From the famed potential effects of CBD to bring relief for insomnia, anxiety, and pain, it is not unseemly to wonder about its effectiveness for conditions like arthritis. Also, medical marijuana has been approved in many states for the benefits it offers for decades now.
CBD comes from marijuana and hemp, along with THC and other sister compounds. Due to its mild effects, CBD’s popularity has been on the rise in recent years. This can be seen in Gallup’s poll of 2019 that shows that 64% of the American population are aware of and familiar with CBD products.
Naturally, positive user feedback is among the chief reasons for that. Another key quality of CBD is the lack of psychoactive effects. As such, CBD is 100% legal in every US state. However, is CBD good for arthritis?
Its most popular form of consumption for pain relief is via its oils (liquid) and topical products like patches and creams. The CBD oil is fast-acting, while topicals provide more localized results.
While it initially began as an alternative treatment, its use is now widespread all over the globe. According to a SingleCare 2020 study, the percentage of Americans who use CBD for pain relief is above 60%. For conditions like arthritis, where most types cannot be cured, using the less addictive CBD is preferred to opiates. Therefore, many consider it a safe alternative.
However, there’s little scientific proof for this at the moment. While many brands promote it as such, research still categorizes the benefits of CBD for arthritis as”potential.”
In a poll by the Arthritis Foundation, it was of note that only a minor percentage of users reported positive outcomes for pain and stiffness. However, patients were grateful for how it aided their sleeping cycles.
So, what do health professionals recommend? Here’s what you need to know regarding CBD and arthritis.
Things You Need To Know About Arthritis:
A good percentage of the world’s population suffers from arthritis. Also, the World Health Organization recognizes over 100 types of this illness. They are all different yet followed by inflammatory pain. Hence, rheumatoid arthritis requires medication to prevent the joints from permanent damage, while others call for varying methods.
However, one thing they all have in common is the symptom of pain. So, regardless of the type of arthritis, treatment revolves around pain and stiffness relief.
Another point of note is that what works well for one may not work for another. Thus, if one case needs prescription drugs, CBD products might be the answer for another. Also, the patient’s medical history plays a role in choosing the safer route.
Evidence That CBD Is Good For Arthritis:
Thus far, there are no medical studies that have established evidence of the effect of CBD for relieving chronic arthritis pain in humans. However, in a randomized osteoarthritis knee trial, reports indicated mixed results. The study lasted 12 weeks using topical CBD.
There has also been little research on using the full cannabis package. In the end, the results read “substantial evidence” that cannabis is an effective treatment for chronic pain in adults. Still, this does not vet the use of CBD as a compound.
However, there is some relevant research in the form of animal studies. Those studies show how CBD products can act as pain relievers. Yet, this might not hold true for how CBD works in humans.
There is, therefore, a lack of definitive studies on this subject. On the other hand, online feedback regarding medical cannabis is quite positive so far.
There are many testimonials and raving reviews about the use of CBD in many forms, from tinctures to topicals to capsules and sprays. On the flip side, they seldom refer to patients with acute arthritis.
Currently, there are quite a few intensive clinical trials and well-designed research studies on this potential relationship. Thus, science will soon derive proper data for future reference.
CBD As A Treatment For Arthritis Symptoms & Side Effects
Arthritis is a complex disease followed by chronic joint pain. Not only that, but it can also lead to the destruction of bone and cartilage over time. Yet, the symptoms of arthritis differ from one person to another. However, depending on the severity of the condition, the following are some common side effects that CBD can treat.
All types of arthritis can lead to chronic pain. On that note, patients often describe how the pain gets worse with time. Naturally, it can even impair their everyday movement and lifestyle. The latter is true for all rheumatic diseases.
The majority of arthritis patients report pain as a side effect. Painkillers and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can help in chronic pain management. However, the side effects of these meds can affect the patient’s health after prolonged periods. Therefore, CBD has been a preferred choice of treatment for chronic pain among individuals due to its natural efficacy.
According to a 2017 review on CBD use for general chronic pain, cannabis is an appropriate treatment for adults with such issues. Another research also supported these claims, stating that compounds in the cannabis plant can reduce pain.
Thus, some researchers approve of the efficacy of CBD for reducing pain and inflammation. Plus, they mentioned that the patients taking CBD treatment are unlikely to build tolerance for this cannabinoid. Hence, one must follow the proper intake cycle to stay on the safe side.
