Suffering from Joint Pain or Arthritis? CBD May Offer Relief

Arthritis and joint pain, how CBD may offer relief

Image Credit: By Atstock Productions on Shutterstock

The United States is seeing a boom in the cannabis industry due to various states legalizing medical and recreational marijuana. Also, some states have legalized the sale of CBD oil. The food and drug administration has not approved the use of CBD products, “for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of any disease,” and goes on to warn consumers to “beware purchasing and using any such products.”[1] This warning is in part since many people are not selling what they claim when it comes to CBD oil. Numerous companies have marketed their products as containing high levels of CBD, which upon laboratory testing have been shown to contain little or no CBD.

As a new market, which has mostly emerged from what was once a black market, the oversight on cannabis products is not quite what it should be. Therefore, many people attempting to find products that they believe will help them are being scammed. This is not to say that there aren’t companies out there producing high-grade cannabis products that undergo the proper testing, just that there are people out there selling fake products and it is essential to be careful. If you are considering implementing cannabis in your life, be sure to do your research on who and where you are getting your products from. If a company is not being transparent about their production process, there is a good chance it is because they are doing something shady.

There is very little scientific evidence showing that cannabis products cure any diseases. This is one of the main reasons that the food and drug administration cannot approve the use of cannabis for the treatment of any diseases. The current legal status of cannabis at the federal level makes researching it very challenging. However, while there is a lack of scientific data, a plethora of anecdotal and patient testimonials exist supporting cannabis and its therapeutic potential.

Another thing to keep in mind when considering the medical value of cannabis is that it is one of the oldest plants cultivated by humans and also one of the oldest plants to be used medicinally. The use of cannabis as a medicine dates back to ancient China and appears in the first known pharmacopeia. Besides being the stuff of legend, recent studies have begun to show that cannabis can be used to treat a wide variety of ailments. More long-term laboratory tests are necessary before any official claims can be made on the actual effects of cannabis.

Discoveries such as the endocannabinoid system are very recent, and we are just starting to understand how they work. While many states have approved the medical use of cannabis, both full plant cannabis and CBD extracts remain illegal at the federal level. If current trends are any indication, it would seem that in the next decade patients should have access to medical marijuana throughout the entire United States. Cannabis is most often used to treat nausea, seizures, and for pain management. It has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects and in some cases even shrink tumors.

This article will focus on how cannabis can be used to reduce pain and inflammation, specifically concerning joint pain. Degenerative Joint Disease affects over 25 million people in the United States. This disease most commonly affects those above 65. It occurs when the cartilage between joints becomes inflamed and eventually begins to erode. Cartilage is what cushions where joints meet and without it, bones can grind against each other causing a great deal of pain and limited mobility.

Almost all States with medical marijuana allow for a prescription if the patient is suffering from pain. The exact wording differs from state to state, but the fact that Degenerative Joint Disease causes chronic and debilitating pain means that if you are looking to treat the disease with cannabis and you live in a state that allows medical marijuana, there is a good chance you can get a prescription. Degenerative Joint Disease is also known as osteoarthritis and while it is slightly different from other forms of arthritis, states that allow medical marijuana for arthritis will most likely allow its use in the case of osteoarthritis. Since cannabis has been found to have anti-inflammatory effects many people believe there is a chance that cannabis can help in Degenerative Joint Disease.

What are Cannabinoids?

The current understanding of how cannabis affects humans is based on a system known as the endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system is a network of receptors throughout the body that interact with compounds known as cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are found in cannabis. The two main cannabinoids are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). There are thought to be hundreds of other cannabinoids found in marijuana, but these are the two we best understand.

To date, researchers have found two receptors in the endocannabinoid system. These receptors have been named CB1 and CB2 respectively. CB1 receptors are primarily found in the brain and spinal cord and are thought to be responsible for many of the neuropathic analgesic, or pain-relieving effects of cannabis. It is believed that the main cannabinoid that interacts with the CB1 receptor is THC. The cannabinoid that researchers believe is responsible for the psychotropic effects of cannabis is also THC. Researchers have been able to genetically engineer rats to only have CB2 receptors and no CB1 receptors. These rodents with only CB2 receptors showed no signs of experiencing any psychoactive effects when given cannabis.

CB2 receptors are primarily found in the immune system, with an unusually high concentration found in the spleen. Researchers believe that CB2 receptors hold great medical potential. Some believe that the CB2 endocannabinoid receptors found in the immune system have the potential to promote homeostasis and can be used to treat many diseases, including cancer and autoimmune diseases. CBD is the cannabinoid thought to interact most frequently with CB2 receptors. Researchers also believe that CB2 receptors play a significant role in how our body heals from inflammation. CBD not only doesn’t have the intoxicating effects of THC but also has been found to counteract any psychoactive effects of cannabis.

