Rheumatoid arthritis is a common autoimmune disease that affects as much as 1% of the whole population. Most often, it occurs between the ages of 40 and 60 and is more common in women. It’s a painful condition that leads to many patients using heavy prescription medication.
However, as the recent opioid crisis has led to restrictions on narcotic painkillers, many people living with RA, and others who suffer from chronic pain, are looking for natural alternatives. This is where CBD oil for arthritis comes in.
Increasingly, the conversation is turning to CBD oil as a potential treatment option for various medical conditions. The Washington Post has referred to it as “the new it drug” because of its reputation for being beneficial for anything from anxiety to pain, diabetes, cancer, and more.
So what about CBD for arthritis? Could CBD oil be good for Rheumatoid arthritis?
What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Rheumatoid Arthriti (RA) is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects joints as well as the tissue that surrounds them. It’s an autoimmune disease that can make one’s joints stiff, tender, and painful. RA can also affect one’s eyes, lungs, skin, and other body parts.
The immune system in RA patients doesn’t function properly, which causes it to attack its own joints. This creates inflammation that makes the tissue that lines the inside of the joints thicken, which results in swelling and pain in and around the joints.
If inflammation goes untreated, it can damage cartilage, as well as the bones themselves. Over time, there’s a loss of cartilage, and the spacing between the joints and bones may become smaller. Joints could become unstable, loose, painful, and may lose their mobility.
Joint damage can’t be reversed, and because it can occur early, doctors recommend early diagnosis and aggressive treatment to control Rheumatoid Arthritis.
How CBD May Help with Rheumatoid Arthritis
CBD oil affects one’s brain activity, but not in the same way that THC does. CBD oil interacts with two receptors, known as CB1 and CB2, to reduce pain and inflammation in the body.
The CB2 receptors also play a role in the immune system. RA involves the immune system attacking the tissue in the joints. This relationship with the immune system could explain why CBD oil seems to be good for rheumatoid arthritis symptoms.
Also, the anti-inflammatory effects of CBD could help to slow down or halt the progression of RA, which causes permanent damage to the joints over time. These effects may also reduce various other inflammation-related RA symptoms, like fever and fatigue.
CBD Oil and Chronic Pain
One of the major symptoms of RA is chronic pain. And this is one of the main reasons why CBD for arthritis may be a useful option.
Cannabinoids, like CBD, attach themselves to special receptors in an individual’s brain and immune system. One of these receptors, known as a CB2 receptor, plays a part in the immune system by managing inflammation and pain.
Researchers believe that when CBD enters an individual’s body, it may attach to CB2 receptors. It may also cause the body to produce natural cannabinoids that attach to the CB2 receptors. Ultimately, scientists believe that CBD affects the way in which the receptors respond to signals that they receive, possibly helping to reduce inflammation and pain.
A number of studies have reported that CBD has beneficial effects for treating pain. Several of these studies specifically investigate the efficacy of Sativex, a sublingual spray that contains both THC and CBD.
Randomized studies have found that CBD can be effective for pain caused by neuropathy, cancer, and RA. CBD has also been found to have an incredible impact on sleep quality. One particular study that focused on the effects of CBD on RA reported a significant impact on pain caused by the condition.
Marijuanabreak features various articles that go into more detail about how CBD may be effective in reducing pain.
Final Thoughts on CBD Oil and Rheumatoid Arthritis
Thus far, studies researching the benefits of CBD for arthritis have delivered some promising results. However, most of the studies done to date are animal studies or anecdotal reviews. Therefore, a lot more human studies are needed to understand the effects of CBD on RA fully.
Before you start using CBD oil for arthritis, it’s a good idea to consult with your doctor or rheumatologist.
Image: Dmitry Bayer