Swelling & Inflammation
Joint swelling and inflammation are other commonly reported side effects of arthritis. So, the immune system can’t prevent that outcome. When an individual is healthy, the body naturally produces white blood cells to combat infections. Nevertheless, inflammatory conditions like arthritis trigger a response in the human body that leads to tissue damage.
CBD can suppress those inflammatory responses. Thus, CBD and other cannabinoids ultimately relieve arthritis symptoms, including swelling and inflammation. Cannabinoids have greater potency in regulating pathways that are involved in the suppression of cytokines. Similarly, CBD also activates apoptosis inside immune cells. Therefore, researchers concluded that CBD is beneficial for the prevention of diseases involving chronic inflammation. Still, further research is needed on the matter.
Reduction Of Appetite
Arthritis patients note a reduction in their appetite. Due to this problem, they also experience weight loss. As a result, their mental health can get unstable, too. This leads to sudden mood swings, slower metabolism, etc.
According to a 2016 study, some medications like leflunomide can also lead to weight loss in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Therefore, long-term appetite loss can badly impact the patient’s health leading to insufficient nutrient consumption. The studies that link CBD and appetite have resulted in variable data. Research showed that CBD could cause weight gain in some and distinct weight loss in others. Despite that, researchers have stated that CBD can have a positive impact on appetite and hunger.
Another research investigated the relation of CBD with nausea and made interesting deductions. The 2011 study showed CBD’s ties with the endocannabinoid system. It shows that CBD helps in the reduction and regulation of nausea not only in animals but also in humans.
Since excess weight and obesity is the common cause of arthritis, a reduction in appetite is a potent preventive method. However, for arthritis patients that have a healthy weight or are underweight, unintentional weight loss or reduction in appetite can be detrimental to their health.
Should You Give It A Try?
Without substantial scientific proof of CBD effects on arthritis, it is hard to conclude who will or will not benefit from its use. Experts also find it hard to agree on the exact amounts and intake cycles one should stick to. Also, there are many types of CBD products with less or more effective formulas.
Therefore, while CBD may be good for arthritis, do not treat it as a replacement for your arthritis medication. For many arthritis cases, for example, inflammatory arthritis, it is essential to continue the prescribed drug plan. If your physician allows it, take CBD as an added element for pain relief.
Treatment Of Arthritis vs. Relief From Arthritis Pain
It is of importance that expectations with the use of CBD are kept low. It is by no means a full treatment of arthritis. Rather, as user reviews indicate, it may serve to relieve pain which is a symptom of arthritis. For proper and full treatment, consult a doctor. It may also not work for every type of arthritis. In the same way, while others may see good results after taking it, CBD might have little effect on you.
The Downsides To CBD Treatment/Side Effects:
All forms of treatment come with a caveat. However, depending on the level of the side effects, finding the meds gets more or less tricker. For example, you won’t need a prescription for some, while you will need it for the more potent ones. CBD falls into the first category as good quality CBD products have very little or no amounts of THC.
Research on its safety is ongoing, and for now, only a little info is available. However, thus far, for moderate doses, there are no safety concerns. Some of its associated side effects with use, regardless of form, are sedation (which is sometimes welcomed as a good result), sleepiness, and fatigue. It can also lead to dry mouth, dizziness, diarrhea, hunger, and eye irritation.
Depending on the type of CBD you go for, whether isolate, broad-spectrum, or full-spectrum, there might also be an increased possibility of increased liver enzymes. It is more pronounced in the CBD isolate than in the other forms.
Another downside is the access to good quality CBD. The production of CBD items, while legal, is largely unregulated. Hence the notice of “non- FDA Approved” on sale sites. Thus, the market is filled with products made with subpar standards. It raises concerns about the purity of the products and their potency. In this regard, new users may find it more efficient to opt for the far more controlled prescription medications.
The third downside to its use for chronic pain relief is its exorbitant costs. CBD, due to its production methods and requirements, does not come cheap. Also, you need to buy bulks for the best results. Hence, starting such treatment will lighten up your pocket. Moreover, users often point out that for pain relief, they need higher dosages than usual. Therefore, observe your body’s reaction before fully committing to these products.
