CBD oil is a yellow fluid obtained from marijuana and hemp plant.
Cannabis plant is rich in CBD and it is the second most abundant component of the plant after THC.
CBD oil is also known as CBD rich hemp oil, CBD rich cannabis oil, etc. as it is obtained from these plants.
CBD is non-psychoactive in nature and thus it does not cause alteration of senses as done by THC. Therefore CBD produces no ‘high’ in the users and can be safely given to children as well.
CBD is a potent therapeutic agent as it shows interaction with many receptors distributed along the body and brain such as serotonin receptors, GPR555, etc. These interactions result in significant biological properties of CBD.
Table of Contents
What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease characterized by the attack of the immune system on joints and other parts of the body.
The symptoms of the disease include inflammation of joint, swelling, pain, etc. Widespread inflammation results in loss of mobility in joints, joint deformity, etc.
The joints that can be affected include ankle, elbow, hands, feet, etc. Gender, obesity, genetics, environmental factors, age, lifestyle, etc. can be various risk factors for rheumatoid arthritis.
Treatment regimes for rheumatoid arthritis include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for inflammation and swelling, analgesic for pain, immunomodulators, etc.
Benefits of CBD Oil in Rheumatoid Arthritis
CBD oil has anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, analgesic, stress alleviating and anxiolytic properties. It also provides relief from insomnia and depressive symptoms. Therefore CBD oil can prove to be beneficial in alleviating many symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis by attenuating inflammation and pain.
1. CBD oil has anti-inflammatory properties
Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory disease, which is characterized by damage to the joints due to chronic systemic inflammation.
Most symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis are caused due to long lasting inflammation in the body.
Inflammation of joints results in swelling, pain, loss of mobility, stiffness, etc.
Therefore non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are prescribed to most patients with rheumatoid arthritis. These drugs are effective in reducing inflammation but they can cause side effect on long-term use.
Common side effects include irritation of the stomach lining, allergies, headaches, stomach ulcers, high blood pressure, etc.
Therefore shifting to a more natural alternative is a good option for the patients who need these drugs for longer durations.
CBD has potent anti-inflammatory properties. Thus CBD oil possesses significant anti-inflammatory properties.
Many studies have proven this property of CBD oil. CBD has been shown to reduce both acute and chronic inflammation.
CBD significantly reduces the production of pro-inflammatory mediators including tumor necrosis factor-alpha, which in turns results in a reduction in inflammation.
Involvement of the adenosine signaling pathway in the reduction of inflammation by CBD is also supported by studies.
Adenosine signalling is amplified by CBD due to inhibition of adenosine transporter. CBD also increases the concentration of anadamide (by inhibiting amidohydrolase) in serum, which is an endogenous endocannabinoid.
This significantly helps reduce inflammation, as anadamide is anti-inflammatory chemical.
Reduction in inflammation by administration of single dose of CBD has also been shown in animal models.
Inhibition of pro-inflammatory mediators and alteration of adenosine signaling pathways is responsible for such effects.
A study conducted with animal models of arthritis to elucidate the effect of topical application of CBD showed positive results.
It was observed that topical application of CBD to monoarthritic knee joint rat models could help alleviate inflammation and pain. Reduction in joint swelling, spontaneous pain rating, etc. was observed.
Application of the CBD gel on a regular basis for four days helped reduce the joint swelling.
Significant reduction in the levels of pro-inflammatory biomarkers in the Immunohistochemical analysis was observed. 62 mg per day was found to be an effective dose in these animals.
The study concluded that transdermal application of CBD gel directly to the inflamed joint could allow for increased local absorption and reduce the systemic involvement in the users.
A study conducted in collagen-induced arthritis animal models showed that CBD acts as an anti-arthritic agent, which can be attributed to its anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive properties.
Administration of CBD orally to murine arthritic models led to the protection of joints from severe arthritic damage.
Reduction in levels of many pro-inflammatory mediators including IFN-gamma, tumor necrosis factor, etc. was also observed.
Inflammation is responsible for causing swelling, pain, stiffness, etc. in the joints in the patients of rheumatoid arthritis. CBD oil has been shown to be beneficial in alleviating inflammation. It also reduces swelling and pain in animal models of arthritis.
2. CBD oil is an anti-oxidant
Oxidative stress and damage are responsible for causing and worsening many diseases including arthritis, cancer, etc.
Many studies have shown that oxidative damage is involved in the pathophysiology of rheumatoid arthritis.
A study with 29 patients with rheumatoid arthritis showed that oxidative stress is active in these patients.
