Does CBD help with arthritis pain?
If you have chronic arthritis pain, you may be wondering about cannabidiol (CBD) as a treatment. CBD, along with delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other chemicals, is found in marijuana. But unlike THC, CBD is not “psychoactive” — that is, it does not cause the intoxication or high associated with marijuana use.
There’s a good chance you’ve tried it already: according to a Gallup poll in August of 2019, about 14% of Americans report using CBD products, and the number one reason is pain. The Arthritis Foundation conducted its own poll and found that 29% reported current use of CBD (mostly in liquid or topical form), and nearly 80% of respondents were either using it, had used it in the past, or were considering it. Of those using it, most reported improvement in physical function, sleep, and well-being; of note, a minority reported improvement in pain or stiffness.
Perhaps you’ve been tempted to try it. After all, most types of arthritis are not cured by other treatments, and CBD is considered a less addictive option than opiates. Or maybe it’s the marketing that recommends CBD products for everything from arthritis to anxiety to seizures. The ads are pretty hard to miss. (Now here’s a coincidence: as I was writing this, my email preview pane displayed a message that seemed to jump off the screen: CBD Has Helped Millions!! Try It Free Today!)
What’s the evidence it works? And what do experts recommend? Until recently, there’s been little research and even less guidance for people (or their doctors) interested in CBD products that are now increasingly legal and widely promoted.
But now, there is.
A word about arthritis pain
It’s worth emphasizing that there are more than 100 types of arthritis, and while pain is a cardinal feature of all of them, these conditions do not all act alike. And what works for one may not work for another. Treatment is aimed at reducing pain and stiffness and maintaining function for all types of arthritis. But for certain conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, conventional prescription medications are highly recommended, because these drugs help prevent permanent joint damage and worsening disability.
In addition, individuals experience pain and respond to treatment in different ways. As a result, it’s highly unlikely that there is a single CBD-containing product that works for all people with all types of arthritis.
What’s the evidence that CBD is effective for chronic arthritis pain?
While there are laboratory studies suggesting CBD might be a promising approach, and animal studies showing anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects, well-designed studies demonstrating compelling evidence that CBD is safe and effective for chronic arthritis pain in humans do not exist. A randomized trial of topical CBD for osteoarthritis of the knee has been published, but in abstract form only (meaning it’s a preliminary report that summarizes the trial and has not been thoroughly vetted yet); the trial lasted only 12 weeks, and results were mixed at best. One of the largest reviews examined the health effects of cannabis and CBD, and concluded that there is “substantial evidence that cannabis is an effective treatment for chronic pain in adults.” But there was no specific conclusion regarding CBD, presumably because definitive studies were not available.
Of course, there is anecdotal evidence and testimonials galore, including reports of dramatic improvement by people who tried CBD in its various forms (including capsule, liquid, topical, and spray) for their pain. But we are still waiting for well-designed, scientifically valid, and rigorous clinical trials (such as this one in progress) that are so badly needed to answer the question of just how helpful CBD may be to people with chronic arthritis pain.
Are there downsides to CBD treatment?
As with any treatment, there can be downsides. CBD is generally considered safe; however, it can still cause lightheadedness, sleepiness, dry mouth, and rarely, liver problems. There may be uncertainty about the potency or purity of CBD products (since they are not regulated as prescription medications are), and CBD can interact with other medications. For pregnant women, concern has been raised about a possible link between inhaled cannabis and lower-birthweight babies; it’s not clear if this applies to CBD. Some pain specialists have concerns that CBD may upset the body’s natural system of pain regulation, leading to tolerance (so that higher doses are needed for the same effect), though the potential for addiction is generally considered to be low.
There is one definite downside: cost. Prices range widely but CBD products aren’t inexpensive, and depending on dose, frequency, and formulation, the cost can be considerable — I found one brand that was $120/month, and health insurance does not usually cover it.
Are there guidelines about the use of CBD for chronic arthritis pain?
