Does CBD Oil Help with Arthritis?

Jun 06, 2022

Cannabidiol, or simply CBD, has become a hugely popular commodity. It’s a raging bushfire! For a compound that was largely unknown in the early 2000s to command this much attention today is surreal. 

A 2019 longitudinal study on internet search trends showed that between 2004 and 2014, CBD online searches were relatively stable. Then in 2017, the searches went up by 125.9% and have been increasing since then. In April 2019 alone, some 6.4 million Google searches for CBD were conducted! 

It’s hard to argue against numbers, but there’s something about CBD that’s making it insanely popular. Thus far, it is believed to have immense health benefits. Existing empirical and anecdotal evidence points to its pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory, and sleep-aiding properties.

However, should people with arthritis be hopeful? Can CBD oil help with arthritis? 

 

What Causes Arthritis Pain?

 

Arthritis is a medical condition characterized by joint swelling and tenderness. Its main symptoms are stiffness and joint pains that worsen with age. The disease has two forms – rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis – both of which are etiologically different. 

Rheumatoid arthritis results from the immune system attacking your joint linings (synovial membrane). Over time, the attack spreads to the entire joint, making it inflamed and swollen. 

On the other hand, osteoarthritis is caused by a deterioration of the hard, slippery tissue (cartilage) that lines the ends of bones where joints form. Cartilage prevents the ends of the bones from grinding against each other and, therefore, facilitates frictionless joint motion. 

However, due to joint injury, infections, or wear-and-tear brought about by age, the cartilage may degrade, exposing the bone ends. This makes the bones grind directly against each other, causing intense pain. 

Moreover, the connective tissues that attach bone to muscle may also deteriorate and fail to hold the joint together. Consequently, the joint lining becomes inflamed and swollen.

Doctors list age, obesity, family history, gender, and previous joint injuries as the leading risk factors for arthritis. This disease can become so severe that it affects your ability to do daily tasks. 

For instance, when arthritis attacks your weight-bearing joints such as those in your legs and feet, you will find it quite difficult to walk comfortably or even sit straight. The joints eventually lose their shape and alignment in some cases.

So, it’s only natural for people with arthritis to look for alternative remedies, given that conventional arthritis treatment plans are costly. According to a 2015 study, the average lifetime medical costs for managing arthritis in the U.S. were $140,300, with medication costs alone averaging $129,600. Therefore, it is understandable why there is so much interest in CBD as an alternative treatment.

 

Besides arthritis, what causes joint pain

 

Sometimes your joints feel achy, stiff, or sore. It may be an occasional occurrence that comes and goes or stays constant. Most people report feeling a “grating” throbbing sensation in their joints in the morning that disappears with increased movement. 

That said, there are many other causes of joint pain apart from arthritis, but let’s look at the top suspects.

Gout 

Gout is another leading cause of joint pain. Like arthritis, it is also characterized by swelling and intense pain, usually on the big toe. But it can also affect other joints, including the knees, hands, feet, ankles, elbows, and wrists.

Gout is symptomatic of an over-accumulation of excess uric acid crystals in the joints. This may happen when the liver fails to break down the uric acid.

Gout affects everyone, but it’s more common in men than women. This is because men generally produce more uric acid over their lifetimes. Women are most susceptible after menopause when their uric acid production goes up.

Risk factors include obesity, diabetes, hypertension, family history, kidney disease, and congestive heart failure. However, you’re also likely to develop gout if you eat a lot of animal protein, use water pills (diuretics), and drink too much alcohol.

Bursitis

This condition is defined by a painful swelling around the joints. It commonly affects the knees, feet, shoulders, and elbows. The swelling is caused by the inflammation of tiny fluid-filled sacs called bursa, which cushion areas where your bones would otherwise rub against the skin, muscles, or tendons. This way, these bursae reduce friction and prevent inflammation.

Even though bursae are found throughout the body, bursitis mainly occurs in the joints. This is because joints are more likely to get irritated by excess pressure or overuse. The inflammation of the bursae can be sudden or gradual. Bursitis is usually short-term and resolves once you stop stressing the affected area.

