Rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune condition, affecting the joints making them stiff, swollen, and painful.
Osteoarthritis arthritis, on the other hand, is caused by natural inflammation of the joints which leads to breakdown and loss of cartilages. This causes difficulty in moving.
Cannabidiol might not work for all types of arthritis pains and also, not for all people but considering how addictive most of the medicines available for arthritis can be, CBD might be a better alternative. Though there are not many research studies to support the therapeutic effect of CBD on such pains, there are some that do show this. The existing reports (mostly conducted on animals) generally show that it might help with the morning pain to some extent and also improve your sleep. The Arthritis Foundation has also provided some anecdotes to support these claims. However, they’ve also mentioned the lack of rigorous studies done on human subjects and have urged the FDA to help study and regulate CBD products which will promote further studies. Some studies which give limited evidence for the effectiveness of CBD in arthritis pain are-
The very first controlled trial took place in 2006 that used Sativex (a cannabis-based drug) for 5 weeks. The participants reported considerable improvement in arthritis pain, reduced inflammation, and better sleep quality. However, Sativex contains both CBD and THC.
In 2011, a study was done to show that CBD may effectively reduce arthritis-related inflammation because of the involvement of atypical receptors that responded to the stimuli.
A review conducted in 2014 shows the involvement of the endocannabinoid system in osteoarthritis pain and concludes that cannabinoids can help with such pain.
A 2016 research work shows a possible reduction in arthritis pain and inflammation when the drug is applied topically.
A 2017 study done on rats showed the potential to treat osteoarthritis-related pain.
A conclusive study to prove CBD effective for arthritis pain is yet to come but the above results are promising.
How does CBD work?
CBD oil works by acting on our brain but in a different way than THC does. The exact receptors involved (other than CB1 and CB2) are not well-known but it may block specific receptors to increase the level of anandamide (an endocannabinoid produced in the body) which in turn reduces pain and inflammation. Another potential role CBD plays is in strengthening our immunity by binding to the CB2 receptors and thereby preventing the auto-immune attack to some extent. This may be helpful in slowing down the progression of rheumatoid arthritis and reduce fatigue and fever.