Patients with chronic arthritis pain might be thinking about using cannabidiol (CBD) as a type of medication.
CBD and THC (delta-9tetrahydrocannabinol) are constituents of marijuana, alongside other cannabinoids. THC, though, is a psychoactive substance while CBD is not. Psychoactive, in more layman terms, means that it causes a high (or intoxication).
Some patients might’ve already tried CBD. A recent Gallup poll from August of 2019 stated that the number one reason 14% of Americans used CBD was pain reduction. Another poll by a more relevant organization (the Arthritis Foundation) found out that about 29% of people used CBD currently as treatment (in topical or liquid form). Out of these, about 80% said they used CBD, had used it sometime before, or were thinking of using it.
Of the respondents who said they were using it, some claimed it improved sleep, physical function, and well-being. Some even seemed to have seen an improvement in stiffness and pain.
You may feel tempted to try CBD as some arthritis types don’t work efficiently by “normal” treatment regimens such as pain medication. Also, CBD is a much less addictive option as compared. In fact, the World Health Organization published a review that showed that CBD has no substance abuse potential whatsoever. This is why CBD recommendations are everywhere for people who suffer from seizures, arthritis, anxiety, and many other conditions.
But is there any concrete scientific evidence that CBD works for arthritis? Do any experts recommend it? Before our time, there wasn’t enough research conducted on CBD, as well as little supervision for anyone who had wanted to use it. Now that CBD products are legal and promoted almost everywhere, science is catching up.
What Is Arthritic Pain?
Some people don’t know this, but there are even more than 100 types of arthritis, and while pain is the more dominant symptom in all, they aren’t all the same. So, it could be said that while one medication or treatment would work for one type, it might not work for another.
A general sort of treatment is based on reducing pain and stiffness in every arthritis type and the maintenance of muscle function. Many prescription medicines are mainly recommended for more commonly known conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, since they help prevent permanent damage to the joint.
More so, every person experiences pain differently and gives different responses to pain treatments. As a result, it is possible that there isn’t a CBD product that works well for everyone and all arthritis types.
Bioavailability is also another consideration you should factor in. For instance, if you’re using CBD vapes for treating localized pain on your joints or skin, you might not get favorable results. Topical CBD, on the other hand, is perfect for use on aching skin sites.
Evidence for CBD Use in Chronic Arthritis Pain
Some studies conducted in lab conditions suggest that using CBD could be used as a viable treatment for arthritis. There are even studies conducted on animals that show CBD’s pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties. But there aren’t any human clinical studies about chronic arthritis pain patients using CBD as an effective and safe treatment.
An abstract form of a randomized trial was published for osteoarthritis of the knee concerning topical CBD. It lasted for about 12 weeks and produced mixed results. But, since it was only abstract research, it can’t be relied on.
The health effects of CBD and cannabis were inspected by one of the largest reviews, and it stated that there’s some good evidence in regards to chronic pain patients using cannabis as a viable treatment.
Even then, there isn’t much to go for CBD in terms of evidence since there aren’t any conclusive studies available.
CBD reviews and testimonials are available widely throughout the internet about patients who’ve used it (in forms such as liquid, spray, capsule, and topical) for their pain and had fantastic results. But there aren’t any clinical trials that could answer whether CBD is any use for patients who suffer from chronic arthritis pain.
Drawbacks of CBD Treatments
Every single treatment/medication has its side effects, and CBD is no exception. Although CBD is relatively quite safe, some people have experienced dry mouth, sleepiness, a light-headed sensation and even, problems related to the liver.
CBD might interact with some other medicines a person takes. But there isn’t any conclusive evidence about that as of yet.
CBD purity and potency could cause concern as CBD products’ production isn’t as regulated as prescription medications.
Some claim that there could be a disruption of pain regulation in the body due to CBD usage. And that is due to tolerance, which causes a higher dose of a drug or medication for its effectiveness.
One of the major and known downsides is the cost. Even though there is a wide range of prices, they can increase concerning the potency, dose, and formulation.
CBD Guidelines for Chronic Arthritis Pain
Although doctors usually decide on their merit and considerations, whether it’s all right to prescribe CBD to a patient or not. Nevertheless, some guidelines are available. According to the Arthritis Care and Research medical journal and the Arthritis Foundation:
- Try to buy a product that has a “Good Manufacturing Practices” certification. So the safety, purity, and potency of the product have all been tested independently,
- Consider CBD as a small part of a pain management plan. It’s an option other than medicine such as psychological therapy,
- Take account of the oral treatments and take a small dose at the start,
- Talk to your doctor about the available CBD treatments.
- Consider small goals that you can achieve realistically.
- Forsake other treatments overall for pain relief and chose CBD as your first choice,
- Allow anyone else other than your doctor to create a pain management plan,
- Stop taking medication prescribed by your doctor as they might protect any other damage to your joints in the future.
- Always consider talking to your healthcare provider to create a pain management plan.