The risk factors are old age, pre-existing conditions like arthritis, gout, diabetes, and thyroid disease. People who engage in repetitive activities like sports are also at risk.

Tendonitis

Tendonitis is an inflammation of the tendons – the tissues that connect muscles to bones. This condition can be long-term (chronic) or short-term (acute). It occurs in body parts where tendons attach to bones or muscles.

The commonly affected areas are the hips, knees, elbows, base of the thumbs, shoulders, and the Achilles tendon.

This condition is caused by repetitive or minor impacts on affected parts. It can also be caused by a sudden, serious injury. One of the major symptoms of tendonitis is pain where the tendon is located or in the surrounding area. The pain may be sudden (especially in the presence of calcium deposits) or gradually build up.

Anyone can develop tendonitis. However, people who do physically demanding repetitive work have higher chances of getting it. Nonetheless, additional risk factors include poor posture, old age (adults over 40 years), pre-existing diseases like gout, kidney disease, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Viral Infections

Certain viral infections can cause joint pains, otherwise known as viral arthritis. The most common viruses known to do this are Parvovirus, rubella, alphavirus, Hepatitis B and C, and flavivirus. Other viruses are also known to cause joint pains, namely HIV, mumps, EBV, cytomegalovirus (CMV), and herpes.

There has been a notable increase in mosquito-borne virus-caused arthropathies in recent times. These are mostly linked to Chikungunya and Zika viruses. Contrary to popular opinion, HIV-induced arthritis is also quite common. 

Researchers think it may be among the earliest symptoms in at least 30% of people who’ve newly acquired the disease. But it can also manifest at any stage of the disease.

Generally, cases of viral arthritis are higher in adults than in children, who though susceptible to parvovirus B19, seldom develop arthritis. These viruses often target the joint synovium, causing inflammation. Nonetheless, most viral arthropathies are self-limiting, usually lasting 6 – 12 weeks.

Fibromyalgia 

Fibromyalgia is characterized by pervasive musculoskeletal pain often accompanied by mood and memory problems, poor sleep, and extreme fatigue. It is believed that this disorder amplifies pain sensations by altering the way the brain and the spinal cord process non-painful and painful signals.

The symptoms are most pronounced after an event, e.g., infection, trauma, surgery, or extreme stress. It has also been observed that the symptoms can accumulate over time without the need for a trigger. 

Moreover, people with this disease tend to also manifest tension headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety, depression, and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders.

Women are more likely to get fibromyalgia than men. The main symptoms of fibromyalgia are widespread pain, including joint pain, TMJ pain, fatigue, and brain fog.

Researchers believe fibromyalgia results when the brain’s pain receptors become sensitive to pain, thereby overreacting to painful and non-painful signals. This anomaly may stem from repeated nerve stimulation that eventually changes how the brain and spinal cord process pain.

Researchers hypothesize that genetics, infections, emotional, and physical events may be the likely triggers for fibromyalgia. Other risk factors are gender and pre-existing disorders such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoarthritis.

Adult Still’s Disease

This is a rare inflammatory arthritis characterized by a rash, fever, and muscle and joint pains. It is usually a one-off incident, but there have been cases where the condition reoccurs or persists. The symptoms may mimic those of conditions like lupus and lymphoma. 

Researchers are unsure what causes this disease but suspect it could be triggered by bacterial or viral infections.

The main risk factor is age, with probabilities peaking at 15-25 years and later at 36-46 years. Gender does not play any role in susceptibility, with both men and women equally at risk.

Traumatic Injury

The main symptom of an injured joint is pain. This can be caused by a fracture or a bone dislocation. A serious injury to a joint may re-emerge years later as post-traumatic osteoarthritis. It may be characterized by discomfort, severe pain and swelling, and in some instances, restricted joint movement.

 

What barometric pressure causes arthritis pain?

 

Ever wondered how your grandma could accurately predict when a storm was coming? Changes in the weather can affect joints by reducing the pain threshold. Until now, scientists cannot really tell why cold and rainy weather often worsens pain.

