CBD for Arthritis

A new day has arrived in the world of alternative health options and many baby boomers are taking advantage of the benefits that CBD has to offer.  CBD stands for cannabidiol, a chemical compound found in the hemp plant. Scientists have actually discovered over 180 of these unique cannabis compounds.  In order to be considered legal, hemp plants can have only 0.3% THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).  So there is no psychoactive effect to worry about when consuming a CBD product.   

How CBD Works?

CBD works in its own unique way. It directly targets your endocannabinoid system, which controls signals coming to and from the brain. From what scientists  has discovered so far, the endocannabinoid system controls various processes, such as mood, pain relief, memory, appetite, stress, reproductive function, sleep, metabolism, and immune system function. CBD has a direct effect on the body’s endocannabinoid system.  The endocannabinoid system was discovered by Dr. Lumir Hanus and Dr. Willam Lavane at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem in 1992.  The endocannabinoid system is a vast system of receptor sites located throughout the body – especially in the brain and central nervous system  CBD helps to regulate these receptor sites.  

To elaborate a bit more, the endocannabinoid system contains CB1 and CB2 receptor sites.  The CBD1 receptor sites are located primarily in the brain and central nervous system while the CB2 receptor sites are located in the immune and gastrointestinal systems.  CBD acts upon both CB1 and CB2 receptor sites indirectly to produce a variety of positive health benefits.  Over time, CBD will bring the body into a state of homeostasis (balance).  

Simply put, CBD gives your endocannabinoid system what it needs in order to function properly.  When this system functions properly, your body can be brought into balance.  This balance has the potential to promote healing and pain relief.   

Arthritis and Chronic Arthritis Pain

We think of arthritis as the swelling and inflammation of the joints in the body.  The main symptoms are pain and stiffness in the shoulder, hip, and knees.  For most, this discomfort only increases as we age.   

For many who suffer from this health condition, the pain relief options have been ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and opiates. Over time these options have proven to be limited at best. 

The main issue with these prescribed pain killers is the very high cost and the potential for the patient to become addicted to the medication.  Sadly many people are suffering from arthritis and cannot afford to pay for their monthly prescriptions.  This has led many to begin searching for alternatives to the current situation.

There are several research studies involving animals that have shown CBD to have pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties.  But so far, these same findings have not been found in humans.  But what’s encouraging is that the research into CBD is just beginning. 

It has been documented that many people suffering from arthritis who have tried CBD have experienced pain relief, improved sleep, and a reduction in anxiety.  It appears that these same patients are enjoying the health benefit of CBD and are avoiding the harmful side effects of prescription medication.

If you were to take a painkiller to help with your chronic-arthritis, it would temporarily block out the pain but might end up doing more damage as painkillers can be addictive. CBD works to move your body into a state of homeostasis (balance) reducing inflammation and in many cases providing pain relief arthritis patients.  In one case, CBD was found to be ten times stronger than that of morphine, without the harmful effects that come with excessive morphine use. 

It is important to note that CBD may not have the same health effect on all those suffering from arthritis.  We want to state clearly that CBD is not a “one-size-fits-all” nutritional supplement.  Each one of us is unique; your body might be very receptive to CBD and its effects, while another person’s body may not have the same positive response.  But the research has revealed that CBD has become a viable alternative to prescription pain killer mediations.  

The results of CBD being used as a natural pain remedy can significantly vary depending on the arthritis type. This is especially true if you’re dealing with rheumatoid arthritis, which occurs when the auto-immune system begins negatively effecting  healthy joints (wrists and hands) by mistaking them for outside agents. Remember to always consult your healthcare provider when considering trying a CBD product for the first time.

What is the Evidence That CBD Works for Pain Relief

So far, there haven’t been many clinical studies involving the effects of CBD on humans suffering with arthritis and chronic arthritis. However, there have been several clinical studies involving animals.  In 2016, Colorado State University conducted a clinical trial involving dogs. This particular study concluded that CBD was safe for dogs. The study was followed in 2018 by Cornell University. Their experiment involved dogs with chronic pain. This study found that a controlled dose of CBD, depending on the dog’s weight, reduced the pain caused by osteoarthritis.

Benefits and Downsides of Using CBD

CBD is widely regarding to be quite safe to consume.  CBD derived from the hemp palant which is known to be 100% organic and free from any harmful chemicals.  

However, remember that CBD comes with some side effects as well. A few studies have found that CBD (under certain circumstances) may cause sleepiness, light-headedness, dry mouth, fatigue, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and in very rare cases, elevated liver enzymes. While these side effects are not common, they do occasionally occur.

Even though no adverse side effects have been seen with pregnant women, it is usually advised to steer clear of any new substances or medications because of the hormonal changes taking place in their bodies.

Discuss CBD with Your Doctor

Even though CBD is generally safe, it is not a medical product or treatment for arthritis. As we know, CBD should not be mixed with certain medications unless approved by your doctor. 