Tolerance and Drug Interaction
On the topic of pain, experts who study it speculate that using CBD for pain relief may affect the body’s response to it. There are concerns that you might build tolerance such that after a while, you will require a higher dose to get the same effect. On the upside, there is very little concern about CBD addiction.
While small, there is also the possibility of its interaction with other meds. Thus, if you intend to use it for the treatment of arthritis pain, we recommend checking with your doctor or physician. Most notably, in case you’re looking to expand the list of current prescriptions.
Naturally, any pregnant and nursing mother must be careful with CBD and only use it with a doctor’s prescription. Specialists have raised a few concerns about the possibility that using cannabis in those months via inhaling may result in low birth weight for the baby. Again, at the moment, there isn’t conclusive evidence on this note either. Generally, CBD should only be used by adults 18 years and above. You can try cbd flower and other cbd products as well.
Dos & Don’ts On The Use Of CBD For Arthritis Treatment:
Up until recently, there has been little to no guidance accessible for people who considered using CBD as an approach to their arthritis pain treatment.
If there was interest or recommendations, the patient, along with the doctor, had to decide if it was a good option in that specific case. This is because, regarding CBD products, no one size fits all. Instead, users need to choose between oils, buds, edibles, etc. Also, they need to opt for the one with enough potency and fast-acting effects.
It has been a case of trial and error with little precedents to learn from. However, there has been more exposure to this topic in academic circles recently. Also, several vetted health bodies have published guidelines on it. These guidelines tabulate some dos and don’ts that are helpful when opting for CBD treatment. An example is the guidelines from The Arthritis Foundation published by the Arthritis Care and Research medical journal.
Below are some recommendations to take note of:
- Before buying any CBD product, always check for third-party testing on its purity, potency, quality, and safety. These are ways to ensure you will be consuming an effective product. Similarly, ensure to read as many product reviews on various forums and review sites. Lastly, check the ingredients list and look for a GMP certificate.
- Ideally, for arthritis, CBD should not be taken as an isolated treatment option or regime. Rather, it should work as part of a pain management plan. This plan may be inclusive of other meds at the discretion of a doctor. On top of that, it this best to combine it with exercising and a healthy diet.
- When selecting a method of CBD intake, you should try choosing the oral or topical forms instead of inhaling CBD. Vaping comes with higher risks and, thus, it’s less favorable.
- With the use of CBD, there is a need to monitor your body’s responses, and sometimes, you may require a second opinion. Thus, tell your physician about your treatment plan.
- Regardless of an intake form, start with small doses and increase slowly. If you move too fast, you may end up dealing with side effects.
- It is very important to always consult your healthcare provider both before and after starting CBD treatment. Also, note that companies will try and oversell their items. Plus, their teams may not include licensed medical providers. So, don’t expect thorough guidance from such vendors. Instead, rely on expert advice at all stages. After all, your physician knows your exact medical history and current condition.
- Always have a specific but realistic goal in mind and adjust as you progress. Review what works and what doesn’t with your health provider, what to try out, and what to skip. Keeping a symptom and CBD dose log can also be helpful.
- It is okay to try out another CBD option if the first hasn’t led to positive development. Either way, CBD should ideally not be your first choice when seeking pain relief. Doctors only recommend it when conventional therapy fails to produce results. So, it is more appropriate to consider it a supplementary option.
- Many arthritis prescriptions work for more than just pain reduction. Before stopping any medication in favor of CBD, always consult your doctor. In other words, as a patient, you might not see the full picture at all times.
What Type Of CBD Is Best for Arthritis-Related Pain?
What type of CBD is most effective for arthritis is a common question with vastly varying answers. There are presently three types of CBD available; CBD Isolate, Broad-spectrum, and Full-spectrum CBD.
This CBD Isolate type contains purely and solely just CBD as the main compound. So, brands remove the other elements from the hemp source via various methods. Hence, what is left is a pure mixture with a mild potency. As such, it cannot produce a high due to zero THC content. There is also less need for additives as CBD, in its pure form, is tasteless and odorless. Nevertheless, there are concerns CBD Isolate is hard on the liver. Most notably, if you stick with it for months on end. Thus, it’s less favorable for treating arthritis.
Broad Spectrum CBD
This CBD type also contains no THC, but there is the presence of some other cannabinoids aside from CBD. So, products that boost certain aspects of CBD also fall into this category. As a result, these products help with high anxiety and insomnia.
