Arthritis pain: Could CBD help relieve symptoms of the inflammatory joint condition?

Arthritis causes swelling, pain, stiffness and decreased range of motion. Severe forms of the condition can result in chronic pain, affecting everyday activities. Could CBD be the answer to cushion the impact of arthritis?

CBD (cannabidiol) is a chemical naturally found in cannabis plants.

The controversial compound doesn’t cause the “high” usually associated with cannabis (marijuana) – that’s a feeling produced by THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).

Current research on CBD products and pain management have been promising.


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In 2016, a study looked at how a CBD product affected rats who had arthritis.

For the experiment, researchers applied CBD gel to rats suffering from arthritis on four consecutive days.

Some rats were administered 0.6mg of CBD gel per day, while others received 3.1mg of CBD gel or 6.2mg of CBD gel each day.

Findings reveal that 6.2mg of CBD gel was a high enough dose to reduce the rats’ pain and swelling.

The researchers notes reduced inflammation and overall pain in the rats’ affected joints.

And they discovered that administering a much higher dosage of CBD gel (62.3mg) had similar outcomes to the rats that received 6.2mg of CBD gel.

This highlights how receiving larger dosages doesn’t equate to less pain, but CBD gel does reduce pain overall.

The thought behind these findings is that the anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects of CBD could potentially help people with arthritis.

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Before CBD can be heralded as a pain relief treatment for arthritis, much more research must be done – especially on humans.

Medical website Healthline states topical CBD products don’t enter the bloodstream.

However, it adds certain side effects of CBD are possible. These include:

  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea
  • Changes in appetite
  • Changes in weight

Additionally, CBD may interact with certain over-the-counter drugs, prescribed medications and dietary supplements.


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Arthritis Foundation has a list of other natural remedies that could help manage the painful condition.

Acupuncture – a Chinese practice that involves inserting thin, small needles through the skin at specific points – is designed to stimulate the nerves and activate the body’s natural painkillers.

Another practice is Tai Chi. This martial art is well regarded as the gentle flowing movements, deep breathing and meditation has been shown to reduce joint pain.

Yoga has also been shown to decrease joint pain and stiffness, according to the charity.

Drug treatments are popular in treating arthritis pain.

Three common types of drugs used to treat arthritis pain are: painkillers, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and steroids.

These are all used to control the painful symptoms of arthritis and will not cure the underlying cause of the disease.

Side effects are possible from medications and can be discussed with the GP.

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