Until recently, little guidance has been available for people with arthritis pain who were interested in CBD treatment. Depending on availability and interest, patients and their doctors had to decide on their own whether CBD was a reasonable option in each specific case. To a large degree that’s still true, but some guidelines have been published. Here’s one set of guidelines for people pursuing treatment with CBD that I find quite reasonable (based on recommendations from the Arthritis Foundation and a recent commentary published in the medical journal Arthritis Care & Research):
- If considering a CBD product, choose one that has been independently tested for purity, potency, and safety — for example, look for one that has received a “Good Manufacturing Practices” (GMP) certification.
- CBD should be one part of an overall pain management plan that includes nonmedication options (such as exercise) and psychological support.
- Choose an oral treatment (rather than inhaled products) and start with a low dose taken in the evening.
- Establish initial goals of treatment within a realistic period of time — for example, a reduction in knee pain that allows you to walk around the block within two weeks of starting treatment; later, if improved, the goals can be adjusted.
- Tell your doctor(s) about your planned and current CBD treatment; monitor your pain and adjust medications with your medical providers, rather than with nonmedical practitioners (such as those selling CBD products).
- Don’t make CBD your first choice for pain relief; it is more appropriate to consider it if other treatments have not been effective enough.
- Don’t have nonmedical practitioners (such as those selling CBD products) managing your chronic pain; pain management should be between you and your healthcare team, even if it includes CBD.
- For people with rheumatoid arthritis or related conditions, do not stop prescribed medications that may be protecting your joints from future damage; discuss any changes to your medication regimen with your doctor.
The bottom line
If you’re interested in CBD treatment for chronic arthritis pain or if you’re already taking it, review the pros, cons, and latest news with your healthcare providers, and together you can decide on a reasonable treatment plan. Depending on the type of arthritis you have, it may be quite important to continue your conventional, prescribed medications even if you pursue additional relief with CBD products.
We may not have all the evidence we’d like, but if CBD can safely improve your symptoms, it may be worth considering.
Follow me on Twitter @RobShmerling
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10 Best CBD Oil for Arthritis: Top CBD Brands Reviewed 2022
Arthritis is a severe and debilitating condition that can affect people of all ages (although it’s more prominent in older individuals). The latest statistics from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reveal that up to 58.5 million Americans over 18 had some form of arthritis in 2015.
But an aging population coupled with the repetitive daily tasks we perform—such as computer work or physical labor – likely means the number will be much higher now in 2022. Alarmingly, the CDC predicts that arthritis patients will hit 78.4 million by 2040.
Numbers aside, it’s pretty clear that arthritis poses a considerable risk to people’s health, and it’s not going away anytime soon.
Although research is still ongoing, there’s strong anecdotal and preliminary evidence suggesting CBD may help address some of the symptoms associated with arthritis. As a result, cannabidiol may be a viable alternative for those concerned about medication side effects or dependence on painkillers.
To effectively address arthritis symptoms, you need a CBD oil that’s potent, pure, and safe. Unfortunately, there are now thousands of brands, making it hard to find quality products. We’ve compiled our ten best choices for CBD oil based on several benchmarks to measure quality, strength, safety, and transparency to narrow down the list.
Is CBD Oil Good for Arthritis?
We can’t conclusively say CBD oil is good for arthritis, but the ever-growing pile of preliminary research seems to support that conclusion. It’s also important to consider the mounds of anecdotal evidence that poured in long before experts took CBD seriously. Judging by the number of people who use CBD for arthritis pain and inflammation, the case for cannabidiol gets stronger every day.
For example, an Arthritis Foundation poll surveyed several arthritis patients, revealing some surprising information. According to the survey, 79% of respondents “are currently using CBD, have used it in the past or are considering using it.” Meanwhile, 29% say they currently use it for arthritis symptoms.
Interestingly, the products used are almost evenly split between oils and creams. Of the active CBD users polled, 62% use liquid CBD (oils, tinctures, beverages), while 55% use topical CBD products (creams, balms, lotions).