More oxidative damage has been shown to be associated with increased joint destruction and cartilage injury in arthritis animal models.
Oxidative stress enhances inflammation in the body, which in turn causes more damage to the joints. RA is known to induce oxidative stress as well. Therefore attenuation of oxidative stress is important.
CBD has been proven to possess potent oxidative stress fighting properties in human disease models. Treatment with CBD could effectively reduce high glucose-induced mitochondrial superoxide generation and NF-κB activation in the human endothelial cells.
CBD has also been shown to reduce the nitrotyrosine formation and expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS).
Expression of reactive oxygen species was shown to be decreased by CBD. It is speculated that CBD might work at the mitochondrial level to fight oxidative stress.
CBD also effectively blocks oxidative stress resulting from endotoxins in microglial cells during infection. NADPH oxidase is blocked by CBD and there is also a reduction in second wave of reactive oxygen species generation.
CBD is effective in alleviating symptoms of many neurodegenerative diseases, which are characterized by oxidative stress.
This indicates that CBD might be capable of attenuating oxidative stress as it provides substantial relief in oxidative stress-driven disorders.
CBD has been shown to reduce oxidative/nitrative stress in diabetic animal models. Reduction in nuclear factor-κB activation and levels of tumor necrosis factor-α was also observed.
Oxidative stress is responsible for worsening inflammation and inducing cartilage damage in arthritis patients.
CBD has been shown to exhibit anti-oxidant properties and it also reduces oxidative/nitrative stress. This could help prevent increased inflammation and cartilage damage via oxidative pathways.
3. CBD oil is an analgesic
Pain is a common symptom in patients of rheumatoid arthritis. Inflammation, swelling, stiffness, etc. eventually result in pain in the patients.
Pain is not only the major symptom but it also causes the most discomfort in the patients.
The pain is spread throughout the body and found most commonly in joints. It can get worse with the weather change and after long durations of inactivity. CBD oil can help reduce pain and provide overall relief to the patients.
CBD can help attenuate both neuropathic and inflammatory pain. A study conducted in animal models of pain has shown that administration of CBD can effectively reduce chronic inflammatory and neuropathic pain.
It was also reported that this was not associated with the development of analgesic tolerance in the animals.
The study published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine showed that attenuation of pain by CBD involves the alpha3 glycine receptors.
Transdermal application of CBD gel for four days regularly has also been shown to effectively improve pain scores in the animal model of monoarthritis in another study.
CBD is involved in altering the anandamide system, which might be responsible for its analgesic properties. CBD decreases the absorption of anandamide, increasing its serum levels and thus helps in pain reduction.
Pain is one of the most common and prevalent symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. CBD oil has analgesic properties and thus it can help alleviate pain and provide relief to the patients.
4. CBD oil alleviates stress, anxiety and insomnia
Due to severe pain, stiffness, inflammation and general discomfort can result in stress, anxiety, depressive symptoms and loss of sleep. Pain and discomfort lead to insomnia in the patients with rheumatoid arthritis as they experience disturbed sleep on a regular basis.
Poor sleep, in turn, prevents the body from rejuvenating itself and also results in more depressive symptoms, fatigue, lower threshold for pain, etc. in the patients.
Therefore alleviating stress, anxiety, depressive symptoms and insomnia in the patients with rheumatoid arthritis is important to improve the quality of life in them.
CBD oil can help attenuate stress and insomnia effectively.
CBD oil has been shown to exhibit anxiolytic properties, which helps reduce general anxiety. CBD also attenuates symptoms of insomnia in the users and improves the quality of sleep in them.
Administration of CBD to animal models of stress showed that its continued use for 21 days could reduce stress and has anti-anxiety effects.
This involves the 5-HT1A receptor, which is the target for treating anxiety. CBD also enhances the adenosine receptor activity, which in turn has anti-anxiety effects.
The efficiency of CBD in treating insomnia has also been reported by many studies including a case study.
CBD improves the quality and quantity of sleep in a patient suffering from the posttraumatic stress disorder. Additional alleviation of stress was also observed in users.
Stress, depressive symptoms and insomnia can be common in patients of rheumatoid arthritis. CBD oil could help alleviate these and improve the overall quality of life in the patients.
5. CBD oil can protect against cardiovascular ailments
It has been suggested by many studies that patients with rheumatoid arthritis are at increased risk of developing acute cardiovascular diseases such as myocardial infarction when compared to people without rheumatoid arthritis.
There has been an indication of increased cardiovascular mortality in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
Ischemic heart diseases, which include congestive heart failure (CHF) and coronary death among others are the major cause of cardiovascular death in these patients.
