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Thousands of global consumers commonly employ CBD as a part of their daily routines for a host of research-suggested reasons. Recent research even suggests the potential usefulness of CBD in helping easing arthritic pain and reducing inflammation. However, more in-depth studies are required to substantiate this, or any, health claim. In this article, we analyze various scientific findings and discuss how CBD could potentially be a novel treatment for arthritis.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol, commonly referred to as CBD, is a plant-based chemical compound unique to the Cannabaceae family of plants. Naturally secreted by both hemp and cannabis (marijuana), CBD is scientifically accredited with a vast array of potential symptom-relieving qualities. CBD is easily one of the most well-researched cannabinoids to date. However, more in-depth experimentation is required to substantiate any CBD-related health claim.
Sources of Arthritic Pain
Before we can discuss the effect and potential application of CBD for arthritic pain, it is beneficial to first have a basic understanding of arthritis itself. Arthritis is recognized in several distinct categories, including (but not limited to):
- Gout: A type of inflammatory arthritis that does not affect the whole body. Gout results in painful joint inflammation that typically occurs in the big toe, but can additionally inflict damage upon other joints as well.
- Osteoarthritis: A diagnosis of osteoarthritis (OA) occurs when the protective cartilage inside a patient’s joints begins to break down, causing any movement to be difficult and excruciatingly painful. Pain can register from mild to severe and varies from person to person.
- Psoriatic Arthritis: An autoimmune inflammatory disease, psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is a result of the immune system attacking the body. It can affect joints (arthritis), connective tissue (enthesitis), and the skin (psoriasis).
- Rheumatoid Arthritis: Another autoimmune inflammatory disease, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), is diagnosed when the immune system attacks joints and organs. Pain associated with RA can affect bones and ligaments, with inflammation leading to permanent damage to the joints over time.
Many arthritic patients are prescribed pain-killers to help combat symptoms. However, these include many assumed risks in the forms of adverse side effects, the potential for developing a physical dependency on the substance, and withdrawal symptoms once treatment is discontinued.
CBD For Arthritis
Researchers accredit CBD with potent anti-inflammatory properties. Various studies conducted on an animal model demonstrates its potential usefulness in helping combat symptoms of arthritic pain and inflammation. Its interactions with the endocannabinoid system, more specifically the CB1 and CB2 receptors, are believed to help regulate the sensation of physical pain, as supported by a 2011 study. A review published in 2014 reaffirms the potential of CBD as a possible application for Osteoarthritis (OA).
Additional research conducted in 2016 furthers the potential of CBD as an arthritic aid by helping calm inflammation and relieve pain. Additionally, researchers behind a study conducted in 2017 suggest that CBD could be a safe and effective treatment for osteoarthritic joint pain.
Potential CBD Side-Effects And Risks
Like most symptom-relieving compounds, the consumer assumes certain risks when undergoing a CBD regimen. Fortunately, commonly reported potential side-effects are few, mild, and very easily manageable.
- Dry mouth: Research indicates a direct association between CBD and a reduction in saliva production. Symptoms of dry mouth can easily be managed by consuming water before and/or after administering a dose of CBD.
- A decrease in blood pressure: Studies demonstrate an initial drop in blood pressure (BP) shortly after consuming a CBD-infused product. BP quickly normalizes with no additional remedy required.
- Dizziness: Likely associated with the initial drop in blood pressure, consumers could potentially undergo a brief period of lightheadedness. To combat this, those prone to dizziness could consume doses in a seated position until the spell passes.
CBD is generally a very well-tolerated compound with a high safety profile, as supported by an international discloser released by the World Health Organization (WHO). CBD is additionally not associated with any risk of developing a physical dependency nor risk of overdose fatality.
Will CBD Cause Me To Fail A Drug Test?
While CBD sensitive drug screenings do exist, they are rarely employed. Typically, drug tests are designed to detect the presence of delta-nine-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Therefore, products that incorporate appropriately extracted CBD isolates (crystalized CBD) or broad-spectrum CBD pose no potential risk of registering a positive drug screen. All active THC content has been filtered and removed from both isolate and broad-spectrum products.
Is CBD Legal?
Appropriately extracted hemp-derived CBD is legal and protected under the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill). While state regulations vary, often the most crucial qualifying factor is that the utilized hemp must contain less than 0.3% THC by dry weight. However, it is essential to familiarize yourself with local laws in your state before purchasing any CBD-infused product.
Using CBD Oil
There is a range of formats available. The following are the most popular CBD-infused products and how they are administered:
- Tinctures: An oil-based product designed to be applied either sublingually (under the tongue) or against the inner cheek (buccally). Tinctures can also be mixed into your favorite food or beverage.
- Edibles: CBD can be infused into virtually any edible or beverage. The CBD is absorbed into the bloodstream via the digestive tract.
- Vapes/Smokables: When CBD is inhaled, it is absorbed into the bloodstream via the respiratory system. Smoking entails combusting flowers of the hemp plant while vaping combusts concentrated oils into pleasant vapors.
- Topicals: CBD-infused topical products (lotions, balms, body butter, etc.) are applied to the skin for a localized effect.
Keep in mind, each form boasts its own unique pros and cons. Most arthritis sufferers find CBD-infused topicals to be most effective, as these are reported to help provide targeted symptom relief.
Final Thoughts And Considerations
First-hand testimonials and other anecdotal evidence suggest the potential of CBD to help combat arthritis and its associated symptoms. CBD-focused research seems to confirm these claims. However, researchers demand more in-depth studies before this (or any other) claim can be substantiated. Always exercise caution and speak with your healthcare provider before adding CBD to your daily health regimen.