If there’s one thing we can all agree on it’s that getting older is not for the faint of heart. Knees get creakier, bladders get leakier, and some of the conditions that can come along with aging like arthritis? Really stink. But what if we told you arthritis isn’t just a condition that older people suffer from, but that using CBD might help? Let’s delve into the potential pros and cons of using CBD for arthritis.
You’ve probably seen the buzz about CBD online and in the news recently. Many are calling it a “miracle compound” because of its apparent effect on so many different ailments, including arthritis. Countless people across the globe are posting about how using CBD for arthritis is not only helping them manage their pain, but also reducing inflammation.
What is arthritis?
Essentially, arthritis is inflammation of the joints. The primary symptoms of this condition are swelling, pain and stiffness, which typically intensify with age. There are many types of arthritis, the most common types being rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis causes the body’s cartilage to break down, while rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that attacks the lining of joints.
The Center for Disease Control estimates that arthritis affects 54.4 million adults, or more than 1 in 4 people, in the US alone. Like many chronic conditions, it is a leading cause of work disability claims.
Unfortunately, many of the products used most commonly to help manage the symptoms of arthritis can also result in a host of side-effects, ranging from swelling of the feet and heartburn to more serious ones like bone loss, increased risk of blood clots, and stroke.
While arthritis affects more women than men, and age is a factor, according to the Arthritis Foundation, anyone can get it, at any age. Risk factors include age, sex, family history, obesity, and prior injury to the joints. Due to the chronic and progressive nature of this condition, complications can also arise, resulting in twisted, deformed joints and daily, debilitating pain.
Can using CBD for arthritis help?
Research shows that it can! In a recent study, The National Center for Biotechnology Information has determined that early data indicates topical CBD application has therapeutic potential for relief of arthritis pain-related behaviors and inflammation.
And real-world results seem to be just as resoundingly positive. People suffering from arthritis are reporting everything from fewer flare-ups and decreased pain, to complete relief from their symptoms. CBD for arthritis is helping some with this condition get back to work again, while others credit CBD for giving them their lives and mobility back.
Over and above pain management, a 2017 study done by the NCBI shows that using CBD for arthritis can also potentially prevent further nerve damage in those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. All this without the serious side-effects of over the counter options or the physically and psychologically addictive properties prevalent in opioid pain relievers.
What does the research tell us?
A method of managing all manner of illnesses dating back more than ten thousand years, use the cannabis plant and its chemical compounds is certainly nothing new. But, up until recently, there hasn’t been much in the way of clinical studies on its efficacy. While data on CBD for arthritis is still difficult to come by, there seem to be some major recent breakthroughs.
Research in the past few years shows that administering CBD locally helped people suffering from painful arthritis and that topical treatment with CBD could result in less swelling and discomfort. What does that mean for people trying to manage this condition? CBD may be a safe option to help manage the pain of osteoarthritis locally as well as obstruct the inflammatory flares that drive the disease’s progression and even potentially slow it down.
There has also been some promising news about CBD’s potential effect on our bodies’ immune systems that could be of great help to those diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.
Like all autoimmune diseases, RA typically causes the body to view healthy cells as the enemy. It assembles the troops and sends them in to attack, causing the pain, swelling, and joint destruction typical of RA. It seems that CBD can not only help with those outward symptoms, it may also help reset the tenuous balance of our immune systems.
Okay, so what’s the bad news, then?
There isn’t much, to be honest. While some users report minor side-effects such as tiredness, nausea, and diarrhea, research shows that there are no evident negative effects of using CBD for arthritis. Those that have reported experiencing a downside to using CBD seem to experience far less serious side-effects than the ones attributed to pharmaceutical treatments.
Needless to say, what’s right for some isn’t always right for everyone, and there are also people who have tried CBD for arthritis who have experienced minimal or no relief. To ensure you’re getting the best possible results, it’s important to adhere to the suggested regimen as closely as possible. Oftentimes, lack of results can be attributed improper use or even poor quality products.
It’s also important for us to note that, while early data shows great results, we don’t have a lot of information on the potential long-term effects of CBD for arthritis. As always, before introducing anything new to your healthcare routine, you should consult your doctor and ensure that a CBD regimen will not interfere with your current medications.
Is CBD the answer for me?
While arthritis is considered a chronic condition, there are many options when it comes to managing your symptoms. Using CBD for arthritis has shown great promise, with a low risk of side effects. Many people suffering from this condition are finding relief, but only you can determine if adopting a regimen utilizing CBD for arthritis is the right choice for you.