According to medicinenet.com, about 350 million people suffer worldwide from arthritis. It is a joint disorder where inflammation causes it to be painful and have limited function. It often results in stiff, swollen and tender joints and can have a huge impact on those who suffer from it.
There are two kinds of arthritis – osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, but although they both affect your joints, they are very different and have different origins.
- Osteoarthritis – which is the most common form of arthritis, is a degenerative joint disorder – meaning that it occurs through the breakdown of cartilage in the joints. This means that there is no cushioning between the bones, resulting in them rubbing together, exposing nerves, causing inflammation and causing pain.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis – is an autoimmune disorder – meaning that the body is attacking itself and is less common than osteoarthritis. The body attacks the lining between the joints, causing fluid to build up, resulting in pain and inflammation.
The treatment which is given for both kinds of arthritis are based on:
- Reducing pain
- Minimalizing damage to the joints
- Improving mobility or function
Although the actual drugs which are given to treat each type of arthritis might be different, anti-inflammatory drugs are almost always prescribed by doctors.
What can CBD do for arthritis?
CBD stands for Cannabidiol. It is one of the over 100 compounds that are present in the Cannabis Sativa plant and is known to have strong anti-inflammatory properties amongst others for human beings. Scientists are also discovering that CBD can have an impact on the immune system and is useful for pain relief.
This is why medical researchers are excited about CBD’s potential for people who are suffering from both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
What is CBD?
CBD is a cannabinoid, one of the chemical compounds that can interact with receptors in the human body which make up part of the Endocannabinoid system.
Although it can be found naturally in all strains of the Cannabis plant, CBD products are usually made from hemp – a particular strain that has been especially cultivated to have little or none of the compound which makes you high – known as THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol).
The Endocannabinoid system is a relatively newly discovered system in humans, and it is responsible for balancing and regulating a number of bodily functions and other systems – including:
- The immune system
In the Endocannabinoid system, there are two receptors, known as CB1 and CB2, each with different functions. The CB2 receptors are the ones which are responsible for the immune system and regulating inflammation, and so it is these that can be the most useful to people who are suffering from both types of arthritis.
That’s not to forget the CB1 receptors though – they can help to stimulate pain relief!
Understanding CB2 receptors for rheumatoid arthritis
Research shows that if you are suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, you could have a higher concentration of CB2 receptors in the joint where the pain is felt. This means that CBD could be used to reduce the inflammation and therefore make the joint less painful and easier to move.
In a study by Dr. Sheng-Ming Dai of China’s Second Military Medical University, the tissue around joints was examined in relation to CB2 receptors, and it found that levels were unusually high for those who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis. This shows a deep connection between the receptors and arthritis.
Another study carried out by the University of Calgary in 2011, found that CBD was instrumental to reducing inflammatory joint pain in rats, leading to scientists believing that CBD can help to reduce the inflammatory pain suffered by those who suffer from arthritis.
Is CBD the same as Hemp Oil?
CBD is the name of the compound in the hemp plant which is then made into hemp oil. Hemp CBD oil is usually high in CBD, but very low in THC, so that you get the benefits of CBD without the psychoactive properties of THC.
When CBD hemp oil is made, the Cannabidiol is extracted from the hemp plant and then mixed with an oil which helps it to get absorbed into the body. This is CBD oil in its purest form, as CBD on its own cannot be easily absorbed.
CBD is not water soluble, so it needs to be mixed with an oil such as olive oil or coconut oil for it to be effectively absorbed by humans.
Is Hemp Seed Oil good for arthritis?
Hemp seed oil is slightly different to CBD oil. It is made from the hemp seed which doesn’t actually contain any CBD, meaning that you won’t actually get any CBD from it.
If you are thinking of taking hemp seed oil for your arthritis, then think again. Although hemp seed oil is readily available even in your local supermarket, it won’t be able to help you with your arthritis as it doesn’t actually contain any CBD.
CBD hemp oil is made from the leaves and flowers of the hemp plant – where the CBD is present. So, whilst hemp seed oil might taste nice, it won’t make any difference to your arthritis. Make sure that if you are getting hemp CBD oil, it tells you how much CBD is in it.
Is Hemp Oil anti-inflammatory?
The effect of CBD on the body’s response to situations where it might become inflamed is the key to how it can help you. For those who are suffering from rheumatoid arthritis it can affect the auto-immune response, and for osteoarthritis, it can reduce some of the physical symptoms of inflammation.
A study carried out by Booz shows that Phyto cannabinoids like CBD can have highly effective anti-inflammatory properties for people who suffer from auto-immune disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Scientists also suggest that CBD also has anti-inflammatory properties for those suffering from osteoarthritis. This is supported by research such as that carried out by Philpott, O’Brien and McDougall who did tests on rats, and found that CBD can help the body to deal with pain and nerve damage.
How does hemp oil help Osteoarthritis?
