Arthritis is a condition in which individuals experience inflammation of one or more joints. This leads to symptoms like: swelling, pain, stiffness, redness around joints and disrupted motion. [1]

Current arthritis medications help reduce inflammation of the joints. Physical therapy and exercise are done to improve muscular strength.

Surgery is also an option but, not all cases are suitable for this form of treatment. [2]

There are no age, gender or cultural barriers to developing arthritis. The condition generally worsens with age and has an increasingly greater impact on the quality of life. [3]

Diet is one of the leading causes of arthritis and it is important to reduce unhealthy fat and cholesterol intake in order to alleviate the symptoms.

Before diving straight into the benefits of CBD oil in managing arthritis, let’s briefly explore the oil itself.

What is CBD Oil?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is extracted from the Cannabis sativa plant, more commonly known as hemp and marijuana.

Whilst, the THC component of marijuana is intoxicating, CBD does not produce such effects on the body i.e. the feeling of a ‘high’. [4]

CBD has gained massive popularity in a short span of time for its robust antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.

The oil can easily be consumed in the form of oral supplements. CBD oil can regulate brain activity in a way that can help provide relief from the symptoms of arthritis.

Note: Hemp oil and CBD oil are not the same. Always check the ingredients of the product before buying.

Benefits of CBD Oil for Arthritis

CBD oil can help reduce inflammation in the joints of arthritis patients. By reducing inflammation, it will automatically provide pain relief.

Medicinal cannabis is commonly used amongst arthritis patients to reduce pain. CBD oil may do a better job as, it does not cause the side effects seen with medicinal cannabis.

Before CBD oil can be an approved treatment option for arthritis, trustworthy human clinical trials must be done to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of this treatment.

1. May Reduce Inflammation of Joints

CBD oil has proven anti-inflammatory properties, which can not only help arthritis patients but, also those battling with cancer, multiple sclerosis and skin diseases.

Arthritis is characterized by inflammation of the joints. Current medication used to treat arthritis helps reduce inflammation.

Scientists are hoping CBD oil can mimic the effects of conventional medication but, with fewer side effects.

Inflammation is caused by the release of chemicals known as cytokines. Upon genetic or environmental triggers, the brain sends signals to specific parts of the body and orders them to release cytokines.

For example, in multiple sclerosis the immune system attacks the body’s own healthy cells and instigates inflammation in the support cells of the nervous system.

This leads to loss of muscle control as, the neuronal pathways to muscles from the brain don’t function correctly. [5]

Similarly, in rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system attacks the joints and induces inflammation in them.

CBD may not be able to stop the immune system from attacking the joints but, its anti-inflammatory actions can stop the disease from getting worse over time.

Cell culture studies have found CBD to inhibit the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines. [6]

Furthermore, a recent study revealed that topical application of CBD could reduce inflammation in rats with arthritis. [7] There were no reported side effects.

One of the most important findings of the study was that larger doses were needed in order to reduce inflammation.

Rats were administered with either 0.6, 3.1, 6.2 or 62.3 mg/day. Only 6.2 and 62.3 mg/day were able to reduce inflammation significantly in the rats and provide pain relief.

Pain is weighed on a scale, which goes from 0-10. [8] The pain score in rats treated with 6.2 and 62.3 mg/day went from an average of 4 to 1.5 within 4 days of treatment.

CBD oil has excellent potential for reducing inflammation and pain in arthritis patients as, it shows high effectiveness and has a good safety profile. [9]

There are no clinical trials measuring the effectiveness and safety of CBD oil in humans with arthritis. This is an ongoing area of research.

What does this Mean? CBD oil imparts strong anti-inflammatory actions, which can prove extremely useful in reducing inflammation of the joints in arthritis patients. Clinical trials are needed to confirm the effectiveness and safety of CBD oil in humans.

2. May Provide Pain Relief

Arthritis patients experience both musculoskeletal pain and neuropathic pain. [10] They lead to muscle stiffness, headaches and a constant throbbing/burning sensation in the body.

Long-term arthritic pain can lead to extensive nerve damage and further worsen the symptoms of arthritis. [11]

Cells located around inflamed joints send pain signals to the brain via sensory nerves. [12] The brain processes these signals and orders the body to ‘feel’ pain.

