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How does CBD help with Arthritis Pain ?- A brief overview

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If you have arthritis, you are familiar with chronic pain. The inflammation can cause pain, stiffness, and swelling in joints in the fingers, knees, and shoulders. This can limit your movement and make you unhappy. Arthritis is not curable. Faced with daily pain, it is no wonder that people with arthritis explore all alternatives.  Researching complementary treatments to help them ease the pain of arthritis. People are asking how does CBD help with arthritis pain ?

Cannabidiol products are an alternative treatment and as a result are getting a lot of media and research attention. There is a growing body of evidence that CBD products can help ease pain and anxiety in arthritis.  So, what is CBD and how does it help with arthritis?

man with arthritis pain

 

 

What is CBD?

Cannabinoids are extracted from the Cannabis genus. This is a plant family that includes marijuana and hemp. There are over 100 cannabinoids.

The two primary chemicals in most CBD products are THC & CBD. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is the psychoactive ingredient that causes the ‘high’ of marijuana.  Cannabidiol (CBD) is similar to endocannabinoids. These chemicals are naturally present in the human body.

CBD is the key ingredient in CBD oils, lotions, edibles, and vaporisers. The major benefit is that pure CBD has none of the psychoactive effects of THC.

CBD is taken from the hemp family of plants, which have been grown industrially in the UK & EU for years. Hemp and marijuana differ in their phytocannabinoid structure. Marijuana has more THC and hemp less.

CBD products interact with the pain receptors in the body intending to reduce pain and anxiety.  They work with the immune systems’ receptors.

 

CBD Oil pain relief

How does CBD work?

 

Endocannabinoid chemicals in the body work with endorphins and the inflammatory system. They modulate pain signals (CB1) and inflammation (CB2). CB1 receptors are in many areas of the body including the brain. CB2 receptors are in the spleen, bones & bone marrow, skin, liver & pancreas, and the immune system

THC affects the CB1 receptors so involves the cognitive level.  Whereas CBD encourages the body to make more of its own endocannabinoids. This is beneficial for pain and inflammation responses. A  recent YouGov survey on CBD use found the following. 71% of respondents cited pain relief as the main reason for trying CBD products. Alongside this, 38% wanted relief for anxiety and depression.

Pain relief is the primary reason that CBD products are of interest to those who suffer from arthritis. People diagnosed with arthritis have higher than average rates of depression (Arthritis Foundation). Any improvement in mood and sleep would be of benefit to them.

 

CBD and arthritis

According to the NHS, rheumatoid arthritis affects over 400,000 people in the UK. The immune system can target affected joints causing pain and swelling.  It is a chronic disease of the musculoskeletal system, with pain and fatigue the major symptoms.

Large scale high-quality clinical trials which could test CBD pain relief products have not taken place. Despite this, anecdotal evidence shows positive potential.

Of those polled by the Arthritis Foundation in 2019, 79% were using, had used in the past, or planned to use CBD. 94% said the reason they were considering CBD was pain relief. 67% of users reported a physical improvement and 77% said it had eased feelings of anxiety.

There is a lot of interest in how CBD products might help arthritis. There is potential for benefit in multiple areas. Physically, through the reduction of inflammation and pain. Mentally, by reducing anxiety, aiding sleep, and helping those with depression.

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How is CBD used to reduce arthritis pain and inflammation?

In clinical trials with animals, CBD has reduced inflammation and hypersensitivity.  It stimulated synovial membrane cells that produce lubricating joint fluid. It also seemed to desensitize this pain system.

CBD increased adenosine signalling that reduces inflammation and gave pain relief. In addition it also has antioxidant properties (believed to be higher than vitamins c and e). Cannabidiol has tumour necrosis factors inhibitor (TNF-a). It doesn’t cause vascular issues or gastric irritation.

A 2017 study by Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology also concluded that “the preclinical and human data that do exist indicate that the use of cannabis should be taken seriously as a potential treatment of joint pain.”

The results provide a positive reason to explore the potential benefits of cannabidiol. It could help in reducing pain and inflammation for arthritis. Many trials are ongoing and we await the results, but, in the meantime, feedback from actual users is hopeful.

If you are considering using CBD as part of your treatment plan, in what form should you take it? Are there any side effects? And is it legal?

How do you take CBD for arthritis?

CBD products have different forms;

  • CBD oils & sublingual drops,
  • tablets or capsules,
  • creams & lotions,
  • edible foods like gummies,
  • and inhalers, or vapes.

The decision on which to use is a personal choice. Factors to consider are the  following. The potency you want. Where the pain is located. And How quickly you want the product to take effect.

For example, with the two most used types of CBD products, topically and oils, the effects can be seen in under half an hour. Topical lotions applied directly to the area of pain, can take effect with ten minutes. CBD oil, taken by mouth, can be active within fifteen minutes.

Topical treatments can be applied directly to the area of concern. Oral CBD oils have a more general effect.

What is the right amount of CBD for arthritis?

There are no clear guidelines for the dosage of cannabidiol products. Everyone responds in different ways. The general consensus is to start with low doses of CBD. Maintain the low dose for some time so that you can decide if it is effective. You would then review before increasing the dosage.

Talk to your doctor about your decision to use cannabidiol as part of your pain relief regime. They will be able to advise you of any conflict with other medications or existing treatments.  Like any medication, CBD has some side effects, so it is best to check them before use.

Cannabidiol is designated as having a good safety profile by the WHO. CBD is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile. Reported adverse effects may be as a result of drug-drug interactions between CBD and patients’ existing medications.”

In the UK, cannabidiol needs two things to be legal. It must be produced from hemp grown following EU regulations with less than 0.2% THC. It therefore must have less than 1mg of THC in the finished product.  Our CBD products are all certified by an independent lab to have 0.0005% THC (effectively untraceable).

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Where to buy CBD

As they are currently ‘trending’ cannabidiol products are everywhere you look. They are available in supermarkets, health food stores, pharmacies, and online. The CBD marketplace is currently unregulated and some suppliers have misled consumers by having incorrect information on labels. Or the products include undesirable additives (like pesticides).

Always buy your CBD products from a quality supplier.  Look for products produced from organically grown hemp that meets the legal requirements.  Make sure that the product you purchase has been tested and certified by an independent lab.  Check the labels for active ingredients and any additives.

 

Living with arthritis

Living with arthritis is not easy, therefore so it is not surprising that many people are exploring alternative treatments. These can complement traditional treatments. Choose your cannabidiol product carefully. Always consult your doctor before beginning a course of treatment.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that CBD products can improve and help the physical and mental symptoms of arthritis. Research indicates that there are potential benefits of cannabidiol use for chronic pain reduction in arthritis.

Using CBD as part of your treatment plan for arthritis has the potential to make a real difference.

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