Millions of people across the world are suffering from arthritis, which is initially characterized by inflamed joints, pain, and stiffness. If not treated, over time it leads to degeneration and destruction of the joints. Although symptoms vary from person to person, pain and swelling in the joints, weakness in muscles, difficulty in sleeping and fatigue are common.
The most common forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis with Psoriatic arthritis bringing up the rear.
This usually affects the joints of the hand and feet and as the disease progresses, it causes inflammation of the joints. Normal tissues are affected and invading pathogens tend to cause inflammation. The cells in the connective tissue known as synovium are initially affected and these then begin to thicken. In this process, they destroy the cartilage and also the bone tissue. The presence of a specific antibody in the bloodstream- the rheumatoid factor- appears to be the culprit that causes healthy joint tissue to disintegrate.
This is often referred to as a degenerative disease that affects joint cartilage and bones, causing pain and stiffness. The condition can extend to the hip, knee, and thumb joints.
In normal joints, a rubber, elastic-like material known as cartilage covers the ends of bones. This acts as a cushion between the upper and lower bones and that’s why gliding motion of joints is possible. In OA, this cartilage is destroyed and the bones tend to rub over each other. Over time, bones may even break down causing spurs may develop. When joints are inflamed, cytokines and enzymes develop further hastening the destruction of cartilage. Finally, the cartilage is worn out and the bones rub against each other. This leads to joint damage and pain.
Treatment for arthritis
Opioid painkillers are the strongest pain relievers in the market just now. Many of them are ineffective and carry the risk of abuse, over dependency and side effects. OTC pain killing drugs are not strong enough to alleviate joint conditions and pain if the disease is in the advanced stage. Surgery is another option and though there have been successes, it cannot be counted as a guaranteed fix.
CBD is a cannabinoid, a chemical that’s found to cannabis plants. CBD oil as a treatment for arthritic pain appears to have some merit. This oil, also known as hemp oil is an extract from the cannabis plant. Both Marijuana and hemp are cannabis plants, but hemp plants contain more of CBD and less of THC, the psychoactive compound that produces a ‘high’.
Research shows that CBD oil relieves pain that’s normally associated with conditions such as arthritis. It helps in immune system modulation, has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.
How CBD and combinations help
CBD helps decrease inflammation in the body and thus reduces the pain that the person suffers. Since both CBD and THC are anti-inflammatory, they can be used side by side- CBD during the day and THC products at night. Many patients use them in this combination when dealing with inflammation and pain. Many other cannabinoids also exhibit similar anti-inflammatory properties. Terpenes work well alongside CBD. Among them B-caryophyllene, Pinene and Myrcene are popular.
How CBD helps combat arthritis
T-cells- a type of white blood cell- is responsible for the body producing a healthy immune response and play an important role in the onset of rheumatoid arthritis. CBD has shown that it can suppress this T-cell function thus capable of attacking the problem right at the root.
CBD has the ability to attach itself to receptors that are distributed throughout the body and tissue systems, which includes the synovial membrane tissue affected by Rheumatoid arthritis. When CBD enters the body, it attaches itself to the CBD2 receptors- the ones that manage pain and inflammation. It’s also believed that it may trigger the body’s endocannabinoid system to produce natural cannabinoids that also attach to the CBD2 receptors. CBD also helps decrease inflammation by blocking the formation of cytokines that are generated at an infection or injury site.
Given the fact that CBD is a natural extract of the cannabis plant, it is considered a safer option with less side effects. The fact that it’s not psychoactive or addictive is a huge plus point. Studies have shown that CBD is a relatively safe and useful treatment even for OA joint pain.
CBD is available in many forms as an oil, a powder that can be used to make cream or gel, as a capsule or even as a spray. Topical applications such as creams and balms work just as well as vaping, tinctures, capsules and edibles.
Benefits of Creduces inflammation and pain
- dependency on opiates and NSAIDs decrease
- side effects are minimal
- improved mobility
- Better sleep
Although CBD in small does is tolerated well, there could be side effects when taken in high doses. Individuals can experience
- dry mouth and nausea
- trouble sleeping
How much CBD/THC to take
Start with a low dose and increase incrementally till you feel you get the relief that you’re looking for. While the standard starting dose for CBD is 5-10 mg, THC has a lower starting dose at 2.5mg.
Studies show that THC is about 20 times more anti-inflammatory than aspirin and 2 times more anti-inflammatory than hydro-cortisone. Also, both the cannabinoids do not interfere with the production of COX-1 or COX-2 enzymes, which are vital during bleeding, heart attacks and healing of gastrointestinal ulcers.
While CBD findings are rather encouraging and reviews have shown that CBD oil and topical applications are beneficial in treating arthritis, there’s still a way to go before conclusive and scientific evidence proves that CBD is really very effective in the treatment of arthritis.
For more information on CBD for arthritis, click here!