So, if you place your finger on something very hot, the brain tells your fingers to stop touching the hot object by making you feel pain.

The information is distributed to the finger or any other body part via nerves. Some of these nerves will be part of the endocannabinoid signaling system.

Scientists have found that the receptors of the endocannabinoid system are densely distributed in parts of the brain responsible for making you feel pain. [13]

They concluded that the endocannabinoid system has a crucial role to play in pain management. [14]

CBD can bind to the receptors of the endocannabinoid system and can influence the system’s actions in such a way that provides pain relief.

In simple terms, CBD has the potential to regulate the perception of pain. [15] This is because pain is a response to inflammation.

During inflammation, there is a shift from silent signals to amplification and fast spread of pain signals. [16]

During the common cold or cough, interior parts of the body (tonsils, throat and etc.) become inflamed.

Obviously, an individual cannot directly see the inflammation. The brain creates the sensation of pain so that we know that something is wrong in our body.

CBD oil has repeatedly been proven a robust anti-inflammatory agent. [17]

By suppressing pro-inflammatory responses, CBD can reduce inflammation and in turn alleviate symptoms of pain. [18],[19]

CBD can provide pain relief and soothing effects. [20]

CBD oil is yet to be tested in clinical trials for pain relief. [21] But, its anti-inflammatory and high tolerability make it a good candidate for providing pain relief. This is an ongoing area of research.

What does this Mean? By reducing inflammation, CBD oil can help provide pain relief. The chemical interacts with signaling systems of the body known to manage and regulate sensations of pain. Human trials are needed to confirm how effective CBD oil is at reducing pain.

3. Will Not Cause Addiction

CBD can be extracted from hemp or marijuana plants. The difference between these two plants is that marijuana contains an additional cannabinoid known as THC.

THC is the reason why marijuana causes a ‘high’ and intoxicating effects.

Hemp lacks THC and thus, in recent times hemp is overpowering marijuana for therapeutic use. Hemp-derived CBD is legal across the world whereas, rules change for marijuana-derived hemp from country to country.

THC is also responsible for causing addiction in marijuana users. The National Institute on Drug Abuse says, ‘CBD appears to be a safe drug with no addictive effects.’ [22]

Additionally, long-term use of conventional pain killers can lead to addiction. The body is unable to understand how to survive without the pain killers as, it is so used to them.

Abrupt discontinuation of the pain killers can lead to serious withdrawal symptoms. [23]

One in five adults are diagnosed with some form of arthritis. [24] The illness has a huge impact on the quality of life and only worsens with age.

In such dire conditions, a novel alternative treatment like CBD oil is highly attractive. It has great potential with no risk of addiction.

However, only future research and clinical trials will allow CBD oil to be an accepted mode of treatment for arthritis.

What does this Mean? CBD oil is highly unlikely to cause addictions like those seen with marijuana and traditional pain killers.

4. May Help Fight Agents Causing Inflammation

CBD is a better antioxidant than Vitamin C and Vitamin E. [25] The oil possesses antioxidant properties, which can be channeled to fight the effects of prolonged inflammation

Under immune stress/inflammatory conditions, cells in the body are more exposed to damage and death.

The body naturally releases radicals and reactive oxygen species. Under inflammation, the release of the species speeds up.

CBD can provide protection from radicals and reactive oxygen species, which accelerate cellular damage. [26]

The oil may also offer neuroprotection to nerves located within inflamed joints. The anti-oxidant effects of CBD reduce toxicity caused by pro-inflammatory responses.

Are CBD Oil Products Approved for Treating Arthritis?

CBD oil products are widely available throughout the world, especially in developing regions, like: the USA, UK, Europe and China.

Considering CBD originates from the same plant as marijuana, a highly banned recreational drug, you may wonder about the legality behind CBD oil.

Be assured that hemp-derived CBD oil products are legal in all countries. [27]

However, you must understand that there is a difference between a drug being legal and it being approved for the treatment for a particular disease.

CBD oral supplement, Epidiolex, is an approved treatment for childhood epilepsies: Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome. [28]

Both topical and dietary CBD oil forms are not approved for the treatment of arthritis. Yes, some arthritis patients who have tried CBD oil are very happy with its results.