How CBD Oil Helps with Arthritis
If you plan to try CBD oil for arthritis, it’s helpful to understand how CBD oil helps with arthritis. The mechanism of action is a lot more complex than with other cannabinoids, like THC. But that’s one of the many reasons CBD is so versatile.
Most cannabinoids bind to the CB1 and CB2 receptors that form our endocannabinoid system. This network of receptors and internally-produced cannabinoids keeps our body in balance or “homeostasis.”
THC, for example, binds to both the CB1 and CB2 varieties. Some cannabinoids bind to one or the other. CBD, however, has little affinity for either. Instead, it works through different receptor pathways, including:
● GPR-55 orphan receptors
● TRPV1 vanilloid receptors
● PPAR receptors
● Serotonin receptors
Those pathways serve several functions, including pain regulation, appetite, sleep, and mood to name a few. In the case of arthritis, however, the TRPV1 or “vanilloid” receptors are primarily responsible for mitigating the condition’s symptoms. Researchers induced inflammation in rat subjects during a 2009 study published in the British Journal of Pharmacology.
Based on the observations, CBD’s interaction with the TRPV1 receptors contributed to the anti-inflammatory benefits that also helped reduce pain.
Inflammation is a textbook arthritis symptom inevitably accompanied by pain. Evidence suggests that CBD may help reduce joint pain related to arthritis. For instance, a 2017 research paper in the academic journal Pain studied the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD. Experts applied a CBD-infused topical on rats with osteoarthritis. Although the rodents didn’t show immediate improvement, observers noticed a significant reduction in inflammation by the 14th day of their experiment.
Analgesic 2019 Gallup poll shows 14% of Americans use CBD. But out of all the potential symptoms, 40% of those CBD consumers—the most significant chunk—use it for pain.
This pattern is even more prominent when you look at the Arthritis Foundation’s poll we covered earlier. That survey determined 94% of CBD users with arthritis took cannabidiol for pain.
But one notable piece of research is a 2008 review of existing literature by famous cannabis researcher and medical expert Ethan Russo. Russo is known for “Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects,” a paper where he proposed and explained the synergistic “entourage effect” that we frequently refer to today.
Russo examined studies on synthetic (prescription) cannabinoids and external cannabinoids (phytocannabinoids). Unsurprisingly, he concluded that, based on existing evidence, CBD and other cannabinoids might help manage chronic pain.
CBD was far from mainstream in 2008, but subsequent research—such as that mentioned above—has helped support Russo’s conclusions.
Best CBD Oil for Arthritis: Top CBD Brands Reviewed
If you’re looking to try full-spectrum CBD oil for arthritis pain, it’s hard to find the right product—especially if you’re new to CBD. You need a clean, tested, potent CBD oil for the best results.
To help determine the best CBD oil for arthritis, we’ve compiled a list of top ten vendors based on our objective benchmarks (more on that later).
1. Colorado Botanicals: Best CBD Oil for Arthritis
Colorado Botanicals was established in 2017, offering a trustworthy and effective line of inexpensive Full and broad-spectrum CBD products. Today, they carry an even more extensive selection of hemp supplements, but they have never wavered from their commitment to transparency, safety, and quality. We’re proud to give Colorado Botanicals our top spot as the Best CBD Oil for Arthritis.
Colorado Botanicals offers the best CBD oil for pain (or other possible uses). But we’re not the only ones to notice. Observer and Discover Magazine chose Colorado Botanicals as their top pick as “Best CBD Oil” and “Best CBD Oil for Pain,” respectively.
But Colorado Botanicals advantage isn’t just what you see on their shelves. Behind the scenes, those products are backed by quality assurance, sustainable farming, independent testing, and lab-grade production.
CO2 extraction is becoming the primary approach to quality CBD oils. It leaves no trace solvents, making it cleaner – albeit more complicated – than other methods. Unfortunately, the process also destroys many terpenes, cannabinoids, and other beneficial compounds. Typically, vendors artificially add terpenes from other plants to make up for the loss.
