Treating Raynaud’s Phenomenon With Medical Marijuana

11 min read
How Medical Marijuana Treat Raynaud’s Disease

Some conditions often drop you in a stage where they neither aggravate nor heal— they just keep lingering around— frustrating your every bit— irritating your soul— until you decide to take marijuana.

Raynaud’s disease— better pronounced as “Ray-Nodes Phenomenon,” is one such condition which is not dangerous in its entirety— but stands as a frustrating and painful disease which clings for long— sometimes lifelong.

Fortunately, marijuana is currently being tested as Raynaud’s disease treatment, and the results have been by far very positive— at least that’s what the respondents say.

So, why is Raynaud’s disease frustrating?

Have you ever felt the ever-altering pain and numbness in your fingers and toes? 

Sometimes they are swollen blue or pale, and sometimes they are swollen red?

Well, if that’s what you observe— there’s a possibility that you are suffering from Raynaud’s disease.

It’s a phenomenon in which there’s a discrete mixture of pain and numbness in your fingers and toes— and sometimes other organs such as nipples, lips, nose, and ears. [1]

This gradient pain at irregular intervals is caused by a lack of blood supply under the skin.

Why the lack of blood supply?

Why the lack of blood supply

Your body needs small arteries to maintain blood pressure.

Organs such as fingers, toes, lips, nose, ears, and nipples have these arteries under the skin.

But these arteries are often exposed to certain situations where they tend to narrow down, thereby limiting the amount of blood flow, and lowering down the blood pressure.

Raynaud’s condition is one such ailment that leads to vasospasm that, in turn, shrinks the arteries. [2]


What happens when blood doesn’t reach the skin surface?

The lack of blood supply in such areas leads to numbness or coldness, especially in colder weather.

Since blood fails to reach the skin— the area turns pale white or blue, which is mostly followed by numbness.

In extreme cases, the loss of blood flow can kill the tissues, henceforth developing external soreness. 

When the blood flow returns to the region, they turn red and skin tingles, which bring pain with it.

These events are most likely to be sporadic, which occur at irregular intervals, thereby making Raynaud’s— a frustrating experience.

What are the symptoms of Raynaud’s disease?

There can be varying symptoms across different body types.

However, here are the commonly observed symptoms:

  • Pale or white fingers in a normal environment.
  • The paleness turns into bluish tinge when exposed to cold weather or extreme psychological disorders like— stress, anxiety, or emotional breakdowns.
  • Neglecting the condition may develop soreness.
  • The pale/white/blue fingers turn red when they are warmed.
  • Immediate warmness may bring pain and swell to the fingers.

Some rare symptoms:

  • Gangrene (death of tissues) in a severe condition which may provide leeway for comorbid infections or amputation at rare and worst cases.
  • Numbness and soreness in lips, ears, nose, and nipples (especially while breastfeeding).

What are the types of Raynaud’s?

Different Types of Raynaud’s

Multivariate factors contribute to Raynaud’s phenomenon; however, not all the diseases need to have reasons to get manifested— some may spring up without any cause.

Raynaud’s syndrome happens to be one such disease which may or may not have any contributing factors.

That’s why it’s divided into two types: Primary Raynaud’s and Secondary Raynaud’s.

Primary Raynaud’s: It’s the type of Raynaud’s which manifests into someone’s life without any cause. The symptoms are incredibly mild and heal automatically over time— that’s one of the reasons why it’s one of the most neglected problems. It affects those between 15 to 30 years of age.

Secondary Raynaud’s: Unlike primary condition, secondary is caused by a few underlying problems. It’s a bit more severe than the former one, which eventually needs a tad bit of medical attention. It generally affects individuals around the age of 40.

Who’s at the risk of Raynaud’s spasm?

A variety of people exposed to a variety of conditions can develop Raynaud’s spasm. You are likely to develop it:

#1 If you have connective tissue, autoimmune, and cardiovascular problems.

Autoimmune conditions have earned notoriety in damaging the tissues which connect the structures of the body together.

