CBD for arthritis?

From a scientific standpoint, there are three categories of pain:

·      Nociceptive: inflammatory pain caused by injury

·      Neuropathic: damage to nerves

·      Idiopathic: no known cause (fibromyalgia is one such condition)

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For this blog, we’ll discuss arthritis, which mostly falls into the first category. This chronic condition, often accompanied by pain in the joints, can negatively affect a person’s quality of life. Studies have shown that CBD can help relieve pain, but can it work for arthritis pain?

Does CBD relieve arthritis pain?

Arthritis, a leading cause of disability in the United States, has two distinct types:

·      Rheumatoid arthritis: An autoimmune disease in that attacks joints, causing inflammation. It commonly affects the hands and feet and leads to painful, swollen and stiff joints.

·      Osteoarthritis: A degenerative disease that affects joint cartilage and bones, causing pain and stiffness. It often affects the hip, knee and thumb joints.

Some studies have shown that CBD may be effective in relieving arthritis pain symptoms, and although the results are inconclusive, there are few, if any, side effects from using CBD. So, it can’t hurt, and might help. In fact, according to a brief by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, “when combined with cannabis, the therapeutic value of cannabinoids is too high to be put aside.”

Arthritis pain is generally a result of inflammation. CBD helps control inflammation, which tends to reduce pain. In addition, CBD activates CB1 receptors, which attach themselves to nerve receptors and control the firing of pain signals in the joint.

Can CBD go beyond relieving symptoms?

By ingesting hemp oil, or using a CBD-infused topical, it’s possible to reduce the inflammation and the associated pain. But, here’s the really interesting part: A study being conducted by Canadian researcher Dr. Jason McDougall, a professor of pharmacology and anesthesia at Dalhousie University in Halifax, and supported by the Arthritis Society, is working to find out if CBD can actually repair the joints as well as relieve some of the pain.

Here’s what Dr. McDougall says about arthritis pain. “[The nerves are like] wires that have been stripped of their coating. They’re all bare; they’re all raw and responsible for feeling a lot of pain. What we hypothesize is that by locally administering these cannabis-like molecules to those nerves, we’d actually be able to repair them and reduce the pain of arthritis.”

CBD or pain medication?

One benefit of using CBD instead of opiates or other medicines is that the side effects are few. Of course, its effectiveness varies among individuals, so trial and error is still the best way to find out if it works for you.

Topicals and CBD oil used together can enhance symptom relief. Start with lower doses and work up gradually. For more information about dosing, read my blog: Dosing with CBD.

Ultimately, because most of the studies on CBD and arthritis have been done on rodents, it’s clear more studies must be conducted with human beings. However, as more people become interested in using CBD for its medicinal properties, more research is bound to follow.