Are you suffering from arthritis?
Sativex is a promising remedy for Rheumatoid arthritis.
A study about the use of cannabis-based medicine (CBM) for treating rheumatoid arthritis has found that it has a significant effect on easing pain and on suppressing the disease.
What is Rheumatoid arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory autoimmune disorder that can affect more than just the joints. The condition can also damage a range of body systems, including the skin, eyes, lungs, heart, kidneys, salivary glands, nerve tissue, bone marrow, and blood vessels in some people.
Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s own tissues. Rheumatoid arthritis affects the lining of the joints, causing a painful swelling that can ultimately result in bone erosion and joint deformity.
The inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis is what causes damage to other parts of the body. New types of medications have improved treatment options dramatically, but severe rheumatoid arthritis can still cause physical disabilities.
Signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis may include tender, warm, swollen joints, joint stiffness that is usually worse in the mornings and after inactivity, fatigue, fever, and weight loss.
Early rheumatoid arthritis tends to affect the smaller joints first, mainly the joints that attach your fingers to your hands and your toes to your feet. As it progresses, symptoms spread to the wrists, knees, ankles, elbows, hips, and shoulders. Symptoms mostly occur in the same joints on both sides of your body.
Some patients of rheumatoid arthritis also experience signs and symptoms that don’t involve the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis can affect many non-joint structures. The signs and symptoms may vary in severity and may even come and go.
Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when the immune system attacks the synovium, the lining of the membranes that surround the joints. The resulting inflammation thickens the synovium, and can eventually destroy the cartilage and the bone within the joint.
The tendons and ligaments that hold the joint together weaken and stretch. The joint gradually loses its shape and alignment.
Doctors don’t know the exact cause of this disease, although a genetic component is a factor. The genes don’t actually cause rheumatoid arthritis, they can make the person more susceptible to environmental factors such as infection with certain viruses and bacteria that may trigger the disease.
Women are more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis than men are. Rheumatoid arthritis can occur at any age, but it most commonly between the ages of 40 and 60. If a member of the family has rheumatoid arthritis, one may have an increased risk of the disease. Cigarette smoking also increases the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis. Smoking also appears to be associated with greater disease severity.
Some exposures such as asbestos or silica may increase the risk for developing rheumatoid arthritis. Emergency workers exposed to dust from the collapse of the World Trade Center are at higher risk of autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis. People who are overweight or obese are somewhat at higher risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis, especially women diagnosed with the disease when they were 55 or younger.
Rheumatoid arthritis increases the risk of developing osteoporosis, rheumatoid nodules, dry eyes and mouth, infections, abnormal body composition, carpal tunnel syndrome, heart problems, lung disease, and lymphoma.
Rheumatoid arthritis itself, along with some medications used for treating rheumatoid arthritis, can increase the risk of osteoporosis. A condition that has a wear-and-tear damage effect, weakening the bones and makes them more prone to fracture. Rheumatoid nodules are firm bumps of tissue that commonly form around pressure points, such as the elbows. On the other hand, these nodules can form anywhere in the body, including the lungs.
People who have rheumatoid arthritis are also likely to experience Sjogren’s syndrome, a disorder that decreases the amount of moisture in the eyes and mouth. The rheumatoid arthritis itself and many of the medications used to combat it can impair the immune system, leading to increased infections. It can also affect the proportion of fat compared to lean mass is often higher in people who have rheumatoid arthritis, even in people who have a normal body mass index (BMI).
If rheumatoid arthritis affects the wrists, the inflammation can compress the nerve that serves most of your hand and fingers. This disease can also increase the risk of hardened and blocked arteries, as well as inflammation of the sac that encloses your heart.
People with rheumatoid arthritis may also experience inflammation and scarring of the lung tissues, which can lead to progressive shortness of breath. The risk of lymphoma, a group of blood cancers that develop in the lymph system is also high in people with rheumatoid arthritis.
What is Sativex?
Sativex is a whole plant-based mouth spray. It is made by British pharma manufacturer GW Pharma and is currently available in 28 countries. It is an oromucosal spray of a formulated extract of the cannabis sativa plant that contains the principal cannabinoids THC and CBD as well as specific minor cannabinoids and other non-cannabinoid components.
Sativex, as the name suggests, real cannabis is in the drug. However, it is a patented pharma product, which is a peppermint flavored mouth spray. Sativex is developed to be administered as an oral spray, in which the active ingredients are absorbed in the lining of the mouth, either under the tongue or inside the cheek.
GW’s licensing partners are commercializing Sativex for MS spasticity in sixteen countries outside the US. Two additional countries have recommended approval for Sativex and regulatory filings are ongoing in twelve other countries, mainly in the Middle East and Latin America where approvals are expected over the next twelve months. It did not catch on in the US.
It falls into the same category as a few other commercially offered cannabinoid-based drugs. This includes lab-created synthetic drug Marinol/dronabinol and Cesamet. This is usually prescribed for patients with Parkinson’s disease.
Sativex is different from these drugs and from actual cannabis. It is made from the whole plant and is not synthetic. Made from a concentrate and delivered as a mouth spray, this means that Sativex is chemically consistent in every batch.
In this case, it also means that concentrations of THC and CBD are reproducible. Furthermore, Sativex is manufactured with a 1:1 THC to CBD ratio. That is not the case with every strain of cannabis, or other cannabinoid-based medicines for that matter.
Sativex as a treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis
Sativex contains two ingredients namely, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). These ingredients belong to the family of medications called cannabinoids, which are extracted from the Cannabis sativa or hemp plant. This medication is used to treat pain and inflammation. Although it is not known exactly how THC and CBD work to relieve nerve pain, but it is believed to work by mimicking natural pain relievers called cannabinoids that are released in the body.
Pros and Cons
Despite all the negatives surrounding the hemp plant, the reality is that cannabinoids have scientifically measurable impact. They stimulate the endocannabinoid system. This is true whether they are “natural” or chemically imitated, such as Marinol and others. Sativex truly works. In fact, medical users give it higher marks than Marinol because it is easier to use. Controlling dosing is also much more convenient. Like smoking a joint, users can control how much they ingest as they ingest it. Users also feel the effect of this drug in a different way. It is a mouth spray medication. Sativex works slightly slower than smoking cannabis and slightly faster than eating it.
In terms of its similarity to what is on the market now, it is basically a cannabis-based extract, delivered orally. However, some people do not favor the mouth spray. Unlike medical cannabis everywhere, Sativex is covered under health insurance. Medical cannabis is not.
Unfortunately, cannabis patients end up paying about the same no matter what they buy. This is why many prefer just to get cannabis flower where both are available. Failing that, some just turn directly back to the black market. Patients who are given a choice usually prefer the real thing than the pharmaceutical product.
One of the biggest reasons cannabis was banned was pharma competition. As medical evidence were seen in the mid to late 1970’s, every attempt was made to stop the distribution of the actual flower.
In the early1980’s, dronabinol was introduced to the market as a relief for nausea. Administering it to AIDS patients was only part of the problem. This happened at a time when state activists were trying to get the drug covered under federal health insurance in the U.S.
Sativex then came out of this discussion. Although the cultivation of marijuana is illegal in the UK, GW Pharma set up shop with the blessing of British authorities in the late 1990’s. Since then, the company has continued to blaze a path in the medical marijuana industry.