Arthritis treatment: Could CBD reduce the severity of symptoms in the painful condition?

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Cannabidiol (CBD) is found within the cannabis plant, certified the Food Standards Agency. Widely available in supplement form in the UK, what evidence is there that they can relieve painful symptoms of arthritis? The charity Arthritis Foundation explained CBD is “an active compound” that isn’t intoxicating, but “may cause some drowsiness”. Animal studies suggest that CBD has “pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties”.

These effects are yet to be validated in “quality studies in human”, however anecdotal evidence suggests CBD application has led to noticeable pain relief.

In addition, some people with arthritis who have tried CBD said they noticed an improvement in their sleep and a reduction in anxiety.

So far, “no serious safety concerns have been associated with moderate doses” of CBD.

However, CBD might “might interact” with arthritis medication, such as:

  • Corticosteroids
  • Certain antidepressants
  • Certain medications for fibromyalgia


  • Prednisone
  • Tofacitinib (Xeljanz)
  • Naproxen (Aleve)
  • Celecoxib (Celebrex
  • Tramadol (Ultram)
  • Amitriptyline (Elavil)
  • Citalopram (Celexa)
  • Fluoxetine (Prozac)
  • Mirtazapine (Remeron)
  • Paroxetine (Paxil)
  • Sertraline (Zoloft)
  • Gabapentin (Neurontin)
  • Pregabalin (Lyrica)

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“Doctors have not been able to say who might benefit from CBD,” said the charity.

  • This includes dosage and which form, however there are agreements on the following:
  • CBD is not a substitute for disease-modifying treatment for inflammatory arthritis.

Patients who are interested in trying CBD should first talk to the health care provider who treats their arthritis before trying CBD.

Oral consumption

CBD in capsules, food or liquid form is absorbed through the digestive tract.

The delayed onset for CBD may take up to two hours, whereas a liquid tincture sprayed under the tongue could get to work within 15 minutes.

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Topical applications

CBD lotions and balms can be applied to the skin over painful joints in the body.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) stated CBD extracts are sold as:

  • Oils
  • Drops or tinctures
  • Gel capsules
  • Sweets and confectionery
  • Bread and other bakery products
  • Drinks

Found naturally within the cannabis plant, there has been “little research about the effects they may have”.

The FSA don’t recommend CBD “for people in vulnerable groups, unless under medical direction”. These include:

  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women
  • People taking any medication

As a precaution, healthy adults are advised not to take more than 70mg per day, “unless a doctor agrees more”.

Researchers from the department of neurochemistry at the Maj Institute of Pharmacology, in Poland, looked at CBD used for pain relief.

“Numerous anecdotal findings testify to the therapeutic effects of CBD,” noted the researchers, echoing what the Arthritis Foundation stated.

In vitro studies (meaning tested on microorganisms, cells, or biological molecules) have indicated that CBD has “anti-arthritic activity”.

This is because CBD “promoted chondrocyte and synoviocyte apoptosis”.

Animal studies have also supported the beneficial pain relief effects of CBD.

However, “animal studies cannot always be translated into human results”, so the findings are limited.

As time goes on, more research will mount on CBD and its pain relief effects, and any side effects that may come to light.

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