Interestingly, traditional cannabis often referred to as hemp, had almost a one-to-one ratio of THC and CBD. Today, possibly as a result of years of prohibition and black market production, THC outweighs CBD in many marijuana plants at almost a twenty to one ratio. These new strains have been bred to be incredibly psychoactive, producing an intensified version of the ‘high’ associated with marijuana. CBD oil and other CBD products are made from plants that have low levels of THC, these plants are also commonly known as hemp plants. In many states, laws require that there be no more than 0.3% THC in any products marketed as CBD.

These high CBD, low THC products do not get you high the same way smoking dried marijuana flower, or taking full plant extracts to do. This makes them an ideal candidate for treating many ailments, especially in the case childhood epilepsy. One of the most famous cannabis stories is that of a little girl named Charlotte who was suffering from hundreds of epileptic seizures a day. When her parents started giving her CBD oil the seizures nearly went away completely. Although other pharmaceutical drugs also may have side effects, in many cases much more severe than marijuana, being able to treat your child without worrying about getting them high, or doing any kind of developmental damage to their brain is a very promising possibility.

While CBD may show great promise in treating many ailments. In the case of joint pain, it may be best to go with a full plant extract of cannabis. This is because, with the full plant extract, you get the benefits of both THC and CBD. It is thought that the two cannabinoids working together hold the most potential in many cases. The only issue is that you have to be comfortable being high and cannot use full plant extracts in every situation as you can’t show up to work high out of your mind and expect it to go well. So, CBD oil is also something to try if you are in a situation where you are unable to be intoxicated.

The Growing Cannabis Industry

Clinical studies on cannabis and joint pain are incredibly lacking. There are no long-term studies on the subject. Legal challenges have plagued those attempting to study cannabis over the past few decades. With medical and recreational marijuana industries booming where they have been allowed, there has been a renewed interest in the research of cannabis. Many of the findings on cannabis, such as the endocannabinoid system are recent developments and most of the rest of the data that exists is from the 1960s and 1970s.

One of the main challenges with cannabis research is creating control. There are so many factors that go into studying cannabis, such as does the person being studied have a history with cannabis, and there is also the issue of how to administer the cannabinoids, as there can be drastic differences in the effects of cannabis depending on how it is taken; i.e. smoked, vaporized, ingested, or otherwise taken.

With more and more money pouring into the cannabis industry, many people are eager to make claims about cannabis to sell their products. Some claims made on the internet about cannabis, particularly CBD, being a cure-all for a variety of diseases are problematic for many reasons. We have all been inundated by negative propaganda surrounding cannabis and its ability to destroy the moral fiber of our country. Many of the studies done initially on cannabis were designed to look at the dangers of the drug. These dangers are relatively none. Compared to other medications people take cannabis is harmless.

This is especially true for those using cannabis to treat chronic pain. Other pain medications can be incredibly addicting are dangerous to use. Opioids have become a significant problem in the United States. Patients receiving opioid-based pain pills from their doctors have become addicted or overdosed on them and a black market has grown for people trying to use opioids recreationally. Unlike opioids, you cannot overdose on cannabis. Making it a much safer option for the treatment of chronic pain. In almost all studies on cannabis and pain, there has been an enormous decrease in the use of other medications by those being studied. Part of this downward trend is a massive drop in the use of opioids.

Cannabis for relief of arthritis

The main differences between these two forms of arthritis are where and how it affects you, but both forms of the disease are a result of inflammation. Since cannabis has been shown to reduce inflammation it goes to reason that it would be helpful in treating these diseases. So far, animal studies have come back with positive results for using CBD oil to treat arthritis. One study even showed that cannabis was helping to protect and rebuild the cartilage in the knees of rats with osteoarthritis. Another study using a prescription drug known as Sativex, which uses a 1:1 ratio of THC and CBD was also found to be useful in treating chronic pain and inflammation.

Essential oils and cannabis lotion

A newer cannabis product that many companies are marketing these days is topical cannabis rubs and lotions. These lotions are infused with cannabinoids to create a therapeutic rub. The cannabinoids absorb through your skin and offer you pain relief and anti-inflammation in the location you apply it to. Many people report that essential oils greatly help to relieve pain and inflammation caused by arthritis. The great thing about cannabis lotions is that they can also be infused with essential oils to make them even more effective. Some of the most effective essential oils for treating arthritis include peppermint oil, eucalyptus oil, and lavender oil.

Before using either cannabis or essential oils to treat your arthritis you should consult a doctor. Most long-term treatments for arthritis are merely about managing the symptoms and overtime the medications can stop working, or begin to have adverse effects on the body. This is when natural remedies become helpful.

Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
At cannabisMD we aim to provide you with all the information and knowledge you need to take the next step in your personal cannabis journey! Read about our team

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *