CBD Oil for Arthritis: Does CBD oil alleviate arthritis pain?
NHS statistics count around ten million people in the UK as suffering from arthritis, a condition which causes inflammation of the joints. It is not only painful, but can significantly restrict movement and lead to muscle wasting, among other symptoms. Unfortunately, it is as yet without a cure, meaning many sufferers are subjected to a lifetime of pain and discomfort.
That said, various treatments can help slow down the degenerative effects of arthritis and alleviate symptoms, from surgery and medication to physiotherapy and changes in lifestyle. One remedy that around 60% of sufferers are turning to is cannabidiol (CBD) oil. With CBD products now being used to treat a range of pain-related conditions, just how effective is it when it comes to one of the world’s most common chronic conditions?
What is CBD oil, and how can it treat arthritis pain?
CBD is one of over 80 chemical cannabinoids found in the Cannabis sativa plant, and is the primary ingredient of CBD oil. It is different from tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive cannabinoid that causes a high. CBD doesn’t produce any psychoactive effects and works in other ways with our endocannabinoid systems, a group of receptors in our central nervous system.
It is believed that two specific receptors, called CB1 and CB2, react with CBD and cause responses in relation to pain, coordination, movement, the immune system, and emotions. Consequently, the chemical can help reduce the pain and effects of inflammation associated with arthritis, which that has been backed up by several studies.
Are there any possible side effects?
While plenty of health experts have stated that CBD is safe to use, research has also shown that it can cause certain side effects, including anxiety, dizziness, and vomiting. Those with liver conditions should be cautious about consuming CBD due to its potential to increase liver enzymes. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, it should also be avoided, in order to safeguard babies from any potential risks. CBD can also interact with certain prescription medications and diminish their impact. Consequently, it is highly recommended that you consult with your doctor to make sure that taking CBD oil is right for you.
How can I use CBD oil for arthritis pain?
Types of product
There are a few different ways you can take CBD oil for arthritis:
- Topicals - These are lotions, creams, and balms containing CBD, which are applied directly to the skin. It takes around ten minutes for the chemical’s effects to kick in when used in this way.
- Dietary supplements - CBD oil has been infused into many types of food and drink, including chocolate, tea, gummy bears, and soda, as well as capsules. Edibles typically take between 30 minutes to two hours to have an effect.
- Tinctures - These are alcohol-based CBD extracts which are ingested by squeezing a few drops under the tongue, or mixing into a drink. Tinctures take around 15-30 minutes to take effect.
- Vaporisers - To use CBD oil this way, you inhale CBD through a vape pen, with the effects kicking in within two minutes.
The option you choose will depend on your personal preference, and the severity of your pain. To target specific areas, a topical treatment makes the most sense, while the other types of product are better suited to pain that’s all over.
A “start low, go slow” approach to dosage is generally recommended in order to see how your body reacts to the CBD. Take around 5 to 10mg to begin with, gradually increasing if you do not have any issues or side effects. Arthritis sufferers typically start feeling pain relief once they’re taking around 20 to 35 mg of CBD a day, although some with severe pain take up to 80mg. You can take a full dose in one go or in several—mix it up to see what works best. You’ll probably notice improvements shortly after you start taking it, but it will be around two weeks until the more noticeable effects kick in.
The way you consume CBD also has a huge bearing on how much you will need to take. This is all down to bioavailability, which relates to the amount of CBD your body can make use of. Studies show that oral consumption has a bioavailability rate of between 6-20%, while the sublingual consumption (under the tongue) rate is between 12-35%, and the vaporisation rate is up to 56%. Bear this in mind when deciding on dosage, as you might not feel as much an effect from edibles as you do from, say, vapes, without upping the dosage of the former.
How can I find the right product?
Search for signs of good quality CBD oil
There are plenty of poor quality supplements on the market which don’t contain the amount of CBD they advertise, so might not provide the relief you’re after. Look for products that derive from organically grown hemp, have been produced using CO2 extraction (as this preserves the CBD’s purity), and have a certificate of analysis (COA) on the label. A COA is an identification document confirming the status of the CBD—look into this to see whether the lab that made the product meets ISO 17025 requirements, the international standard for testing and calibration laboratories.
Take into account the level of THC
Research has shown that, for some, CBD works better when it contains at least some THC, as it bolsters its therapeutic effects. As such, you might want to go for products with a small amount of THC in them. Here in the UK, the maximum amount of THC legally allowed in hemp products is 0.2%, which is enough to potentially enhance the CBD’s effects, but not enough to give you a head high.
Consider the other ingredients
Make sure you look at what else the CBD product contains before committing to anything, and Google any ingredients you don’t recognise to see if they have any negative side effects. Also look out for any beneficial organic ingredients—such as Vitamin B12 for pain relief—that enhance the product, as they can provide greater value. Labels listing no ingredients should raise a red flag, so be cautious if you see this when making a decision.
Medterra CBD Rapid Cooling Cream
Containing 99.6% pure CBD oil and a range of other organic ingredients, from tea tree oil to aloe vera, Medterra’s CBD cooling cream helps those with joint pains and aches. It is available in 250mg or 750mg bottles.
Papa & Barkley Hemp extract tincture
Papa & Barkley hemp drops can be taken orally or mixed into drinks, and helps to soothe aches and pains. Each bottle is made from 100% natural ingredients and contains less than 0.3% THC. The oil used in the tincture is also extracted without the use of solvents or chemicals.
Cibdol CBD hand cream
This hand cream helps to alleviate manual arthritis pain. As well as CBD and various vitamins, the cream also contains ingredients like Allantoin, a replenishing natural plant extract, and Helianthus annuus seed oil, which strengthens skin cells.