CBD oil and joint pain
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- Research overview
- The studies
- Patient perspectives
- What the experts say
- Bottom line
Joint pain affects millions of people around the world and is associated with a wide range of conditions and ailments. Some of the most common reasons for joint pain are musculoskeletal conditions and inflammatory diseases, yet few studies have addressed these.
Currently, treatment typically consists of drug therapy, including the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and weak opioids. Non-pharmacologic treatment plans include cognitive behavioral therapy, stress management, and patient education in self-management programs.
Based on the ways in which CBD oil impacts key brain receptors, it shows promise for those seeking an alternative treatment option in the hopes of reducing pain and inflammation. It may also address conditions related to chronic pain, including anxiety and sleep disorders.
While studies are limited in regards to the effect of CBD oil on joint pain, researchers have identified a clear relationship between the two. Scientists have found that CBD appears to inhibit or activate key compounds which influence the ECS, including anandamide. This compound is associated with pain reduction, and CBD helps reduce its absorption. As CBD levels increase in the bloodstream, the amount of perceived pain may lesson. This means that CBD may help the body use the ECS more effectively.
In animal studies, CBD has been shown to reduce inflammation and relieve joint pain without inducing significant side effects. However, human studies are limited, and the results are mixed. More comprehensive studies are required.
While studies are limited, researchers have identified a relationship between CBD and joint pain. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
A 2016 study, published in the European Journal of Pain, examined the efficacy of topical CBD in rats. It was found that the application of CBD significantly reduced joint swelling, as well as limb posture scores as a rating of pain. It was concluded that topical CBD offers therapeutic potential for pain-related inflammation and behaviors associated with arthritis.
Another study, published in the journal Pain, focused on CBD pain prevention in relation to rat osteoarthritis. Upon studying osteoarthritis in rats, it was found that CBD blocked joint pain in a dose-dependent manner. In addition, prophylactic CBD administration prevented the future development of nerve damage and associated pain in the arthritic joints. The researchers concluded that CBD may be a safe treatment option in mammals, targeting pain while blocking the inflammatory responses that drive disease progression.
Billy Evans, 34, has been using CBD oil, as well as CBD creams and salves, in order to address his joint pain and muscle spasms. “I currently live in the United States and am in need of a shoulder replacement,” Evans told Weedmaps News. “Upon using CBD oil, I was able to get off of three different muscle relaxers, as well as some of my pain medications.”
Kayleigh Shanna, 31, is both a patient and industry expert, working as a cannabis sommelier, consultant, and master grower. “I originally began taking CBD oil in order to better treat my symptoms of depression and anxiety,” Shanna said. “However, I also suffered from pain and sleep disturbances as a direct result of my mood disorder, both of which significantly improved after I began taking CBD oil daily.”
People use CBD Oil and CBD creams and salves to ease joint pain. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Brendon James, 30, first became a medical patient in 2010 following a major car crash. After severely damaging his foot, he was living in constant pain. “I was given everything from pain medications to nerve suppressants and opioids, but the side effects made me seek alternatives,” James said.
He continued, “Today, I have been taking high-CBD strain cannabis and oil derivatives for nearly a decade. This treatment option has helped considerably with the pain, as well as my ability to cope with life alterations associated with nearly losing my foot. The pain will never fully go away, but CBD has helped reduce the associated inflammation. There have been no notable side effects and I am in no way addicted to it. I am now in control of my pain — not the other way around.”
What the experts say
Dr. Bonni Goldstein is a medical adviser to Weedmaps.com, author of Cannabis Revealed, and Medical Director of Canna-Centers in California. She says CBD can help reduce inflammatory discomfort. “CBD is a potent anti-inflammatory and can decrease joint pain in patients with arthritis and other conditions that cause joint inflammation. Patients often report better mobility and an ability to decrease the use of NSAIDs with CBD use.
CBD is a potent anti-inflammatory and can decrease joint pain in patients with arthritis and other conditions that cause joint inflammation.
“An elderly woman was brought to my office by her adult daughter. The elderly lady was experiencing pain from osteoarthritis in her knees that began to affect her mobility. The patient began taking a 25:1 CBD:THC ratio edible, resulting in almost complete resolution of pain and improved mobility,” Goldstein said.
“Plants all over the world have evolved thousands of their own chemicals that just by coincidence are useful in treating human illnesses,” says Dr. Paula Williams, a physician at Apollo Cannabis Clinics, a medical cannabis care center in the Toronto area. “It turns out that the nervous system has neural pathways that use the body’s own cannabinoid receptors. Cannabinoids interact with the CB1 and CB2 receptors in various ways to increase natural pain relief. These are not the same as opioid receptors, which is one reason why cannabis does not tend to be addicting when used for pain relief.”
Williams recommends using CBD and THC in tandem for joint pain relief.
“I’ve been prescribing medical cannabis to patients in my pain practice, hundreds of them, for about 10 years,” Williams says.
“There are many kinds of joint pain, but one of the most common sources of pain is arthritis,” states Adie Rae, Ph.D., a subject matter expert for Weedmaps who has extensively studied the endocannabinoid system. “Both rheumatoid and osteoarthritis patients report using topical CBD oil to manage their symptoms. The true efficacy of these products has not been studied in clinical trials, but in animal models of arthritis, topical CBD effectively reduces pain and inflammation.”
