For the millions of arthritis sufferers globally, the most debilitating symptom that defines their condition is pain. Our joints feel inflamed and stiff that we can barely move. And for most, the condition progresses and worsen with age.
For all these symptoms, CBD oil is being hyped as the ultimate cure-all. But while some sufferers will swear by it, others have yet to definitively feel its efficacy. So what’s the real deal with CBD oil and what can it really do for arthritis?
Let’s first understand what CBD is—
There are two kinds of the cannabis sativa plant—hemp and marijuana—both of which produce chemical compounds called cannabinoids. Cannabinoids has two types—THC, which is the psychoactive part of the marijuana plant, and cannabidiol (CBD), which is what’s commonly available in the market today.
Most CBD products being sold are derived from hemp, which must contain less than 0.3 THC. So, contrary to common misconceptions about CBD products, it won’t actually have any mental effects on your body.
How does it work?
Researchers theorize that when CBD enters a person’s body, it has the potential to attach to CB2 receptors, which helps manage common arthritis symptoms.
Essentially, scientists believe that CBD has an effect on how these receptors respond to the signals that they receive and this results in reduced pain and inflammation.
Is CBD effective for arthritis?
There are a lot of anecdotal evidence that suggests CBD oil can help manage arthritis pain. But are there any scientific studies that support this claim? Do cases of reduced pain and swelling have any scientific merit?
Let’s take a look at existing studies:
- In 2011, researchers discovered that CBD helped bring down inflammatory pain in rats.
- In 2014, a comprehensive review of all material and research conducted on animals concluded that CBD could indeed be an effective treatment for one of the most common forms of arthritis, osteoarthritis (OA).
- In 2016, a study revealed that topical application of CBD could help relieve pain and inflammation caused by arthritis.
- In 2017, a separate study conducted in rats found that CBD may be a safe and useful treatment for OA joint pain.
While all these studies and research are indeed promising and encouraging, especially since they were effective during animal testing, none have produced conclusive scientific evidence that CBD is effective nor safe for humans…yet.
Are there risks, side effects, and other considerations to take note of?
To date, CBD has only received FDA approval to treat rare and severe forms of epilepsy. The FDA has yet to approve CBD oil as a medical treatment for arthritis.
In the US, CBD is also not available legally nationwide. Anyone who wants to try it should first check with local state laws. Additionally, small scale studies have shown participants exhibiting allergic reactions to CBD oil, so be sure to conduct a patch test before application.
Current studies show a lot of promise, but it will be a while before conclusive research proves that brain receptors and the human immune system are indeed affected in the way CBD oil researchers claims it does.
As with any available alternative treatment that has yet to be supported by solid scientific evidence and receive FDA approval, be sure to speak to a trusted physician before trying CBD oil.