In the United States, 23% of all adults, or over 54 million people, have arthritis. It is a leading cause of work-related disability. The annual direct medical costs are at least 81 billion. One of the most promising non-pharmaceutical treatments emerging today is Cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive compound of the cannabis plant. CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties have pointed scientists toward the possibility of CBD being used to reduce and/or slow the symptoms of arthritis. Research is still in its early stages, but the initial results seem very promising.
In a 2016 study published in the European Journal of Pain, researchers used a topical form of CBD on rats with artificially-induced arthritis. The CBD dramatically reduced the rats’ symptoms by affecting the way pain receptors responded to stimuli. There have been other studies demonstrating very positive results for CBD’s ability to actually block the progression of arthritis.
Many people take CBD orally as a tincture or capsules, however topical CBD is especially popular for treating inflammation and joint pains caused by conditions like arthritis. Because topical CBD can bind to endocannabinoid receptors in the skin, it skips the bloodstream and therefore is likely to cause even fewer side effects than if it were metabolized by the liver.
All in all, Cannabidiol seems a very promising alternative to treating arthritis and long-term joint inflammation in general. While more research needs to be done for traditional medical practitioners to decide conclusively that CBD is potent enough and works consistently enough to fully replace the most widely accepted arthritis treatments of today, CBD’s apparent lack of side effects renders it a potentially viable treatment option for arthritis and arthritis-related pains.