CBD and Arthritis: Making it Easier to Deal With Joint Pain?

cbd and arthritis

Posted on May 17th, 2021

The popularity of CBD has exploded over the past several years. It is pretty hard to miss it online, on billboard advertisements, in your favorite cafe, at the convenience store, and even the pharmacy. CBD has become so popular due to its numerous potential health benefits. It is now poised to be a $5.3 billion industry by 2025. One of the reasons for its growth was the 2018 farm bill that made hemp legal in the United States for commercial uses. CBD has numerous potential benefits such as pain relief, anxiety, depression, symptoms of cancer treatment, and helps people with sleeping disorders. You may be wondering if it can be used by people who have arthritis. Is it safe? What do the experts have to say about CBD and arthritis? If you’ve wondered about these things, then you are in the right place. Read on to find out more.

What is Arthritis?

It is an inflammation of the joints that can affect one or several joints. There are many types of arthritis, each with their own treatment methods. It can affect people of all ages and races and is the leading cause of disability in America, with more than 50 million adults and 300,000 children suffering from it. It is more common with women and people 65 years or older.

There are two main types of arthritis— Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis. The former causes cartilage to break down. This is the hard and slippery tissue that usually covers the ends of the bones. On the other hand, Rheumatoid Arthritis is where the immune system attacks the joints, starting with the lining of the joints.

knee painHow Does Arthritis Affect Us? 

Cartilage is a firm and flexible connective tissue in the joints that protects them by absorbing shock and pressure created when moving and stressing them. The loss of cartilage causes some form of arthritis.

Normal wear and tear can cause Osteoarthritis. An infection or injury to the joints can cause the breakdown of the cartilage tissue. It damages the connective tissues that attach muscle to your bone and hold joints together. This then causes inflammation of the joints.

For Rheumatoid Arthritis, the body’s immune system attacks the joint’s lining capsule making it inflamed and swollen. This process then leads to the damage of the cartilage and bone within the joint. One thing researchers are hopeful about when studying CBD and arthritis that CBD positively impacts the immune system.

The most common signs and symptoms of arthritis include:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Stiffness
  • Redness
  • Decreased motion

How Does Arthritis Develop?

The risk factors for arthritis include:

  • Age – The risk of getting arthritis increases as you get older.
  • Sex – Women are more likely to get rheumatoid arthritis than men. However, for gout, another type of arthritis, men are more prevalent than women.
  • Obesity – Being overweight can cause stress on your joints, especially the knees, spine, and hips. Hence, obese people are highly likely to get arthritis.
  • Previous joint injury – People are more likely to develop arthritis on a joint they have previously injured.
  • Family history – Some types of arthritis run in families, such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), putting some people at a higher risk of getting it.
  • Infections – Several microbial agents can infect the joints and trigger the development of arthritis.

Treatment Options for Arthritis

There is no cure for arthritis. However, some treatments can manage it. The main goal of treatment is to reduce the pain and prevent more damage to the joints. You may need to try several treatments or a combination to see what best works for you. These include:

  • Medications – There are several popular medications for treating arthritis pain. Analgesics such as Tylenol help with pain management. However, these do not help reduce inflammation. Immunosuppressants such as cortisone do help reduce inflammation. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs( NSAIDS) such as ibuprofen help deal with pain and inflammation. Salicylates can also work, but they thin the blood, so you should use them cautiously. Oral NSAIDS can also cause stomach irritation and increase your risk of getting heart disease. Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) can treat rheumatoid arthritis. They help slow or stop the immune system from attacking the joints. This is one reason CBD and arthritis may be useful too. CBD helps keep the immune system working properly. Menthol helps block the transmission of pain signals from joints.
  • Therapy – This involves exercises that help strengthen the muscles around the joint. It is a core component of arthritis treatment.
  • Surgery – If the above conservative measures do not help, then surgery may be an option. These options may include joint repair, joint fusion, or joint replacement.

Is Arthritis Fatal?

Arthritis is chronic but is not deadly. The life expectancy of people suffering from it is not greatly affected. It is their quality of life that is reduced, depending on the severity of the disease. However, with rheumatoid Arthritis, people do experience a shorter lifespan of 10 to 15 years. It can cause complications such as blocked heart arteries, blood cancers, and lung scarring. These can shorten life expectancy, so prompt diagnosis and treatment are crucial.

What Are Cannabinoids?

Cannabinoids are compounds that exist in plants and the human body. The ones in plants are known as phytocannabinoids, while those in the body are known as endocannabinoids. The most abundant cannabis cannabinoid is THC. CBD is the second most prevalent cannabinoid in the cannabis plant.

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is an active compound in the cannabis plant. It does not cause the characteristic high that comes from smoking marijuana. Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, on the other hand, is intoxicating; hence it will get you high when you take it. Most CBD products come from the hemp plant. By definition, it has 0.3% THC or less, meaning you will not get high when you take it.

Effects of CBD

CBD has numerous potential benefits. These include:

  • Pain relief
  • It can alleviate cancer symptoms like nausea and vomiting
  • May decrease depression and anxiety
  • It can alleviate acne
  • Has many possible heart health benefits
  • Antipsychotic effects
  • It helps ease symptoms of diabetes

How Does CBD Work?

The human body has an endocannabinoid system that helps maintain balance in major processes such as sleep, mood, memory, and appetite. It has three components; enzymes, receptors, and endocannabinoids. There are two types of receptors; CB1, which is primarily in the central nervous system, and CB2 in the peripheral nervous system. These receptors can interact with CBD to influence the body’s processes and how it reacts to pain, inflammation, mood, and sleep.

CBD and Arthritis

According to the Arthritis Foundation, there is evidence to suggest that some people who have taken CBD have reported noticeable pain relief, reduced anxiety, and improved sleep. However, it is also worth noting that there are still no human studies on CBD and arthritis to confirm it.

According to a 2017 animal study, it was found that CBD can be safe and useful for joint pain from osteoarthritis. A 2016 study also found that topical application of CBD could relieve pain and inflammation from arthritis.

Although there still needs to be more scientific evidence to conclusively prove that CBD can be an effective treatment for arthritis, the findings are encouraging.

CBD and Arthritis Pain Management

CBD affects the human body through the endocannabinoid system. It interacts with CB1 and CB2 receptors to help reduce pain and inflammation. CB2 receptors also play a crucial role in the immune system. Since rheumatoid arthritis involves the immune system attacking the joint’s tissues, CBD can come in handy. It will interact with these receptors to help combat the symptoms.

The anti-inflammatory effects of CBD could also help slow down the progression of rheumatoid arthritis. This will help reduce other inflammation-related symptoms such as fever and fatigue.

Conclusion on CBD and Arthritis

Neither CBD, nor anything else, will cure arthritis in the long term. However, it can make living with the condition a bit easier. When you decide to take CBD, you should ensure that you choose a product that has been tested for safety, purity, and potency by a third party. Also, ensure that you talk to your doctor, because CBD may interact with your medications, in negative ways. It is also crucial to talk to a doctor before taking CBD while pregnant or breastfeeding. It is important to remember that everyone is different, so CBD will affect them differently. Some people may report dizziness and headaches, while others may not react negatively at all. Moreover, ensure that you start with the lowest dose and increase slowly, depending on how you feel. Monitor your reaction carefully to ensure that you are on the right track. 

CBD has shown promise as a treatment for arthritis-related pain. However, it is crucial to note that there is still minimal evidence on CBD and arthritis pain, so be careful. More research may eventually prove with certainty that CBD is an effective treatment for arthritis. Therefore, it is best to talk to your doctor if you plan to use it

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