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CBD For Arthritis: What The Research Shows

Date 5th Nov 2021

CBD For Arthritis: What The Research Shows

According to the Center For Disease Control (CDC), 54 million people in the United States are diagnosed with arthritis—nearly half of whom are limited in their activities because of this condition.

Arthritis is the inflammation of the joints, resulting in stiffness, pain, swelling, and in severe cases, can reduce one's mobility. 

Despite how common arthritis diagnoses are, there is no cure for the condition. Treatments to manage pain have improved over the years, but most of which involve strong pharmaceuticals that come with a higher risk for addiction and undesirable side effects.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychotropic compound from the cannabis plant that has been extensively studied for its benefits towards supporting a healthy inflammatory response and pain relief while having a very low risk for side effects and addictions.

In this article, we'll look at what current research says about the potential of CBD oil for arthritis and how other people are using CBD at home to manage their symptoms.

TL;DR:

  1. Arthritis is a disease described as the inflammation of the joints and it affects roughly 54 million people in the United States
  2. There is no cure for arthritis, only methods to ease the comfort of those living with arthritis or therapies that can improve the success rate of remission
  3. CBD has gentle and broad-acting benefits such as supporting a normal inflammatory response and increasing comfort that may help improve the quality of life of those living with arthritis
  4. CBD is a versatile compound that can be used effectively internally and topically—but there is no CBD product available that has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat arthritis or any auto-immune condition
  5. Not all CBD products offer the same level of benefits—it's important to shop for quality CBD that has been lab-tested to ensure its safety
  6. Don't take CBD without first speaking with your doctor if you have arthritis or are on any form of medication 

What Causes Arthritis Pain?

The main symptoms of arthritis are the swelling and pain experienced in one or more joints that typically get worse as you get older. 

The most common forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout.

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is nicknamed the "wear-and-tear" disease. 

It develops slowly and worsens with age. While it can affect any joint, the most common joints affected by osteoarthritis are the spine, hips, hands, and knees.

In osteoarthritis, the cartilage that cushions the connection between the bones and joints gradually degrade and the bone ends up rubbing on another bone. This disease can also affect the entire joint—the bone, and connective tissue—causing chronic pain, stiffness, and disability.

Factors that increase the risk of osteoarthritis include genetics, old age, women, joint injuries, obesity, poor bone density, and diabetes.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is classified as an autoimmune and inflammatory disease. It happens when a dysfunctional immune system attacks healthy cells in the joints causing an inflammatory response that leads to painful swelling around the area. The swelling and pain can be so drastic that it begins to wear away at the joint itself leading to deformity and disability.

RA mainly manifests itself as joint pain. However, as an inflammatory disease, it can cause a lot of damage to other systems as well such as the skin, kidneys, and circulatory system.

While rheumatoid arthritis can affect anyone, it's most prevalent in women between the ages of 30–60 [1]. Family history, smoking, obesity, and age can put you at higher risk for developing rheumatoid arthritis.

Gout

Gout is a form of arthritis that occurs when uric acid builds up in the blood and forms into crystals in the joints causing inflammation and intense pain or a "gout attack."

The joints affected are typically the toes, ankles, knees, wrists, elbows, and hands that come on suddenly and can last up to 12 hours of intense pain that may subside into lingering pain for several weeks.

In healthy individuals, the kidneys can eliminate excess uric acid through urination. However, genetics, obesity, certain diets, excessive alcohol use, and injury can make some people more susceptible to gout attacks.

Can CBD Oil Help With Joint Pain?

The field of medical cannabis research is fairly new—but there is a significant amount of preclinical and clinical studies demonstrating CBD's benefits for supporting a healthy immune system, increasing comfort, and overall improving people's quality of life [2, 3].

There is a lot of anecdotal reports of people using CBD products to find relief from joint pain as a result of injury and to manage osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout—but of course, these are anecdotal claims and not medically reviewed.

We'll have a look at some of the research surrounding CBD's potential to support arthritis pain.

CBD Has Strong Evidence For Anti-Inflammatory Actions

CBD and other cannabinoids primarily interact with a cell-signaling system called the endocannabinoid system. It's tasked with maintaining homeostasis (balance) of the many vital systems in the body including the immune system.

Since inflammation is a mechanism of the immune system, CBD shows a lot of potential in reducing inflammation and pain through several pathways [4].

CBD May Block Pain Signaling Pathways

In higher doses, CBD may offer some support for arthritis pain by interacting with the vanilloid receptors, specifically the TR1PV receptor [5].

This receptor sends messages to the brain when something is hot to touch or in pain. When it comes to joint pain and arthritis, inflammation triggers the sensation of pain.

CBD May Support Sleep

One of the biggest complaints from people suffering from arthritis is the inability to get a good night's sleep. When taken in the evenings and in moderate to high doses, CBD has been shown to prepare the body for rest by slowing down the fight-or-flight stress response by increasing GABA levels in the brain [6].

