What do 350 million people worldwide have in common? Arthritis. A blanket term for the inflammatory condition that affects joints and surrounding tissue, there are more than 100 different forms of arthritis.Currently, more than one-third of adults with arthritis report that it limits their leisure activities and work, and 25 percent say it causes severe pain. With CBD being hyped as the “breakthrough solution” for a plethora of pain conditions, can it be effective for arthritis symptoms as well? The jury is still out on how effective cbd for arthritis is.
What Is CBD?
Two types of the cannabis sativa plant, marijuana and hemp, produce chemical compounds called cannabinoids. The two most well-known cannabinoids are THC and CBD.
- Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is a psychoactive cannabinoid responsible for the high caused by consuming marijuana.
- Cannadidiol (CBD) is also a cannabinoid, but it lacks any psychoactive properties. In fact, most CBD products are derived from hemp, which legally must have less than 0.3 percent of THC.
Most people are surprised to learn that compounds found in THC and CBD products are already found naturally in the body. The body actually creates its own cannabinoids, called endocannabinoids. These compounds are part of the body’s larger endocannabinoid system (ECS), which also consists of cannabinoid receptors throughout the brain and immune system.
CBD and Arthritis Pain Relief
So, what actually happens when CBD enters the body? While researchers once believed that CBD compounds attached directly to the body’s receptors, recent studies have shown that CBD can actually help you use your own endocannabinoids more effectively.
Scientists believe the cannabinoids in CBD products react with specialized receptors in the brain and immune system. One of these receptors, the CB2, is responsible for managing pain and inflammation. While the exact mechanism is still unknown, a 2009 study found that CBD causes the body to produce more of its own endocannabinoids, thus suppressing inflammatory responses and reducing pain and inflammation.
What does this mean for those with arthritis? Take a look:
- A 2011 study found that CBD helped to reduce inflammatory pain by affecting the way pain receptors respond to stimuli.
- A 2016 study found that the topical application of CBD had the potential to relieve pain and inflammation associated with arthritis.
- A 2017 study found that CBD might be a safe and useful treatment for OA joint pain.
There is a lack of scientific evidence to prove conclusively that CBD is an effective arthritis treatment. However, recent findings have been sufficient enough to prompt many to learn more.
Is CBD Right for Me?
The best way to answer if CBD is right for you is to ask your doctor. A medical professional familiar with your arthritis symptoms will best understand if CBD could be effective for you. More importantly, they can also inform you of any possible side effects and drug interactions, according to your current arthritis protocol.
Likewise, if your doctor gives you the green light, he or she could help you decide which forms may help you the most. Not all CBD products are made equal. Let’s take a look at how to streamline the buying process for CBD for arthritis pain.
Choosing a CBD Product
If you’re new to the CBD market, choosing a product can be intimidating. CBD comes in a plethora of forms, including topical ointments, edibles, oils, and tinctures.
- CBD oil is the most potent option, with an ability to be vaporized for quick consumption
- CBD oil tinctures are alcohol-based cannabis extracts that can be consumed orally through a dropper or combined with another liquid, such as tea
- CBD topical solutions combine CBD oil into a balm or lotion, which typically contains other soothing ingredients like menthol or lavender
- CBD dietary supplements range from CBD capsules to gummies or other edibles
The CBD product you choose will greatly depend on the location and severity of your pain. For instance, if you want to target a specific area, a topical ointment may be the best. On the other hand, if the pain is widespread, like in the case of fibromyalgia, then an edible or capsule may provide more suitable relief.
Tips for First Time Users
If you’re new to using CBD oil, no matter how severe your pain, start small. Generally speaking, lower doses seem to work best for pain relief. Begin with 10 milligrams per day to establish a safe, comfortable amount for you, slowly increasing your intake to achieve desired affects.
Aside from drug interactions, CBD has little-to-no side effects, with the exception of possible drowsiness. With that being said, use CBD only at night until you’re aware of you’ll react. As a note, the effects of dietary supplements such as edibles typically last longer than vaping, so don’t try them until you know how CBD works for you and your arthritis pain.
Is CBD the “breakthrough solution” for arthritis after all? It’s much too early to know for sure. In the meanwhile, consult with your doctor to discuss if alternative options for arthritis pain, such as CBD, could be right for you.