Do you or someone close to you suffer from arthritis?
If so, you know just how crippling the pain and inflammation of this condition can be.
But what if I told you that you could get fast, long-lasting relief from arthritic joint pain using CBD?
Well, you can.
Read on to learn how.
Arthritis: A Leading Cause of Pain and Disability
Arthritis is a broad term that refers to a variety of joint diseases, all of which cause chronic pain and disability.
In fact, arthritis is one of the leading causes of disability around the world.
In the US alone, for example, it affects over 50 million adults and around 300,000 children.
While it tends to be more common in older adults, arthritis can affect any person of any age.
Some general symptoms of arthritis include:
- Joint pain
- Swelling, redness, and tenderness in the joints
- Stiffness and reduced mobility
Remember that there are around 100 different types of arthritis, all of which are slightly different and may cause their own unique symptoms.
Understanding the Most Common Types of Arthritis
The term arthritis can refer to over 100 different conditions.
Obviously, I can’t realistically cover of all of these different conditions in this article.
Nonetheless, here is a basic overview of some of the most common types of arthritis:
- Osteoarthritis: Also known as degenerative arthritis, this is the most common type of joint disease. It is caused by the gradual breakdown of cartilage; a soft, rubbery tissue that covers the ends of the bones, absorbs shock, and provides cushioning. This causes constant irritation, pain, and swelling. Over time, osteoarthritis can also cause bones to break down or develop abnormal growths. The constant irritation of the affected joint also causes chronic inflammation that only further damages normally healthy tissue in the area. Finally, once the cartilage in the affected joint has been completely worn down, the bones in the joint rub against each other, causing more pain, inflammation, and swelling. Osteoarthritis can affect any joint, but it is most common in the knees, hips, fingers, toes, and lower back.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis: Osteoarthritis is caused by “wear and tear” of the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, is caused by immune dysfunction. Here, a person’s immune system starts attacking healthy tissue in the joints, especially the synovium which lines the joints and produces synovial fluid to help reduce friction. This causes inflammation, swelling and pain. If not managed properly, the inflammation and immune dysfunction of rheumatoid arthritis can break down cartilage and other healthy tissue. Rheumatoid arthritis can also affect the spacing between bones in the joint and cause irreversible damage in relatively small amounts of time. Unlike osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis is more common in the hands, feet, elbows, ankles, knees and wrists. Some cases of rheumatoid arthritis can also affect the cardiovascular and respiratory systems.
- Psoriatic Arthritis: Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that affects the skin and nails. Roughly ⅓ patients with psoriasis also end up developing a form of autoimmune arthritis known as psoriatic arthritis. Like rheumatoid arthritis, this condition is caused by the body’s own immune system attacking healthy tissue in the joints. Most people with psoriasis develop psoriatic arthritis at a later stage. However, sometimes the arthritic pain can strike first or even on its own without affecting the skin and nails.
- Gout: Gout is caused a build-up of crystals in the joints due to an excess of uric acid. Uric acid is a natural compound that your body produces as a by-product of metabolizing certain foods. If your body isn’t able to get rid of uric acid quickly, it can build up and form sharp crystals in your joints that caused really sudden severe pain. People with gout also tend to experience redness, swelling, and tenderness in the joints. People can experience gout in acute attacks caused by sudden spikes of uric acid levels. However, gout can also become chronic in people whose uric acid levels are constantly high. While some people may only experience gout once, around 60% of patients go on to have another attack after their first.
What are the Risk Factors of Arthritis?
Remember, arthritis can affect anyone.
Nonetheless, there are a few risk factors that may increase your chances of developing arthritis.
- Genetics: You might have a bigger risk of developing arthritis if other members of your family have it.
- Gender: Some types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, affect women more than men. Gout, on the other hand, is more common in men.
- Age: Your risk of developing osteoarthritis increases with age and is more common in people over 40.
- Joint Injuries: People who have injured their joints in the past are more likely to develop arthritis in the future.
- Obesity: Being overweight puts extra pressure on the joints and increases your risk of arthritis.
How is Arthritis Normally Treated?
There is no cure for arthritis.
Instead, treatment usually focuses on reducing a patient’s symptoms and minimizing the impact of the condition on their daily lives.
This usually includes the use of:
- Medications. The exact type of medications used to treat a particular case of arthritis can vary. However, they usually consist of:
- Analgesics: These medications help reduce the joint pain that characterizes arthritis. Some common pain medications used to treat arthritis pain include Tramadol, Tylenol, Percocet, Norco, and more.
- NSAIDs: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories help reduce the chronic inflammation and swelling of joints. Some people may find standard OTC medications like ibuprofen and naproxen sodium to offer some relief. Most moderate or severe cases of arthritis, however, call for stronger prescriptions NSAIDs.
- Corticosteroids: Corticosteroids like prednisone and cortisone help reduce inflammation and also suppress the immune system.
- Counterirritants: Creams containing menthol or capsaicin can help interfere with the communication of pain signals from your joint, helping you experience less pain.
- DMARDs: Disease-Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs are generally reserved for rheumatoid arthritis and stop the immune system from attacking healthy tissue.
- Physical Therapy: Physical therapy usually involves a variety of exercises designed to improve range of motion, reduce stiffness, as well as strengthen muscles around the joints. The exact kind of therapy used to treat arthritis varies from patient to patient.
- Surgery: Some cases of arthritis might be treated with surgery to either repair, replace, or fuse the affected joint/joints.
How CBD Creams Help With Arthritis and Joint Pain
CBD works by activating the endocannabinoid system. When it does so, it can help reduce the pain and inflammation of arthritis.
