Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of many chemicals found in the cannabis plant. CBD is different from other chemicals in the plant, such as THC, that cause the “high” that many people associate with marijuana use. The “high” can refer to changes in mood, perception, or behavior, and these effects are what people usually think of in marijuana as an illegal drug. CBD has effects that do not result in this “high” produced by THC. Cannabidiol oil, for example, might have links to rheumatoid arthritis relief.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a disease that causes inflammation in the joints. As an autoimmune disease, the immune system attacks the body’s own tissues in certain areas. RA is a chronic, painful illness and is one that gets worse over time. Inflammation in the feet, ankles, knees, fingers, and wrists can cause deformity or even limit movement in those areas. Rheumatoid arthritis can attack other systems in the body — such as when swelling or heat damage body organs during flare-ups of inflammation. Other areas that can be damaged include the eyes, lung lining, nerves in the wrists (leading to carpal tunnel syndrome), and the tissue surrounding the heart. Due to the number of areas that can be affected, people with rheumatoid arthritis are at a higher risk for other conditions, too, such as heart attack, enlarged spleen, lymph gland cancer, and inflamed or decaying blood vessels.
Cannabidiol enters the scene for RA treatment because of some observed therapeutic effects it has appeared to have in the body’s immune system processes. Cannabidiol affects the endocannabinoid system — a system that contains receptors for body chemicals that are very similar to cannabinoids in Cannabis sativa. Unlike other home remedies such as heat, cold, massage, and exercise therapies, medical cannabis can possibly target the source of symptoms through this body system and its role in immunity.
As an autoimmune illness, RA sends false triggers to the immune system, so it is partly affected by endocannabinoids. The disease could potentially be helped by medical marijuana therapies that may help regulate immunity and reduce painful symptoms. Cannabidiol oil, as a substance that binds to at least two key receptors in the endocannabinoid system, has been a topic of discussion both for people interested in RA research and people interested in the possibilities of using marijuana medically.
Some RA sufferers who use cannabidiol have found relief from many of their symptoms, but these reports do not come from controlled, scientific studies. People have been able to use self-medication with legal marijuana in some states, and several have indeed found pain relief. A lot of different CBD oils and products have been on the market as home treatments, and many RA patients who use them have had less flare-ups of inflammation.
There are other medications that can slow down RA over time. Because many people have had bad side effects from these treatments, it would be helpful to understand more about the implications of cannabis use, which can only be found out by researching it. Cannabis is still considered a Schedule I drug, or a substance that isn’t considered medical and is often abused, which makes it difficult to get hold of for research even in states where it is legal.
It is always important to talk to a doctor before starting any treatment on your own for a medical problem. Because the endocannabinoid system is not fully understood, it is impossible to know the full impact of non-regulated substances on a person over a lifetime or even in the short term. Word-of-mouth stories about RA relief are not enough to decide that CBD oil is safe or effective for you. It is important to consider that when talking with a medical professional who says cannabis is okay, because the information simply does not yet exist for a physician to safely recommend CBD products to a patient. A doctor should also never recommend smoking cannabis, for example, because it is impossible to monitor dosage and strength when taking CBD that way.
Further research of the endocannabinoid system, as well as research on the effectiveness of THC-free cannabidiol oil, is needed in order for CBD to be used by the general public in a manner prescribed or even condoned by medical professionals. At this point, it is unclear whether potential risk factors are worth the potential benefits of CBD oil in helping RA sufferers, but time and research would tell for certain.