They are also at an increased risk for atherosclerosis, which further exposes them to other cardiovascular ailments.
Therefore management of cardiovascular morbidity is important in order to prevent deaths and disability caused by it especially in the patients of rheumatoid arthritis. CBD oil has cardio protective properties.
Ischemia induces arrhythmias are caused by reduced oxygen supply to the heart. This causes the death of heart tissue.
A study in animal models showed that use of CBD could effectively reduce the number of ischemia-induced ventricular arrhythmias.
CBD administration also reduced the size of tissue suffering death (infarct size) in the absence of oxygen.
It was therefore concluded that CBD had cardio-protective properties especially when administered in the acute phase of myocardial ischemia and reperfusion (I/R). This effect is mainly due to the inhibitory effect of CBD on platelet activation.
A reduction in infarct size by 66% was reported by another study on the use of CBD. The researchers concluded that CBD could be used for attenuating the symptoms of myocardial ischemia.
These effects of CBD could be attributed to the reduction in inflammation and inflammatory mediators such as interleukin-6.
CBD has an impact on the adenosine signaling as well. Adenosine receptors are known to be involved in imparting protecting from ischemia/reperfusion (I/R)-induced ventricular arrhythmias.
CBD has been shown to reduce the length of arrhythmia and improve arrhythmia score which might be involved the adenosine pathway.
A study in rat models showed that CBD could attenuate restraint stress-induced cardiovascular response in the animals.
Use of CBD has been shown reduce myocardial inflammation, oxidative stress and fibrosis in diabetic mice model as well.
CBD oil also keeps blood pressure in check and this can help prevent damage to the heart due to high blood pressure.
Patients of rheumatoid arthritis are found to be at an increased risk for various cardiovascular ailments. CBD oil has been shown to be beneficial in providing relief from many cardiovascular diseases including ischemic issues.
Therefore it might be helpful in attenuating such disorders in the patients of rheumatoid arthritis.
600mg or more of CBD can be consumed by the patients to produce significant levels of CBD in blood.
600mg has been found to be the optimal dosage in many studies regarding use of CBD for anxiety, depression, etc.
The dose varies widely depending on the patient’s condition, disease severity, concentration of CBD in the tincture, user tolerance, etc.
It is usually the norm to start out with a lower dose and increase it gradually in order to get maximum benefits.
CBD oil can be directly consumed by dropping it into the mouth, under the tongue and swallowing it subsequently.
Otherwise, capsules and beverages can also be consumed. Adults can use a vaper to inhale CBD oil. Vaporizer of other kinds could also be used for inhalation.
It can also be mixed with gels and creams and applied to the skin. This can be done to reduce pain in the joints, muscles, etc. as it will act as a topical analgesic.
More information on dose can be obtained from the seller or a doctor can also be consulted for the same. Users should read the labels carefully to obtain more information on the concentration and purity of the product.
CBD oil can show potent interaction with many commonly used medications and drugs such as some anti-depressants, antibiotics, anti-anxiety, beta blockers, anti-epileptics/anti-seizure, anesthetics, certain non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), etc.
CBD inhibits the liver enzyme, cytochrome P450, and thus the drugs are not degraded at the normal rate.
This results in the medications staying for longer durations in the blood. Therefore the dose of those drugs should also be modified if the users are consuming CBD oil.
Ensuring use of high-quality oil is of significance as poor quality products can carry harmful contaminants.
In case of allergies, the use should be stopped immediately. The symptoms of allergies could include difficulty breathing, swelling, etc.
Dizziness, faintness, etc. can be experienced by the users in some cases and therefore process requiring a lot of attention such a driving should be avoided. Appetite change, diarrhea, etc. can also be observed in some.
Breastfeeding and pregnant women should avoid CBD oil, as the effect of CBD on them is not clear.
CBD oil can worsen the tremors in Parkinson’s patients and thus it should be avoided. Discussion with a doctor regarding dose and drug interaction is a good option.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a major disorder that is responsible for disability all around the world. It is characterized by inflammation, swelling, pain, etc.
It is becoming increasingly common in people and effective treatment regimes are constantly being investigated.
CBD oil is an anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-oxidant, etc. agent, which can help alleviate symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. It can act as a natural alternative to synthetic medication as it has fewer side effects in the long run.
Therefore CBD oil can be incorporated as a complementary treatment regime in the life of arthritis patients.
Good quality CBD oil obtained from trustworthy sources should be used to ensure optimal benefits. Health care practitioners should be consulted in order to avoid unnecessary drug interactions and side effects due to problem with dosage.