Raynaud’s Disease and the Benefits of Medical Marijuana
Raynaud’s Disease is a rare condition that affects the blood vessels. Medical marijuana can treat symptoms of the condition and increase blood flow. It can be used for treatment and prevention of Raynaud’s attacks.
What is Raynaud’s Disease?
Raynaud’s Disease, also called Raynaud’s Phenomenon, causes the arteries that bring blood to the skin to become narrow, which limits blood flow to certain areas of the body, most often the fingers or toes.
When blood can’t get to the skin, these areas become blue or white. When the blood returns, the person may experience tingling or throbbing pain. The skin may also appear red or swollen. Raynaud’s Disease flare-ups usually happen in response to cold or stress.
The Raynaud’s Association estimates that 28 million people have this condition, but only 1 in 10 gets treatment.
Types of Raynaud’s Disease
There are two types of Raynaud’s Disease – primary and secondary.
Primary Raynaud’s Disease is the most common type with no known cause. It is most likely to happen to women, those with a family history, people between the ages of 15-30, and those who live in cold climates.
Secondary Raynaud’s Disease is more severe and usually results from another medical condition, an injury, or from medications. People who have connective tissue diseases, like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis are prone to secondary Raynaud’s Disease, as well as people who have artery diseases like high blood pressure. It can also be caused by injuries to the hands and feet, carpal tunnel syndrome, and those taking hypertension, migraine, ADHD, or chemotherapy medications. Secondary Raynaud’s can be caused by jobs or hobbies that require repetitive movements or vibration. This includes operating vibrating tools, like construction equipment, or repetitive actions like typing or playing the piano.
Symptoms of Raynaud’s Disease
Symptoms are cold fingers or toes, discolored skin in response to cold or stress, numb feelings, or stinging pain when the area is warmed or with relief of stress.
An attack of Raynaud’s Disease most often occurs in the fingers or toes, but can affect other areas, including the nose, lips, ears, or nipples.
Over the counter cold medications can also cause blood vessels to narrow and aggravate Raynaud’s Disease.
Raynaud’s Disease Treatment
In severe cases, Raynaud’s Disease is treated with nerve surgery or chemical injections. In most cases it is treated with calcium channel blocks or vasodilators, that relax and open blood vessels.
Medical Marijuana and Raynaud’s Disease
Medical marijuana is also a vasodilator that relaxes and opens blood vessels, which can aid during and in prevention of Raynaud’s attacks. In addition, medical marijuana can treat pain and inflammation from the condition.
Vasodilation – The action that leads to symptoms in Raynaud’s is a vasospasm. The arteries that carry blood to the skin are narrowed by an ongoing contraction of blood vessels, called vasoconstriction. When blood vessels are constricted, blood flow is slowed or blocked. The action that will prevent or treat vasoconstriction is vasodilation, the opening of the blood vessels that relaxes them and encourages them to flow.
Pre-clinical studies show that medical marijuana is able to lower blood pressure through vasodilation.
Clinical trials done at the Howard University Hospital in Washington, D.C. also showed that inhaling THC was able to reduce blood pressure through vasodilation – relaxing the blood vessels.
Currently, vasodilating drugs are used to treat Raynaud’s Disease because they relax blood vessels. Medical marijuana also has the ability to relax blood vessels and improve blood flow.
Often, marijuana doesn’t have the negative side effects of pharmaceuticals. Through its action of vasodilation, medical marijuana is able to increase blood flow and help maintain healthy, continuous blood flow to the hands, feet, and other affected areas.
Stress – Stress is a trigger for attacks of Raynaud’s Disease. Medical marijuana reduces and relieves stress across many conditions and chronic illnesses, as demonstrated through patient surveys and clinical research.
Stress is a factor that constricts blood vessels. Stress relief is one of the most common uses of medical marijuana. Not only can medical marijuana relax blood vessels and increase blood flow at the source, but it can also help with stress that further constricts blood flow.
Pain and Inflammation – The most common reason that medical marijuana is prescribed and used in the United States is chronic pain. There are dozens of clinical trials that demonstrate medical marijuana’s ability to relieve pain effectively.
