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CBD and Arthritis
According to the CDC, which is part of the USA’s Department of Health and Human Services, around 54 million people in the USA suffer from arthritis. The Arthritis Foundation has committed itself to the mission of helping these people. This organisation is constantly on the lookout for new and promising opportunities and thus came across the use of CBD as a way of dealing with arthritis.
The Arthritis Foundation says it is aware of the growing popularity and availability of CBD products. According to the foundation, people who suffer from arthritis are amongst the main customers of CBD oil, CBD e-liquids and many other CBD products. This is due to the effect that CBD can have against pain in cases of arthritis. According to a survey  carried out by the Arthritis Foundation, those affected by arthritis experience pain as the main symptom of their condition. When asked, the 2,600 or so people who participated in the survey said they were increasingly inclined to rely on CBD for their arthritis.
The Arthritis Foundation welcomes the use of CBD against arthritis. This article deals with the foundation’s position and arguments regarding the use of CBD for arthritis.
The causes of arthritis and the main claims of the Arthritis Foundation
The Arthritis Foundation has now published a general recommendation aimed at adults who are interested in using CBD to treat arthritis.
cAt this point, it is worth mentioning the most frequent causes of arthritis. These include infections, autoimmune diseases, metabolic disorders, and osteoarthritis. Bacteria from open wounds, as well as other centres of infection in the body (e.g. cold sores), can inflame joints via the bloodstream. Autoimmune conditions such as ankylosing spondylitis and Crohn’s disease can cause the body’s own immune system to mistakenly attack the joints. Gout, a metabolic condition, can cause pain in the joints of the toes.
The general recommendations made by the Arthritis Foundation, propose six major theses regarding the interaction of CBD and arthritis.
- CBD could help against symptoms of arthritis such as pain, insomnia and anxiety disorders. However, the foundation states that no studies which strictly follow clinical guidelines have yet been conducted with patients to confirm this.
- Whilst taking moderate doses of CBD has not caused any health problems, it is nevertheless possible that there is a potential for interactions with other medication.
- CBD should never be used to replace disease-modifying medication that can help to prevent permanent joint damage in cases of arthritis.
- CBD should always be taken in consultation with the doctor who is treating you. As with all illnesses, follow-up examinations should be carried out regularly every three months.
- There are no clinically established guidelines regarding how the CBD should be taken. Experts recommend starting with a low dose and then, if this does not provide any relief, increasing it by small increments at weekly intervals.
- CBD should only be purchased from reputable companies which have every batch tested by an independent laboratory for purity, efficacy and general safety, and which can demonstrate this with a certificate of analysis.
How arthritis medication works
For those affected by arthritis, doctors usually prescribe a mixture of medication and physiotherapy, including exercise.
Corticosteroid-free, anti-inflammatory medication such as Ibuprofen or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are usually used. These act against inflammation and soothe the pain. However, they can attack the stomach too. Corticosteroids also get prescribed. These act against inflammation and can reduce the pain. Medication is also prescribed simply in order to deal with the pain. More severe forms of arthritis are frequently treated using what are known as disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs. These have an anti-inflammatory effect, but they also suppress the immune system.
In order to maintain the mobility of the affected joints, physiotherapy is recommended. Such physiotherapy needs to be designed to be easy on the joints. One form of exercise which falls into this category is swimming.
CBD and arthritis – how can cannabidiol help?
The Arthritis Foundation’s general advice for adults on how to use CBD for arthritis also addresses important questions about the effect of CBD on arthritis.
Does CBD help against arthritis? The Arthritis Foundation answers this question by citing a study which shows that CBD has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. These effects have been tested using animal subjects, but have not been verified in rigorous studies on humans. According to some of the testimonials provided by people affected by arthritis, CBD relieves pain noticeably and improves sleep. Improvements in anxiety have also been reported.
Is it safe to use CBD for arthritis? The Arthritis Foundation answers this question as follows. Research into the safe application of CBD for arthritis is currently underway. The results are not yet available, but no serious health risks from moderate doses of CBD have been identified to date. It is assumed that CBD will interact with certain medications which are taken for arthritis. If you take any of the following medication and you would like to try using CBD against arthritis, the Arthritis Foundation recommends talking to your doctor first. The medications are corticosteroids, tofacitinib, naproxen, celecoxib, tramadol, certain antidepressants including amitriptyline, citalopram, fluoxetin, mirtazapine, paroxetine, sertraline and certain medications used against fibromyalgia, including gabapentin and pregabalin. According to the Arthritis Foundation, the area of “CBD and arthritis” is one which requires further exploration.
In their guidelines for the use of CBD for arthritis, the Arthritis Foundation also mentions the different ways CBD can be taken – via the mouth, via the skin and via the lungs. For these purposes, the CBD products CBD oil, CBD ointments and CBD creams and CBD e-liquids are available. The latter are taken via the lungs using a vaper (e-cigarette).
The guidelines also comment on the matter of dosing CBD for arthritis. The medical experts who were consulted recommended the following.
- Since the CBD extract is mixed with a carrier medium when it comes in the form of a liquid, it is important to pay close attention to the information on percentages provided by the manufacturer.
- Doses should be low to begin with, and taken twice a day. If no effect takes place, the dosage can then be increased bit by bit. Once the desired effect has been achieved, this is the dose which should be maintained from then on.
- If CBD does not have any effect even at higher doses, consider consulting a doctor about the possibility of expanding the treatment regime to include medical THC. It is important to note, however, that THC, unlike CBD, can have a significant impact on motor skills and cognitive processes.
- If, after a few weeks of taking CBD, you still do not notice any improvement, it may be that CBD is not the right thing for you.
- If you notice undesirable side effects when you use CBD, you should stop taking it immediately.
What do you need to look out for when buying CBD?
The general recommendations for adults on using CBD for arthritis, also provides recommendations regarding criteria which can be used to assess the legitimacy of a CBD product which you are considering buying in a shop or online.
- Domestic manufacturers should always be preferred.
- Products should be manufactured in accordance with national regulations.
- You should make sure that it is clear that each batch of CBD gets tested by an independent laboratory. The manufacturer should be able to provide evidence for this upon request.
- CBD sellers are not part of the health system.
- The USA’s Arthritis Foundation believes that CBD is a promising substance which may help against the worst symptoms of the condition, such as pain, insomnia, and anxiety disorders.
- Although further research is still required, existing studies suggest that this approach has much to offer.
Taking products containing cannabinoids may result in interactions with various medications. If you are already taking medication, the use of CBD and other cannabinoids should be discussed with your doctor beforehand.