A Complete Guide to Using CBD for Arthritis
Arthritis is a common condition. Almost a quarter of the adult population of the United States lives with some kind of arthritis. Arthritis is an incurable condition that causes pain. That pain may be constant, or it may wax and wane with inflammatory flare-ups. Some people find their pain worse in the morning, while others find that their arthritis pain is only exacerbated by intense physical activity.
No one wants to live with discomfort, whether it’s constant or relapsing. People with arthritis often seek natural, alternative, or complementary solutions to add to their treatment plan. Many doctors recommend things like joint supplements and topical relief products like creams. CBD in its various forms (topical CBD, CBD oil, CBD capsules, CBD vapes, and CBD edibles) is in a category of its own.
CBD does not help to protect or preserve joint tissue as glucosamine and chondroitin do. It also doesn’t provide a cooling or numbing sensation to the surface of the skin, like topicals formulated with ingredients like menthol or lidocaine can. So what exactly are the benefits of CBD oil for people living with arthritis?
The answer is complicated. CBD may not directly affect arthritis symptoms, but many people still find a unique kind of relief from its broad wellness benefits.
How Arthritis Affects the Body
The two most commonly diagnosed types of arthritis in adults are:
- Rheumatoid arthritis and
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition. It occurs when the body mistakenly believes that joint tissue is foreign, invasive, or potentially harmful. The body creates an inflammatory response surrounding the joint tissue, attacking it in an attempt to eliminate it, leading to joint pain.
Osteoarthritis often occurs with age or following an injury. This condition occurs when joint tissue becomes worn out or compromised from the natural aging process or overuse. The body cannot create or fully repair significantly damaged joint tissue. This leaves people with osteoarthritis with chronic pain that often worsens with movement. It appears most often in the knees, hands, hips, and spine.
How CBD Affects the Body
CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system is a massive network of special receptors that exist throughout the body. It may play a role in managing immune system response and inflammatory response, which are the two areas people with arthritis are attempting to target.
The body works to stimulate and regulate the endocannabinoid system by producing cannabinoids of its own. Researchers are still working to discover exactly how this process works and what it does. Until a greater understanding is established, there’s no way to know the quantity or full extent of the usefulness of these endogenous cannabinoids.
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a cannabinoid found in cannabis plants, as well as their lower THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) hemp chemical counterpart and minor cannabinoids like CBC and CBN. When CBD comes into contact with the endocannabinoid system, it appears to stimulate the system the same way that endogenous cannabinoids do.
Most people notice a subtle difference in how they feel when using this compound as a form of holistic wellness support. Improved mood and a higher quality of sleep are the two most well-documented effects of using CBD supplements.
Are There Studies on CBD and Arthritis?
There are several published studies on CBD and arthritis, and they can be a bit complicated to navigate. One study found that CBD directly works to destroy inflammatory cells specific to rheumatoid arthritis, which is incredibly promising in terms of potential arthritis treatment options.
Another study conducted on rats found that transdermal CBD patches were effective at reducing inflammation and pain-related behaviors. The outcome of this study declared that CBD might be useful in developing therapies for people who live with arthritis or similar conditions.
Another study declared that CBD might be useful in treating joint disease with dosages of one to two milligrams (mg) a day, but that research has not yet progressed to the point where a full evaluation of its efficacy is possible. This study found that evidence was inconclusive at best.
It can be difficult to navigate studies that seem to vaguely contradict each other. Some research seems to show direct and proven results, while other research records anecdotal evidence of improvement. A clear link between CBD and arthritis is yet to be established, and researchers don’t yet know the most effective way to use CBD to manage arthritis pain and inflammation.
The best way to approach CBD for arthritis pain is with caution. While CBD may not directly affect or improve the underlying causes of arthritis, many people with arthritis enjoy CBD for its broad wellness benefits. They feel generally better when they use CBD, and that may be reason enough to include CBD in their wellness ritual.
People under the care of a doctor for their arthritis should ask before using CBD and proceed with doctor approval. They should also temper their expectations. CBD is not recognized as a treatment for arthritis, but it still may be a valuable part of a general wellness routine.
What Does the Arthritis Foundation Say About CBD?
People with arthritis have been using CBD off-label to manage their arthritis symptoms for several years. While the Arthritis Foundation doesn’t endorse the practice, they have published guidance information for CBD’s integration into an arthritis care plan.
The Arthritis Foundation takes a cautiously optimistic approach and encourages people to use CBD as a complementary treatment, rather than a first-line treatment. They’re urging the FDA to investigate the matter further by approving and reviewing extensive research that would allow CBD’s efficacy as an arthritis treatment to be fully vetted.
The Arthritis Foundation recommends using safe, pure, lab-tested CBD produced by reputable companies under the guidance of your arthritis care professional.
They also recommend evaluating the potential benefits of CBD after three months of consistent use. By that time, it should become apparent whether or not CBD is playing an active role in symptom management or improving a patient's quality of life.
CBD May Potentially Interact With Some Arthritis Medications
If you’re taking medication for arthritis, don’t start using CBD. CBD may potentially interact with certain prescription drugs by exacerbating their side effects, particularly antidepressants and certain medications for fibromyalgia. If you’re currently using corticosteroids or selective drugs with anti-inflammatory properties to manage your arthritis, speak to your doctor before using CBD. You may not be a good candidate for CBD use, due to those potential drug interactions.
Not everyone with arthritis takes daily medication to manage their symptoms or pain. If you don’t, it’s still a wise idea to speak with your doctor before introducing CBD into your wellness routine. Many doctors are open-minded to the idea of incorporating natural supplements into a holistic approach to arthritis care.
How Can CBD Help People With Arthritis?
Although it’s unclear whether or not CBD products could potentially have direct implications for the treatment of arthritis, many people who live with arthritis enjoy its broad wellness benefits for other reasons, whether with a high potency product or a low dose.
Many people with arthritis often report that discomfort contributes to difficulty sleeping. Some people with arthritis find that their condition understandably impacts their mood.
Physical discomfort can cause emotional tension in the form of a stress response that makes day-to-day life a little more difficult. It can be hard to concentrate or see things from a positive perspective when pain becomes a major distraction.
While there is limited evidence to suggest that a CBD dose can directly affect pain relief, there is sufficient evidence to suggest that it can improve mood. Studies have shown that CBD can produce remarkable reductions in symptoms of anxiety and stress, which may help keep people with arthritis calm and ultimately lead to better sleep.
If your doctor agrees that CBD may play a valuable role in your wellness routine, talk with them about the proper dosage and use it in conjunction with other positive lifestyle changes that will minimize the impact arthritis can have on your life. A proper diet, adequate hydration, weight management, and low-impact exercise can also help to naturally improve the way people with arthritis feel.
Consistency Is the Key to Results
CBD begins to work within minutes or hours of ingestion, depending on the form of CBD used. Its full effects typically don’t present themselves for up to a month. Consistent daily use is the most effective way to encourage CBD to impart positive benefits.
Peels wants to become a part of your wellness ritual. Our THC-free CBD formula is specially made from orange peels, rather than from hemp. It’s a suitable option for those who don’t want to use products with trace amounts of THC or for people like athletes who may be prohibited from using any marijuana products.
Have a chat with your doctor. If your doctor agrees that CBD is worth a shot, use a few drops of Peels every day.