An Analysis: CBD Oils Treat Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation in various parts of your body. It usually attacks the joints of the hands, wrists, and knees. As a result, it causes inflammation in affected joint linings and damages the joint tissue. Tissue damage can lead to lung, eye, heart problems, and chronic pain.
Modern science has been studying the part of CBD oils on multiple ailments, including weight loss. In addition, several studies have proven the role of CBD oils in reducing stress and improving sleep quality.
This article briefly describes how CBD Oil treats Rheumatoid Arthritis.
What is CBD Oil?
CBD oil originates from the cannabis plant. However, unlike other cannabinoids, such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), it does not generate a euphoric “high” that people constantly associate with cannabis. That is because CBD does not influence the same receptors in the body as THC.
There are numerous CBD oil products available, and the quantity of CBD in them may differ. As many people apply cannabis as an active drug, some distinct evidence proves the remedial use of commodities containing cannabis plant components. Many CBD products also withstand stringent legal inspection.
According to research, hemp is a commodity that also arrives from the cannabis plant. Lawmakers legalised the material under the Farm Bill as long as things contain less than 0.3% THC. Some people apply CBD oil to reduce pain and reduce inflammation. Some research indicates that CBD oil may be helpful for pain relief and other situations.
CBD Oils for Rheumatoid Arthritis: How Does it Work?
CBD oil influences brain activity, but not in the similar way that THC, the central psychoactive component in marijuana, does. Instead, CBD oil interacts with two receptors, called CB1 and CB2, to decrease pain and the consequences of inflammation.
CB2 also plays a crucial role in your immune system. For example, RA affects your immune system by damaging the tissue in your joints. So this connection to the immune system could clarify why CBD oil works adequately for RA symptoms.
In addition, CBD’s anti-inflammatory impacts could also benefit from slowing down or stopping RA’s growth, which results in permanent harm to your joints over time. These consequences could also decrease several other inflammation-related RA symptoms, such as fever and fatigue.
CBD Oil and Arthritis Pain Relief
Study indicates that arthritis is the leading factor of disability in the United States, affecting around fifty-eight and half million people. Two of the most widespread types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative situation that influences bones and joint cartilage, resulting in stiffness and pain. It always affects the knee, hip, and thumb joints.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune situation where a person’s immune system strikes their joints, resulting in inflammation. It generally affects the feet and hands and leads to swollen, painful, and stiff joints.
According to the Arthritis Foundation, there is an anecdotal indication to indicate that some people with arthritis who use CBD report improved sleep, pain relief, or reduced anxiety. However, it also asserts that there have been no severe clinical studies in humans with arthritis to verify this. Therefore, the institution has compelled the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to regulate and study CBD products.
What Does the Research Say?
The first controlled examination to assess the use of cannabis-based drugs to treat RA happened in 2006. After five weeks of usage, researchers inferred that a cannabis-based treatment called Sativex decreased inflammation and considerably improved pain. Participants also reported better sleep, and most side effects were few.
A 2008 survey of the use of CBD to treat chronic pain likewise concluded that CBD decreased pain and enhanced sleep without any adverse side effects.
In 2016, another study using CBD gel on rats showed that the CBD gel decreased joint pain and inflammation without any adverse side effects.
While these studies are favourable, the current studies have been moderately small. Many more studies, particularly on large numbers of human participants, are still required to fully comprehend the consequences of CBD oil and other cannabis-based medications on RA symptoms.
Some studies indicate that cannabidiol (CBD) oil could play a part in alleviating arthritis. What are the advantages of CBD oil, and are there any adverse side effects that people should be conscious of before using it? CBD oil includes extracts from cannabis plants. Some people apply it to alleviate pain related to chronic conditions, such as arthritis.
CBD Oils and Inflammatory Pain
Some animal researchers indicate that CBD could help deal with arthritis and reduce associated inflammatory pain. For example:
- A 2017 study established that CBD might be a valuable and safe treatment choice for joint pain related to osteoarthritis.
- A 2016 study established that the topical application of CBD had the potential to reduce inflammation and pain associated with arthritis.
- A 2014 review searching into animal research inferred that CBD might be a beneficial treatment for osteoarthritis.