However, several theories have been proposed to try to explain this phenomenon. One of these is that changes in barometric pressure make your muscles, tendons, and other scar tissues contract or expand. This creates tension in those tissues leading to joint pains, especially in people with arthritis. 

Another theory is that low temperatures cause the fluids in your joints to thicken, making them feel stiffer and painful. Moreover, since cold, rainy weather tends to keep people indoors, the joints become less active than they would on a typical day. This can cause joint stiffness and pain, especially in people who lead active lifestyles.

But perhaps a more logical explanation is that barometric pressure affects the weight of the air around us. The higher the pressure, the more the weight. This weight pushes against the body and somehow prevents the body, including tissues, from expanding. 

However, when the pressure drops, the weight lifts off, allowing the body tissues to expand. This expansion puts pressure on the joints making them more painful.

What does science say?

In a survey of people with arthritis pain, researchers established a corresponding rise in their pain levels for every 10-degree drop in barometric pressure and temperature. But, in a more recent study, 222 people with hip osteoarthritis reported that their pain worsened when humidity and barometric pressure rose. 

Studies on cadavers also lend some insights into this interesting phenomenon. In one such study, low atmospheric pressure was shown to throw over one-third of the hip joint ball off track.

Even though the science behind it remains unclear, many people agree that painful flare-ups during weather changes are common. A survey of people with chronic pain in cold and warm areas in the United States found that 66% of the participants believed that cold weather worsened their pain. 

At the same time, a meta-analysis of over 11 million Medicare reports that matched local weather reports to the number of visits couldn’t develop a link between the two variables, i.e., weather change and high/low number of visits.

It is not clear what aspect of weather causes pain to increase or decrease. Two independent studies have shown some correlation between higher humidity, barometric pressure and increased pain. A third study even established ‘modest’ relationships between higher wind speed and joint pain. 

So, while the specifics are unclear, there is at least some evidence linking weather changes to joint symptoms.

For now, people living with arthritis may have to make do with stop-gap measures to prevent their conditions from worsening. For example:

  • If colder weather worsens your pain, try to keep yourself warm. Take a warm shower and dress in layers. You can also heat up the house or use an electric blanket.
  • Get pain medications, e.g., non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
  • Keep healthy by staying active. Gently exercise your joints by doing yoga or swimming.
  • Try a paraffin bath to keep your feet and hands warm. Alternatively, try putting heating pads on sore spots.

What can cause joint pain besides arthritis

 

As mentioned earlier, not every stiff elbow or swollen is caused by an arthritic condition. So before you rush to the conclusion that you have arthritis, consult a joint specialist to get the correct diagnosis.

However, the following are the leading causes of joint pain:

  • Bursitis
  • Tendinitis or tendonitis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Gout
  • Viral infections
  • Traumatic injuries
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Lupus
  • Bone cancer
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Scleroderma
  • Hypertrophic pulmonary osteoarthropathy
  • Polymyalgia rheumatic 

CBD Oil for Arthritis

Bottle of FOCL CBD Drops sitting next to red oranges.  

 

With CBD increasingly gaining acceptance as a natural remedy for various medical conditions, more people use it to manage insomnia, depression, inflammation, chronic pain, and arthritis. 

Generally, CBD products are considered safe as no reports have shown otherwise. 

CBD comes in different forms, e.g., gummies, oils, tinctures, vapes, creams, and lotions. Despite being unconventional, CBD is increasingly finding its way into many people’s medicine cabinets due to its great benefits. 

This underlines why CBD oil is popular among people seeking relief from various mental and physical problems. 

 

Does CBD help with arthritis?

 

It is becoming increasingly apparent that CBD can help people with arthritis. But at the same time, let’s point out early enough that arthritis is like one big family with many members. In fact, there are probably 100 different types of arthritis! 

The implication is that what may work for one type of arthritis might not work for another. Overall, the goal of arthritis treatment is to maintain joint function while reducing stiffness and pain.

For now, we’ve primarily relied on animal studies to show that CBD can be used to manage chronic pain. The first scientific evidence of CBD’s health benefits comes from a 2017 study on dogs with osteoarthritis (yes, dogs develop arthritis too!). 