People with Raynaud’s Disease experience pain in the affected area after a flare-up. Medical marijuana can relieve both pain and inflammation. It is an established treatment for some of the connective tissue diseases that can trigger Raynaud’s Disease, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
An analysis in 2009 from the University of Massachusetts Medical School showed that cannabinoids were effective in relieving pain and inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis, rheumatism, chronic neuropathic pain, fibromyalgia, and post-surgery.
Using Medical Marijuana for Raynaud’s Disease
Marijuana is a viable option to symptoms of Raynaud’s Disease, including pain, inflammation, stress, and improving blood flow.
Medical marijuana applied topically in a lotion form can help relieve swelling or sensitivity in the affected area. Medical marijuana in all forms will relieve pain and inflammation, however, topical applications can be applied to the skin to aid in relieving any localized swelling or inflammation fo the skin.
For vasodilation or to relax the blood vessels and increase blood flow, other forms of medical marijuana should be used, such as inhaled forms (smoking, vaping, dabbing) or ingested forms (capsules, tinctures, edibles). Topical applications of marijuana do not enter the bloodstream. This makes them completely non-intoxicating, but also unable to relax blood vessels and improve blood flow.
However, topicals are far from the only non-intoxicating ways to use medical marijuana. High CBD strains and products are non-intoxicating, even those with THC. THC is important in Raynaud’s disease because it has been identified as the primary cannabinoid for improving blood flow, according to the research.
Equal or higher ratios of CBD to THC will eliminate the intoxicating effects of THC, but retain its medical benefits. A 10:1 or higher CBD to THC ratio will eliminate the high of THC completely, but some patients find lower ratios are sufficient, such as 5:1, 3:1, 2:1, or even 1:1 ratios.
Low doses of THC for medical use are often non-intoxicating because they are below the threshold of intoxication or what recreational users consume. This is demonstrated in formal studies where patients find relief of symptoms with low doses of THC without intoxication. This includes cannabis with lower percentages of THC or under 5 milligrams of THC. Therefore, some forms and doses of THC can be used without intoxication. However, if intoxication from THC is a concern, choose a cannabis strain or product with equal or higher amounts of CBD.
The THC to CBD ratio that you choose will depend on your individual needs, symptoms, and how the medicine affects you.
Patients should also consider the time of day relief is needed when choosing a strain type (indica, sativa, or hybrid). Sativa and sativa dominant hybrid strains and products are energizing and best for daytime use when you are active. Indica and indica dominant hybrid strains and products are relaxing and best for nighttime use or improved sleep and relaxation.
To use medical marijuana effectively to treat medical symptoms without negative side effects, all patients should be knowledgeable about THC and CBD ratios, the medical uses of cannabinoids and terpenes in cannabis, strain types, dosing, and ways to use medical marijuana.
Can CBD Oil Help Raynaud’s Disease? [Explained]
In the past few years, people have become more aware of the potential of CBD (cannabidiol). Many people use CBD to relieve disease-related conditions such as pain and stress from anxiety. However, others are becoming curious regarding its ability to help with other problems related to disorders, such as Raynaud’s disease.
In this article, we’ll cover how CBD oil could help with Raynaud’s disease symptoms and how people use it for maximum effect.
What Is Raynaud’s Disease?
Raynaud’s disease, also known as Raynaud’s phenomenon or Raynaud’s syndrome, is a common circulatory disorder. The National Institutes of Health states that it affects as many as 3–5% of adults worldwide.
People with Raynaud’s disease experience tightening of the blood vessels, known as vasospasm. This happens in response to cold temperatures, anxiety, or stress.
Although these episodes are short-lived, they can be extremely uncomfortable for the sufferer. They could also be a sign of a more serious underlying disease.
Raynaud’s Disease Symptoms
Raynaud’s most common symptoms are fingers or toes that change color in response to cold or stress. First, they turn white and then blue in extreme cases. This color change is a result of the blood vessels narrowing and restricting blood flow to the extremities.
As the blood vessels relax and the circulation returns to normal, the fingers or toes may turn red. Pain, throbbing, or tingling often accompany this Raynaud’s symptom.
Although Raynaud’s disease most often affects the fingers and toes, it can also impact the nose, ears, lips, nipples, and knees. Other symptoms of Raynaud’s include:
In severe cases, an episode of Raynaud’s phenomenon could lead to skin sores and even tissue death. For this reason, proper management of the condition is critical.
