Originally posted on https://greenpathscience.com/blog/can-topical-cbd-help-arthritis/
Arthritis is one of the leading causes of pain and disability in the United States. Conservative estimates of the disease puts prevalence around 54 million Americans, though there are likely more undiagnosed cases of the condition. Older adults are much more likely to have arthritis, though it also affects some 300,000 babies and children.
Over 100 different types of arthritis exist, and some are more common than others. At its most basic form, arthritis is simply a way of describing joint pain and disease. Common symptoms persist throughout all types of arthritis, such as joint pain and swelling, decreased range of motion, and stiffness. An individual living with arthritis may experience symptoms cyclically, as they go through periods of relative comfort and pain. As the disease progresses, it can lead to chronic pain, as well as permanent joint changes. Certain types of arthritis can also affect the lungs, heart, eyes, kidneys, and skin.
Of particular interest is the increasing use of topical CBD to treat different manifestations of arthritis. In some animal studies, CBD has been shown to reduce inflammation, which can help provide symptom relief in certain types of arthritis.
Common Types of Arthritis
Depending on the type and severity of the arthritis, it can affect sufferers in different ways. Some of the most common types of arthritis and their symptoms include:
- Rheumatoid arthritis, which is an autoimmune disorder that causes the body to attack joints and cause inflammation. It primarily affects the hands and feet with painful stiff joints. Though people think of arthritis as something that only affects the elderly, RA can manifest in people as early as their 30s. Damage to the joint from RA can be permanent.
- Osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis, is a degenerative condition that causes joint pain. It occurs when the cartilage, which cushions the ends of bones, wears away, such that bone rubs against bone. This causes swelling, stiffness, and pain of the affected joint. Risk factors for osteoarthritis include being overweight, family history, and previous injury of the affected joint (for example, a previous ACL tear is a risk factor for later arthritis of the knee). Age can also be a factor.
- Infectious arthritis can result from exposure to certain infectious agents that can reach the joints, such as Hepatitis C, salmonella, and STIs like gonorrhea and chlamydia. Prompt treatment with antibiotics can help address the inflammation, but, in some cases, the arthritis can become chronic.
- Metabolic arthritis, like gout, occurs from the buildup of uric acid in the body. When a person cannot break down and get rid of uric acid quickly enough, it can affect the joints and cause inflammation and pain throughout the body.
- Psoriatic arthritis, like RA, is an autoimmune disease. It affects the joints the same way as rheumatoid arthritis but with the additional symptom of severe psoriasis than can be very painful to the skin. Topical cream can be a great option for this particular variation of arthritis.
Treating Arthritis Symptoms with Topical CBD
An emerging body of research suggests that cannabidiol (CBD) has therapeutic value, particularly for the treatment of inflammation that makes arthritis painful. CBD products can be purchased online, over the counter, and at dispensaries everywhere in the United States. Consumer demand for CBD is high and growing, with market analysts predicting the CBD industry will reach an estimated $16 billion by 2025.
With a growing interest and increased consumer demand, scientists are trying to keep the pace and study the therapeutic effects of CBD on a variety of medical conditions. The preliminary results for the use of CBD oil in the treatment of arthritis are promising.
One study by Dalhousie University in Canada suggest topical CBD can help reduce inflammation, specifically for osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis can produce unbearable pain for its sufferers. The study’s goal was to figure out whether CBD inhibits inflammation and prevents pain and joint neuropathy from developing. The findings were astounding; local CBD treatment reduced acute joint inflammation significantly, and the administration of CBD also curtailed the development of joint pain at a later time.
The data from this study indicates local administration of CBD blocks osteoarthritis pain and may prevent the advancing pain and nerve damage. This research indicates CBD could be an effective option for treating OA joint neuropathic pain.
San Diego State University
An electronic survey by San Diego State University assessed the broad characteristics of CBD users and focused on reasons for use. The top medical conditions reported were arthritis/joint pain and anxiety.
Nearly 36% of those studied reported CBD treats their medical condition by itself. It suggests that CBD reduces inflammatory cytokines in murine models of inflammatory disease and chronic and acute pain.
University of Kentucky
Animal studies at the University of Kentucky at Lexington further demonstrate that transdermal, or topical, use of CBD oil can help control inflammation and associated pain behaviors. In this particular study, researchers applied CBD gels to rats that had arthritis of the knee for four consecutive days. After the four day period, researchers examined histological samples of the joint and found significant decreases in inflammation. In addition, the rats displayed increased levels of activity and improved limb posture scores, suggesting that they experienced pain relief after just a few days.
A Review of the Literature
Finally, a systemic review of the current literature surrounding CBD and its role in pain relief from a university in Italy had promising findings. The authors note, for example, the CBD has the potential to play an important role in the treatment of the chronic pain associated with severe inflammation and arthritis, as it provides symptomatic relief with no readily apparent side effects. Further, preclinical studies show that cannabinoid receptor agonists within the body effectively block pain in both chronic and acute pain models, reducing inflammatory mechanisms that can help improve quality of life.
This data provides compelling rationale for further research to better understand the potential of CBD in treating chronic inflammation pain. Though human studies are limited, remember that there is still a federal ban against marijuana and its byproducts in the United States, despite states passing laws that allow the use of both medical and recreational marijuana and its byproducts. As policy catches up with modern science, researchers will be able to uncover more evidence surrounding CBD and its positive effects on pain and inflammation.
The Importance of Choosing High Quality CBD
To make matters even more confusing for consumers, not all CBD is created equally. There is no regulating body that oversees the composition of CBD products or its quality. As a result, CBD suppliers have become ubiquitous but not all sell a quality product. In fact, other industry research suggests the source of their CBD and the concentration is unclear and even confusing. Independent studies have confirmed the CBD content in nearly 70% of online products is mislabeled. In one study, 43% of products tested were not labeled correctly and over 20% of them contained detectable THC levels.
To reap the full benefits of CBD oil and the effect it can have on arthritis and inflammation, users should make sure the product is high-quality, contains accurate dosing and concentration information, and is backed by lab certification. In other words, the product you use should be lab tested to ensure it is free of THC and actually contains the CBD concentration advertised on the bottle. In the existing marketplace, this is the best way to ensure that the CBE product you are using is high quality and effective.
CBD Oil For Your Arthritis Pain
There is a significant body of evidence available to suggest that CBD oil, when applied topically, can be helpful in addressing arthritis pain. CBD topical cream works to provide symptomatic relief of arthritis pain, stiffness, and swelling by reducing the inflammation of the affected joints. By applying high quality CBD oil to the affected areas, you can experience improvement of your arthritis-related pain.