But, the scientific backing for CBD oil’s benefits in arthritis are limited because there have not been any clinical trials in this area. [29]

Future groundbreaking clinical trials for CBD-treatment in arthritis patients could pave the way for CBD oil to become an approved treatment.

Major 2017 clinical trials for CBD in epilepsy allowed Epidiolex to become an approved drug in 2018. [30],[31]

Till CBD oil is not approved for treatment of arthritis, patients must not replace their ongoing arthritis treatment with CBD oil. [32]

What does this Mean CBD oil is not an approved treatment for arthritis. If you would like to use it alongside your normal arthritis medication, consult a doctor first.

is CBD Safer than Medicinal Cannabis?

Marijuana used by people to get ‘high’ is referred to as recreational cannabis.

Doctors can prescribe cannabis/marijuana to patients when they feel that it can help relieve the symptoms of a certain illness. This is known as medicinal cannabis. [33]

A questionnaire conducted in the UK found medicinal cannabis to be most used by arthritis and multiple sclerosis patients. [34]

In another 2000-people survey, chronic pain was reported as the most common reason for using medicinal cannabis. [35]

Chronic pain occurs when prolonged pain signals damage the nerves. Arthritis patients will experience chronic pain 3 months after the onset of the disease. [36]

The THC chemicals found in medicinal cannabis is suggested to provide effective pain relief; but, unfortunately at the cost of serious side effects.

Scientific research finds that regular use of medicinal cannabis can lead to addiction and increased the risk of developing psychotic diseases. [37]

The side effects of medicinal cannabis include: decreased appetite, fatigue, mood changes and hallucinations.

Discovery of hemp and hemp-derived CBD was a game-changer for the cannabis industry. CBD was found to be an equally strong anti-pain agent as THC.

Pharmaceutical companies could now provide cannabis-derived chemicals without the risk of serious side effects.

For example, CBD did not alter the sense of time, space and self like marijuana does or impact motor control. [38]

Furthermore, CBD can offer neuroprotection to nerves so that, symptoms of chronic pain can be eased successfully.

What does this Mean? Medicinal cannabis is most used to reduce pain. CBD oil can be equally as effective at providing pain relief and it does not cause serious side effects as seen with medicinal cannabis.

Precautions

CBD oil is classified as a low allergen and is highly unlikely to cause any allergic reactions.[39]

Several research studies have found CBD oil oral supplements to disrupt the metabolism and effectiveness of medicines broken down by the liver. [40]

You must consult a doctor for dosage before using CBD oil supplements with your regular medicine.

Whilst, CBD has not been proven unsafe in pregnancy, it has not been proven safe either. In addition, the long-term effects of CBD oil on fetal development are unknown.

Pregnant women are advised to not consume CBD oil supplements. They should consult a doctor before using oil topically.

CBD oral supplements must be used with caution as, several studies found CBD to disrupt the actions of conventional anti-pain medication. [41] Consult a physician for more information.

CBD oil is available in liquid form or as capsules. We always advise you to consult a doctor for dosage before consuming the liquid or capsule form on a regular basis.

Dosage

Hemp plants grown at northern latitudes i.e. in Canada are likely to contain greater CBD content. [42]

CBD is non-toxic to humans even at doses up to 50 mg/kg. [43] We advise you to start with low doses (5 – 10 mg/kg) and then slowly increase it if you are experiencing positive results. [44]

Summary

Arthritis is a condition where a person’s joints become inflamed due to genetic or environmental factors.

CBD oil can help reduce symptoms of arthritis including, high-intensity pain, through its anti-inflammatory properties.

There are no risks of addiction to CBD oil.

Medicinal cannabis is commonly used amongst arthritis patients to help reduce pain sensations. CBD oil may prove to be a better option as, it does not cause the serious side effects of marijuana.

CBD oil has promising anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties that, can help provide pain relief in arthritis patients.

Only future clinical trials will allow the oil to become an approved treatment option as, the dosage, effectiveness and side effects of CBD will be confirmed.

Generally, scientists and doctors are not against the idea of using CBD oil for pain relief in arthritis patients.

The oil cannot replace conventional arthritis medication but, it can be a strong sidekick.

D Dutt (MSc. Biotech.)
All our posts are written by experienced writers with relevant degrees. These extremely well researched and comprehensive articles take 10s of hours to write. For each article, all the sources of information are provided as reference links for anyone to check.

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