On top of this, high-stress levels may contribute to arthritis flareups.

GABA is a neurotransmitter that counteracts fight-or-flight, so we can enter rest and digest mode. This can help to slow down anxious thoughts and calm the body so that you actually feel sleepy before bed.

Along with providing support towards inflammation and pain, quality CBD oil may help those suffering from arthritis sleep easier without feeling groggy the next morning.

How People Are Using CBD For Arthritis

The only prescription CBD product approved b

y the Food and Drug Administration is Epilodex, and its use as a treatment for epilepsy. More research is needed in the space for CBD for arthritis—but that hasn't stopped people from using CBD products to support their wellness goals.

We'll go over some of the ways experts and experienced CBD users alike are finding success in using CBD to support chronic pain as a result of their arthritis condition. However, if you've been diagnosed with an underlying condition or are on any medications, it's advised that you speak with your doctor before experimenting with the potential benefits of CBD on your own

1. Shop For High-Quality CBD Products

There are a lot of snake oil CBD products out there that may do you more harm than good, so it's important to know what to look out for when shopping for CBD oil.

First off, make sure you're shopping for hemp-derived CBD that contains no more than 0.3% THC. Any more than this and you could find yourself in legal hot water—depending on your state. And find yourself feeling the intoxicating effects of THC.

Reputable brands will opt for third-party lab testing to demonstrate the THC and CBD content along with a contamination report to show you that the extract is free from harmful chemicals, pesticides, and mold.

2. Leverage The Entourage Effect From Your CBD Product

The entourage effect is a phenomenon in plant medicine that describes the natural compounds of a botanical working in synergy to produce more potent and well-balanced effects. CBD is one of the hundreds of naturally occurring compounds in hemp. Cannabinoids like CBN, CBG, CBC, and even trace amounts of THC can help to amplify the effects of CBD in the body.

The only extract types that can leverage the entourage effect are full spectrum and broad spectrum extracts. Full spectrum extracts closely resemble the phytochemical makeup of the hemp plant, they may cost more as the extraction process has to be much more careful to preserve heat and light-sensitive terpenes and cannabinoids, but experts consider full spectrum the best extract type for potency and effect profile.

For those looking for a CBD product without any THC, broad spectrum extracts are the next best bet. These undergo another process to isolate and remove all traces of THC, while still maintaining a lot of beneficial plant compounds to produce stronger effects.

While CBD isolate products are generally cheaper, you may find that you need more of the product to achieve the same levels of effects compared to full spectrum and broad spectrum extracts.

3. Use Moderate To Higher Doses Of CBD

Everyone's dose requirements for CBD will be different, so you can expect to experiment with your CBD doses until you find the effects you're looking for.

Most studies have found that moderate to higher doses of a quality CBD oil to be more effective in supporting inflammation and pain.

If you're new to CBD, it's recommended to start on the lower side of dosing and increase the amounts gradually, to reduce the risk of taking too much and having a negative experience.

4. Supplement CBD Products Consistently

Most people won't find the effects they're looking for from CBD in the first day or even week of use. This is because CBD has broad-acting effects on the endocannabinoid system, and it may take some time for your body to become accustomed to CBD supplementation.

It's important that you take your CBD oil regularly to give it enough time to start producing the results—for some people, it can take several weeks.

5. Use CBD Topically And Internally

Endocannabinoid receptors are found throughout the body, including skin tissues to support homeostasis, making CBD an incredibly diverse ingredient.

Many people find that applying topical CBD to targets of arthritis pain alongside internal supplementation of CBD helped to ease their discomfort.

When shopping for a topical CBD product to support arthritis pain and inflammation, make sure it has a high concentration of CBD—and that is backed with lab tests to prove it. A lot of products out there claim to contain CBD to support pain, but in reality, don't have enough CBD to have any effects.

Heating and cooling rubs are best for supporting pain. Just make sure to patch test the topical CBD products on a small area of skin before applying it to a tender area to ensure you don't have any negative reactions to the ingredients.

6. Use CBD Alongside Other Joint Supportive Supplements And Exercise

While research is promising surrounding the potential health benefits of CBD, it's not a cure-all compound.

Most people with arthritis find the most success with CBD when they combine its use alongside other forms of supplementation, regular exercise, and therapies such as massage and acupuncture to improve mobility and manage pain.

Potential Side-Effects Of CBD

One of the reasons people with arthritis are reaching for CBD products is that it's considered a safe compound with very minimal side effects—but that doesn't mean it's entirely risk-free.

The potential side-effects of CBD include:

  1. Dry mouth
  2. Dizziness
  3. Nausea
  4. Upset stomach
  5. Fatigue

The good news is that for most people, the chances of experiencing these effects are rare, and they can be avoided by taking quality CBD products in the appropriate doses. This is why it's important to start off your CBD supplementation in small amounts to allow your system to adjust to the introduced cannabinoids.

