Can Medical Marijuana Help Rheumatoid Arthritis?


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Can Medical Marijuana Help Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Steve is a horticulturist of sorts. He raises orchids, Japanese maples, and other plants at his southern Rhode Island home. Tending the plants helps ease his rheumatoid arthritis (RA) pain, he says. But the garden offers more than Zen; he grows one plant—marijuana—specifically to relieve RA pain and discomfort.

“If my pain is at a 10, it will take it down to a 6 or 6.5,” he says. “I’m an old-man weight lifter. After I smoke I am able to work my shoulders and arms to keep my joints healthy. It gives me the desire and ability to get through a workout.”

Steve has had permission to grow marijuana for medicinal purposes since 2006. He smokes it and cooks it in butter (for baking) and makes THC-containing solutions called tinctures (which can be added to foods and drinks) for himself and five other patients with various medical conditions. His home state is 1 of 16, along with the District of Columbia, where marijuana is permitted for medicinal use.

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