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Can CBD oil help with osteoarthritis?

Can CBD oil help with osteoarthritis?

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Osteoarthritis is the most commonly diagnosed form of arthritis here in the UK, with more than 10 million people suffering from the condition. It is a difficult issue to treat effectively, and while there is no ‘cure’, there are ways for osteoarthritis sufferers to manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life.

One of the newer additions to the osteoarthritis treatment arsenal is CBD. CBD (cannabidiol) is a hemp-derived cannabinoid that is showing huge promise in treating a bunch of health issues, including chronic pain and inflammation.

Key takeaways

  • CBD has been shown to be effective in reducing inflammation and pain associated with osteoarthritis.
  • Different CBD products, such as oils, creams, and capsules, may have varying levels of effectiveness depending on your individual needs.
  • It’s important to consult with a healthcare provider before adding CBD to your current treatment plan.
  • CBD is not a cure for osteoarthritis, but it may help alleviate symptoms and reduce the need for heavy pharmaceuticals.
  • Maintaining a healthy lifestyle with regular physical activity and a balanced diet can also support joint health. 

With so many people now adding CBD oil, creams, and capsules as complementary treatments to their osteoarthritis management plans, we thought it was about time that we took a good, hard look at what the science has to say when it comes to CBD  treating pain, inflammation, and other symptoms of osteoarthritis.

Can CBD oil help with osteoarthritis?

What is osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is a real pain in the… joints.

When the cartilage that provides cushioning between bones begins to break down (due to injury, age, genetics, or other factors), the bones rub against each other. This rubbing action causes heavy inflammation, sometimes debilitating pain, redness on the skin, and a marked decrease in the ability to move joints properly. Bone spurs can develop in the affected joints, only increasing the symptoms of osteoarthritis.

It is rare for patients under the age of 45 to develop osteoarthritis. As we age, the risk of developing osteoarthritis increases almost exponentially.

How is osteoarthritis treated?

Treating osteoarthritis starts with prevention, well before the condition develops.

Keeping in generally decent shape, with plenty of regular exercise, can help prevent the development of osteoarthritis. Being overweight or obese is another big risk factor, and people who lead sedentary lifestyles are also more at risk.

For people who already have osteoarthritis, treatments typically include a combination of medication, physical therapy, and lifestyle changes. These treatments aim to reduce pain, improve joint functionality, and slow down the progression of the disease.

Does CBD cure osteoarthritis?

No, CBD is not a cure for osteoarthritis. It can potentially help manage some of the most common symptoms, including pain and inflammation.

CBD is one of the 113 cannabinoids that have so far been isolated from weed plants and is one of the two major cannabinoids – along with THC. Unlike THC, CBD is non-psychoactive. But like THC, it comes with a range of potential therapeutic qualities.

CBD products became legal for regular sale here in the UK in 2018. As the law stands, CBD products must not contain more than 0.2% THC to be sold legally without a prescription.

Can CBD oil help with osteoarthritis?

The science behind CBD and osteoarthritis

While research is still in its early stages, a growing body of evidence suggests that CBD has potential as an effective treatment for osteoarthritis symptoms, along with just so many patient reports.

While we are still waiting for specific research focusing on CBD and osteoarthritis, studies and clinical trials have looked at CBD and arthritis more generally.

A cross-sectional study from 2022 looked at 428 arthritis sufferers and their experience with CBD. The result couldn’t have been more clear, or more positive. The results showed that:

  • 83% of participants reported an improvement in pain
  • 66% said that their physical function had improved
  • 60% reported improvements in sleep quality
  • The study also found that CBD administration correlated in a “reduction or cessation of other medications after CBD use” for 60.5% of participants, including opioids and anti-inflammatories

These findings are backed up by a couple of other interesting papers.

So, to put that in easier-to-digest terms:

CBD products have been proven to help reduce inflammation, decrease joint swelling, and improve pain levels in people with osteoarthritis.

Can CBD oil help with osteoarthritis?

What are the best CBD products for joint pain?

There are a few routes you can take when it comes to treating osteoarthritis with CBD.

  • CBD oil can be thought of as the “all-rounder” of CBD products. It comes in a few different forms, but as a general rule of thumb, you want to be looking at either full or broad-spectrum CBD oils. This way, you are getting “the full spectrum of cannabinoids”, which might help with other symptoms of osteoarthritis, like anxiety and sleep issues.
  • CBD creams and balms are great for localised, targeted pain relief.
  • CBD capsules or edibles can also be effective in managing osteoarthritis symptoms.

How should you use CBD for osteoarthritis?

That depends on which CBD product you decide to add to your current treatment plan. Don’t think of CBD as a replacement for other medications or physical therapy. It’s best applied as a complementary treatment, alongside whatever has already worked for you.

  • CBD oil is most effective when taken sublingually (under the tongue) and held for a minute or two before swallowing. This allows for better absorption into the bloodstream.
  • CBD creams and balms can be applied topically, directly onto the affected area. Make sure to massage it in for the best results.
  • CBD capsules or edibles should be taken as directed on the packaging, but remember that they will take longer to take effect as they need to be digested first.


Is CBD oil better than medical cannabis for joint pain?

Medical cannabis products can contain the same amount of CBD as over-the-counter options, but can also come with the addition of THC. It’s a personal preference and depends on your individual needs, but THC has been shown to be effective in pain and inflammation management for some people.

Can I use CBD while taking other medications?

It’s always best to consult with your doctor before adding any new supplements or treatments to your current medication regimen. CBD can potentially interact with certain medications, so it’s essential to have a conversation with your healthcare provider beforehand.

Are there any side effects of using CB for osteoarthritis?

While CBD is generally well-tolerated and has few known side effects, some people may experience mild symptoms such as dry mouth, drowsiness, or changes in appetite. It’s always best to start with a low dosage and gradually increase if needed.


CBD is not a cure for osteoarthritis. Nothing is. Once it has set in, it is a chronic condition.

But, adding CBD to your current treatment plan may help reduce inflammation, decrease joint swelling, and help with the related pain. It may also allow you to reduce or even discontinue taking heavy pharmaceuticals.

If you already have some experience with CBD for pain, CBD for inflammation, or CBD for arthritis, please share your story. Leaving a review helps the entire community, and your experience may be exactly what someone else needs to read.

Remember, always consult with your doctor before adding any new supplements or treatments to your current regimen. And don’t forget to continue staying active and eating a healthy diet to support overall joint health.