- A 2011 study established that CBD helped decrease inflammatory pain in rats by influencing how pain receptors respond to stimuli.
However, there is insufficient definitive scientific evidence to verify that CBD is a beneficial arthritis treatment for humans. Fact notes that a cannabis-based mouth spray known as Sativex may help reduce arthritis pain. However, the cannabis plant extracts that the firm uses to make the rush include both CBD and THC.
Although outcomes have been motivating, more research is essential to confirm that CBD oil is a beneficial treatment for arthritis pain.
CBD Oil and Chronic Pain
Cannabinoids, such as CBD, influence receptors that impact inflammation and pain in the body. Scientists speculate that CBD entails how these receptors react to the signals they obtain, possibly helping decrease inflammation and pain.
The National Centre for Complementary and Integrative Health says that cannabis or CBD could have practical benefits for chronic pain. However, much of the study into CBD for chronic pain has started with nerve-related or neuropathic pain. For example, a 2017 study found that CBD assisted with chronic neuropathic pain in humans.
A 2020 study reported that CBD could have advantages for relieving improving sleep, chronic pain, and reducing inflammation. However, the study states that these consequences are limited to specific conditions. The investigators also say that CBD may have hazards, such as drug interactions and harmful elements in unregulated commodities.
Is CBD oil safe?
More research is still essential to analyse the safety and probable effects. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) documents that people generally tolerate CBD well. Therefore, CBD is not accountable for the high that many people may correlate with cannabis. Additionally, this cannabinoid does not have the similar potential for misuse as cannabis.
Additionally, a 2020 systematic study indicates that people generally have adequate tolerance for CBD, and taking it does not arise in any adverse events. However, the survey also reveals that the dosage and administration technique may affect safety.
Currently, CBD commodities do not have FDA approval. That may imply that it is hard to know if a CBD product is effective and safe for everyone to use. If a person is using CBD oil, they should take advice from their doctor.
Using CBD Oil
CBD commodities are accessible in many different formulations. People can follow the instructions on the packaging and label to help them infer how frequently to use the product, how much quantity to use, and how to apply it. Doses will differ depending on factors such as potency and body weight. Health experts instruct individuals new to CBD to begin with the lowest apparent dosage and slowly increase it if needed.
People can consume CBD oil orally. For example, they can use a dropper or pipette to drop CBD oil under their tongue or into food and drink. In addition, factories add CBD oil to topical products such as gels, creams, and lotions.
As the FDA does not legislate CBD products, finding and using quality products is significant. When selecting a CBD oil, make sure it is from a trusted company and comprises a complete list of ingredients. Then, talk with your doctor to conclude the best dose for you. It is best to start with a minimal amount to see how your body responds. Then, if you do not notice any side effects, you can slowly increase your dose.
Possible Side Effects of CBD Oils
CBD oil does not come with any significant potential side effects. If you have been using RA drugs for some time, these side effects may increase. Small-scale researchers have found that people commonly tolerate CBD well. Some people may encounter mild side effects.
- Changes in appetite
- Changes in weight
Clinical examinations of Epidiolex, a CBD treatment that the FDA has ratified to treat rare forms of epilepsy, did not discover any evidence of physical dependency. However, there are concerns that CBD may impede an enzyme known as the cytochrome P450 complex. This enzyme benefits the liver’s capacity to break down toxins. CBD may therefore boost the risk of an increase in liver toxicity.
Additionally, people should consult with their doctor before consuming CBD. It may interact with specific over-the-counter dietary additions, aids, and specified medications. Taking CBD and treatments that warn about apparent interactions with grapefruit also compels particular consideration.
In a study performed on mice, obtaining CBD-rich cannabis extract was related to a heightened risk of liver toxicity. However, some research mice were given enormous extract amounts through force-feeding.
CBD Oil: Is it Legal?
Cannabis and commodities originating from cannabis, such as CBD oil, are legal for recreational or medicinal use in specific parts of the United States.
If cannabis is only legal for remedial use in your state, you will require a recommendation from your doctor before you can buy CBD oil. However, if authorities in your region permit cannabis for recreational usage, you should be able to buy CBD oil in dispensaries or even online.
