Arthritis is a leading cause of pain and discomfort in people over 50 years of age. In 2018, the charity Arthritis Foundation US reported that more than 50 million Americans suffered daily with arthritis pain.
There are two widespread types of arthritis: rheumatoid and osteoarthritis. Although the causes of both degenerative conditions are different, the symptoms are similar. The painful, swollen joints are familiar to many people. The most commonly prescribed treatments for arthritic pain are painkillers like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). However, NSAIDs such as ibuprofen can cause side effects like dependency and stomach ulcers in some patients. Are there alternatives?
Growth of CBD Treatments
CBD is a natural chemical cannabidiol which is extracted from cannabis plants. It has no psychoactive effects or addictive properties and does not change a person’s mental state.
Because CBD is a derivative of cannabis, there is some confusion around the use of CBD products as a medicine or supplement. However, the many benefits of CBD are increasingly recognized by scientists and governments. This has led to the growing market in legal CBD products, some of which are suited to treating the pain associated with arthritic joints.
Is there evidence to support CBD treatments for arthritis?
Products containing CBD reduces inflammation in tissues. Because inflammation is one of the causes of arthritic pain, CBD helps reduce the pain associated with rheumatoid and osteoarthritis.
As interest in CBD is growing around the world, there is an increasing number of scientific studies to test how effective their use is for treating arthritis pain. Many of the earlier studies were on animals, but recent research in 2016 and 2017 on humans found that topical application of creams containing cannabinoid was effective and safe ways to reduce pain.
Scientists have worked out the way CBD stops the pain. Cannabinoid molecules attached to pain receptor sites within the brain. This is similar to the way NSAIDs reduce pain. However, another receptor point called the CB2 and is part of the immune system is also an attachment point for CBD. This interaction helps the body reduce inflammation and pain.
The best CBD products to reduce arthritic pain
There are two options when exploring your options for treating pain with CBD topical products you rub into the affected areas, and supplements you swallow like a traditional medicine or spray.
Capsules and oral sprays are more readily available. These methods also have the benefit that patients can control the dosage of CBD. Because CBD products contain different strengths, it may take a while to find the right dose to manage symptoms.
Topical creams or gels can be applied to the precise area causing arthritic pain. The benefit of this method is that patients can use the CBD product to the places they need it. Pain relief is often quicker than with ingested medicines, and maybe more appropriate for people who don’t like swallowing pills.
Are there side effects?
Many medicines and treatments can cause adverse reactions in some people. This could be due to an allergic reaction or an incompatibility. For that reason, it is best to be cautious when trying new supplements or alternative medicines for the first time. Keep the dosage low, and retain any packaging in case you have a reaction. As always, consult a doctor before taking anything new.
For most people who take cannabidiol products, they experience no adverse side effects. But a small minority have reported: fatigue, changes in appetite, and diarrhea.
Another consideration is the possible interaction between CBD molecules and an enzyme in the human body, which is part of the cytochrome complex. This enzyme helps the liver to break down toxins in our diet. As a precaution, CBD products should be used with caution by those with liver problems.
What are my first steps?
When considering a new treatment for any condition, including arthritic pain, it is best to consult with your doctor. Make sure you read as much information as you can find on CBD products for arthritis so that you are well informed, and consider printing it off to take with you to the doctors. Remember that not all areas have full access to CBD containing products, so check your area before buying online.
The outlook is positive. Although scientific evidence is limited, there are a growing number of people who find that products containing CBD are an excellent method of alleviating pain from arthritis.