Arthritis is responsible for the highest number of disability among adults in the US. To make matters worse, arthritis does not just cause physical disability but it also causes emotional pain that is associated with severe pain and diminished quality of life. People living with arthritis struggle with mobility issues, deteriorating physical image, inability to get around daily chores as well as diminishing self-esteem. Arthritis also coexists with other chronic conditions related to inflammation such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. With this comes the high cost of treating this disease. Why would cannabidiol oil offer hope to such a complicated condition? Read on to understand why and how.
What Exactly Is Arthritis?
Arthritis is an umbrella term for different kinds of joint inflammation; there are over 80 different types of arthritis. Some types of arthritis affect more than one joint. The two prevalent types of arthritis in the US are rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a kind of arthritis that is triggered by an autoimmune process. When this happens, a person’s defense cells start attacking their joints through and causing inflammation in the process. Osteoarthritis, on the other hand, is a degenerative kind of arthritis that often affects people as they age.
The most debilitating symptoms affecting arthritis patients include joint pain, stiffness, and reduced joint mobility, all these symptoms can get worse over time. Other symptoms that are equally distressing are anxiety and depression.
The common treatment for arthritis includes a combination of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), counter irritants such as menthol, anti0rheumatic drugs (DMARDs), and biologics such as infliximab. On some occasions, corticosteroids are prescribed.
Long term use of NSAIDs is associated with GI bleeding and the formation of peptic ulcers. Corticosteroids and DMARDs may also cause unwanted negative effects when used for extended periods of time. Due to this, many patients are now seeking natural alternatives such as cannabidiol for arthritis to help manage arthritis.
What Is CBD?
Harvard health defines CBD as the second most prevalent active ingredient found in hemp or cannabis plants. According to the World Health Organization, “In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential. To date, there is no evidence of public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”
Following the gradual legalization of cannabis in the US, researchers have come up with significant evidence on the therapeutic potential of CBD, which is the same thing as cannabidiol.
Can CBD Treat Arthritis?
For now, research on CBD for arthritis is inconclusive. A few studies have shown that there might be a correlation between the disease process of arthritis and the therapeutic effects of CBD. There are two theories that shed light on this.
The first has to do with immunity and auto-immunity. CBD affects the immune system through the CB2 receptors which form part of the endocannabinoid system. In this way, some studies have shown that CBD regulates the immune system and may have an impact on autoimmune disease. Rheumatoid arthritis is a form of arthritis that is initiated by autoimmune attacks.
The second has to do with inflammation, which is still a part of the immune process. A good number of studies have linked CBD to inflammation. All forms of arthritis are somehow linked to inflammation.
Here are a few studies to ponder:
- A study conducted in 2014 summarized “the promising results that have been recently obtained in support of the therapeutic value of cannabinoids for osteoarthritis management.”
- A 2017 study showed that CBD can help to reduce pain and nerve damage caused by osteoarthritis.
Studies on CBD oil for arthritis are limited. However, the two mentioned studies give some hope that CBD plays a crucial role in arthritis management.
CBD For Arthritis Symptom Management
Symptoms of arthritis include pain and inflammation, reduced mobility, anxiety, and depression in severe cases.
1. CBD oil for pain and inflammation management
Cannabinoids, such as CBD, bind to specialized receptors in the body that influence immunity among other factors. In this way, CBD is able to regulate the immune system. It is speculated that CBD influences pain indirectly, by affecting the way that these receptors respond to different stimuli. In simpler terms, CBD does not take the pain away but numbs it.
A 2016 mice study showed that CBD is effective in reducing arthritis-related inflammation and pain. Higher brain function was however unaffected.
2. CBD Oil for improved mobility
One of the most frustrating symptoms of arthritis is reduced mobility at the joints. This may greatly impede one’s functionality and diminish their quality of life.
A study conducted in 2018 by Colorado State University showed that CBD was effective in improving the mobility of people suffering from multiple sclerosis.
3. CBD Oil for anxiety
Arthritis is often accompanied by anxiety; this is mostly due to the risk for disabilities, severe pain, and comorbidities that come as part of the package.
CBD has a number of mental health benefits, such as reducing anxiety levels. A study conducted by New York University School of medicine showed the potential of cannabidiol in the treatment of anxiety disorders.
4. CBD Oil for Depression
When pain and anxiety are not adequately controlled, depression may set in. CBD has been shown to have anti-depressant effects. Unlike traditional antidepressants, CBD has minimal chances of abuse or addiction.
Does CBD Have Any Side Effects?
CBD may cause a few side effects that may include stomach upsets, lightheadedness, or lethargy. However, this does not happen frequently. Should you experience any unexpected effects, stop taking the CBD and consult with your healthcare provider.
Can CBD Oil Prevent Arthritis?
CBD may not exactly prevent arthritis. However, it can prevent debilitation and other complications from arising.
A mice study conducted by Dalhousie University in Canada showed that CBD can stop inflammation and in this way prevent pain and nerve damage in osteoarthritis.
The conclusion is that as much as CBD may not directly heal arthritis, it can play a significant role in improving the lives of patients suffering from arthritis.