Risks and Considerations
The FDA has authorised one form of CBD, Epidiolex, to deal with two rare forms of epilepsy and attacks due to a rare situation called tuberous sclerosis complex. However, the Arthritis Foundation advises CBD could interact with particular arthritis drugs. Therefore, the organisation proposes consulting a doctor before using CBD when taking any of the given drugs:
- Corticosteroids, such as prednisone
- Naproxen (Aleve)
- Tofacitinib (Xeljanz)
- Celecoxib (Celebrex)
- Tramadol (Ultram)
- Some antidepressants, including amitriptyline (Elavil), fluoxetine (Prozac), citalopram (Celexa), and sertraline (Zoloft)
- Some treatments for fibromyalgia, such as pregabalin (Lyrica) and gabapentin (Neurontin)
People should practice caution when consuming oral CBD products alongside high-fat feasts. High-fat meals can dramatically improve the blood concentrations of CBD, which can heighten the danger of side effects.
CBD is legal in a few states in the U.S., but not all of them. Therefore, people should review the laws in their region before buying or taking CBD oil. Some people may also have an allergic effect to CBD oil, so it is adequate to try applying it to a tiny skin area first. Experts suggest speaking with a doctor before using CBD oil like any alternative medication.
CBD oil indicates promise as a medication for arthritis-related pain. If it influences receptors in the immune system or brain in the means that researchers speculate, it may reduce pain and inflammation. However, there is limited information from human surveys to support the benefits of CBD oil, as there are constraints around the use and research of cannabis. Nevertheless, as the material becomes legalised in several regions, researchers are studying it further, and the studies are generating promising results.
So far, researchers looking at the advantages of CBD oil for people with RA are assuring. However, there is a necessity for substantial human studies to comprehend its effects fully. Remember that the FDA does not permit CBD oil, and it stays illegal in many states. Therefore, more research is essential before studies can say with certainty that CBD oil is a beneficial treatment for arthritis pain.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q.1. Is rheumatoid arthritis worse at night?
A. Several research papers suggest that the body’s circadian rhythm may play a role. For example, in people with RA (rheumatoid arthritis), the body discharges less of the anti-inflammatory chemical cortisol at night, boosting inflammation-related pain.
Q.2. How much is CBD needed for rheumatoid arthritis?
A. Usually, people take twenty to thirty-five milligrams of CBD regularly to relieve pain. You can take the total dosage at once or break it up throughout the day. However, it is best to consult a healthcare professional before deciding on the dose.
Q.3. Does rheumatoid arthritis cause early death?
A. Patients with RA (rheumatoid arthritis) can face an increased risk of premature death and severe difficulties. However, it happens when the inflammation arising from RA isn’t well-controlled. In expansion to increased mortality rates, RA can result in poorer heart health if not managed well.
Q.4. Is CBD oil addictive?
A. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD does not generate psychoactive effects. And while marijuana use can lead to addiction, current research indicates that CBD is not addictive.
Q.5. Is there a difference in CBD oil quality?
A. Adequate CBD oil made by a respected company will tell you how much CBD you’re getting on the label. You should either look for the concentration or the total number of mg in the bottle. CBD oils should include 250–1000mg per 10ml bottle.
Q.6. Can CBD oil help autoimmune diseases?
A. Cannabis therapies help people with autoimmune ailments by preventing inflammation with little to no adverse reactions. According to preclinical studies, CBD can increase autoimmune response on top of reducing the gene transcription that stimulates inflammation.
Q.7. Which is better, hemp oil or CBD oil?
A. Hemp oil generally has more nourishing benefits, while CBD oil is reasonable for treating the ailments like anxiety and depression. And when it comes to CBD oil and hemp oil for pain relief, CBD oil is the best (although hemp oil can benefit too).
Q.8. Can CBD replace prednisone?
A. The introductory study showed CBD administration either improved the therapeutic impact of steroids or decreased steroid dosage while retaining or enhancing the steroid’s therapeutic effect. In addition, in all patients treated, the steroid dose conducted with CBD slowly reduced over time.
Q.9. How fast does CBD work for inflammation?
A. That relies on how you use your CBD oil. The most reliable consumption procedure is sublingual, using a tincture or sprays under the tongue. According to the American Arthritis Foundation, you can usually feel the consequences within fifteen to forty-five minutes.
