Arthritis refers to joint pain or joint disease caused primarily by inflammation. According to the Arthritis Foundation, it affects more than 50 million adults and 300,000 children worldwide. It’s the leading cause of disability in the US.
Despite its prevalence, treatment is limited. Pharmaceutical painkillers and anti-inflammatories have traditionally been prescribed, but they often come with adverse side-effects and fail to tackle the root of the condition.
CBD — just one of the cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant — is increasingly being used to treat arthritis due to its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. In this article, we’ll discuss how and why CBD is thought to help with three different types of arthritis.
Quick Answer: Is CBD Good for Arthritis?
CBD helps to treat arthritis because it has powerful anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. It also supports the regulation of kidney function, which helps relieve specific types of arthritis, such as gout.
Topical application is generally the best bet, as the CBD is absorbed by the skin, providing quick and efficient targeted relief.
However, combining a topical application with the consumption of CBD oil will optimize the benefits, as the CBD will also be absorbed into the bloodstream and utilized by the endocannabinoid system (ECS) as necessary to reduce inflammation and relieve pain.
CBD can also be combined with other supplements that relieve arthritis symptoms, such as turmeric and vitamin D.
Different Types of Arthritis
According to the Arthritis Foundation, there are more than 100 types of arthritis and related conditions.
There are three main forms of arthritis. CBD affects each one a little bit differently:
This is the most common form of arthritis and occurs most frequently in the knees, hips, and hands.
Inflammation damages and destroys cartilage tissue in the joints, causing pain, swelling, and stiffness. It usually develops slowly and gets worse over time, with long-term suffers often experiencing severely reduced physical function and even disability. It’s estimated that osteoarthritis affects more than 32.5 million adults in the US.
2. Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells, mainly in the joint tissue. This causes inflammation in the affected area, which presents itself as joint stiffness, swelling, and pain.
Gout is a form of arthritis that occurs due to an accumulation of uric acid crystals in the joints. This destroys tissue around the joints, causing pain, swelling, and stiffness.
Unlike other forms of arthritis, gout can come on suddenly and sharply: for example, an ‘attack’ of gout in the night. It’s characterized by sudden, severe attacks of pain, swelling, redness, and tenderness in the joints, often the joint at the base of the big toe.
How Could CBD Help With Arthritis?
Although there are multiple types of arthritis, the result is much the same: a loss of protective cartilage and tissue around the joints.
CBD has been shown to have potential analgesic effects (through its ability to activate the opioid receptors in the spinal cord and brain), as well as anti-inflammatory and muscle-relaxant properties. It could be an effective treatment for all variations.
CBD has the following effects on the body:
- Inhibits T-lymphocyte proliferation in damaged joint tissue
- Suppresses macrophage function and antigen presentation
- Inhibits cytotoxic T-cell activity
- Modulates of tumor necrosis factor (TNF), IL-1, and IFN-g
- Suppresses B cell chemokine production
- Inhibits nitric oxide production by macrophages
- Supports kidney function (specific to gout treatment)
- Suppresses hyperactive immune activity (linked to rheumatoid arthritis)
In one study on collagen-induced arthritis in mice, a high dose of injected and orally consumed CBD was shown to slow the progression of both chronic and acute arthritis.
There was no notable difference depending on the method of consumption.
What’s the Best Type of CBD to Use for Arthritis?
Using a topical CBD — for example, a cream, lotion, or gel — is usually the preferred method of application as it’s absorbed into the skin and reacts with the CB receptors located there. This helps to target inflammation and pain at the source, thereby providing the most effective relief.
Consuming CBD in the form of a gummy, capsule, or CBD-infused food could also be beneficial, but as it has to go through the digestive system before entering the bloodstream, it will take much longer to kick in and will have less effect.
Although consuming CBD oil sublingually (under the tongue) allows it to bypass the digestive system and enter the bloodstream directly through the capillaries located there, it still will not provide the same targeted, localized relief as topical CBD. Therefore, it’s best to combine oral consumption with topical application (it’s also possible to apply CBD oil directly to the skin).
Best CBD Oils for Arthritis: Our Top Picks in 2021
When CBD oil is consumed orally, it’s absorbed by the gut and passes through the digestive system before entering the bloodstream. At this point, it’s transported throughout the body by the endocannabinoid system (ECS) and the network of cannabinoid (CB) receptors located throughout the body.
1. Royal CBD Oil (Full-Spectrum)
Royal CBD is one of the premier suppliers of CBD oil in the United States. Their 2500 mg full-spectrum option is one of the strongest products in its class.
These oils are rich in CBD and a variety of other useful anti-arthritis cannabinoids such as CBC (cannabichromene) and CBG (cannabigerol). Other ingredients, such as myrcene, linalool, bisabolol, and lavandin, also support the CBD for managing inflammation, irritation, and joint degeneration involved with arthritis.
If you’re looking for something with a kick to help manage arthritis symptoms for good — check out either the 1000 mg or 2500 mg full-spectrum CBD oils from Royal CBD.
