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Information about Cartilage Repair:
It’s fairly easy to damage cartilage, and it’s likely no surprise that many people require some type of cartilage repair. Unfortunately, cartilage takes a lot to repair itself, and many of the therapies are not enough.
This article explains why cartilage repair is necessary and how marijuana can speed up the healing process.
Why you may need cartilage repair
The need for cartilage repair comes after the cartilage has been damaged. Articular cartilage is a rubbery, firm type of material. It covers and protects the ends of the bones located in the joints of the knees.
Cartilage acts as a “shock absorber” by helping to reduce friction. When cartilage damage or deterioration occurs, the knee’s normal movement becomes limited. This can cause a great amount of pain.
Over 12 million people a year visit doctors due to knee pain. About one-half of them suffer from cartilage damage.
What causes cartilage damage
Cartilage can be found in many parts of the body. It’s a connective tissue made of sturdy, flexible material. However, it’s fairly easy to cause it damage, but not as easy to repair.
This rubbery, fine tissue acts as a cushion between the joints and bones. Cartilage damage causes sufferers to experience pain, inflammation and/or stiffness in the joints. An effective cartilage repair plan can help relieve these symptoms.
Causes of cartilage damage
These are three main causes of cartilage damage, which causes the need for cartilage repair:
• Too Much Wear and Tear – Putting joints under stress for long periods of time can cause cartilage damage. For example, an obese person increases the everyday damage caused to the knees, as opposed to that of a person of normal weight. Obesity, and other issues that over-stress the joints can lead to osteoarthritis, which is the breakdown, inflammation, and eventually, the loss of joint cartilage.
• Lack of Movement – Joints must move regularly. This keeps them healthy and allows them to continuously build strength. Being immobile or inactive for long periods of time increase the risk of cartilage damage. To repair the cartilage, movement will be required.
• Direct Hit – Any type of heavy blow to the joint can cause major damage to it. This may be caused by a fall, direct hit, car accident, etc… People who participate in sports have higher risks of causing damage to their cartilages. The rule is particularly the case for those who take part in rugby, football, wrestling and other high impact sports.
Diagnosing Cartilage Damage
Cartilage damage is often confused with ligament damage or a sprain. The symptoms are similar, but there are non-invasive tests to help with diagnosis. After a physical exam has been conducted, your doctor may use one of two diagnostic tests:
• Arthroscopy – An arthroscope (tube-like instrument) is inserted into the joint. It’s used to examine the joint, as well as repair it.
• Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) – A medical devices that uses radio waves and a magnetic field to create images of the body, filled with visual detailed.
Symptoms of cartilage damage
Cartilage damage generally involves the knees. However, it can also affect other areas of the body, such as the ankles, elbows, and hips. An effective cartilage repair program can help repair the damage and/or relieve the pain.
Some of the symptoms of cartilage damage include:
• Stiffness – Can lead to mobility issues and pain
• Locking – Joints may lock up, catch or give way
• Snapping – May have grinding, clicking or sensation of “snapping out of place.”
• Range Limitations – The more damage the cartilage suffers, the less freely and easily the affected limb will move
• Inflammation – Area swells up, becomes warm to the touch, sore, tender and painful. May not develop for days or hours
• Joint Pain – Damaged cartilage can cause pain in the joints that continues even while resting, and gets worse when weight is placed on the joint
Severe cases of cartilage damage occur when a piece of the cartilage breaks off. This causes the joint to lock up, leading to hemarthrosis, or bleeding within the joint itself. Symptoms of hemarthrosis include a bruised or blotchy appearance around the affected area.
Current treatments for cartilage damage
There are various types of treatments for cartilage damage. Some of the treatments used for cartilage repair include non-steroidal and steroidal drugs and non-surgical and surgical solutions:
• Exercises – Often, exercise and physical therapy programs can help to heal damage to the cartilage. This may also help alleviate pain over time, as long as the damage is not extensive.
• Conservative Treatments – These non-surgical solutions for cartilage repair can include special types of exercises, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, known as NSAIDs and/or steroid injections. But, just like with any other type of drug, there are numerous side effects, especially for those containing steroids.
• Surgery – If a patient’s condition persists or worsens after trying other treatments, many doctors will recommend surgery to repair the damaged cartilage. But, there are many risks of having surgery, including the risks that come with being under anesthesia.
CBD and cartilage repair
Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, is one of the active cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. Preclinical trials have shown that CBD can help limit the amount of damage caused by various types of arthritis. In one animal trial, cannabidiol was able to effectively block the progression of the disease.