To avoid any harmful side effects, it’s recommended that you discuss it with your doctor before using CBD. Your doctor will know if CBD would have any possible negative interactions with the current medications you may be taking at the time.

If your doctor thinks that CBD could possibly have a negative effect on your current health regimen, he or she may recommend you not taking it.  Although this might not be the answer you want to hear and it is always wise to err on the side of caution.  You are more than welcome to get a second opinion.  

How To Choose The Right CBD Product

Once you make the decision to try a CBD product for the first time, you will have many options to choose from.  It’s important to remember that not all CBD products are created equal. It’s important to do some research before you start using a CBD based product.

You may have already stumbled upon many different CBD products on the market, with some manufacturers even claiming to have the best CBD oil for psoriatic arthritis. This large number of CBD product options can make it challenge to find the one that is right for you.

There are three general types of CBD products:

  • Tinctures (oils):  These products are taken orally
  • Topicals: these products are applied to the skin
  • Vapes: And those that can be inhaled

Each of these product types come with pros and cons.

Oral CBD products: CBD is available for consumption in the form of capsules and liquid drops.

The noticeable effects of oral CBD products are slow and gradual, as digestion must first take place before these products start working their way through the body. This also makes finding the right dosage a little challenging, as some of the CBD is absorbed stomach acid and recent meals as well as several other factors. 

Also, consuming a CBD tincture is an acquired taste because pure (unflavored) CBD has a unique flavor all its own.  There is only one way for you to know for yourself.  Go ahead and give it a try. 

Topical CBD: These are usually balms or lotions. You’re supposed to apply them directly to painful areas on your body. There aren’t any definitive studies that suggest whether they penetrate and work under the skin. Many CBD infused topicals contain other ingredients like menthol, camphor, or capsaicin. These combinations can make it difficult to determine if the positive effects are caused by CBD or the culmination of all the other ingredients.

CBD Inhaler: Cannabidiol oil can be inhaled via a vape pen or a vaporizer. Although inhaling any types of oils or chemicals can have a variety of unknown risks, these dangers are amplified for people with respiratory issues or inflammatory arthritis. The Center for Disease Control has been actively researching if there’s a link between “vaping” and the increased amount of hospitalizations and deaths from issues like a severe pulmonary disease. Because of the danger of the unknown for vaping in general, it is recommended for anyone to be careful when inhaling CBD.

How To Use CBD For Arthritis Pain 

Many people wonder as to how to use CBD oil for arthritis. As human trials and studies are still inconclusive, there aren’t any set guidelines on how you should be using CBD for arthritis pain or what is the best CBD oil for arthritis. For adults with arthritis, the Arthritis Foundation has given the following recommendations:

  • When taking CBD orally, keep in mind that CBD oils tinctures are usually created by mixing it with another carrier oil. You must know what percentage of carrier oil your bottle has compared to pure CBD. Some bottles come with a lower percentage of CBD than the carrier oil, while others can be the opposite. You will have to adjust your dosage accordingly.
  • Start with a very low dose, only a few drops of CBD. If you aren’t getting relief, increase the number of drops until the desired effect is obtained.  Once you find the right dosage, continue to take CBD twice a day.
  • If you find that you are continually upping the dose without getting anywhere with pain relief, CBD might just not be for you. Talk to your healthcare provider and see if there is anything else that you can try out that might work for you.

Things to Look for When Shopping for CBD 

Since CBD is relatively new and people don’t know much about it, you must take the initiative and conduct your own product research.  Although CBD related products have been found to be safe, the product category is still unregulated in the US market.

Random testing has shown that several CBD brands have been mixing their compounds with THC, pesticides, and other solvents. When you’re trying to find the best CBD for arthritis pain or psoriatic arthritis, there are a few things that you can keep in mind to make sure you get CBD that is safe for use:

  • Buy CBD products that are sourced from reputable hemp farmers and make sure that all lab results are clearly posted on that company’s website.  
  • Since CBD is not required to undergo rigid testing and quality control, make sure that the product you select follows proven and solid manufacturing policies and practices. It is a good idea to buy from companies approved by the FDA for other drugs that are also producing CBD products. Getting your products from a company that makes quality products, in general, will raise your chances of getting better CBD too.
  • Buy CBD from companies that do their own standardized batch testing and provide certificates for their products approved by either the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia, the U.S. Pharmacopeia, or the Association of Official Agricultural Chemists.
  • Avoid companies that claim their CBD “cures diseases,” as there’s no definitive evidence on this (yet).  CBD companies are not allowed to make any explicit health claims.  
  • Trust the opinion of your healthcare provider when it comes to making decisions about your health.  


Even though there is still a lack of human trials and evidence that CBD helps with arthritis pain, many people claim that it has provided them relief. And the science behind how CBD works, in general, provides enough promise that if you are currently unable to find relief, consider getting an OK from your doctor to give CBD a shot. Since there aren’t any known harmful side effects, it’s likely that the worst that can happen is that CBD won’t work for you. As long as you buy and use it responsibly and stay transparent with your doctors, your health conditions may improve.

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