditions, but they have also helped manage OA symptoms. In a 2018 study published in Current Opinion in Pharmacology, the researchers noted, "There's growing evidence to support the analgesic potential of cannabinoids for treating OA pain." To dig deeper , Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia found that, because OA pain is diverse, cannabis can help trigger the body's endocannabinoid system (ECS) to block pain receptors and potentially provide relief.

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Even the Arthritis Foundation is taking note of this and is releasing their first guide to CBD for those suffering from the disease. According to Dr. Daniel Clauw, a contributor to the guide, "It appears (CBD) to be fairly safe at the moment and could help certain types of pain."

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While CBD and THC certainly cannot adopt the entirety of a pain management regimen, studies like the one conducted on cortisone treatments bring to light the conversations of cannabis and CBD and offer less stigma, which opens the door to better education.

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