Arthritis is a condition marked by inflammation of the joints. The main symptoms of arthritis are joint pain and stiffness.
350 million people around the world suffer from arthritis, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriatic arthritis.
The long term effects of arthritis are degeneration and destruction of the joints. While many conventional medications for arthritis are available, they are not always effective and some carry adverse side effects.
Many arthritis sufferers are choosing to use medical cannabis for its anti-inflammatory properties, pain relief, and minimal side effects.
What are the benefits of using CBD for arthritis?
- Pain relief
- Reduced need for opiates
- Reduced need for NSAIDs
- Reduced side effects from conventional arthritis treatments
- Improved mobility
- Better sleep
Are there side effects when using CBD for arthritis?
Side effects are always possible and you should always be aware of drug interactions with CBD, especially if you plan to use CBD in high doses (in the hundreds of milligrams).
Side effects which can occur with CBD are drowsiness, upset stomach, diarrhea, sedation, and dry mouth. Most people do not report any extreme side effects with CBD. If you are new to CBD, start with a low dose to assess if you will have any side effects.
How does CBD work for arthritis?
CBD is considered a potent anti-inflammatory agent. CBD decreases inflammation in the body so that a person with arthritis will have less pain.
THC also has significant anti-inflammatory properties. Since THC is psychoactive, some patients choose to only include THC in their arthritis medication at nighttime.
Other important cannabinoids with anti-inflammatory properties include: cannabichromene (CBC), tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA), cannabigerol (CBG), cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), cannabigivarin (CBGV), and cannabigerolic acid (CBGA).
How should I use CBD for arthritis?
Always speak with a doctor before using CBD, especially if you already take other medications. CBD can cause drug interactions.
Because of the connection between inflammation and pain, using CBD for arthritis is similar to using CBD for pain.
The following delivery methods all work well for relief from arthritis: vaping, tinctures, edibles/capsules, and topical applications like creams and balms.
Many people with arthritis find relief from topical CBD products:
The fastest relief can come from vaping, using tinctures, and applying topicals to treat local pain.
CBD and THC work synergistically together for relieving pain. Both cannabinoids are anti-inflammatory. Many patients choose to use both THC and CBD for pain and inflammation.
If you dislike the psychoactive effects of THC, you can stick to just CBD, or mostly CBD during the day and add in some THC products at night.
Start with a low dose if you are new to CBD and increase it in even increments until you reach the desired relief you are seeking.
The standard dosing to start with for THC and CBD is:
A low starting dose for CBD is 5 – 10 mg
A low starting dose for THC is 2.5 mg
What terpenes are good for arthritis?
The following terpenes are good to look for because they work synergistically with CBD to provide relief from inflammation.
What do research studies have to say about CBD for arthritis?
- At one time, 18% of people seeking a medical cannabis evaluation at a California clinic were doing so for the relief of arthritis symptoms
- CBD, cannabinoids, and compounds in cannabis decrease inflammation by blocking the formation of pro-inflammatory chemicals, called cytokines. Cytokines are made in response to an infection, injury, or triggered by an improperly working immune system (as in an autoimmune disease)
- THC was shown to be 20 times more anti-inflammatory than aspirin and 2 times more anti-inflammatory than hydrocortisone
- Both CBD and THC do not inhibit COX-1 or COX-2. NSAID (i.e. Advil, Aspirin) inhibition of these enzymes is associated with gastrointestinal ulcers and bleeding, heart attack, and cerebrovascular accidents)
Russo EB. Cannabinoids in the management of difficult to treat pain. Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management. 2008;4(1):245-259.