Voltaren Gel VS. Cannabis Ointment – You decide!


When you first get diagnosed with autoimmune disease, you’ll be offered an entire arsenal of pharmaceutical pain relief options by your doctor. These generally start with NSAIDS like Motrin or Voltaren topical gel, and will probably also include copious amounts of steroids, and in acute situations, you’ll be started on narcotic drugs like Vicodin.

The problem with everything that the pharmaceutical companies have to offer for pain relief is that all of it comes with a mile-long list of side effects that include death. Much to my surprise, when my doctor prescribed Voltaren gel, it too came with the same list of side effects as every other NSAID, including possible death. Now, to be fair, it’s true that most people are not going to die using NSAIDS. But, plenty of people do. Enough people that it makes me not want to use them at all or very sparingly.

The possible death sentence from putting some prescription NSAID lotion on my hands for pain relief aside, fair is fair and I think Voltaren gel deserved a fair evaluation just for it’s pain relieving abilities. And that’s why I’m posting this review.

As per the instructions, I applied a measured dose to my swollen hand. And waited. Sure enough, about two hours later the swelling of my knuckles had decreased and I had better movement in my hand. My hips are also painful and seem to inflame in a similar way so I also applied the measured dose to both hip joints. No dice. Just as painful as before. Additionally, I included my knees in this experiment. One knee seemed to feel better, but the other, not so much.

Voltaren gel verdict? It worked somewhat. But, I personally don’t believe it works well enough to justify using it everyday. I don’t use it at all – why bother? It works, but not as well as my own homemade cannabis lotion and ointments.

On the right side of the photograph is a jar of fresh cannabis ointment made with food-grade ingredients and kept in the refrigerator. I slather this on during the worst bouts of pain. Cannabis topicals work differently than the Voltaren gel in that they, in my personal experience, give longer lasting inflammation relief over a period of days. Also, cannabis ointment worked wonders for my aching hip joints and both knees had very fast pain relief. Voltaren just doesn’t seem to be able to get to those spots of inflammation as well as the cannabis ointment did.

Pain relief is really fast, but the inflammation relief can really be seen after a 24 hour period of applying the cannabis topical products several times a day. After 3-4 days of intensive application during an autoimmune flare, this will bring down my swelling and pain in a similar dramatic fashion as taking Prednisone. And no one has ever died from cannabis, so that’s a plus as well. I can feel confident that no matter how much I slather on, it’s only going to heal, not hurt!