However, Colorado Botanicals perfected a proprietary CO2 extraction technique followed by an unmatched purification process that maximizes terpene, cannabinoid, and flavonoid retention for an all-natural product.
Colorado Botanicals full-spectrum CBD oil ranges in potency from 300 to 3,000mg of CBD per 30 ml bottle, but their 750mg Full-Spectrum CBD Oil—at 25 mg/ml—is strong enough to meet the needs of an average CBD user.
The already low price gets better with repeat shipping at a 15% discount.
Based in Denver, Colorado, CBDistillery has grown by leaps and bounds since its founding in 2016. CBDistillery focuses on quality sourcing. They use Colorado hemp grown through “natural farming practices,” although they never mention “organic.” The vendor is also certified by the U.S. Hemp Authority.
All of the company’s CBD oils are very affordable. Veterans and active military personnel may further offset the cost with CBDistillery’s 30% military discount.
Regular customers can also save money by subscribing to a 20% discount on every order.
CBDistillery offers excellent value along with a range of CBD extract products. However, we feel the best option is their mid-range product. CBDistillery’s 1,000mg Full-Spectrum CBD contains 33 mg/ml of CBD, allowing it to address mild to moderate symptoms.
3. NuLeaf Naturals
Established in 2014, NuLeaf Naturals keeps its products pure and simple. Although they were strictly CBD-focused, their offerings expanded to CBG, CBN, and CBC oils. NuLeaf’s approach to hemp CBD is similar to that of Colorado Botanicals. Both prefer to focus on purity rather than flavors and other proverbial bells and whistles. One thing they haven’t done is expand beyond oils, topicals, and capsules. But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Rather than branch out to new options, they continue refining and perfecting the products that made them successful. Unfortunately, this can limit their customer base, but those that are loyal can expect to enjoy some of the purest CBD oils available. If you’re looking to try Nuleaf Naturals CBD oil, their 900mg Full-Spectrum CBD Oil is a perfect mid-range starting point.
4. Lazarus Naturals
Based out of Seattle, Lazarus Naturals grows its organic hemp in Oregon.
They offer CBD and other cannabinoid extracts in various sizes and options. Like most premium CBD vendors, they’ve since expanded into other extracts, adding CBG and CBN to some of their formulations.
One thing that stands out about Lazarus Naturals is their price. Customers can pick up a bottle of full-spectrum 2,400 mg 60 ml CBD oil for just $120.00. Lazarus Naturals also has one of the best return policies possible. You can return your unwanted items for free with a prepaid shipping label up to 90 days after receiving them.
We recommend the Lazarus Naturals High Potency 1,500mg Tincture. All of the oil products in this line contain 50 mg/ml, so our choice is based on volume and price.
5. Charlotte’s Web
Charlotte’s Web is one of the most established CBD brands. Originally opening in 2012, their high-CBD cannabis strains put cannabidiol on the map. The brand rose to prominence after a story went public about Charlotte Figi, a young girl whose severe epilepsy was controlled by the company’s CBD oil.
Charlotte’s Web isn’t the cheapest brand, but it’s not prohibitively expensive either. It helps that they offer a 20% discount for subscribers and an assistance program for veterans.
Charlotte’s Web sells 30 or 100 mg bottles in 7, 17, 25, 50, and 60 mg/ml concentrations. In our view, however, the best mid-range choice is their THC-Free CBD Oil at 25 mg/ml. The broad-spectrum product is perfect for moderate users and carries no THC.
6. Joy Organics
Joy Organics is among the few who can say their hemp is USDA Certified Organic, the highest tier possible.
Like CoBo, Joy says they use a proprietary CO2 extraction method that maximizes natural hemp compound retention. Of course, you can see that with lab test results available on each product page.
The company also offers decent potency options, ranging from 15 mg/ml to 75 mg/ml – all at surprisingly affordable prices. Customers can save even more with Joy’s 20% discount for subscribers.
