Does CBD Oil Help Arthritis Pain?

cbd oil arthritis pain

In Canada, CBD oil can be legally purchased if you are over the age of 18 or 19 depending on what province you live in. You can buy CBD oil online through a government-licensed online cannabis dispensary under the advice of a medical professional, or recreationally from a government store. 

One big differentiator between the cannabis ingredients THC and CBD, is that CBD oil does not get you “high” like its cousin, the psychoactive agent THC. CBD (or its full name “Cannabidiol”) is derived from the hemp plant, which does not contain THC which comes from the marijuana plant.

CBD oil can be taken in all sorts of different forms and there are many CBD products available on the market: topical rubs and lotions, tinctures and – my favorite – gummy bears (also called “chewables” by some).

Research: CDB Oil and Arthritis Pain

CBD oil is used by many people for many different reasons, including general pain relief, and as an anti-inflammatory.  According to research into Canadian’s CBD usage: 8.5% use CBD for inflammation, 7.1% for anxiety, 5.5% for nerve pain, 4.7% for muscle pain management and 4.4% as an antidepressant. 

A recent study found that the use of medical cannabis products including CBD oil and products containing CBD extracts, continues to rise amongst Canada’s seniors, growing from 17.6% in 2017 to 31.2% in 2019. Most of the respondents said they prefer CBD over THC products. Seniors using cannabis products reported as much as a 50% improvement in pain. 

When it comes to arthritis, many seniors are turning to CBD for these pain-relieving effects. 

The US-based Arthritis Foundation polled arthritis patients about CBD and arthritis treatment and found that a whopping 79% of patients have used CBD in the past or are considering giving it a try to help alleviate arthritis symptoms. 29% of patients report currently using CBD to manage their arthritis symptoms. The research also found that, “of those currently using CBD to manage arthritis symptoms, roughly 3 out of 4 report it was either effective or very effective in relieving several symptoms.” And, “41% report a better overall sense of well-being with the use of CBD.”

Clearly, people are curious about how CBD oil might help them alleviate the symptoms of arthritis, like chronic joint pain, but there is still a lot of research to be done. Much of the research to date has been animal studies, and while usage reports do point to CBD having a positive impact, this is considered anecdotal, not scientific, evidence. For instance, a 2016 study on lab rats concluded that, “topical CBD application has therapeutic potential for relief of arthritis pain-related behaviors and inflammation without evident side-effects.” This was an encouraging study for sure, but animal studies are not conclusive evidence that CBD has the same effect on us humans. 

Things also get more complicated when you consider that there are more than 100 types of arthritis, past the ones we most commonly hear about like osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. With CBD growing in popularity, more scientific studies are underway and we will likely have more definitive research in the near future. In the meantime, if you are suffering from chronic pain due to arthritis, it may be worth talking to a healthcare professional to find out if CBD might help. Just be sure that if you do decide to go ahead and try CBD oil that you find a high-quality CBD extract, so you can take full advantage of the potential positive effects. 

Of course, like any prescription (especially those taken for chronic pain), there are possible side effects you may experience when using CBD. The most common side effects are: lightheadedness, sleepiness and dry mouth. In some rare cases, CBD usage has been linked to liver problems. For many, the somewhat mild side effects of CBD are preferable to those of stronger opioid drugs used as pain relievers.  Changing your pain management plan is not something to be undertaken lightly, and it is very important to discuss any decision to try a new pain management option like CBD with a healthcare professional.