In fact, the endocannabinoid system has also been shown to play an important role in regulating immune function. This suggests that CBD may also help relieve autoimmune arthritis, like rheumatoid or psoriatic arthritis.
Below I’ll take a closer look at the many different benefits of CBD for arthritis.
CBD Has Analgesic and Anti-Inflammatory Properties
While the CBD industry is booming, there’s still a lot we don’t know about this compound and how it affects our bodies.
One thing we do know, however, is that CBD is great at fighting pain and inflammation.
Hence, it’s no surprise that more and more people with arthritis are turning to CBD products for relief from their symptoms.
In fact, studies show that CBD might relieve inflammation via the same mechanisms as regular NSAIDs.
For example, studies have found that cannabinoids like CBD can target COX enzymes and inhibit their ability to produce prostaglandins.
These compounds help to work as signals that trigger inflammatory processes in the body.
CBD can help inhibit the production of these prostaglandins and thereby reduce inflammation in areas like the joints.
This is good news for people with chronic inflammatory diseases like arthritis.
Remember, inflammation is a normal bodily response and plays a key role in our body’s ability to fight off infections and disease.
However, conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, for example, mess up our body’s ability to turn its inflammatory responses on and off.
When this happens, the chronic state of inflammation actually does more harm than good, damaging and destroying healthy tissue.
That’s where CBD can really work its magic;
By helping regulate our inflammatory processes, CBD can help reduce the damage from the chronic inflammatory diseases like arthritis.
In fact, some studies suggest CBD is even more effective at fighting pain and inflammation than regular NSAIDs and prescription drugs.
Now, you might be wondering how CBD does this.
Well, like other cannabinoids, CBD has the ability to stimulate the endocannabinoid system, which plays a key role in managing a plethora of bodily processes, including inflammation.
To read more about the role of the endocannabinoid system in managing pain and inflammation, I recommend reading this article from the 2017 European Journal of Rheumatology.
Also, make sure to check out my previous article on CBD creams and how they can help fight pain and inflammation.
CBD is Safe, Well-Tolerated and Effective
I listed a long list of drugs before, all of which can be used to treat arthritis symptoms.
And while all of these drugs work differently, they all have one thing in common:
They cause side effects.
Even standard over-the-counter NSAIDs, for example, can cause serious side effects like stomach ulcers, kidney/liver problems, stomach pain, heartburn, and more.
Prescription analgesics like Percocet, on the other hand, can cause tolerance and addiction, as well as nausea, vomiting, constipation and more.
Corticosteroids, when used over long periods of time, can also cause high blood pressure, diabetes, weight gain, muscle weakness, mood changes, etc.
In comparison to these drugs, CBD is extremely safe.
CBD creams, especially, cause hardly any side effects because they are unable to reach the bloodstream.
But even those CBD products that do enter the bloodstream (like CBD oils, for example) cause very few side effects.
There have been several studies into the safety and efficacy of CBD, and most report tiredness, diarrhea, and appetite changes as the only side effects of CBD.
Some studies suggest that some people may also experience headaches, dry mouth, and low blood pressure after taking some CBD products.
These side effects, however, are rare and can be avoided by dosing CBD properly so your body has time to adjust.
In comparison to the side effects of other drugs, the side effects of CBD are really mild.
That makes it a great treatment alternative for people with arthritis who need regular, reliable relief from their symptoms without the risks that come with most pharmaceuticals.
CBD Can Regulate the Immune System
If you or a loved one suffer from rheumatoid or psoriatic arthritis, I’ve got big news:
This might help explain why so many patients with rheumatoid arthritis, for example, find CBD so effective.
For a more detailed overview of CBD and how it affects the immune system, I highly recommend reading some of the following articles:
- The Profile of Immune Modulation by Cannabidiol Involves Deregulation of Nuclear Factor of Activated T Cells (Biochem Pharmacology, 2008)
- Targeting Cannabinoid Signaling in the Immune System (Frontiers In Immunology, 2017)
- Cannabinoids And The Immune System (Leafly, 2015)
How CBD Became My #1 Recommendation for Arthritis and Joint Pain:
You might be wondering why I’m writing this.
Well, my Dad suffers from osteoarthritis in his knee.
It all started about a year ago when Dad started complaining about pain and stiffness in his knee, especially in the mornings.
Like many guys his age, however, Dad didn’t-exactly rush to the doctor.
Nonetheless, we ended up taking him to get his knee looked at and the doctor was quick to diagnose Dad with degenerative arthritis.
Along with his diagnosis, the doctor gave Dad a list of drugs he could use to try and manage his pain and inflammation.
I started researching these drugs online and was quick to look at alternatives once I learned all about their potential side effects.
That’s when I discovered CBD.
And while I must say both Dad and I were a bit skeptical at first, we were both blown away by the results.
Today, Dad uses CBD creams on a daily basis to help ease the pain and inflammation in his knee.
He finds they work best when applied under a bandage overnight, and also couples the creams with other CBD products like oils, gummies, and more.
I also find topical CBD products like creams particular effective at treating arthritis because they can be applied directly to the affected joint.
Oils and gummies, on the other hand, need to be digested first, enter the bloodstream and then be transported to the affected site.
Even Dad’s doctor was surprised by the positive effects of these products.
Thanks to the anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties of CBD, Dad’s been able to avoid some of the drugs his doctors first prescribed.
Find the Best CBD Products for Arthritis
If you or a loved one suffer from arthritis, I highly recommend you give CBD a shot.
Thanks to its analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and immune-regulating properties, CBD offers a really comprehensive alternative to regular medications.
Best of all, CBD can offer fast, long-lasting relief without side effects.
For more information on what CBD creams to use for arthritis, make sure to check out the reviews on my homepage.