We highly recommend Joy Organics Full-Spectrum 1350 MG Fresh Lime Organic CBD Tincture, popular among customers looking to try CBD for arthritis pain.
At 45 mg per serving, the product’s potency offers an excellent balance for beginners and intermediate CBD enthusiasts.
cbdMD embodies what success in the industry should look like. Opening in 2015, their company grew exponentially and now offers a diverse selection of CBD oils, edibles, skincare products, and more.
As far as potency is concerned, cbdMD tops our list. Their most potent product (7500 mg) contains a staggering 250 mg/ml in a 30 ml bottle – far above the 100 mg/ml cap we’ve seen so far with other companies.
Considering what they offer, cbdMD is quite affordable, with their strongest oil retailing for just $209.99 – a price that’s much lower with their 30% subscriber discount. The cbdMD Premium 750 mg CBD Oil Tincture is a solid medium-dose product that may help people who are trying to address arthritis pain and other symptoms. At 25 mg/ml, the concentration isn’t excessive for beginners yet also adequate for those with moderate needs.
Established in 2017, Medterra is a bit of a youngster compared to some of its competitors. But despite its comparative inexperience, the CBD company has a lot to offer. Medterra only carries a handful of CBD products, but their formulas reflect the more advanced recipes that many companies adopted. Certain lines include other beneficial ingredients, like CBG and nutritional supplements.
What truly stands out about Medterra is its commitment to education. Their site is crammed with resources and news for beginners new to CBD. With such tools, it’s easy for anyone to get their feet wet as they enter the ever-growing world of hemp-derived CBD health supplements.
Customers looking for full-spectrum CBD oil can choose Medterra’s True Full-Spectrum oil at 50 mg/ml. The product is only available in 50 and 100 mg/ml doses, with 2 mg of THC per serving.
9. Royal CBD
Royal CBD’s commitment to quality is pretty straightforward. As their slogan states: “no room for mediocrity,” it’s evident that they take their products seriously. Despite the rather intense tone, it offers a sense of reassurance. Their commitment to quality is transparent, with CO2 extraction, natural sourcing, and third-party tests integral to their business.
Royal CBD offers decently potent oils. At up to 83 mg/ml in broad-spectrum and full-spectrum CBD options, they sit in the upper tiers but don’t approach the solid 100 mg/ml of CoBo, or cbdMD’s 250 mg/ml concentration.
Royal CBD’s 1,000 mg Full-Spectrum CBD Oil is a good balance between price and potency – although, at $129.00, it’s a bit expensive. Still, the product contains 33 mg/ml of CBD, an excellent mid-sized dose.
10. Green Roads
Green Roads may not have the same chops as some bigger names, but it makes up for that with its experience, knowledge, and exciting backstory.
Founded in 2013 by pharmacist Laura Fuentes, she was inspired to enter the industry after a friend with health issues approached her for help. What started as a side gig formulating products in her spare time soon became the thriving business we see today.
Green Roads carries isolate, broad-spectrum, and full-spectrum tinctures. We recommend Green Roads 1500mg Broad Spectrum CBD Oil, which contains a solid 50 mg/ml of CBD.
How We Chose the Best CBD Oil for Arthritis
Whether you’re looking for arthritis pain or other chronic pain management, you need the best CBD products. But sorting through the sea of companies is challenging and time-consuming – so we did that for you.
To remain objective, our rankings are based on a specific set of criteria, which determines a CBD vendor’s rank on our list.
An easy way to find the best CBD companies is through company reputation. It’s easy for any CBD retailer to say they’re the best or post reviews on their websites. However, we avoid potentially biased sources and instead focus on independent forums, like Reddit or Trustpilot.
That being said, some companies – while excellent – are still building a place in the market, so company reputation doesn’t carry the same weight as some of our other benchmarks.
Third-Party Lab Reports
Third-party lab reports are necessary for a CBD retailer to make it anywhere near our list. These tests are critical for transparency and safety. Without concrete proof, any vendor can assure us of their products’ quality, accuracy, and purity.
