What is CBD for Arthritis?

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CBD helps manage arthritis. A little background is necessary to understand what CBD is for arthritis.

In 2018, the U.S. Senate amended the Farm Bill to allow for growth, research, and industrial hemp processing. Hemp is a variant of cannabis that has CBD as its dominant cannabinoid. The law provided that the hemp that was authorized federally should have no more than 0.03% THC content. 

This action by the senate was prompted by scientific evidence that the endocannabinoid system and CBD have numerous health benefits. 

Research on the endocannabinoid system (ECS) shows it helps maintain homeostatic balance in the body. Some of the symptoms of arthritis fall among the elements of homeostasis that CBD and the endocannabinoid system regulate. 

ECS is the most widespread organ system. It is found in virtually every organ because it is tied to the central and peripheral nervous systems. 

ECS has three parts. 

  • Cannabinoid receptors
  • Endogenous cannabinoids and 
  • Metabolic hormones 

The body produces cannabinoids internally when there is a need to restore balance on any part. These cannabinoids, known as endogenous cannabinoids or endocannabinoids, are received by the receptors, restoring the balance. 

Metabolic hormones then break down endocannabinoids once they have completed their role. Thus the body doesn’t store cannabinoids.  

Sometimes, especially when you have a chronic condition, the body may not release endocannabinoids in large enough quantities to manage the disease. This is where CBD comes in. 

Industrial hemp contains about 100 cannabinoids in varying quantities, with CBD being the predominant one. These cannabinoids are known as phytocannabinoids or plant cannabinoids. When you introduce CBD into your system, it has the same effects on the body as the endocannabinoids. Therefore, with CBD, you don’t have to wait for the body to release cannabinoids. You introduce it into the body whenever you need to. This is how you use CBD to manage arthritis.

CBD Benefits for Arthritis

Arthritis affects about 54 million Americans. It is the leading cause of disability in the country. There are many types of arthritis, and all of them are characterized by pain and inflammation of joints. When not treated effectively, it can lead to disability. 

The FDA has approved some CBD-based drugs to manage diseases. A good example is Epidiolex, which is authorized to help control seizures in children with intractable cases of epilepsy. 

Research is still being conducted on the effectiveness of CBD in arthritis, but there is considerable anecdotal evidence to show that it helps. 

There have also been numerous animal tests that reinforce the claims about CBD’s benefits for arthritis.

The following are some of the studies. 

  • A review conducted in 2020 is among the most recent studies on this matter. It showed that CBD helps to relieve chronic pain and inflammation. The pain caused by arthritis usually leads to a lack of sleep, and this study showed that CBD also helps to improve sleep. 
  • Research conducted in 2017 showed that CBD helps to reduce neuropathic pain. It manages pain by changing how neurons transmit pain signals to the brain. 
  • A 2016 study showed that rats who used CBD gel experienced less inflammation and joint pain. These are some of the most common symptoms of arthritis.
  • In 2008, researchers found that CBD reduces joint pain and improves the user’s quality of sleep. Furthermore, there were no side effects associated with this use of CBD in any of the studies above. 

People with arthritis are often prescribed opioids which have numerous side effects. Opioid dependency is one of the leading public health challenges in America today. 

Researchers have concluded that CBD can be as effective as opioids at managing pain without the side effects. Therefore, many scientists are hopeful that CBD could answer the opioid problem among arthritis patients and others with chronic pain in the US.

How to use CBD for Arthritis

Consult your doctor before you take CBD for arthritis. This consultation is vital because CBD is not a replacement for the pharmaceutical drugs you have been taking. It is a supplement. You, therefore, need to know how it will interact with your prescription medication. 

How you use CBD for arthritis depends on the CBD product you use. The following is a list of CBD formulations and how to use them. 

  • CBD Topicals. Topicals are CBD products you apply externally; they include salves, creams, lotions, and other such products. You can use these by rubbing them on the inflamed joints. 
  • CBD Vape. Vape gets to the body through the lungs. You can take it by inhaling CBD vape juice or shattering it using a vape pen. You can also smoke CBD dominant hemp flowers through a bong or some other type of pipe. 
  • CBD edibles. This refers to food items infused with CBD. They include cookies, gummies, and other types of candy; beverages also fall under this category. With these products, you take CBD for arthritis by eating or drinking like ordinary food or drink. 
  • CBD Tinctures. These are CBD oils made from hemp extracts and carrier oils. Sometimes they may have other ingredients to fortify them. Tinctures come in small bottles, each of which has a dropper. 

Take a tincture by dropping the oil on the mucous membrane under the tongue or the inner side of the cheek. Hold the drops of oil on the membrane for two to three minutes and then swallow what remains. CBD gets into the system through the previous membrane. Taking CBD under the tongue is referred to as taking it sublingually. 

  • CBD capsules. These capsules contain CBD gel, and you swallow them like pills or ordinary capsules. The CBD in them then finds its way into the inflamed joints through the normal metabolism and absorption process. 

With all these options, you are probably wondering, ‘what is the best CBD for arthritis? It depends on individual preference, some people would never smoke or vape, but they can use other options. 

Besides preference, bioavailability is a crucial factor to consider. 

Bioavailability refers to the percentage of CBD you take that your body gets to use. A certain percentage gets lost without being of help to the body. Inhaled CBD products have the highest bioavailability, and they work fast while edibles and topicals have the lowest and slowest uptake. Topicals, however, are suitable for arthritis because you apply them directly to the affected area. Massaging motion while applying may ease the pain. 

How Much CBD to Take for Arthritis

The CBD industry isn’t well regulated. As a result, dosage recommendations aren’t as clear-cut as in regular medicine. This means that getting the proper dosage requires trial and error. Your doctor may also propose a dosage, considering all the facts and including the medicine you possibly intake.

This is how the trial and error method works. 

The baseline dosage is 0.25mg of CBD per pound of body weight. If you are 120 pounds heavy, you should take 120 x 0.25 mg per day; this equals 30mg of CBD daily. You can take the CBD in two or three equal portions.

It is easy to tell how much CBD you are getting from a unit of the product you are using because manufacturers provide that information. 

If the baseline dosage doesn’t improve your symptoms, increase the dosage accordingly the following day. You could decide to take 0.4mg per pound of bodyweight and continue increasing the amount until the symptoms of arthritis start to reduce.  

You should also consider bioavailability when determining your CBD dosage. So, how much CBD should I take for arthritis concerning bioavailability? Calculate as above and take a bit more CBD than your body needs to cover the deficit occasioned by low bioavailability.

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