CBD is a type of cannabinoid, a chemical that naturally occurs in cannabis plants. Unlike THC, which can change a person’s mental state or produce a “high”, CBD is non-psychoactive. There are many different CBD products available. The amount of CBD in them may vary.
Despite the wide use of cannabis as a recreational drug, there is controversy surrounding the medicinal use of products containing ingredients from cannabis plants. It is noteworthy, however, that CBD tends to be extracted from hemp plants rather than marijuana plants. Both plants are cannabis, but the selective breeding of marijuana plants has resulted in them containing high levels of THC. This is not the case for hemp plants. Recent research suggests that CBD oil may be useful for reducing inflammation, pain relief, and other conditions associated with arthritis. Cannabinoids, such as CBD, attach themselves to specialized receptors in a person’s brain and immune system. One of these receptors, called a CB2 receptor, plays a role in the immune system by managing pain and inflammation. Researchers believe that when CBD enters a person’s body, it may attach to CB2 receptors. Alternatively, it may cause the body to produce natural cannabinoids that attach to the CB2 receptors. Either way, scientists think CBD affects the way that these receptors respond to the signals that they receive, possibly helping reduce inflammation and pain.
Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the United States, affecting over 50 million Americans. The two most common types of arthritis are:
- Rheumatoid arthritis (RA): An autoimmune disease in which a person’s immune system attacks their joints, causing inflammation. RA commonly affects the hands and feet and leads to painful, swollen, and stiff joints.
- Osteoarthritis (OA): A degenerative disease that affects joint cartilage and bones, causing pain and stiffness. It often affects the hip, knee, and thumb joints.
Some studies on animals suggest that CBD could help to treat arthritis and relieve the associated inflammatory pain.
A 2011 study found that CBD helped to reduce inflammatory pain in rats by affecting the way that pain receptors respond to stimuli.
A 2014 review of the existing body of research on animals concluded that CBD may be an effective treatment for OA.
A 2016 study found that the topical application of CBD had the potential to relieve pain and inflammation associated with arthritis.
A 2017 study found that CBD might be a safe and useful treatment for OA joint pain.