What Causes Raynaud’s Disease?
There are two different types of Raynaud’s disease; primary and secondary. Primary Raynaud’s occurs on its own, and experts are still unsure exactly why it occurs.
Secondary Raynaud’s is a symptom of another disorder. Some of the conditions that have an association with Raynaud’s disease include:
- Sjogren’s syndrome
- Blood vessel disorders
Certain medications can also cause Raynaud’s disease, and smoking aggravates the problem. It is more likely to affect women, and there appears to be a genetic factor. People living in cold climates or frequently using vibrating machinery also have an increased risk of developing Raynaud’s.
Raynaud’s Disease Treatment
The most common Raynaud’s disease treatments are medications that dilate (widen) the blood vessels. These include drugs like nifedipine and sildenafil. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary. However, surgery carries many risks and is usually a last resort when other treatments have failed.
In addition to these Raynaud’s treatments, patients can manage their symptoms in the following ways:
- Keeping warm, especially the hands and feet
- Soaking hands or feet in warm water at the first signs of an episode
- Exercising regularly to improve circulation
- Using stress management techniques such as mindfulness, meditation, or yoga
- Eating a healthy diet
- Reducing caffeine intake
- Stopping smoking
Now that CBD is becoming popular, many people wonder whether it could also help with Raynaud’s disease.
Can CBD Oil Help Raynaud’s Disease?
There is little existing research on CBD oil and Raynaud’s disease. However, there is some evidence that it could help to relax the blood vessels and improve circulation.
In 2017, Khalid A. Jadoon and colleagues published a study in the journal JCI Insight. It was a double-blind, randomized crossover trial, aiming to determine CBD’s effects on blood pressure. It involved ten healthy male volunteers who were between 19 and 29 years old.
The researchers gave the participants either a single, 600mg dose of CBD or a placebo. Two hours later, the subjects undertook a series of stressful activities. The research team measured the effects of mental stress, exercise-induced stress, and cold-induced stress on the subjects’ blood pressure.
The results indicated that CBD reduced both resting blood pressure and the blood pressure response to stress. The effects were most evident in the cold-induced stress test, which may be of particular interest to Raynaud’s patients.
The authors of the study suggested that CBD could aid in reducing the vasoconstriction that cold and stress both induce.
How Does CBD Work for Raynaud’s?
CBD is one of the numerous active compounds in cannabis. It belongs to a class of chemicals known as cannabinoids, a group that includes the intoxicating THC and many others. However, unlike THC, CBD does not cause intoxication. Instead, it has a range of beneficial effects on the body.
It exerts these effects by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system is present in the majority of our cells and plays a role in maintaining homeostasis. The definition of homeostasis is a state of internal balance, despite a constantly changing external environment. Maintaining homeostasis includes regulating blood pressure.
If the blood pressure becomes too low, the blood vessels constrict (narrow) and increase it. Similarly, if it becomes too high, they dilate (widen) and decrease it. One of the chemicals responsible for this reaction is called anandamide. It reduces blood pressure by binding to receptors in the blood vessels and causing them to relax.
Anandamide belongs to a class of chemicals called endocannabinoids. Scientists named these compounds endocannabinoids as they have a molecular structure much like the cannabinoids in cannabis.
This similar structure is the reason that cannabinoids have such a profound impact on the human body. They can bind with receptors in the ECS, just like anandamide can. However, it seems that CBD may affect the blood vessels in other ways too.
Research into the cardiovascular effects of CBD suggests that it has several possible mechanisms of action. These include reacting with several receptors outside of the ECS and releasing nitric oxide, a chemical that relaxes the blood vessels.
More research is undoubtedly needed to confirm whether CBD could help with Raynaud’s disease symptoms. However, its ability to reduce cold-induced stress and relax the blood vessels suggests it could offer some hope.
How to Use CBD for Raynaud’s Phenomenon
Most people consider CBD to be safe, with minimal risk of side effects. However, to derive the maximum benefit, it is essential to choose the right delivery method.
