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Is CBD Good for Arthritis? What the Research Tells Us

Osteoarthritis, is known as a degenerative joint disease causing inflammation to the joints which connect two bones together and tends to develop over many years. At first, arthritis shows up...

Osteoarthritis, is known as a degenerative joint disease causing inflammation to the joints which connect two bones together and tends to develop over many years. At first, arthritis shows up as a rare ache in the joints that eventually results in chronic pain, swelling and stiffness. Arthritis is now the leading cause of disability in the USA, with over 46 million people suffering from various forms of physical difficulties. The condition is most often found in older adults due to the time it takes to degrade the joint tissue and increase inflammation to the point of disability.

Rheumatoid arthritis, is another form of arthritis that can attack people of any age, including children. The condition results from the immune system attacking itself, specifically, the synovial membranes in the joints, causing a type of inflammation that is similar to that found in osteoarthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is widespread, affecting more than the joints, reaching all organ systems due to the long-range damage it can cause to blood vessels. Systemic states of chronic inflammation have very serious ramifications to long-term health. So, many people are looking to the benefits of CBD products to help reduce arthritis pain naturally. More information on using the cannabis plant for the autoimmune condition, rheumatoid arthritis, can be found in our article here.

Is CBD oil good for arthritis?

In 2001, a study showed that cannabinoid receptors are active in the nervous system response related to arthritis, with researchers concluding that, “these novel targets may be advantageous for the treatment of inflammatory pain.” (1) The results from the current research suggest that cannabinoids can result in effective pain management for multiple forms of inflammatory joint diseases such as arthritis and gout.

As always, this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute or take the place of medical advice, so before making any changes to your treatment plan, consult with a licenced medical professional. When utilizing medicinal cannabinoids, it’s recommended people work directly with a physician experienced in prescribing medical marijuana or a CBD product so the dosages and delivery methods can be adjusted based on the individual. Those who take the time to educate and make themselves aware, can become their own highly informed health consultants, using the best natural methods to treat their condition. 

Topical Cannabis Products

Cannabis products made from a full spectrum of cannabinoids such as in a balm, can be applied directly to skin to facilitate greater assistance, as the skin has one of the largest concentrations of cannabinoid receptors (CB-2). High-THC topical products may be applied lavishly to the skin as the tetrahydrocannabinol does not cross the blood-brain barrier when applied topically, rendering it completely non-psychoactive. These types of products can be found as ointments, balms, sprays, oils, and other forms with varying amounts of CBD and THC (a ratio of 1:1 of usually recommended as the ideal ratio for skin application).

As for the reducing the chronic pain and joint inflammation from arthritis, high-CBD cannabis products with a ratio of 4:1 CBD:THC have been found most advantageous, taken as capsules, drops, edibles or sublingually under the tongue. When it comes to medicinal cannabis, be sure to start low and slow, utilizing the titration method to work your dose up until you notice symptoms begin to subside. The micro to standard dose is usually recommended for arthritis, and if the total levels of THC are causing any unwanted side effects, then either lower the dose or switch to a higher ratio 20:1 CBD:THC and then assess and report. Cannabis strains high in the cannabinoid, cannabichromene (CBC), are exceptional in their anti-inflammatory effects, and may be of special value to arthritis sufferers. Cannabis varieties that are high in the terpenes myrcene, limonene, and linalool may add synergistic effects. (2)

How long does it take for CBD oil to work for joint pain?

For pain relief that is acute in nature, smoking or vaporizing brings immediate relief with the effects lasting one to three hours, whereas with the ingestible products, they may take thirty to sixty minutes to take effect (although faster on an empty stomach), but will last a lot longer at about six to eight hours. Vaporizers that utilize a cartridge filled with a CO2 concentrate are very effective, and can be found in varying ratios of THC to CBD. Herbal vaporizers that use the whole plant are another effective delivery method.

A study from 2016 found arthritis pain could be effectively treated in animals through applying a CBD-only gel transdermally. The study researchers later concluded that, “topical CBD application has therapeutic potential for relief of arthritis pain-related behaviors and inflammation without evident side-effects.” (3)

Is CBD oil good for arthritis?

The Cannabis Health Index (CHI) is a system that scores the effectiveness of medicinal cannabis for a variety of conditions, which rated cannabis in the possible-to-probably range of efficacy for treating arthritis based on four or more studies.

How many mg of CBD should I take for arthritis?

In a study from 2000, CBD was found to effectively block the progression of arthritis by administering a dose for the symptoms at 25mg/kg (based on an animal model). (4) In a 2006 trial utilizing the pharmaceutical cannabinoid drug, Sativex, researchers found a, “significant analgesic effect was observed and disease activity was significantly suppressed following treatment.” (5)

The Endocannabinoid System

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is involved in regulating chronic pain, autoimmunity, and inflammation through its role in overseeing the healthy function of every other system in the body. Discovered in the mid-1990s when researchers were investigating the effects of THC and CBD on the body, the ECS is now considered the most important system of physiology inside the body, responsible for bringing order and balance to every corner of the body.

Hemp vs Marijuana

Hemp is considered the non-psychoactive cousin of marijuana, in much the same way granny smith are considered the tangy, green cousin of the macintosh variety of apples. Both hemp and marijuana are simply varieties (or strains) of cannabis, bringing varying ratios and levels of cannabinoids with them. Hemp is considered the low-THC strain with its less than 0.3% THC, whereas marijuana is the high-THC strain, which typically contains well over 15% THC (the main psychoactive component of cannabis).

Full Spectrum vs CBD Oil

Full spectrum hemp oil typically contains a wide range of naturally occurring cannabinoids from the hemp plant, whereas CBD oil is a prescription only product in some countries (check the legal status in your country), which contains just one single cannabinoid, cannabidiol (CBD). Both full spectrum and CBD oil work with and through the endocannabinoid system, helping to support bringing your body into balance and healthy functioning, however full spectrum will provide more than just CBD, but an entire spectrum of the 120+ cannabinoids found inside the hemp plant, each with their own properties and benefits.

As mentioned earlier, for more news on the latest research surrounding how medicinal cannabis and CBD work for osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, you can find it in this article here.

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