CBD protected the joints of the animals against severe damage. This suggests that cannabidiol can be effective for all types of cartilage damage and cartilage repair programs.
Other studies conducted using synthetic cannabinoids suggest that they offer very strong immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory properties. CBD also reduced joint damage when tested on mice with osteoarthritis, as well as osteoarthritis-related cartilage breakdown. Osteoarthritis is caused when joint cartilage becomes degenerated.
Medical research on marijuana and cartilage repair
There have been limited studies conducted on the effects of medical marijuana and cartilage repair. Studies have shown that cannabis contains potent pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects. Through preclinical trials, researchers have found that the endocannabinoid system does help to alleviate pain caused by osteoarthritis, or degenerated joint cartilage.
In one animal trial, CBD effectively stopped the progression of arthritis. It protected the animals’ joints from severe damage. Researchers concluded that there are potent anti-arthritic agents in cannabinoids (Malfait, et al., 2000).
Cannabis cannabinoids, such as CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), activate CB1 and CB2 receptors. This regulates the release of central nervous system and neurotransmitter immune cells. Studies suggest this helps manage both neuropathic and nociceptive pain levels (Woodhams, Sagar, Burston & Chapman, 2015).
When the CB1 receptor was activated, studies show that pain sensitivity was reduced greatly in the rats’ osteoarthritic knee joints (Schuelert & McDougall, 2008). In another study, it was found that activating CB2 receptors also helped reduce inflammation and pain caused by osteoarthritis (Burston, et al., 2013).
A study published by the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health concludes that there is sufficient evidence to support that medical marijuana can help with cartilage damage and repair. Cannabinoid-based drugs can be effective for reducing degradation to cartilage and facilitating its cartilage repair.
Medical research on CBD and cartilage repair
According to a study published in the Pharmaceuticals journal, cannabinoids enhance strategies for tissue engineering aimed at repairing cartilage. It’s done using a dual-function approach. CBD has the potential to help bring cartilage degradation to a halt in inflamed arthritic joints.
Experimental evidence has shown that when the cannabinoid system is activated, the survival of chondrogenic and migration differentiation of MSCs. These are the three major doctrines behind the strategy of cell-based tissue-engineered cartilage repair.
Researchers doing this study concluded that CBD has the potential to provide users with a dual-function. This is done by providing anti-inflammatory agents and regulating the biology of MSC. All of this helps enhance the repair of damaged cartilage.
CBD vs. THC
Many people choose not to take medical marijuana because of the euphoric high it causes. But, this is due to the active ingredient THC. CBD actually counteracts the effects of THC that give users a high feeling. Cannabinoid products that do not contain THC will not get users high.
However, users will still reap the benefits of CBD, which has anti-inflammatory effects that can help relieve pain caused by, as well as promote cartilage damage. CBD helps inflamed joints and potentially stops cartilage degradation.
For cartilage repair without the high, a product high in CBD with no THC is recommended. If THC is not an issue, just be sure the CBD levels are high for more effective cartilage repairing effects.
How to take medical marijuana for cartilage repair
The most common way to take medical marijuana is to smoke it. Users do this by rolling it in cigarette papers or cigars. Some smokers prefer to vape using a vaporizer, which emits 95% smoke-free vapors.
If the cartilage damage is in your hands, “rolling” weed may not be an option. However, there are medical marijuana edibles, such as candies, pastries, dairy products and more. Raw cannabis juices may also have the same effects and can be healthy for you.
Another type of marijuana edible is cannabis oil. With cannabis oils, you have options. It can be dropped directly on your tongue, in drinks, foods, etc… And, because there’s no THC in it, there will be no high effects.
CBD Oil for cartilage repair
Cannabidiol oil is just as effective for cartilage repair as medical marijuana itself. It’s a natural remedy which contains CBD but no THC. So, users do not experience the euphoric high, while still getting the healing effects of CBD. These oils are convenient to use and do not require accessories. Simply drop a few drops on your tongue as needed.
Growing your own cartilage repair medication
Growing your own medical marijuana gives you ultimate convenience for relieving cartilage pain and promoting cartilage repair. Once you grow it, the cannabis is there when you need it. This also gives you the ability to control the quality of the medical weed you grow.
Medical marijuana connoisseurs suggest that sativa strains will give a cannabis user an energizing, uplifting feeling. Indica strains tend to produce heavier, sleepy feeling.
For cartilage damage and the pain associated with it, a strain high in CBD such as ———-is recommended.