Some people opt to smoke their CBD, and in states where medical marijuana is legal, there are several high-CBD strains available. These include ACDC, Cannatonic, Harlequin, and many more.
However, smoking can aggravate Raynaud’s phenomenon and is not the best option for people with this condition. It may be much safer to use CBD oil, edibles, vapes, or topical CBD products instead.
Furthermore, each of these methods has its advantages and disadvantages to consider.
CBD oil is one of the best-loved ways of taking CBD. It allows anyone to adjust the amount they consume and ensures a high absorption rate. However, using an oil can be inconvenient as an individual must drop it under the tongue and hold it there for up to 90 seconds before swallowing. Moreover, many people dislike the taste of CBD and much prefer other methods.
Edibles are one such method. They taste much better than CBD oil and are far more convenient to use. However, they must pass through the digestive system, which means much of their potency gets lost along the way. They can also take a while to start working, making them less helpful in acute situations.
CBD vaping is another option for getting CBD. It is one of the quickest and most effective ways to use CBD. However, vaping is not for everyone, and the long-term effects on lung health are still unclear.
Finally, topicals are an excellent option for localized problems. They allow users to apply CBD directly to the skin, meaning that it quickly gets to where they may need it most. However, if people use topicals, they will not gain any of the systemic benefits of CBD.
Everyone’s body is unique, and what works for one may offer zero benefits to another. The best way to find the most suitable CBD product is for users to try a few and see what they prefer.
Whatever they opt for, they should be sure to choose a reputable brand that provides third-party lab reports. This way, the company can ensure the purchased CBD contains everything it should and no hidden contaminants. Lab results show that a company is confident about its quality and has nothing to hide.
Can CBD Help Raynaud’s? Final Thoughts
Although there is limited clinical evidence supporting the use of CBD for Raynaud’s disease, some people may find it beneficial. It could help to reduce stress and anxiety while relaxing the blood vessels to improve circulation.
Users should always consult a physician before using CBD oil for Raynaud’s or any other medical condition. Additionally, they should choose a reputable brand and follow the instructions carefully. Doing this will ensure a person can derive the most benefit from CBD while reducing the risk of side effects.
Users that have taken CBD for Raynaud’s disease can write down any experiences or other significant impacts in the comment section below.
CBD Oil and Raynauds
Has anyone tried using CBD oil for their Raynauds? Please share your experience with this as well as the brand of CBD oil used. I am interested to know if this can help my Raynauds.
0 likes, 8 replies
Posted 4 years ago
let us know if it helps!
Posted 4 years ago
I do not believe that CBD oil will be of any benefit for Raynauds. Unfortunately the claims made by some companies are grossly exaggerated.
Raynauds is caused by the closure of the tiny blood vessels in fingers and toes. I take a prescription drug called Naftidrofuryl which is a Vasodilator. They help to open the tiny blood vessels which constrict due to Raynauds. Hope this helps.
Posted 4 years ago
I have tried channel blockers but have had bad side effects with these medicines. My legs and feet turn red and hot. Not to mention it had caused swelling. I was trying to find something that wasn’t so aggressive. Was hoping this would be an alternative to prescription drugs.
Posted 4 years ago
Don’t know, myself, but if your hands are getting cold if it’s 65 in your house, try wearing exam gloves. They work for me.
Posted 4 years ago
I do believe strongly that cannabis is a great natural treatment for many ailments. However I can’t see how it would open the tiny capillaries that supply blood to the fingertips. If you do try it please let us know the results. Good luck.
Posted 4 years ago
I wonder if cannabis lotion/cream would help? It seems to help for pain. If you are in a legal state it may be worth a try. I’ve used essential oils that helped, or seemed to at least. No, I don’t sell them. But I like to try alternative as well, and even if I think it’s helping and my feet feel better from it, it’s worth it, imo.
For sure let us know if it helps!
Posted 4 years ago
I am not sure this will help with raynauds but I am going to try it regardless. It just doesn’t seem to matter what I do. This continues to be an issue. It’s like my body has a mind of its own. This is so frustrating to me! I will post if I notice anything related to raynauds.
Posted 4 years ago
I get it, trust me. I have it mainly in my feet. And it sure stinks when our feet hurt. Please let us know if it helps. Fingers crossed you find relief.
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