CBD Oil for Arthritis - What You Should Know

May 20


Charlie Thompson

Charlie Thompson

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CBD oil has shown some potential benefits for arthritis pain which has led to its increased usage. Know if it really helps reduce inflammation and pain or not.


If you suffer from arthritis pain or know someone who does,CBD Oil for Arthritis - What You Should Know Articles it is likely that you’ve come across the name CBD before. Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the two most popular organic chemical compounds extracted from the cannabis (marijuana or hemp) plant, the other being tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). However, where THC is psychoactive (makes you high), CBD doesn’t have such psychoactive or mind-altering properties. This is one of the main reasons people use CBD products to treat certain medical conditions like pain, anxiety, inflammation, etc. So, does CBD really help with chronic arthritis pain?

Arthritis is a fairly common disease across the world and there are over 100 types of arthritis. But the two types of arthritis that most commonly affect people are-

  1. Rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune condition, affecting the joints making them stiff, swollen, and painful. 
  2. Osteoarthritis arthritis, on the other hand, is caused by natural inflammation of the joints which leads to breakdown and loss of cartilages. This causes difficulty in moving.

Cannabidiol might not work for all types of arthritis pains and also, not for all people but considering how addictive most of the medicines available for arthritis can be, CBD might be a better alternative. Though there are not many research studies to support the therapeutic effect of CBD on such pains, there are some that do show this. The existing reports (mostly conducted on animals) generally show that it might help with the morning pain to some extent and also improve your sleep. The Arthritis Foundation has also provided some anecdotes to support these claims. However, they’ve also mentioned the lack of rigorous studies done on human subjects and have urged the FDA to help study and regulate CBD products which will promote further studies. Some studies which give limited evidence for the effectiveness of CBD in arthritis pain are-

  • The very first controlled trial took place in 2006 that used Sativex (a cannabis-based drug) for 5 weeks. The participants reported considerable improvement in arthritis pain, reduced inflammation, and better sleep quality. However, Sativex contains both CBD and THC.
  • In 2011, a study was done to show that CBD may effectively reduce arthritis-related inflammation because of the involvement of atypical receptors that responded to the stimuli.
  • A review conducted in 2014 shows the involvement of the endocannabinoid system in osteoarthritis pain and concludes that cannabinoids can help with such pain.
  • A 2016 research work shows a possible reduction in arthritis pain and inflammation when the drug is applied topically. 
  • A 2017 study done on rats showed the potential to treat osteoarthritis-related pain. 

A conclusive study to prove CBD effective for arthritis pain is yet to come but the above results are promising.

How does CBD work?

CBD oil works by acting on our brain but in a different way than THC does. The exact receptors involved (other than CB1 and CB2) are not well-known but it may block specific receptors to increase the level of anandamide (an endocannabinoid produced in the body) which in turn reduces pain and inflammation. Another potential role CBD plays is in strengthening our immunity by binding to the CB2 receptors and thereby preventing the auto-immune attack to some extent. This may be helpful in slowing down the progression of rheumatoid arthritis and reduce fatigue and fever.

How to use CBD oil?

You may take CBD capsules orally that contain CBD oil or directly take it in the oil form. The oil is highly versatile and can be either taken alone (oral spray) or mixed with food and drinks to improve the taste. You may even mix the oil with any cream or lotion you use daily and apply it topically to the affected areas. However, don’t forget to check with your physician to know if it is ok to take any CBD product with the medications you might be currently taking for arthritis. This is to know if there can be possible interactions between them.

Side effects of CBD oil

Although CBD oil has been found to be well-tolerated by most people, there are certain possible side effects which you should know.

  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Reduced appetite
  • Dry mouth

Additionally, the Arthritis Foundation has cautioned against the use of CBD oil with the following drugs as it may cause a negative effect-

  • Naproxen (Aleve)
  • Celecoxib (Celebrex)
  • Prednisone and other corticosteroids
  • Tramadol (Ultram)
  • Tofacitinib (Xeljanz)
  • Drugs used to treat fibromyalgia, like gabapentin and pregabalin
  • Antidepressants like citalopram, sertraline, amitriptyline, and fluoxetine

You should also do a patch test on your skin before you use CBD oil for the first time to see if you are allergic to it. Lastly, some states consider CBD to be illegal. So do check your state laws before purchasing CBD oil.

Final Verdict

There is limited evidence to show that CBD is useful for treating arthritis pain but the research work is ongoing and hopefully, should produce conclusive results soon. For now, it is believed that it affects certain receptors in the brain in a way that may reduce inflammation and pain. So, depending on your wish, legal laws, and doctor’s consultancy, you may decide to use CBD oil to treat arthritis pain.