CBD rarely interacts with prescribed medications, and it's generally safe to take alongside over-the-counter painkillers such as Tylenol and Ibuprofen, but some drug treatments for managing arthritis pain and very strong and are designed to affect the immune system function. Before taking CBD alongside arthritis medication, it's best to speak with your doctor.

Neurogan CBD Products To Support Joint Pain

We believe in creating simple yet effective products for supporting our customer's health goals. Our company is inspired by our Danish roots in integrity and quality.

Since we stand by the experts and want to provide our customers with the most potent and well-rounded CBD experience, so we only offer full spectrum and THC-broad spectrum extracts for the entourage effect.

CBD Oil

Our CBD oil consists of two quality ingredients—premium hemp extract and MCT oil.

CBD oil is ideal for beginners and experts alike since they offer a lot of versatility of use (take it straight from the dropper or mix into your food and beverages) and comes in a wide variety of potencies to suit your dosage requirements.

We're proud to have the strongest CBD oil on the market, containing 12,000MG of CBD available in broad spectrum and full spectrum. This gives you the most bang for your buck in terms of cost per MG of CBD and allows you to reach higher doses easily.

CBD Gummies

Our CBD Gummies have been a consistent fan-favorite. These are made using our full spectrum or THC-free broad spectrum extracts for the entourage effect combined with a chewy, fruity gummy formula.

These CBD gummies are hand-crafted in small batches in our cGMP facility by our team to ensure quality and freshness for when they arrive at your door.

Joint Relief Functional CBD Lotion

When it comes to addressing sore joints with topical CBD, the higher the concentration of phytocannabinoids, the better. We've packed 8000MG of premium full spectrum CBD into a fast-absorbing lotion for extra-strength support.

Topical CBD formulas can provide direct relief to the trouble areas without much risk for other drug interactions or side effects because the cannabinoids don't enter the bloodstream. It supports the endocannabinoid receptors in the skin and muscle tissue to help regulate inflammation and pain sensation.

For days when you're feeling more pain and stiffness, most people find the best relief when combining a high-strength CBD topical with internal supplementation.

The Takeaway: CBD & Joint Pain

There's substantial evidence to support CBD's potential to support a healthy inflammatory response and ease discomfort. The most common forms of arthritis may benefit from CBD supplementation alongside other lifestyle and diet changes.

Because there's still a lot we don't know about the causes of rheumatoid arthritis, more research is needed to support CBD as a mainstream form of treatment. However, plenty of people are already using cannabis products to manage their arthritis symptoms.

When shopping for CBD, make sure you're buying high-quality CBD from a reputable supplier with third-party lab tests to back up its contents and safety.

CBD has become such a buzzword, you may want to adjust your expectations to the compound—CBD alone may provide some support, but it's not a cure-all compound. You should address the underlying factors for your arthritis flareups and adjust your lifestyle accordingly.

If you're on a doctor-prescribed treatment plan for severe arthritis conditions, you should seek medical advice from your doctor before adding CBD to your health regimen.

References:

  1. Angum, F., Khan, T., Kaler, J., Siddiqui, L., & Hussain, A. (2020). The prevalence of autoimmune disorders in women: a narrative review. Cureus, 12(5).
  2. Nichols, J. M., & Kaplan, B. L. (2020). Immune responses regulated by cannabidiol. Cannabis and cannabinoid research, 5(1), 12-31.
  3. Russo, E. B. (2008). Cannabinoids in the management of difficult to treat pain. Therapeutics and clinical risk management, 4(1), 245.
  4. Ruhaak, L. R., Felth, J., Karlsson, P. C., Rafter, J. J., Verpoorte, R., & Bohlin, L. (2011). Evaluation of the cyclooxygenase inhibiting effects of six major cannabinoids isolated from Cannabis sativa. Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin, 34(5), 774-778.
  5. Costa, B., Giagnoni, G., Franke, C., Trovato, A. E., & Colleoni, M. (2004). Vanilloid TRPV1 receptor mediates the antihyperalgesic effect of the nonpsychoactive cannabinoid, cannabidiol, in a rat model of acute inflammation. British journal of pharmacology, 143(2), 247-250.
  6. Pretzsch, C. M., Freyberg, J., Voinescu, B., Lythgoe, D., Horder, J., Mendez, M. A., ... & McAlonan, G. M. (2019). Effects of cannabidiol on brain excitation and inhibition systems; a randomised placebo-controlled single dose trial during magnetic resonance spectroscopy in adults with and without autism spectrum disorder. Neuropsychopharmacology, 44(8), 1398-1405.
Katrina Lubiano
Katrina Lubiano

Katrina Lubiano is a content writer in the health and wellness space based in Vancouver, Canada — Canada's epicenter for cannabis culture. When she's not working, she enjoys sailing, watercolor painting, and cooking.