CBD for arthritis: What the research shows

Cannabidiol or CBD for short has become a very popular cannabinoid in the recent years since the farm bill was passed. CBD is also widely appreciated for its large list of therapeutic effects that could benefit our mental & physical wellness.

Arthritis is a very common condition that affects many people in a wide age range and causes both inflammation as well as joint pain. The symptoms that are experienced will depend on the type of arthritis that individual has. However, they do mostly all include joint pain, stiffness, weakness, tenderness, restricted movement around the joint, weakness, and high inflammation levels. The two most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Unfortunately, currently there is no cure for arthritis, the treatments include surgery, medication, and physiotherapy have been known to be successful in slowing down arthritis for numerous patients.

CBD & Arthritis

CBD is already being widely used to ease and assist in a range of health conditions which include, insomnia, depression, nausea, chronic pain and anxiety. The reason why this is relevant is because arthritis falls under the category of chronic pain. Currently, studies around CBD for arthritis are still only just beginning but the results are promising.

The traditional medications for arthritis vary, but will most likely include a variety of options, including:

  • Painkillers to reduce pain.
  • Corticosteroids to reduce inflammation and suppress the immune system.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce inflammation.
  • Counterirritants to interfere with the transmission of pain signals.
  • Etc.

While these medications can be effective at times, effects of long-term use are often questioned. 

Patients suffering from arthritis who have been using these medications  repeatedly for extended periods of time have shown to have heart, liver, stomach, and kidney damage. Due to this growing problem patients are starting to become aware of different forms of treatment such as physical therapy and even lifestyle changes. Many are also looking at natural medication alternatives like CBD which has risen in popularity as an option with fewer adverse side effects.

Research on arthritis & CBD

A big topic of interest for a long while now is the relationship between common health conditions such as chronic pain and CBD. Researchers are starting to diverge over to related conditions like arthritis, specifically rheumatoid arthritis. This Inflammatory, autoimmune disease causes your immune system to attack healthy cells, this then most likely results in one of your joints being attacked.

One particular trial studied the effectiveness of a CBD based medication that would help to treat rheumatoid arthritis, patients who were involved in the study used Sativex, a CBD extract in a spray container. The study lasted five weeks and participants found that the drug was effective in reducing inflammation as well as pain which in turn improved their sleep quality. All of the reported side effects from the research were mild and did not influence the patients quality of life.

A second study that we looked at used a topical application of CBD for joint pain as well as inflammation. The subjects in this study were rats, researchers found that the CBD topical reduced joint swelling and pro-inflammatory biomarkers. The conclusion was that a good topical CBD has strong therapeutic potential for relief from arthritis as well as any inflammatory related condition without having any extreme adverse side effects like some prescription medicine has been known to have.

CBD as a treatment for arthritis side effects

Arthritis is a complicated autoimmune disease that can cause your cells to attack joints, over time this destroys bone and cartilage which leads to the loss of your joint function as well as stability. Symptoms of arthritis will vary, depending on the individual and how severe the disease progression is, some of the most common side effects are:

  • Chronic pain
    • Pain is the most reported side effect by patients suffering from arthritis. While painkillers can manage it, the side effects of those medications can be detrimental to the patient’s health long-term. 
      • Swelling and inflammation
      • Another side effect which is commonly heard is joint swelling as well as widespread inflammation. In inflammatory conditions like arthritis, the immune system triggers a response that causes damage to its own tissues.

The bottom line

The bottom line is, CBD shows promise in the reduction of symptoms of arthritis by interacting with the ECS(Endocannibinoid System) to lower inflammation. Due to this, arthritis patients  all over are starting to use CBD as well as their traditional medication. Current research is very promising, however more studies are needed to increase the global therapeutic use of CBD.

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