CBD and Arthritis

CBD and Arthritis

January 31, 2020

Osteoarthritis is the most common joint disease in adults worldwide. It is estimated that approximately one in ten suffer from the disorder. The wear of the articular cartilage can cause severe pain and is associated with inflammation. Although there are also mechanical and other causes for the breakdown of the cartilage, numerous types of arthrosis are triggered by chronic inflammation [1]. 

Obesity in particular, or aging, is often associated with an increase in chronic inflammation. Cannabidiol has shown to have anti-inflammatory properties and could be helpful in the treatment of osteoarthritis [2]. An online platform for osteoarthritis patients has conducted a survey. which was presented at the 2019 European Congress for Rheumatology in Madrid. It examined how osteoarthritis patients perceive medical cannabis and CBD. More than half of the 1059 participants used these products to treat their symptoms. 97% reported improvement, especially with regard to sleep and pain [3]. Most of the participants in the survey reported that they are not taking CBD solely to improve pain and inflammation, but also to solve other problems associated with the joint disease and the pain it causes, which results in an improved sleeping pattern, a better physical condition and a decrease in depression and anxiety. 

In September 2019, the American Arthritis Foundation published the first guidelines for the use of CBD in adults with osteoarthritis, which was based on its own national survey [4]. It describes that there are currently too few studies to justify the use of CBD in clinical medicine. However, the guidelines also stated that CBD could help alleviate the symptoms. For this, you should take a few milligrams of CBD twice a day for several weeks to determine whether the treatment works for you. In general, CBD should not be regarded as a substitute for medical care. 

In many cases, osteoarthritis is treated with over-the-counter, anti-inflammatory painkillers, such as ibuprofen, diclofenac or aspirin. An intake in high doses over a longer period of time can lead to severe side effects for the digestive tract and internal organs [5]. While long-term clinical data for the safety of CBD are still pending, there is little evidence of serious side effects according to user experience reports [6]. A recent study published in the journal “Current Opinion in Rheumatology” demonstrated that CBD has anti-arthritic effects that are independent of the cannabiniod receptors and can help control pain and reduce inflammation [7]. The team of German researchers led by Torsten Lowin and Matthias Schneider noted that an increasing number of patients with rheumatoid arthritis use cannabis to treat their symptoms, despite the fact that there is little data available yet. 

Even though we have already outlined the data on the positive effects of CBD in our article, research still lags behind the experience reports for a variety of reasons. However, we can expect to see more studies published on the relationship between cannabidiol and osteoarthritis in the future. So far, it remains to be said that we have strong indications for its positive effects, which are all well described in numerous reports and surveys. Therefore, CBD is definitely worth trying. 

Sources: 

  1. Sanada, Fumihiro, et al. "Source of chronic inflammation in aging." Frontiers in cardiovascular medicine 5 (2018): 12. 
  1. Nagarkatti, Prakash, et al. "Cannabinoids as novel anti-inflammatory drugs." Future medicinal chemistry 1.7 (2009): 1333-1349. 
  1. CreakyJoints: “57% of Arthritis Patients Have Tried Marijuana or CBD for Medical Reasons (and More than 90% Say It Helped)” creakyjoints.org/ 
  1. Arthritis Foundation: “CBD for Arthritis Pain: What You Should Know” arthritis.org 
  2. National Health Service: “NSAIDs” nhs.uk 
  3. Iffland, Kerstin, and Franjo Grotenhermen. "An update on safety and side effects of cannabidiol: a review of clinical data and relevant animal studies." Cannabis and cannabinoid research 2.1 (2017): 139-154. 
  1. Lowin, Torsten, Matthias Schneider, and Georg Pongratz. "Joints for joints: cannabinoids in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis." Current opinion in rheumatology 31.3 (2019): 271-278.