Many people with arthritis are turning to cannabidiol (CBD) to ease pain and manage other symptoms The Arthritis Foundation has released guidance to help them better understand this newer wellness substance and the possible risks associated with it.
Little research has been done on CBD in humans — and none on people with arthritis, the foundation asserts. Still, they wanted to look closely at this supplement because of its increasing popularity.
Marcy O’Koon, the senior director of consumer health at the Arthritis Foundation, in Atlanta said.
“Patients are not waiting for more research. They are using CBD now, we realized it was upon us to develop something to help people to be safe, to not fall prey to aggressive marketing and inaccurate claims.”
CBD Is Already Widely Used by People With Arthritis
Even without studies showing that it works for arthritis, people with the condition are diving into the marketplace. A survey by California researchers of nearly 2,500 respondents, published in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research in July 2018, found that chronic pain and joint pain are the top two medical conditions for which people take CBD for. The next three — anxiety, depression, and insomnia — also affect many people with arthritis.
The Arthritis Foundation conducted their very own online survey this last July, of which, 2,600 people with arthritis completed. Now, since these people volunteered to be a part of the survey, the results may not necessarily represent everyone with arthritis. Even so, the survey found that 79% respondents had tried CBD or were considering using it, The primary reason being, to relieve pain, the most difficult symptom of arthritis.
Almost 30% of the respondents stated they were currently using CBD, and 3 out of 4 reported getting relief. Not only had their physical function and morning stiffness improved, many said it helped them to sleep as well or be less fatigued. It also seemed to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Using CBD Safely When You Have Arthritis
Even after this survey, the Arthritis Foundation still wants to help consumers navigate this often fraught marketplace as best as they can which we appreciate very much. A few things worth mentioning from their guidelines include:
Go low and slow. Without adequate research, there are no established clinical guidelines for how much CBD to take. Start with a low dose of just a few milligrams, adding a few more after a week. If that doesn’t help, go up in small increments in the next several weeks. If that brings relief, continue taking that dose twice daily to maintain a stable level of CBD in the blood.
Beware of drug interactions. One important reason to discuss CBD with your doctor is that scientists have identified many classes of drugs that theoretically might interact with CBD, impacting the drug’s effectiveness on your body.
For those suffering from arthritis, medications that might raise concern are as follows: corticosteroids (such as prednisone), tofacitinib (Xeljanz), naproxen (Aleve), celecoxib (Celebrex), tramadol (Ultram), certain antidepressants, including amitriptyline (Elavil), citalopram (Celexa), fluoxetine (Prozac), mirtazapine (Remeron), paroxetine (Paxil), sertraline (Zoloft), and certain medications that are sometimes prescribed for fibromyalgia, including gabapentin (Neurontin), and pregabalin (Lyrica).
This does not mean you have to avoid CBD if you are on these medicines, Dr. O’Koon says, “it’s important for you and your doctor to pay closer attention to symptoms and side effects.”
Shop very carefully. CBD is currently sold all over and in all sorts of shops — not just dispensaries but also hair salons, restaurants, health-food stores, spas, and more. Because Cannabidiol products are largely unregulated in the United States, the range of quality of these products varies tremendously.
In some cases, CBD products are even mislabeled or, worse, adulterated. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in 2017 found that of the 84 CBD products the researchers had purchased online, an incredible 43% had more CBD than indicated, while 26% had less. And 18 of the products contained unexpected THC levels.
Because of situations such as these, we always urge our readers to look out for Certificates of Analysis (Lab reports).
Remember that good quality CBD can be expensive, especially if you take it regularly. That’s why the Arthritis Foundation says that to avoid wasting money, “be completely sure that the product is truly having a positive effect on symptoms.”
Dr. O’Koon suggests keeping a journal of how your symptoms change with CBD if at all. After 6 – 8 weeks, you should see some notable differences.
If you have arthritis and you want to try CBD we are all for it and believe the benefits as well as lack of side effects make it very much worth it. With more research being done by the FDA it is only a matter of time before we see many more CBD arthritis medications surfacing.