Many patients report using CBD to relieve symptoms of joint pain. Animal models have shown positive effects, especially in relation to arthritis. However, at this time, more scientific research is required in humans to determine dosing and overall safety guidelines.
Rae added, “An important consideration for patients choosing to explore topical CBD for joint pain is the formula or makeup of the product. Some CBD oils are diluted in carrier oils that are not very compatible with the skin, whereas other plant-derived oils can enhance skin penetration (jojoba oil, for example). Also, eucalyptus, rosemary, and citrus oils have been shown to increase the skin penetration of other medications, so topical CBD products that also contain these ingredients could yield better results.”
CBD oil and joint pain Copy article link to clipboard. Link copied to clipboard. Contents Research overview The studies Patient perspectives What the experts say
Medical Marijuana, CBD Oil, and Rheumatoid Arthritis
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Researchers still donвЂ™t know a lot about how marijuana affects your body. But there is substantial evidence that it can help relieve long-term pain. And pain is a major symptom of rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
HereвЂ™s whatвЂ™s known so far about how medical marijuana and a marijuana extract called CBD (cannabidiol) might affect RA.
Benefits for RA
The Cannabis sativa plant has more than 100 chemicals that can affect your body and mind. The two that scientists know the most about are THC and CBD.
THC, or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, is what gets you high when you smoke, vape, or eat marijuana. CBD doesnвЂ™t affect your brain that way. For that reason, some people prefer the oil form of CBD for medical uses.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that can make your joints stiff, tender, and painful. RA also can affect your lungs, eyes, skin, and other body parts.
The federal ban on marijuana and CBD means studies on humans have been few. So researchers donвЂ™t know for sure that cannabis eases RA symptoms. But the results from several very small studies suggest that in people with rheumatic diseases, including RA and osteoarthritis, it may help:
- Curb morning pain (but not the overall level of pain)
- Improve sleep
- Lower inflammation in joints (but not joint stiffness)
Some lab testing suggests that cannabinoids may help tamp down the bodyвЂ™s immune response. But the studies have been limited to animals, not humans.
Doctors will need more proof before they can recommend cannabis products to treat rheumatic diseases. For example, we know very little about the effects on RA from smoking marijuana or other uses of herbal marijuana.
Is Cannabis Right for You?
The best way to answer this is to ask your doctor. They can tell you about possible side effects and drug interactions, legal considerations, and which form and at which dose may help you the most.
More than half of the states have legalized marijuana for medical use. More than a dozen other states allow limited medical uses of CBD.
The FDA doesnвЂ™t regulate marijuana or CBD, so you might not know exactly whatвЂ™s in the products you buy. One batch of pot or edible marijuana may have a much higher or lower amount of THC than another, or affect you differently. CBD also can be unpredictable.
Cannabis can affect you mentally and physically. THC can impair driving, so you shouldnвЂ™t get behind the wheel for at least 8 hours after you take it. Smoking or vaping (inhaling) marijuana will hit you more quickly than if you eat it. ItвЂ™s also not good for your lungs or respiratory system.
If you use marijuana regularly, it could make you more likely to get anxiety, depression, and other mental illnesses.
CBD side effects are usually mild or moderate. They can include:
- Dry mouth
- Drop in appetite
- Interactions with blood thinners
Medical marijuana has similar side effects, that may include:
- Increased appetite
- Dissociation (feeling disconnected)
- Dry eyes
Where to Get It
Depending on your state, you may need to buy medical marijuana and CBD at specific dispensaries or pharmacies from approved vendors. Your doctor may need to certify that you have a condition that may benefit from marijuana.
Marijuana is available inВ many forms, like pills, prepared foods, teas, nasal sprays, and as something you smoke or vape.
In some states, CBD is sold at many all-natural food stores and online. It can be taken by mouth as oil or extracts, or applied to your skin.
Chemistry & Biochemistry: вЂњHistory of Cannabis and Its Preparations in Saga, Science, and Sobriquet.вЂќ
Mayo Clinic: вЂњMayo Clinic Q and A: Treatment with medical cannabis,вЂќ вЂњMarijuana,вЂќ вЂњWhat are the benefits of CBD — and is it safe to use?вЂќ вЂњRheumatoid arthritis.вЂќ
News release, The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine: вЂњThe Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids.вЂќ
Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience: вЂњCannabis, Cannabinoids, and Health.вЂќ
Arthritis Care & Research: вЂњEfficacy, Tolerability, and Safety of Cannabinoid Treatments in the Rheumatic Diseases: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials.вЂќ
Nature Reviews Rheumatology: вЂњCannabinoids for the treatment of rheumatic diseases — where do we stand?вЂќ
U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration: вЂњDrug Scheduling.вЂќ
Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research: вЂњCannabis and Pain: A Clinical Review.вЂќ
Journal of Medical Toxicology: вЂњMedical Marijuana and Driving: A Review.вЂќ
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health: вЂњMarijuana and Cannabinoids.вЂќ
National Institute on Drug Abuse: вЂњMarijuana as Medicine,вЂќ вЂњMarijuana.вЂќ
You may be wondering if marijuana may ease the pain and discomfort from rheumatoid arthritis. HereвЂ™s what to know.