Health & Wellness July 14, 2020

Science Behind CBD and Arthritis Treatment

CBD, or cannabidiol, is an active natural substance found in cannabis plants. It is seen to be beneficial for many health-related problems due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Studies say that CBD usage can be helpful for pain and inflammation management in animals. Although more studies and research is needed to confirm the effects of CBD on the overall health and common ailments in humans, those who tried CBD said that they experienced pain and anxiety reduction as well as better sleep. This has led to the influx of numerous CBD products in the market.

CBD products do not cause intoxication or any psychoactive symptoms as that associated with cannabis use. This is because CBD is free from THC, or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, the other cannabinoid compound found in marijuana that causes a high. This is why CBD products are touted to be safe and potentially beneficial in improving the overall quality of life. CBD derived from hemp plants is also legal since it contains less than 0.3% THC. This further makes CBD products tempting to try for pain relief, especially for arthritis patients, as most of the other treatments do not offer lasting relief to the majority of arthritis symptoms. Besides, CBD is not as addictive as using opiates or other drugs can be.

Arthritis and CBD

A recent poll revealed that around 14% of US citizens are using CBD products for pain relief. The Arthritis Foundation also conducted a poll for that and found that nearly 29% of patients currently use CBD products in either liquid or topical form. It was also found that around 80% of the participants were using, had tried, or were considering CBD products. The most commonly reported positive effect of CBD use was in the improvement of sleep, physical function, and overall well-being though. Only a few of the participants reported relief from pain and stiffness.

There are more than 100 types of arthritis and not all of them act in the same way. Even though pain and inflammation is the basic feature of all the arthritis types, a treatment plan that works for a particular form of arthritis may not offer equal benefits to the others. Generally, the treatment plans are designed around offering pain relief, reducing stiffness, and maintaining function. However, in certain cases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, prescription medications are also recommended to prevent worsening of the condition and to avoid permanent joint damage and disability.

It is also seen that arthritis patients experience pain in different degrees even when affected by the same type of ailment. Moreover, they respond to the treatment in different ways as well. This means that a CBD product that helped a patient may not have the same effects for another individual when taken to manage the symptoms of arthritis.

How CBD Works

The endocannabinoid system in the human body produces chemical compounds that are very similar to the phytocannabinoids found in cannabis. These cannabinoid substances are produced when they are needed for maintaining the internal balance of the body. They act as a stimulating agent to ensure proper action of the different functions of the body, such as digestion, sleep, memory, immunity, and more. The endocannabinoids act with the other major pain systems in the body and modulate pain signals too.

Researchers established that CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system in mammals, which activates the receptors in multiple areas of the brain as well as at the spinal cord level to inhibit the transmission of pain signals. It is also seen that CBD can be 10 times more active than morphine in terms of its effect on certain types of nerve cells. CBD helps with peripheral pain relief too by stimulating the CB1 receptors in the body and alleviates pain related to stress. As it is similar to the endocannabinoids produced in the body, such as anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol, CBD binds to the endocannabinoid system receptors to produce high levels of anandamide that help in pain relief.

CBD is also known for its powerful antioxidant properties, which can be more potent than the effects of vitamin C or vitamin E. This is why experts introduced CBD as the first endocannabinoid modulator for addressing pain. Besides, CBD also inhibits the action of tumor necrosis factor-alpha in the body without causing any gastric irritation or increasing the risk of vascular diseases like other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs do. This is because CBD does not react with the cyclooxygenase enzymes that are inhibited by the action of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. CBD is also seen to stimulate adenosine signaling, which also works to reduce inflammation and provide pain relief. Products like Hill City Hemp Full Spectrum CBD Oil are perfect for those looking to add high-quality hemp-derived CBD to their daily routine in order to alleviate symptoms associated with chronic pain or arthritis. 

Effects of CBD on Arthritis Symptoms

During animal testing, it was found that using CBD topicals in gel form alleviates inflammation and hypersensitivity. The absorption rate of the CBD topical was seen to be directly proportional to the amount of gel applied along with a lower risk of systemic symptoms and improved local levels of CBD. The treatment was also beneficial in the reduction of joint inflammation and swelling. Oral use of CBD also showed similar effects in rats with arthritis and lead to a significant reduction in pain sensation. It was also found that CBD use led to a lower concentration of inflammatory molecules in and around the joints and reduced the inflammation, which helped in improving the symptoms of arthritis. For this reason, we also see CBD products for pets such as Hill City Hemp Full Spectrum CBD Pet Oil.

CBD use is also said to be effective in preventing joint cartilage damage over time. The synovial membrane cells, which produce lubricating joint fluid and help with local immunity, become activated during joint inflammation. This leads to an over-secretion of inflammatory chemicals in the joints, such as Interleukin-1 alpha and tumor necrosis factor-alpha. These substances not only increase the sensitivity of the main pain receptors in the affected joints but also stimulate other cells to produce more cytokines. This results in aggravating the intensity of joint inflammation. Using CBD works with the pain system, known as transient receptor potential cation channel subfamily V member 1, desensitizes it, and helps to stop the progression of pain and inflammation further.

Although animal studies suggest that CBD may be a promising alternative for arthritis patients due to its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects, there is no compelling evidence on how it will be effective in humans. The Osteoarthritis Research Society International published a report of a randomized trial of CBD topical usage for osteoarthritis of the knee in its journal, but it is in the abstract form only, which implies that it is not thoroughly examined yet. So more scientifically valid and intensive clinical trials are required to conclude how CBD may be able to help people suffering from chronic arthritis pain. 

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine also conducted research on “The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids” and said that there is “substantial evidence that cannabis is an effective treatment for chronic pain in adults.” Yet again, it did not offer conclusive evidence on the effects of CBD because of the lack of definitive studies. While there is no evidence to prove that CBD is effective for chronic arthritis pain management in humans, there are lots of anecdotal evidence and testimonials that support its use. Many people from all around the world say that they experienced a significant reduction in pain and inflammation when they used CBD in various forms. Mary’s Nutritional’s Elite Compound is one of the more popular topical CBD products on our site, and Mary’s is considered to be one of the best brands available on the market. See for yourself just how effective their products can be with a simple and easy to use CBD solution to aching joints and muscles.

Using CBD For Arthritis

It can be difficult to predict the outcome of CBD use without adequate clinical studies on the effects of CBD for arthritis. There are no recommended dosages either because no tests have been conducted on specific doses of CBD for specific conditions or types of arthritis. Therefore, there is no evidence-based recommendation on what would be a safe and effective dosage for managing the symptoms of arthritis. Users have also reported that different forms of CBD showed different actions at different intervals. This could also be because of the other ingredients and carrier oils in the CBD products. All that makes it more complicated to decide how much CBD can be effective for the condition.

Arthritis patients are often prescribed medications like corticosteroids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, opioid painkillers, antidepressant and mood-elevating drugs, monoclonal antibodies, and gamma-aminobutyric acid inhibitors. CBD can interact negatively with these medications and can have toxic effects as well. That is why it is very important to consult with a physician before trying any CBD products for arthritis pain and inflammation management. Besides, it is also advised not to try CBD as a replacement for disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs, as these medications are not just intended to relieve arthritis symptoms but also reduce the severity and number of relapses to change the course of the condition.