For this blog, I’ll just focus on CBD for arthritis; specifically osteoarthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is different in that the body’s immune system attacks the lining of the joint, eventually eroding both bone and the lining. Although hemp could also be beneficial for rheumatoid arthritis, that’s a different blog.
Osteoarthritis, on the other hand, is basically inflammation of the joints. It’s caused by everyday wear and tear, grinding down the cartilage that protects the ends of the bones. Symptoms include pain, stiffness, swelling, redness and reduced range of motion.
Why CBD for arthritis?
I have noted in other blogs that CBD has been known to reduce inflammation. So it makes sense that it could be of great benefit to people who have arthritis pain. One reason it can reduce pain is outlined in a study published in the journal Rheumatology from Dr. Sheng-Ming Dai of China’s Second Military Medical University. You see, according to the study, people with arthritis have “unusually high levels of CB2 receptors in the joint tissue.” Our bodies, already armed with receptors, which are part of what is known as the endocannabinoid system—a mechanism that helps modulate many bodily functions—respond positively to CBD. What essentially happens is these receptors latch onto the CBD and heave a huge sigh of relief.
By ingesting hemp oil, or using a CBD-infused topical, it’s possible to reduce the inflammation and the associated pain. But, here’s the really interesting part: A study being conducted by Canadian researcher Dr. Jason McDougall, a professor of pharmacology and anesthesia at Dalhousie University in Halifax, and supported by the Arthritis Society, is working to find out if CBD can actually repair the joints as well as relieve some of the pain.
How CBD for arthritis relieves pain
Here’s what Dr. McDougall says about arthritis pain. “[The nerves are like] wires that have been stripped of their coating. They’re all bare; they’re all raw and responsible for feeling a lot of pain. What we hypothesize is that by locally administering these cannabis-like molecules to those nerves, we’d actually be able to repair them and reduce the pain of arthritis.”
So far, McDougall has found that cannabis molecules can attach themselves to nerve receptors and control the firing of pain signals in the joint. With validation from this study, perhaps in the near future, CBD and hemp could be embraced by the medical community as a viable medicine. For now, however, anecdotal evidence is enough for many people. It’s easy to insist on evidence-based medication until you are in a great deal of pain or discomfort. At that point you’re willing to try something outside the mainstream. But, the time is coming when the medical community will embrace CBD as a viable medication. Count on it.