Using CBD for Joint Pain
How can you use CBD for joint pain? Does it work?
Most Americans will experience some kind of joint pain at least once in their lives.
Apart from being uncomfortable, joint pain can be disabling and may lead to loss of livelihood and change of a person’s once active lifestyle.
According to the CDC, 23% of all American adults, that is over 54 million people suffer from arthritis, which is the major cause of joint pains.
At least one in four adults with arthritis report severe joint pains.
As if that is not bad enough, it is the leading cause of work disability in the US.
Current research estimates that one in four adults will have doctor-diagnosed arthritis. Considering the addictive nature of current pain medications, natural remedies such as CBD are getting popular every day. But does it help?
CBD has gained massive popularity in the last decade due to its perceived benefits. However, one of the motivating factors that has led to its widespread use is the lack of side-effects, unlike other treatments.
It is important to note that research into its medical use is still in infancy, and it cannot be used to replace medical treatment just yet.
So far, only one CBD based drug –Epidolex, has been approved by the FDA. Research into CBD oil for joint pain is, however, promising due to its already proven anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.
To understand how we can use CBD for chronic joint pains, we have to look at different types of joint pains first.
Joint Pains; What They Are, Types and Causes
Joint pain refers to pain, soreness, and aches in the parts of the body where your bones meet (joints). These include knees, hips, elbows, and shoulders. Typically, the pain is mild and may not require a hospital visit.
It may, however, be caused by other conditions that may require medical attention.
Joint pain may be caused by illnesses, inflammation, and injury.
Arthritis is one of the most common causes of joint pain. Arthritis has two main forms; rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA).
Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease, causes joint pain by breaking down the cartilage that covers the joint bones. This causes the two bones to rub together, leading to pain and stiffness.
Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, is an autoimmune disease. Meaning it is the immune system that is attacking the joint membranes of your body.
This causes joint pain, inflammation, and fluid build-up in the joints. Joint pain can also be caused by bursitis, gout, overuse of a joint, fibromyalgia, lupus, infection of the bone, or joint, among others.
Both types of arthritis are considered to be chronic conditions, and, unfortunately, at the moment, there’s no known cure.
CBD oil can be applied topically to the affected area to reduce swelling and inflammation.
Other ways to manage the pain include losing weight, staying physically active, and taking drugs prescribed by a doctor.
How CBD Works in Managing Joint Pain
As with all cannabinoids, CBD produces effects by interacting with cannabinoid receptors of the endocannabinoid system.
The receptors are found in multiple areas of the brain and all over the body and are responsible for maintaining homeostasis in the body. The body produces two main receptors, CB1 receptors, and CB2 receptors.
CB1 receptors are present all through the body; they are responsible for pain, mood, appetite, memories, coordination, among other functions. THC attaches itself to CB1 receptors hence the psychoactive effects.
CB2 receptors are mostly present in the immune system. They mainly influence pain and inflammation.
Unlike THC, CBD does not attach itself to any of the receptors, but it stimulates the receptors indirectly to cause its effects. Its interaction with the cannabinoid receptors (CB2) creates a positive effect on the pain and inflammation response of the body.
The main symptoms of joint pain are inflammation and pain. This suggests that CBD may be of help.
How CBD May Help Manage Joint Pain
CBD has analgesic and anti-inflammation properties.
This study, published in 2008, suggests the potential of CBD and other cannabinoids in the management of difficult to treat pain, including cancer and MS.
If CBD oil for chronic pain can work, it means most of the joint pain causes can be alleviated too. Joint pain caused by arthritis is regarded as chronic pain.
Another study on the efficacy of cannabis-based medicine in the treatment of pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis, Sativex, a UK drug containing equal amounts of THC and CBD was observed to improve pain and reduce inflammation after five weeks of use.
The patients also experienced improved sleep.
In a 2017 preclinical study on the effects of CBD in rat osteoarthritis, researchers found that local administration (topical) blocked OA joint pain.
Researchers also found that it stopped or delayed further development of nerve damage in the joints.
These results suggest that CBD may be useful in treating osteoarthritis joint neuropathic pain. While this research is promising, more studies are still required to fully understand the effects of CBD in humans.
In the case of joint pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis, where your immune system attacks your joint tissue, CBD’s effects on CB1 receptors may help in managing the condition. This is because CB2 plays a role in the immune system.
Research suggests that CBD can also be an immunosuppressant, which is why it may work well for RA.
Another study found that CBD may help in providing relief for patients suffering from fibromyalgia, a disorder that causes joint pain.
Another way to manage joint pain is by reducing weight. Excess weight puts added stress on joints, causing pain, and making arthritis worse.
Preliminary research suggests that CBD may help you boost metabolism, which may promote weight loss. However, it is unclear as CBD may also promote appetite and increase weight.
How to Use CBD Oil for Joint Pain
CBD is available as an oil, which makes it possible to make it into topical creams, edibles, capsules, and oral sprays.
Regardless of how you administer CBD, you will likely experience relief for your joint pain once it is absorbed into the bloodstream.
However, a topical application such as this topical salve seems like a good idea in this situation because you can target the specific joint that has a problem.
How Long Does It Take for CBD Oil to Work for Joint Pain?
The delivery method will always affect how long CBD takes to work for joint pain.
If you ingest it orally, the CBD will be subjected to the ‘first-pass effect,’ making it relatively slow. The effect will kick in after 1-2 hours.
For sublingual products such as this, hemp oil care spray will take between 30 minutes to an hour before you can feel the effects.
For topical application, the effects will peak after about 90 minutes due to the low permeability of the skin. However, the relief will last for up to 5 hours.
Research on CBD’s anti-inflammatory and analgesic is very promising, especially when many people in the world are suffering from chronic joint pain, a natural treatment is needed.
It is important that you consult your doctor before starting on CBD, especially if you are already on disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug treatment.
CBD is not a replacement for prescriptions, but it may help with the symptoms.