Q.10. Does CBD help with inflammation and joint pain?
A. A study indicates that CBD has anti-arthritic action and may support symptoms by targeting the cells that result in inflammation. In addition, research from 2017 implies that CBD helped enhance markers of pain, inflammation, and nerve injury in an animal criterion of osteoarthritis.
CBD For Rheumatoid Arthritis
Kimberly is a health and wellness writer with 8 years of experience in healthcare and a special passion for mental health awareness.
Verywell Health articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and healthcare professionals. These medical reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more.
Scott J. Zashin, MD, specializes in the treatment of rheumatologic and musculoskeletal conditions using both traditional and alternative therapies.
As cannabidiol (CBD) has grown in popularity over the years, major organizations like the Arthritis Foundation have released guidelines pertaining to its use in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). CBD is a non-psychoactive component of cannabis. The CBD in most products is extracted from hemp, a variety of cannabis that only has traces (up to 0.3%) of THC, the active compound that gets people high. Studies have shown CBD can help reduce chronic pain by impacting endocannabinoid receptor activity, which may also reduce inflammation.
CBD comes in different forms, including oil, vape, edible, and topical. Oils, vapes, and edibles are taken orally, while topical CBD lotions can be applied to the skin. CBD dosage varies depending on the form, the indication, and other treatments being used.
What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis?
RA is an autoimmune inflammatory disease, in which the immune system attacks healthy cells in the body and causes inflammation. RA commonly affects joints in the hands, wrists, and knees, causing the joint lining to become inflamed and damaging the tissue. This causes chronic joint pain and leads to deformity. RA can also affect other tissues throughout the body, such as the lungs, heart, and eyes.
Vera Livchak / Getty Images
Health Benefits of CBD for RA
Animal studies have suggested that CBD has pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties, but these effects have not been validated with quality studies in humans. Anecdotally, some people who have tried CBD for treatment of arthritis symptoms report noticeable pain relief, improved sleep improvement, and reduced anxiety.
The trials that have been conducted in humans have not yielded strong evidence for the use of CBD in managing arthritic pain.
- A randomized trial of topical CBD for treatment of knee osteoarthritis lasted only 12 weeks, and results were mixed.
- One of the largest reviews examining the health effects of cannabis and CBD concluded that there is substantial evidence that cannabis is an effective treatment for chronic pain in adults. There was, however, no specific conclusion regarding CBD, as definitive studies were not available.
- More recently, a new study showed that CBD can potentially help alleviate RA pain and inflammation by acting on immune cells that are attacking healthy cells in the body. It’s important to note that this study was also not conducted with human subjects.
Research in this area is ongoing.
If you are interested in trying CBD for RA pain management, be sure to talk to your healthcare provider first before using any CBD products.
Rising Popularity of CBD for RA
Based on a 2019 national survey of 2,600 people conducted by the Arthritis Foundation, 79% of respondents said they were using CBD, have used it in the past, or were considering using it to help with their arthritis pain.
Health Benefits Related to Arthritis
Given the lack of strong scientific evidence supporting the use of CBD, it is not recommended as the first choice for pain relief in RA.
If you have RA, you should not stop taking your prescribed medications that may be protecting your joints from future damage. You should discuss any changes you want to make to your medication regimen with your healthcare provider.
Additional Health Benefits
The strongest scientific evidence for effectiveness of CBD as a medical treatment is for seizure prevention in Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, which are severe childhood epilepsy disorders that typically don’t respond to antiseizure medications. Several years ago, the FDA approved the first cannabis-derived medicine for these conditions, Epidiolex, which contains CBD.
Other potential health benefits of CBD include:
- Reduce anxiety, insomnia, and depression
- Relieve cancer or cancer treatment symptoms
- Clear acne
- Slow the progress of neurologic disease like Alzheimer’s disease
Possible Side Effects
Treatment with CBD should be started slowly and under the supervision of a healthcare provider, who will oversee its effectiveness and side effects. There have been reports of mild side effects of CBD.
The most common side effects include:
It’s important to note that CBD may interact with other drugs, including some of the medications that are prescribed for the treatment of RA.
