Treating Arthritis with CBD – Benefits & Effects

Over the years, there have been claims that CBD, one of the powerful compounds in medical marijuana has strong anti-arthritis effects. Arthritis is a broad term that covers a group of over 100 diseases that affect the joints (the places where bones connect in the body). Arthritis can affect one or multiple joints and it may interest you know to know that there are over 100 different types of arthritis with different causes and treatment options. 

Nevertheless, the two main common types of arthritis are rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA). Generally, the symptoms of arthritis usually develop over time, even though they may also appear suddenly. The condition is more common in older adults above the age of 65 but that does not mean that children, teenagers and young adults cannot suffer from it. Moreover arthritis is more common in women than men. The illness is also more common in people who are overweight.

Some of the major symptoms of arthritis include joint pain, stiffness as well as swellings. It is common for your range of motion to also decrease and you may as well experience redness of the skin around the joint. In most people, their arthritis symptoms always worsen in the mornings. People with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are also likely to feel tired or experience loss of appetite due to inflammations caused by the activities of the immune system.

Some types of arthritis are caused by a reduction in the normal amount of cartilage in the joints. It should be noted that cartilage is a firm but flexible connective tissue that protects the joints by absorbing the pressure and shock created when you move and put stress on them. Normal wear and tear including an infection or injury to the joints can cause osteoarthritis (OA), one of the most common forms of arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis on its part, is an autoimmune disorder which occurs when the body’s immune system attacks the tissues of the body. These attacks usually occur in the synovium, a soft tissue in the joints that produce a fluid that nourishes the cartilage and lubricates the joints.

Arthritis can be treated and the main goal of the treatment is to reduce the amount of pain being experienced while simultaneously preventing additional damage to the joints. Some of the medications used in treating arthritis include Analgesics, menthol or capsaicin creams, as well as Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Ibuprofen and salicylates, which are known to be effective against pain and inflammations. In addition, surgeries, physical therapies and changes in lifestyle are also some of the treatment options for arthritis.

According to a 2000 study that looked at the therapeutic potential of CBD, the major non-psychoactive component of cannabis, in murine collagen-induced arthritis (CIA), the administration of CBD effectively blocked the progression of arthritis. Further findings from this study revealed that CBD was most effective when administered orally. Moreover, the dose dependency showed a bell-shaped curve with an optimal effect at 5 mg/kg per day IV or 25 mg/kg per day orally.

In 2006, another study assessed the efficacy of Sativex, a cannabis-based medicine containing a 1:1 ratio of THC to CBD, in the treatment of pain due to rheumatoid arthritis. The result was the observation of a significant analgesic effect as well as a significant suppression of the disease activity following Sativex treatment.

The findings of a 2011 study equally revealed that CBD helps in reducing inflammation pain in rats by affecting the way pain receptors respond to stimuli. In the same vein, a 2014 review of the existing research on animals concluded that CBD may be an effective treatment for osteoarthritis (OA).

Another study that looked at the efficacy of applying CBD via a transdermal patch as opposed to orally was done in 2015. It was observed that transdermal CBD gel significantly reduced joint swelling, limb posture scores as a rating of spontaneous pain, immune cell infiltration and thickening of the synovial membrane in a dose-dependent manner. The findings from this study, therefore suggested that the topical application of CBD has therapeutic potential for the relief of arthritis pain-related behaviors and inflammation without evident side-effects.

In addition, the results of another study in 2017 indicated that CBD might be a safe and useful treatment for joint pain caused by osteoarthritis.

Despite the mounting evidence from many studies conducted on animals, there is a need for more human studies to be conducted on this subject.


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