2. Gold Bee CBD Oil (Full-Spectrum)
Gold Bee produces full-spectrum CBD oils, meaning they contain all of the compounds found in the cannabis plant. These work in synergy to produce the entourage effect, meaning that their health benefits are optimized when they’re taken together.
Third-party lab tests — the results of which are clearly displayed for consumers by all reputable CBD companies — have shown that Gold Bee’s oils have a particularly high concentration of the terpenes linalool and myrcene. Both of these have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. Moreover, Gold Bee CBD oil is high in CBC, CBN, and CBG — cannabinoids that also have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.
This makes the Gold Bee full-spectrum CBD oil the best full-spectrum option when consuming CBD orally for the treatment of arthritis.
3. Hemp Bombs CBD Oil (THC-Free)
Unlike Gold Bee, Hemp Bombs CBD Oil contains CBD isolate, so there’s no THC whatsoever. There’s a range of different potencies to choose from, starting at 125 mg and going up to 5000 mg, so there is something to suit all levels of arthritis symptoms. It also makes it possible to stay with the same brand if your symptoms worsen and you need to increase the strength, which makes it the best THC-free option when consuming CBD orally for the treatment of arthritis.
There’s also six flavors available: Acai Berry, Chocolate Mint, Orange Creamsicle, Peppermint, Watermelon, and Natural Hemp. Last but certainly not least, all Hemp Bombs CBD oils come with third-party lab results, so you know that the product is free from contaminants and impurities.
The Best CBD Topical for Arthritis
To target pain and inflammation at the source, you’ll need to use a CBD topical. These usually come in the form of creams, salves, lotions, or gels, often combined with other ingredients that help relieve arthritis symptoms. On average, topical product effects can be felt for around four hours, so you’ll need to reapply throughout the day as necessary.
Royal CBD has a cooling balm in its topical product line that’s extremely effective in treating painful, swollen joints. It’s more potent than the average CBD topical, containing 5.5 mg of broad-spectrum CBD per mL. This means you won’t have to use a lot of products to feel its effects. Plus, it’s packed with other ingredients in the mix to help relieve arthritis symptoms, such as aloe, calendula, arnica, and frankincense. Green tea and yerba mate stimulate blood flow and promote the healing of tissue.
Another option for alternative topical treatment for arthritis is the Royal CBD Menthol roll-on broad-spectrum CBD gel. Menthol gives a gentle, cooling effect that provides instant relief.
How to Use CBD for Arthritis?
Once you’ve decided to use a CBD topical or consume CBD oil, there are some ways in which you can optimize its positive effects. Mixing it with or taking it alongside other supplements can help to increase joint health, thereby lowering arthritic symptoms.
These additional supplements include, but are not limited to:
- Vitamin D (helps to alleviate joint pain)
- Chondroitin sulfate (supports the recovery of damaged joint tissue)
- Glucosamine sulfate (supports the recovery of damaged joint tissue)
- Turmeric (inhibits COX, a key inflammatory enzyme)
- Frankincense (inhibits 5-LOX, a key inflammatory enzyme)
- Couch grass (specific for gout pain — helps the body to excrete excess uric acid through urine)
Remember that CBD is not an overnight cure — you’ll need to use it regularly and consistently and give it enough time for the levels to build up in your body. It could take a few weeks to see positive results, so be patient and keep at it.
What Are the Risks of Taking CBD for Arthritis?
CBD is widely recognized as a safe substance with no potential for addiction or substance abuse.
However, if you’re already taking prescribed medication for arthritis, you should consult a medical professional before beginning to take CBD regularly. This is because some medications — particularly those for rheumatoid arthritis — can affect the immune system.
What Is the Right Dose of CBD for Arthritis?
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to dosing CBD for arthritis. It will vary depending on the type of arthritis, as well as the severity of the symptoms.
Variables such as age and weight will also factor here (for example, someone that weighs 180 pounds will likely need a stronger dose than someone who weighs 100 pounds).
For low-grade osteoarthritis (mild joint pain), a low potency may suffice. However, rheumatoid arthritis or more severe cases of osteoarthritis may require a medium- or high-strength dose.
When initially trying CBD, it’s recommended that you start with a low dose and build up gradually over time. Once you find relief from your symptoms and see some positive effects, you’ve found the right dose.
Final Verdict: Using CBD for Arthritis
CBD has been shown to have powerful anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, both of which are beneficial to the treatment of arthritis. Furthermore, it also supports kidney function and the regulation of immune cell activation, which also help to relieve symptoms of specific types of arthritis such as gout.
When trying CBD for arthritis, topical application is generally the best option. This is because the CBD is absorbed by the skin, which contains CB receptors. It, therefore, provides targeted, localized relief quickly and efficiently. However, combining a topical application with the consumption of CBD oil will optimize the benefits, as the CBD will also be absorbed into the bloodstream and utilized by the endocannabinoid system (ECS) as necessary to reduce inflammation and relieve pain.
To enjoy the maximum benefits, combine CBD with other supplements, such as vitamin D, turmeric, and frankincense, which have also been shown to be beneficial in the treatment of arthritis.
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