Such hyperactive conditions may also damage small arteries, which are known to trigger the Raynaud’s attack. [3]

Similarly, modification in cardiovascular proceedings changes the way arteries interact with the heart, which ultimately sets off Raynaud’s disease. [4]

Here’s the list of autoimmune, connective tissues, and cardiovascular problems that increase the risk of Raynaud’s syndrome.

  • Buerger disease [5]
  • Scleroderma [6]
  • Rheumatoid arthritis [7]
  • Lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus) [8]
  • Thyroid disorders [9] 
  • Sjögren syndrome [10] 
  • Pulmonary hypertension [11]
  • Polymyositis Blood disorders, such as Cryoglobulinemia [12] 
  • CREST syndrome (scleroderma variant) [13]
  • Occlusive vascular disease, such as atherosclerosis [14]

#2 If you are exposed to chemicals.

Surprisingly, some chemicals often play seeds in Raynaud’s phenomenon.

Chemicals such as Vinyl Chloride used in plastic industries seep into the body and results in the scleroderma-like condition. [15]

And as mentioned above, infectants with scleroderma are likely to face Raynaud’s attack.

Although the exact reasons are yet not determined, the anecdote reflects vital stats on the correlation between Raynaud’s symptoms and Vinyl Chloride. [16]

#3 If you smoke cigarettes or arteries-damaging gases.

Cigarettes are the biggest enemies of your blood vessels and arteries.

The chemicals in the smoke hamper cardiovascular functions, which eventually detriment the normal blood supply— to and fro from the heart to the other parts of the body.

Nicotine in cigarettes thickens the blood, which in the long run, creates clotting at the muscle walls of the arteries and veins. [17]

As small arteries are relatively smaller in cross-sectional areas, they get affected by nicotine clotting much faster than the large arteries.

And this phenomenon cuts down the blood supply to the areas which have smaller arteries, thereby activating Raynaud’s syndrome.

Cigarette smoking also leaves plaque (a waxy substance) in the arteries, which leads the way for atherosclerosis— another condition that is known to trigger Raynaud’s disease. [18]

#4 If you have suffered injury or trauma

Post-traumatic Raynaud’s phenomenon is scarce; however, it’s not out of the picture entirely— mainly when Volar Plate Avulsion or wrist injuries exist.

It’s a type of secondary Raynaud’s syndrome which may rarely surface upon some traumas such as digital replantation. [19]

It’s caused by perivascular nerve damage, which leads to vasoconstriction and eventual Raynaud’s.

Some studies demonstrate that frostbite can also lead to Raynaud’s syndrome.

Frostbite affects the skin and the tissues of the toes, fingers, nose, face, and ears.

It can block the blood supply to these organs by constricting the arteries associated with them. [20]

And this could expose you to the challenges of Raynaud’s.

#5 If you develop overuse injury with repetitive actions.

If you have been practicing professions that demand repetitive use of fingers or toes, you may develop an overuse injury.

Overuse injury leads to nothing but blanching of fingers— a phenomenon in which constant physical pressure and stress prevent the blood flow in small arteries. [21]

Professions such as aggressive piano playing, typing, and operating vibrating tools such as Jackhammer are some of the clinically approved causes of blanching and Raynaud’s phenomenon.

#6 If you take Raynaud’s contraindicated drugs.

Administering certain drugs for certain conditions can spark off Raynaud’s.

That’s because some of these medicines don’t go well with your heart rate.

They dampen the heart rate and lower the blood pressure that, at length, suppresses the blood flow in small arteries.

Here’s the list of contraindicated medicines which may cause Raynaud’s

  • Migraine medicines with active salts such as sumatriptan or ergotamine [22]
  • Hyperactivity/Attention-deficit disorder medicines [23]
  • High blood pressure medicines, such as beta-blockers. [24]
  • Some chemotherapy agents like cisplatin and bleomycin. [25]
  • Certain OTC cold medications [26]
  • Drugs which constrict the blood vessels

Is there a way to end the ever-frustrating Raynaud’s experience?

The only good part about Raynaud’s phenomenon is that it’s not severe under most conditions, and doesn’t bring serious implications with it.

