CBD for Arthritis: Does it Really Work?
Ever heard of using CBD for arthritis? Studies suggest that it can really help patients suffering from this disorder and from a variety of other pain-related health concerns. The Arthritis Foundation has spent some time discussing the correlations of CBD and arthritic pain management for sufferers positively.
With the rise in popularity of CBD oils and other cannabis products, there are numerous claims being made surrounding its health benefits. How many of these claims are legitimate, with scientific data to support them?
There are still many research studies being conducted across the world in order to produce evidence. Or, maintain claims. However, science has already had some success in illustrating real and tangible proof that cannabidiol can offer multiple health benefits.
- A 2017 study found that CBD might be a safe and useful treatment option for joint pain associated with osteoarthritis.
- A 2016 study found that the topical application of CBD had the potential to relieve pain and inflammation associated with arthritis.
- A 2014 review of the existing body of research on animals concluded that CBD may be an effective treatment for osteoarthritis.
- A 2011 study found that CBD helped reduce inflammatory pain in rats by affecting the way that pain receptors respond to stimuli.
As you can see, this research is well underway, and these are just a few examples!
But how exactly can CBD alleviate pain? We will discuss this soon, but first, let’s talk about chronic pain itself.
Chronic pain and arthritis are plaguing the US population
An estimated 12.1 percent of the US population suffer from Osteoarthritis alone, not to mention other arthritic disorders. This has to lead the medical industry to look for a more sound and beneficial option, which they recently have found in CBD.
“By the year 2040, an estimated 78.4 million (25.9% of the projected total adult population) adults aged 18 years and older will have doctor-diagnosed arthritis, compared with the 54.4 million adults in 2013–2015. Two-thirds of those with arthritis will be women.” (https://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/data_statistics/national-statistics.html)
The use of CBD for arthritis can protect the body against a vast variety of disorders and illnesses. Thus far, opiate-based painkillers have been the go-to option for doctors to treat their patients. However, an increase in opiate addictions and deaths has left medical professionals and sufferers looking for a safer alternative.
Why do conventional methods of treatment lack efficacy?
When you suffer from chronic pain and arthritis, your first choice will be a visit to your doctor. Then, he or she will presumably prescribe you some painkillers, or over-the-counter analgesics and anti-inflammatories. Perhaps a combination of both. These may be weaker or stronger, depending on your condition.
However, chronic pain and arthritis are progressive diseases, which means they get worse over time, and with age. As you probably know, most of these prescription medications are based on opioids. And as with all opioid-based painkillers, they have strong potential for abuse or the unfortunate side effect of unintentional addiction from prescribed usage.
As you build up the tolerance for regular painkillers, you will have to increase your dosage significantly if you want to continue to feel the desired. Plus, opiates interact with the reward area of your brain, which may strengthen the addiction. And then there are the other unwanted side effects.
This brings us to another downside of opioid-based painkillers. As you increase the dose on a regular basis, you will put more active compounds in your body. Most of the time, they are accompanied by artificial fillers and other substances that place a burden on your liver. Other factors include constipation and nausea subject to the dosing level.
Opioid Outcomes & CBD Oil
So, in the best-case scenario, the long term forecast is a strong probability of moderate-to-severe liver damage. In the worst-case scenario, though, an overdose is a real concern, as opioids affect respiratory functions in your system. As such, death results from respiratory failure.
Natural CBD hemp oil, on the contrary, has no record of death overdose. Actually, there is no record of cannabis-induced deaths whatsoever.
There is a growing body of evidence suggesting that the use of CBD for arthritis may benefit patients who struggle with the disease, medication side effects, and associated disorders.
Let’s have a look at the animal and human studies regarding the use of CBD for arthritis.
CBD for arthritis in animal studies
A study published in the European Journal of Pain (London, England) in this area examined topically applied CBD for arthritis in animal subjects.
The study evaluated the effects of a rat adjuvant-induced monoarthritis knee joint model under the influence of cannabidiol. Not only did the research show an improvement in pain moderation, but it also illustrated the positive effects of CBD on joint mobility and inflammation. Additionally, treating arthritis with CBD showed no negative side effects, nor did it affect the cognitive functions of the subjects.
Researchers applied a topical gel containing CBD for 4 days, post-induction of arthritis. Then, they evaluated states prior, noting circumference and immune cell invasion in histological sections to indicate the levels of inflammation.
Once the effects of the induced arthritic state began to take place, the affected joints showed an increase in the size of the circumference. After four consecutive days of a 6.2 mg, CBD concentrate dose applied topically, the joints decreased in size and swelling.
A decrease in pain after administration of topical CBD was also observed. Limb posture and function were scored on a daily basis, with a subjective pain-related behavioral scale on which 0 indicated normalcy and no pain. Points 1 through 4 represented increasing states of pain and related behavior like the curling of the toes. Finally, number 5 indicated drastic pain with complete avoidance of contact with the affected limb.
The score given pre-application of CBD gel was high, with a median of 4 in all animals. Four days later, the score decreased significantly, with a median of 1.5. The physical changes in pain-related behavior indicated a decrease in pain, and increased joint mobility.
Simply put, the animals in the trial not only experienced significantly less pain after the application of CBD, but they were also physically more capable of moving due to the reduction in swelling and inflammation. This, in turn, resulted in improved mobility.
This also brings hope to other animals that suffer from arthritis by using CBD oil.
Human studies on CBD for chronic pain
Researchers believe that CBD affects cannabinoid receptors in both the brain and the immune system. This interaction causes these receptors to receive chemical signals from various stimuli and help your cells reply to those signals.
By binding to CB-2 receptors, CBD provides the body with its anti-inflammatory and painkilling qualities. This would mean that CBD for arthritis is actually the real deal.
What does science have to say about it?
Well, there’s an interesting review from 2008. The document assessed the effectiveness of CBD in relieving chronic pain. It looked at studies conducted from the late 1990s to 2007. Based on these reviews, researchers came up with a conclusion that CBD was effective in general pain management. As you can see from the study notes above, much has been done since 2008!
More importantly, CBD showed no adverse side effects in subjects and can prove useful in treating sleep disorders. Not only with alleviating pain, but assisting in the wake/sleep cycle.
The authors of the review also concluded that CBD shows the greatest potential in the case of multiple sclerosis (MS).
The future is a bright one!
These are just a few studies performed with positive effects of CBD on arthritis, joint mobility, inflammation, and pain. Moreover, many complex reviews have confirmed the aforementioned qualities of CBD on these conditions.
The resulting data in this study alongside similar research studies suggest that you can also apply CBD to conditions other than those observed and induced in the trials performed. For example, CBD could transfer its therapeutic features to neighboring areas affected by inflammation seen in other illnesses, such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease.
Moreover, the pain-relieving effects alone have the potential to reduce narcotic abuse, thus reducing crime, and more importantly, saving lives. There are many secrets within the cannabis plant, some of which are beginning to truly come to light with this. As the multitude of other studies emerges, people suffering from arthritis can finally find relief from their struggles.
What is your CBD oil story? Share with us how you manage your pain with topicals and or drops.