Warnings and Interactions
There are some warnings and adverse drug interactions to be aware of before beginning using CBD for management of RA-associated pain.
Do not stop taking any other treatments without consulting your healthcare provider. Additionally, CBD shouldn’t be a replacement for other therapies you are using.
Pregnant people and children should consult a healthcare provider before using CBD since there isn’t enough research on the effects of CBD on these populations. There has been concern about a possible link between inhaled cannabis and lower-birthweight babies, but it’s not clear if this applies to CBD.
Currently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate the safety and purity of CBD products, so you cannot know for sure that the product you buy has active ingredients at the dose listed on the label. The product may contain other unknown elements. The most effective therapeutic dose of CBD for any particular medical condition has not been established.
Are CBD Products Legal?
CBD products derived from hemp are no longer considered schedule I drugs under the federal Controlled Substances Act, but they still remain in a legal gray zone. There are changes underway on federal and state levels that will ultimately clarify the laws and regulations related to CBD-based products and sales. Despite that, they’re widely available in nearly every state and online. People who want to use CBD should check their own state laws.
Studies have found moderate interactions between CBD and medications commonly prescribed for treating RA.
Interactions can occur with these medications:
CBD can increase your level of coumadin, a blood thinner.
CBD may also raise levels of other medications in your blood by the same mechanism that grapefruit juice does.
Medications that interact with grapefruit juice can potentially interact with CBD, including:
- Cholesterol medications
- High blood pressure medications
- Organ-rejection medications
- Anti-anxiety medications
- Heart medications
- Some antihistamines
Preparation and Dosage
If you’ve decided to try CBD for treating your RA pain, the next step is figuring out how much to take.
Your dosage depends on a number of factors:
- Body weight
- Medical indication
- The concentration and form of CBD that you’re taking
You will likely need to start with a low dose and find what works for you. Studies have found extreme differences in dosages, with some people using 5 milligrams (mg) and others as much as 600 mg.
Your healthcare provider may direct you to start with 20-40 mg per day and increase slowly each day until you feel the relief you’re looking for.
To ensure that you are using CBD safely and effectively for pain management, you should:
- Choose an oral treatment (rather than inhaled products) and start with a low dose
- Establish initial goals of treatment within a realistic period of time. For example, a reduction in knee pain that allows you to walk around the block within two weeks of starting treatment; later, if improved, the goals can be adjusted
- Tell your healthcare provider(s) about your planned and current CBD treatment; monitor your pain and adjust medications with your medical providers, rather than with non-medical practitioners
- When preparing to take a liquid form, be aware that the CBD extract is mixed with a carrier oil, so there are two measures to know: the amount of the liquid product to take (the dose) and the amount of CBD in each dose
If CBD alone doesn’t work and you are in a state where medical or recreational marijuana is legal, you could consider talking to your healthcare provider about taking CBD with a very low-dose THC product. Be aware that even at low levels, THC may make you feel high, resulting in cognitive, motor, and balance impairment.
If you experience any unwanted side effects when using a CBD product, immediately discontinue use and inform your healthcare provider.
What To Look For
Look for the following when choosing a CBD product:
- Look for products manufactured in the United States with ingredients grown domestically
- Choose products made by companies that follow good manufacturing practices established by the FDA for pharmaceuticals or dietary supplements or required by the state where they are manufactured
- Buy from companies that test each batch and provide a certificate of analysis from an independent lab that uses validated standardized testing methods approved by the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP), the U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP), or the Association of Official Agricultural Chemists (AOAC)
- Avoid companies that claim their products have disease benefits
- Be aware that marketers and people behind retail counters are not health professionals. Your healthcare provider is your best source for guidance and monitoring when using an unregulated product
A Word From Verywell
CBD may sound like an appealing option for pain relief, but do your due diligence before jumping on the bandwagon. A lot of people say CBD can help reduce pain and inflammation for those with RA, but not a lot of strong scientific data have substantiated that claim. That said, serious effects are not commonly associated with CBD use.
If this is something you are interested in, you can work with your healthcare provider to figure out whether CBD is something you can try safely. Remember that CBD should not be used as a first-line treatment for RA pain and that it’s not advisable to stop taking disease-modifying treatments for RA.