Since the cause of osteoarthritis is the gradual wearing down of the cartilage in a joint, it is logical that treatment for it will also be physical. CBD can not only reduce inflammation, but also help to regulate the pain responses which result from osteoarthritis.
According to work carried out by the University of Nottingham, CBD can be beneficial to you if you are suffering from osteoarthritis, as it can target the CB2 receptors helping to ease pain and reduce inflammation.
Unfortunately, there is no medicine which can treat osteoarthritis and there is limited medicine that is both effective for pain relief, but also with no adverse side effects. Although there is limited evidence to suggest that CBD can be preventative, research such as that carried out by La Porta, Bura, Negrete & Maldonado shows that it can be useful for its therapeutic properties, with lesser side effects.
How does hemp oil help Rheumatoid arthritis?
The immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory properties of CBD – in addition to its ability to help with pain relief can make it very effective if you are suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. You can find out more about CBD and auto-immune diseases here.
In a study by Blake, Robson, Ho, Jubb & McCabe where cannabis-based medicine was given to people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, results showed that it reduced pain significantly in joint movement and when they were at rest.
By being able to attack rheumatoid arthritis on an immunosuppressive angle as well as reducing inflammation, and helping with pain relief, research suggests that Cannabidiol can be very effective in treating rheumatoid arthritis.
Can CBD help to improve sleep?
If you are suffering from either osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, it is likely that you will be having trouble sleeping. In fact, arthritis.org suggest that 80% of people with arthritis have difficult sleeping. CBD can also be effective to help you to sleep better.
A mixture of joint pain and some medications can make it more difficult for arthritis sufferers to sleep. By attacking on two levels – treating the pain and the insomnia, you should be able to improve your sleep – and we all know that pain feels worse when you’re tired.
Whilst we still have a lot more to discover about sleep, it seems that it is strongly linked to the Endocannabinoid system. And, according to the educational news website devoted to CBD and the other compounds in the Cannabis plant, Project CBD, “both pain relief and better sleep may achieve positive results with cannabinoids and other cannabis components”.
Is CBD oil legal to take for arthritis?
The laws around CBD, cannabis and marijuana can be a little confusing. Of course, different countries and different states all have their own laws and rules – and you should check what they are for wherever you are in the world. However, CBD alone is generally legal.
The laws regarding cannabis and its derivatives have changed recently, since people have been able to separate out the different compounds found in the cannabis plant. In most places, CBD is legal to be bought, sold and consumed, but many restrictions apply to THC.
It is important to check the levels of CBD, THC and other compounds in your CBD before you buy it and try it, to ensure that you are within the law.
What is the best way to take CBD hemp oil?
CBD oil can be taken in a number of different ways for people who are suffering from arthritis. Some methods are more effective than others, and some are easier to administer than others.
There are a range of CBD products available to you. Some people prefer to eat it in edibles such as gummies or take like a pill. Whilst you can be sure of the dosages in these methods, they have to pass through the digestion system and therefore take longer to come into effect.
The most popular ways to consume CBD are through under the tongue drops or spray or inhaling through a vaporiser. In both of these methods, the CBD is absorbed straight into the bloodstream, being both fast, and very effective.
For those who suffer from arthritis, CBD can also be found in topical balms and gels, which can be rubbed straight into the painful area.
Can I take CBD oil with other medication?
CBD can affect other medication that you are taking, regardless of whether it is for arthritis or something else. It is important to check with your doctor before trying CBD oil for arthritis.
Scientists have found that CBD can affect the way that some other medications work in your body. For some it makes them effective quicker – or cause a delay. It can also make them more affective, so you might need to adjust your dosages.
Although there is still a lot of research being carried out in regard to the potentials that CBD or Cannabidiol have for people who suffer from both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, studies suggest that it can be extremely beneficial.
The effect of CBD on the Endocannabinoid system and its receptors show that it can have an impact on inflammation, the immune system, help with pain relief, and help with sleep – all of which can be useful to you if you have either type of arthritis.
CBD is natural and medical scientists are excited about it’s potential as a substitute to other arthritis medication which is currently available as it has fewer and less invasive side effects. However, it is important that if you are suffering for arthritis, you consult your doctor before trying out CBD products.
Whether you would prefer to consume CBD through vaping, under the tongue, edibles, tablets or by applying a topical cream, make sure that you do your research first and check that the products that you are buying have been lab tested so that you know exactly what is in it.
CBD is bringing hope to people who suffer from many different illnesses and ailments. So, if you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis, why not give it go and see if it can have a positive impact on your life?
Jessica Rosslee is a former journalist that has dedicated her writing skills and passion for communication to the cannabis industry. Jessica has spent her life in the field of wellness and communication, committed to allowing people access to accurate health and wellness information.
As a freelance cannabis writer, Jessica is passionate about free-flowing education for the public and the destigmatization of cannabis.