CBD for Arthritis - Image of elderly woman rubbing her hands

CBD for arthritis

Arthritis is a debilitating illness which causes inflammation of the joints and  is one of the leading causes of disability in the western world. Common symptoms include pain, stiffness and decreased movement which can worsen over time. The disease can also take its toll on your mental health, leading to depression and anxiety. The Arthritis Foundation has found that rates of depression in people diagnosed with arthritis can be 10 times higher than the general population. As well as this, several other conditions tend to coexist with arthritis which makes your quality of life even worse. The most common of these include diabetes, obesity and heart disease.

There are almost 100 different types of arthritis but the two most common types are;

  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) which is an autoimmune disease in which a person’s immune system attacks their joints causing inflammation. This most often affects the hands and feet leading to painful, stiff and swollen joints.
  • Osteoarthritis (OA) which is a degenerative disease which most often affects the hip, knee and thumb joints.

Arthritis is a complex disease and it is fair to say that people experience it differently. So what works for one person may not work for the next. People experience pain and and respond to treatment in different ways. So now you may be wondering if CBD could be used as a treatment. As there is no cure for arthritis, more and more people are considering CBD to treat their symptoms as an alternative therapy as conventional medicine isn’t enough to ease their discomfort. They are looking for  a natural pain relief option without the severe side effects of conventional medication. Some of these worrying side effects include stomach problems, internal bleeding, toxicity as well as liver damage.

Is CBD effective for chronic arthritis pain?

Recent studies on animals have suggested that CBD could be useful in relieving the pain and inflammation commonly associated with arthritis. A 2016 study found that topical CBD had the potential to relieve pain and inflammation associated with the disease. And a study done in 2017  found that CBD might be a safe and helpful treatment in Osteoarthritis.  So far though, there hasn’t been enough studies done on humans to determine how effective it is in easing  symptoms. So, while so far the findings have been positive, more research is definitely needed.

There is however a lot of anecdotal evidence and glowing testimonials from people who tried CBD in its various forms. These products include sprays, capsules, liquid as well as topical creams and gels. Of those using it, most reported noticeable pain relief, improvement in sleep  as well as reduced anxiety. They also noticed an improvement in their general well – being.

Arthritis and CBD

So what exactly is CBD?

Cannadidiol (CBD) is a non- intoxicating active compound found in the cannabis plant. It is not psychoactive and so will not get you high. This only happens in products containing THC, another compound found in the cannabis plant. There are many different CBD products available and the amount of CBD in them varies. It has become a really popular alternative therapy in recent years for a variety of conditions and there is solid research that it is beneficial for the human health. These benefits include:

  • Pain relief
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Could reduce anxiety and depression
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Help with cancer symptoms
  • Could benefit heart health
  • protect against bone disease  and broken bones
  • Reduce risk of diabetes
  • Reduce the risk of obesity
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Help maintain brain health
  • Can improve mood – related disorders
  • Help alzheimers
  • Calm epilepsy

How to use CBD for arthritis pain

The Arthritis Foundation recently published recommendations for those interested in trying CBD for their arthritis.

Dos and don’ts

  • Choose a product that is of high quality has been independently tested for safety and purity.
  • CBD should be part of a comprehensive pain management plan that includes exercise as well as psychological support.
  • Create goals within a realistic time frame. If there is improvement, then the targets can be adjusted accordingly.
  • Tell your doctor about planned and current use of CBD and plan your pain management with them instead of those people selling CBD products.

What kinds of products are there to choose from?

These are the most common types of CBD products on the market:

  • Topicals – These products, like lotions and balms and creams are applied directly to the skin over a painful joint. They generally take about ten minutes to start working.
  • Edibles – this is where food items like chocolate, cakes and sweets are infused with CBD. These are genarally not that potent and can take anywhere from thirty minutes to two hours to take effect.
  • Vaporiser – This is where CBD is inhaled through a vape pen. They work really quickly so you should expect to get results in about two minutes.
  • CBD Tincture – This is the most popular product on the market and is available in various strengths. To use it, you simply place a drop under your tongue. This is fast acting and effective and allows you to experiment with different doses for maximum effect.
  • Capsules – Capsules are really popular and are similar to taking a food supplement. They have many advantages in that they are easy to swallow and the are pre – measured so you don’t have to worry about taking too much. They are also easy to carry around on the go.

Side effects

People generally tolerate CBD well but as everyone is different, some individuals may experience mild side effects. These include:

  • Fatigue
  • changes in appetite
  • changes in weight
  • diarrhoea
  • Dry mouth

The bottom line

CBD shows promise as a treatment for arthritis as it affects the receptors in the brain which which help control pain and inflammation. However, its effectiveness varies from person to person. So it is always advisable to talk to your doctor beforehand to work out the correct dosage to try as well as making sure it doesn’t interfere with other medication you may be taking.

 

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