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Plant-based therapeutic options are on the rise, with CBD oil for arthritis leading the charge.

Available almost everywhere in the UK these days, from high street health stores and pharmacies to online retailers, this potent but non-intoxicating cannabinoid has been slowly (but surely) creating converts of us all – and it’s not hard to see why.

Key takeaways

  • CBD oil has been shown to help reduce pain, inflammation, and other symptoms associated with arthritis.
  • This is due to its interaction with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) and its ability to reduce the breakdown of endocannabinoids, along with other mechanisms.
  • There is research to support the use of CBD for arthritis, both in reducing primary symptoms and secondary issues such as anxiety, sleep problems, and depression.
  • Arthritis sufferers might want to consider reaching out to a medical cannabis clinic for a prescription if traditional treatment methods or CBD-based products are not providing adequate relief.
  • Both CBD oil and medical cannabis can be effective in managing arthritis symptoms, with the latter potentially offering more comprehensive relief due to its inclusion of THC.

As the research into CBD grows, so does the now extensive list of potential therapeutic applications. But one of the very first areas of interest – and one that continues to be a key area of focus for many researchers – is CBD treatment for arthritis.

With so many people now recommending CBD for arthritis, we thought it would be helpful to take a closer look at how CBD can help relieve some (or most) of the pain and inflammation associated with arthritis and joint pain. 

So, does CBD oil help with reducing arthritic symptoms?

Yes, it certainly can.

Through peer-reviewed studies and clinical trials, CBD has been shown to have powerful anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties, and it can also offer arthritis patients secondary benefits. We will dive into the research a little later in this article.

What is arthritis?

Arthritis comes in many forms – there are over 100 types of arthritis and associated conditions.

But, in simple terms, it is an umbrella word for a range of joint disorders caused by chronic inflammation. This inflammation can result in joint pain, stiffness and swelling, and decreased range of motion and overall mobility.

If left untreated, arthritis will almost always cause physical damage to the joints, which can lead to long-term disability. It is also associated with a reduced quality of life, and with a higher rate of depression and anxiety in those suffering from arthritis.

What causes arthritis?

Again, that’s hard to give one concise answer to – unfortunately, the causes of many types of arthritis are poorly understood.

In general terms, however, arthritis can be caused by a few different factors, including genetics, diseases, injuries to the affected joint, infection, an underlying immune system disorder, or just old age. Arthritis can also be a side effect of certain pharmaceutical medications.

What is CBD oil?

CBD oil is one of many CBD-based wellness products now legally available to the UK public.

Along with edibles, capsules, creams, and CBD vape liquid, CBD oil is an easy and convenient way of regularly supplementing CBD.

CBD oil options come in three main forms:

  • Full-spectrum CBD oil – contains all naturally occurring compounds in hemp but must be sourced from a hemp variety that produces less than 0.2% THC
  • Broad-spectrum CBD oil – contains all naturally occurring compounds in hemp, excluding THC
  • CBD isolate oil – pure CBD extract without any other compounds present

The extracted CBD (and other compounds for full and broad spectrum options) is then mixed with a carrier oil, such as hemp seed or MCT oil, to create the final product.

How does CBD oil help reduce arthritis symptoms?

CBD oil works in a few ways to help reduce arthritis symptoms.

When we look at the effectiveness of a therapeutic option, we can mark how well it helps with primary concerns (like joint pain and swelling for arthritis) and secondary issues (like stress, anxiety, and sleep or appetite issues). CBD can help with all of these.

To properly explain the mechanisms behind how CBD oil helps arthritis, we need to first chat about the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS).

CBD and the endocannabinoid system (ECS)

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a big deal when it comes to humans and understanding the potential therapeutic effects of CBD.

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is one of our body’s fundamental neurochemical networks. Its primary role is maintaining homeostasis, ensuring the body’s internal environment remains stable and balanced regardless of external stimuli.

The ECS controls various bodily functions, including pain perception, inflammation, immune system response, and mood regulation.

CBD has been shown to have a weak affinity to CB2, of the cannabinoid receptor. CB2 receptors are located in the immune system and regulate inflammation. By activating CB2 receptors, CBD can help reduce inflammation in the joints of arthritis sufferers.

CBD also reduces the breakdown of our own internally produced endocannabinoids. Endocannabinoids are similar to cannabinoids, but they are produced by our bodies. They help regulate many bodily functions, including pain and inflammation. By slowing the breakdown of endocannabinoids, CBD can help reduce the pain and inflammation experienced by arthritis patients.

Is there research to back up the use of CBD for arthritis?

Yes, there is.

The science behind CBD oil and arthritis

In terms of CBD for arthritis specifically, more than a few studies have been conducted showing how effective CBD is for reducing primary symptoms.

  • This cross-sectional study from 2022 found that “CBD use was associated with improvements in pain (83%), physical function (66%), and sleep quality (66%)” and that “the study found associations between CBD use and improvements in patient’s arthritis symptoms and reductions in other medications”.
  • This randomised control study focused on topical CBD application for thumb basal joint arthritis, finding “topical CBD treatment demonstrated significant improvements in pain and disability without adverse events.”
  • This study, which looked into CBD’s effectiveness in reducing inflammation and pain in rats, found that “CBD application has therapeutic potential for relief of arthritis pain-related behaviours and inflammation without evident side-effects.”

Research into CBD for the secondary symptoms of arthritis

When it comes to the secondary issues often faced by people with arthritis, the evidence is just as clear.

Are medical cannabis and CBD oil the same thing?

No, CBD oil (that contains less than 0.2% THC) is legal for over-the-counter sale here in the UK.

Medical cannabis is also legal in the UK, but it must be prescribed by a specialist.

Can arthritis patients get a medical cannabis prescription in the UK?

Yes, but only through a private cannabis clinic

The NHS does offer prescriptions, but only to patients suffering from:

  • Muscle spasticity relating to multiple sclerosis
  • Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting
  • Severe, treatment-resistant epilepsy

Is medical cannabis oil better than CBD oil for arthritis/joint pain?

Prescribed medical cannabis oil can legally contain CBD and THC. THC has been shown to be highly effective in reducing pain, along with a range of other therapeutic benefits.

With that said – CBD-only products have also been shown to offer relief for joint pain and inflammation, so the choice ultimately comes down to personal preference and availability.

The wrap-up

The research shows that CBD oil for arthritis can really make a difference to the inflammation and pain associated with arthritis, but also to quality of life.

And as we move towards global acceptance of cannabis-based medications, we can expect more research into this fascinating compound and more results confirming what the science is already saying – CBD is an amazing therapeutic tool that can help improve the lives of people suffering from arthritis.

Here at CBD Ratings, we are all about helping you find the best CBD products and are committed to educating and informing the public about the potential benefits of CBD. If you have tried CBD oil for arthritis, or any other issue, feel free to leave a review and share your experience with the CBD community!