Well, that’s also the worst part because we aren’t programmed to see doctors until we find ourselves into a deeper mess.

Raynaud’s pushes you to the edge of the seat, but not hard enough to generate a visiting urge.

Having said that, you can get over the hide and seek of Raynaud’s phenomenon of you want by opting for medicines that dilate the blood vessels and arteries.

Take a look at medicines which have a proven track record of alleviating Raynaud’s condition:

  1. Calcium channel blockers for relaxing and opening the muscles walls the tiny blood vessels in your fingers and toes. [27]
  2. Vasodilating salts like Sildenafil, Vardenafil, Tadalafil, Fluoxetine, etc. are known to broaden up the blood vessels. [28]
  3. Surgeries and medical procedures such as sympathectomy, nerve surgery, and chemical injection where surgeons cut off the nerves for blocking the exaggerated response. [29]

Can Medical Marijuana suppress Raynaud’s condition?

How Marijuana Helps in Suppress Raynaud’s Condition

Marijuana has been a subject of controversy ever since humankind discovered it— and unfortunately— the stigma around it has been propagated for thousands of years— centuries after centuries.

But the proponents of cannabis have had a few good battles in the last decade or so to make it at least available for medical purposes.

You can say that what we had achieved from its battle in the last one thousand years is equal to what we have got in the previous decade.

As medical marijuana gains brisk traction in managing life-threatening diseases such as cancer, respiratory problems, etc., researchers are also putting their energy in finding the definite link between cannabis and Raynaud’s phenomenon.

What researchers have to say about the health benefits of marijuana on Raynaud’s attack?

Medical observers say that smoking marijuana will only aggravate Raynaud’s condition as smoking of any degree is responsible for health risks.

However, administering cannabis through other routes can prove a blessing in disguise.

Marijuana has two important chemicals bearing contrary properties— CBD and THC.

While THC is known as an aggressive molecule among the two, CBD introduces calming properties when introduced to the body.

In fact, pre-clinical evidence shows that CBD possesses vasodilating characteristics naturally, which dilate the arteries and blood vessels in the body.

CBD is also efficient in reducing stress and anxiety behaviors, which are the primary contributors to secondary Raynaud’s. [30]

Moreover, CBD also has anti-inflammatory properties, which give immediate relief from pain-related behaviors like arthritis that contribute to Raynaud’s. [31]

Not only this— the antioxidant properties of the CBD strain also enhances the nitric oxide level in the blood. [32]

Nitric oxide has been long known as the mother of blood vessels as it keeps them healthy and allows the optimal blood flow in them, thereby preventing the risk of Raynaud’s.

CBD in the form of medical marijuana has gone full-legal in 66% of the American states, and so far— they have been reaping good results from the respondents.

However, THC still needs a lot of research on its medical and sociological impact because it’s a psychoactive element which hasn’t shown potent effect yet on the cardiovascular offerings.

In fact, studies suggest that you are likely to go through severe heart attacks ahead of the people who don’t smoke THC. [33]

How should you use medical marijuana?

Medical Marijuana can be taken through different routes of administration— as it’s available in various forms.

You can consume CBD oil, edibles, pills through the lingual or sublingual route.

As smoking medical marijuana does more bad than good, it’s advisable to use methods that go into your bloodstream without troubling the blood vessels.

Since Raynaud’s phenomenon has everything to do with arteries constriction, you want medical marijuana to be one of the elixirs and not the causes.

Here are some of the ways to get marijuana treatment:

  • Oral ingestion
  • Topical methods
  • CBD oils
  • Vaporizers
  • Tinctures

You can also make your recipe using cannabutter on menus like steak salad, waffle, gelatos, ice-creams, brownie, etc.

What’s the future of medical marijuana for treating Raynaud’s disorder?

The global acceptance of medical marijuana indicates that it elevates the standard of living of people who have been suffering from a variety of disorders.

Though Raynaud’s syndrome is not severe in most of the cases, people want to jump over this life-distressing disease.

So far now, CBD-based medical marijuana has been able to obliterate the significant triggers of Raynaud’s, and we suspect that the future analysis will only leave us with happy conclusions.

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