Lab reports should be clear, easy to read, and from a reputable third-party lab. Some vendors do their in-house testing, but that’s a recipe for bias. The tester’s information is supposed to be listed on the test document, making it easy to check with a simple Google search.
Product testing is tied to third-party lab reports. Lab reports won’t exist without a testing process – unless they’re forged, which sadly has been known to happen. Like reports, testing is an absolute must-have. Hemp extracts can contain any number of contaminants, like bacteria, fungi, and heavy metals. It’s also impossible to confirm CBD content without testing the extract first.
Any vendor that doesn’t test its products should be avoided.
While company reputation focuses on brand recognition through customer volume, customer reviews determine whether a vendor—known or obscure—is worth supporting. Again, we base our evaluations on independent feedback from sources like Reddit or other consumer review forums.
Although we understand every company has its share of bad ratings, a large customer base and overwhelmingly positive responses indicate a reputable business.
CBD Oil for Arthritis FAQs
How much CBD oil to take for arthritis?
The amount of CBD oil to take for arthritis is tricky to determine. Conventional medications receive extensive study and are designed to behave a certain way, making dosing easy and predictable.
CBD, however, hasn’t had the same level of research as any medicine you’ll find at your local drugstore – prescription or otherwise. And the information we do have only indicates that textbook CBD dosing is all but impossible.
Many factors affect the correct dose, including:
● Sensitivity (to CBD)
Our endocannabinoid systems are also unique to each of us, further complicating the dosing issue.
Start Low and Go Slow
CBD is biphasic, meaning that too much CBD is just as ineffective as taking too little. That’s why it’s essential to follow the old cannabis adage, “start low and go slow.” If you’ve never experienced CBD before, start with the smallest dose possible – around 2.5 to 5 mg. Increase that dose gradually over several days until you notice results.
When is the best time to take CBD oil for arthritis?
If you suffer from constant flare-ups, your goal will be to keep a steady supply of CBD in your body to hopefully mitigate the pain and inflammation. There’s no right or wrong time to take CBD, but consumers find it works better when taken with food.
Eating something fatty, like peanut butter, also helps speed up absorption since CBD (like all cannabinoids) needs some kind of lipid to carry it.
What is the best way to take CBD for arthritis?
The best way to take CBD for arthritis is through oral ingestion. This approach allows CBD to provide a more generalized anti-inflammatory and analgesic effect. Oils aren’t the only option. Many CBD edibles are available that make taking CBD easier for those who aren’t fans of the “hempy” oil flavor. To that end, CBD gummies are a fantastic alternative.
If you want the best CBD gummies for pain, keep our benchmarks in mind while shopping around. However, topicals are also a practical option for fast, focal relief of joint pain and inflammation. Although they’re not as long-lasting as CBD oil, topicals work almost instantly, right where you need them.
Both oils and topicals are excellent products, but using them together is the best way to prevent arthritis symptoms and quickly address them should they arise.
Does CBD have side effects?
Yes, CBD has side effects. Fortunately, they’re rare and relatively mild. Some examples include:
● Appetite change
● Mood changes
One concern is CBD’s potential interaction with certain prescription medications, such as antiepileptic drugs (AEDs). If you’re on any medicines, speak to your doctor or specialist before trying CBD.
Conclusion: Best CBD Oils for Arthritis of 2022
It’s tough to find the best CBD oils for arthritis. Shopping for the right one can be overwhelming with so many products, brands, and sources. The easiest way is to look for specific indicators of quality, credibility, and safety.
But the world of cannabinoid hemp supplements is rapidly expanding. CBD laid the groundwork, which has since paved the way for other related products. Cannabigerol (CBG) several brands—like those above—created some of the best CBG oil available, which could further help mitigate arthritis symptoms.
While there’s no guarantee CBD will work for you, being a smart shopper increases your chances of seeing positive results.
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