Full Spectrum CBD
This contains THC but in minute amounts (0.3%). It also contains all the characteristic compounds of the source plant (hemp) like CBD, CBN, CBDV, CBG, etc. Nowadays, users often opt for these products due to their higher potency. Experts also recommend it as the easiest one to process.
You can research about full spectrum vs broad spectrum cbd oil to know more.
Which CBD Product Should I Use For Arthritis?
Many CBD products are flooding the market, and one can divide them into three distinct classes depending on intake or application type. Further, each of these classes has its pros and cons that may affect its efficacy for pain relief. These are several key points you should know beforehand.
This refers to all CBD items you can chew or swallow. It is the widest category, featuring gummies, tinctures, pills, and capsules. However, all edibles are of the slow-acting type. On the flip side, they make it easy to measure your daily dosage.
Swallowed: The CBD items that you swallow, like gummies and capsules, then go into the body via digestive tracts. Thus, it is presumably the slowest acting of all the forms. Yet, many CBD gummies pack quite the punch, meaning it’s best to slice them up in two. Next it might take up to two hours before you feel the full effects. On this note, your current CBD tolerance level will play a hand. Contributing to this are stomach acids, recent meals, body weight, etc.
Swallowing CBD may suffice for daily use if you pick a quality brand and remain attentive when dosing. However, note that the effects may last for several hours once they set in.
Sublingual: You can also allow your body to directly absorb CBD into the bloodstream via liquids, sprays, or tincture products. Out of this group, CBD tinctures are the most popular option. Taking them includes a dropper to pour a drop on your tongue. Then, you can leave the liquid under your tongue for one to two minutes as your body absorbs it. Therefore, it is arguably a more effective option since it completely bypasses the digestive tract. As a result, it generally takes only 15 to 40 minutes before you’ll feel the effects. However, such products can’t mask the natural, earthy taste of CBD.
You can apply this form of CBD to any part of your body to localize its effects. Hence, you can use just the right amount every day. One can apply it directly to the skin and let it absorb. For example, a person with knee joint pain may apply it only to the knee. Examples are CBD creams and balms.
However, the full range of effects of these products is still unclear. This also goes for how long before the skin can absorb them. In addition, these products are usually not sold as 100% CBD items. Many common but helpful ingredients like camphor and menthol are present. Thus, it becomes hard to state that positive effects, if any, are due to CBD, whether fully or partially.
With the use of a vape pen, you can directly inhale CBD. While it takes effect fast, these carry some risks for your throat. A particularly prone/susceptible group is those with the inflammatory type of arthritis. There are also some speculations on vaping’s negative effects on patients with pulmonary diseases. Thus, we recommend avoiding the option of inhaling CBD.
How Much CBD Should I Use?
There are no set guidelines for the amount of CBD to take as a form of meds. However, experts highlight the following:
Always start slow and easy. At the same time, also choose methods for precise measuring. For example, begin with a few milligrams of CBD in edible form, preferably sublingual. Stick to the dosage for a week and if you don’t find relief, increase the dose during the following week. Repeat this process a few more times, increasing in small amounts until you get reliable results. In this way, your body will have an easier time re-adjusting. Also, you’ll avoid the risk of an overdose.
Sometimes, CBD alone may not work well for you. Then, if your state allows for limited THC usage, then try some of the Full-spectrum CBD products. Ask your doctor about it and proceed accordingly. THC, even in small amounts, can cause you to feel high. Thus, always be cautious in how often you take it.
Later, if you see no improvement after several weeks, then using CBD as pain relief is probably not effective for you. At that point, look for an alternative with the help of your doctor.
In any case, if any undesirable side effects start showing up, discontinue the daily usage.
Conclusion: Is CBD Good For Arthritis?
CBD treatment for rheumatoid arthritis is becoming a popular method nowadays. However, the exact benefits of CBD oil are still unclear. Yet, patients applaud its efficacy in treating joint pain. Also, research suggests that various environmental factors affect the purity of cannabis plants. This makes finding the right CBD product for you a bit of a trial and error process. Most notably regarding the different types of arthritis. You can try and mix cbd your drinks or just buy cbd drinks online.
So, is CBD good for arthritis? We may not be able to give a yes or no answer due to the lack of relevant data. However, if CBD can help safely relieve any pain symptoms, it is worth trying.