If you struggle with arthritis pain, you may be searching for alternative treatments or traditional medicine, that don’t have the drawbacks of allopathic, ‘modern’ or ‘Western medicine’. Many people who suffer from arthritis are beginning to explore the use of cannabidiol (CBD) to treat their arthritis pain. CBD products have shown promising results for combating inflammation and may aid in pain relief when taken regularly.
In this article, we’ll explore the use of CBD oil for arthritis pain. We’ll look at what CBD oil is and how it works in your body. We’ll explore why CBD oil, in particular, applied as a topical analgesic may offer pain relief without the negative side-effects associated with other treatment medications. If you have been wondering how to use CBD oil for arthritis, keep reading to learn more.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol, commonly shortened to CBD, is a phytocannabinoid that is found in cannabis plants. The two predominant types of cannabis plants that are cultivated today are marijuana and hemp. Here are some fast facts about cannabidiol:
- Non-psychoactive – CBD does not alter your consciousness or produce a “high” when you take it. This is in contrast to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the dominant cannabinoid found in marijuana and is recreationally taken for its psychoactive effects.
- One of many – CBD is one of over 100 cannabinoids, flavonoids, and compounds found in cannabis plants. The ratio of CBD to other cannabinoids varies from cannabis plant to plant.
- Cultivated from hemp – The vast majority of CBD is extracted from agricultural hemp plants. A common misconception is that CBD oils, capsules and tinctures contain THC. While CBD can be found in marijuana, most CBD is extracted from the hemp plant. Hemp is specifically cultivated for two major reasons – its natural fibers and its high concentration of CBD. To be federally legal, agricultural hemp may not exceed 0.03% THC content, and therefore CBD hemp oil will not have the same properties or effects as those of marijuana.
- Administration methods – CBD can be taken a number of different ways. Some people ingest it through a CBD tincture. Others inhale CBD by using an oil vaporizer, or vape (we don’t recommend vapes because of the recent news!) CBD capsules and topical ointments are also common administration methods. Different administrations will be chosen for different purposes – for example, the use of CBD oil for anxiety or CBD for sleep may be consumed via tincture, vape or capsules. Different administration methods may work better in different cases and function uniquely from person to person.
- Safety – A remarkable characteristic of CBD is that it results in very minimal side-effects, and these only occur very rarely. The most common side-effect associated with very high amounts of CBD use is drowsiness, which often goes away after a short time with regular usage.
Can CBD Help With Arthritis Pain?
The short answer to whether you can use CBD for arthritis is YES! Many people find relief from arthritis joint pain through regular use of CBD oil and topicals directly targeted on the affected area. However, the fact that CBD has not been approved for the treatment of arthritis pain by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires you to make your own decision regarding its efficacy. In order to help you evaluate whether or not CBD oil products might help with your arthritis pain, let’s look at how CBD oil works.
The Endocannabinoid System
CBD works by interacting with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in your body. This system is comprised of cannabinoid receptors, enzymes, and lipids and helps regulate a variety of functions within your body. Some of the functions that the ECS have been linked to are:
- Hunger and satiety
- Stress response
- Pain management
- Addiction and reward
Study of the endocannabinoid system within the body is still relatively new. What is known is that the endocannabinoid system is extensive, and exists in every organ in our body. This includes the skin, which is important when we consider whether topical treatments like hemp oil may be effective for the joint pain of arthritis.
CBD interacts with both types of cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2, albeit in different ways. Although the exact science behind CBD for pain relief is still being studied, it is believed to be through two processes. The first is by indirectly interacting with the CB1 receptor by elevating levels of endogenous cannabinoids, or rather cannabinoids that are naturally produced in the body. The second is by direct interaction with the CB2 receptor, which has been linked to how the body deals with inflammation.
So, CBD may be effective in treating arthritis through both of these interactions. In particular, the interaction with the CB2 receptors may be responsible for the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD oils. What is interesting about this interaction is that the skin contains CB2 receptors. This allows CBD oil to be applied as a topical analgesic to potentially help relieve pain associated with arthritis.
While much is still unknown about CBD being used to treat pain, what is known is that the effects of CBD occur through its interaction with the endocannabinoid system. While CBD is not psychoactive and will not produce a “high”, there is evidence to suggest that CBD oil is a powerful anti-inflammatory. CBD’s interaction with the endocannabinoid system is also believed to be why it may offer some people relief from chronic pain.
If you have been looking for a safe, effective method to help reduce inflammation associated with arthritis, please consider our vetted and reviewed CBD products.
- “Endocannabinoid System.” Science Direct, Academic Press, www.sciencedirect.com/topics/neuroscience/endocannabinoid-system.
- Meletis, Chris D., and Kimberly Wilkes. “Endocannabinoids, Phytocannabinoids, Palmitoylethanolamide and Their Fascinating Role in Pain Management.” Townsend Letter, 2018.
- Gill, Lisa L. “New Hope for Pain Relief?” Consumer Reports 83, no. 10 (October 2018): 44.
- Menehan, Karen. “Safety in Application.” Massage Magazine, no. 273 (February 2019): 70–72.