The researchers prescribed 2mg/kg of CBD oil every 12 hours for four weeks to one group. For the other group, the CBD oil was replaced with a placebo.

The study concluded that CBD oil helped improve mobility and comfort in dogs. Further, the veterinary pain assessments also showed significant pain relief in the canines.

Several other studies have also shown that CBD positively impacts animals with arthritis. For instance, a 2011 study found that CBD effectively reduced acute joint inflammation in rats by affecting how their pain receptors responded to stimuli.

Further, a 2016 study published in the European Journal of Pain showed that topical CBD “could potentially relieve arthritis pain-related behaviors” in animals without any adverse effects. 

A year later, a research team established that topical application of CBD helped reduce osteoarthritis symptoms in rats. Further, the researchers also found that CBD may subdue nerve damage and joint pain.

There have been few human trials far in between investigating the effects of CBD on arthritis. For example, a 2016 analysis showed that CBD reduced joint pain and improved sleep patterns in patients with osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, and arthritis. 

In 2006, one of the earliest studies on rheumatoid arthritis and cannabinoids showed that Sativex, a CBD-enriched extract, had a “significant analgesic effect” in people with arthritis. The researchers reported that inflammation and pain were considerably reduced among the participants, with zero noted side effects.

Another 2008 study on chronic pain management using cannabinoids concluded that CBD “offered effective pain relief” among the participants. In addition, it also improved their sleep quality.

While researchers still call for more research to establish precisely how CBD can help alleviate arthritis pain, there is promise.

 

Does CBD oil help with arthritis pain

 

As shown, a growing body of evidence suggests that CBD can effectively reduce pain and inflammation. So, there is reason to believe that CBD oil may help with arthritis pain. 

As always, we recommend that you go for high-quality CBD products to enjoy the full benefits of CBD. Our FOCL collection of CBD products is made from the highest quality hemp CBD mixed in MCT oil to give you the best results in managing your pain. A few drops of our FOCL Premium CBD Drops gently calms your pain and inflammation and make you sleep better.

 

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For that irritating inflammation, try our FOCL Relief Cream. Packing 500mg of premium CBD and eight different soothing botanicals, this cream quickly eliminates pains and aches. Using it is easy; clean the affected area before applying the cream for maximum absorption. Apply 3-4 times daily for best results.

 

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What’s more? Our products are third-party tested and FDA-approved, in addition to meeting transparency standards and top-tier certifications. FOCL CBD products are unique, no doubt – every product you use bears the collective input of wellness experts, doctors, and chemists to ensure the formula is correct and gives the best results.

 

How does CBD help arthritis?

 

When CBD enters your systemic circulation, it interacts with receptors in the endocannabinoid system, causing various biological and physiological responses, key among them pain and inflammation reduction.

The endocannabinoid system is a regulatory network of receptors, cannabinoids, chemical messengers, and neurotransmitters responsible for facilitating various body functions such as pain perception, mood, immune response, inflammation, hunger, temperature, fertility, etc.

Being a cannabinoid, CBD is believed to easily interact with the ECS receptors to bring about various body responses.

 

Side effects of CBD oil

 

CBD is generally well tolerated. However, this doesn’t mean it does not have side effects. The most common side effects that users cite include dry mouth, sleepiness, lightheadedness, and on rare occasions, liver problems.

For the most part, any adverse side effects are likely to be caused by the ingredients added to the CBD product. CBD is not regulated by Medical and Healthcare products Regulatory Agencies (MHRAs), so quality and safety remain in the purview of the manufacturer. This is why it is vital that you buy CBD products from approved vendors.

 

CBD oil dosage for arthritis pain relief

 

One of the downsides of CBD is the lack of clear dosage guidelines. Dosage varies from person to person because everybody responds differently to CBD. 

Nevertheless, information obtained from users of cannabidiol products indicates that most arthritis patients take roughly 25 milligrams of CBD oil twice daily. Depending on the severity of your pain and discomfort, you may gradually increase the dosage until you achieve the desired effects.

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