Modern research of the cannabis plant has proven it to be one of natures finest anti-inflammatory agents. With on-going scientific trials, early evidence suggests that CBD has proven to be a viable treatment for arthritis, with patient feedback suggesting that it may be a preferred solution. Research to date has proven that CBD can counteract not only the pain of arthritis but also subsidize a variety of its symptoms. Research is still young as to whether it may actually reverse symptoms.
What is arthritis?
There are two primary types of arthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and Osteoarthritis (OA).
RA is primarily an autoimmune problem. The immune cells attack the body’s own tissues, especially the joints. This results in inflammation and in time can become crippling.
OA is more degenerative. Also affecting the joints, but differently. The cartilage in the joints breaks down, making movement difficult and painful.
So how exactly does CBD help arthritis patients? Let’s look at its two primary effects:
How CBD lessens the pain of arthritis
CBD oils and their primary active ingredient – Cannabidiol –are known to reduce the pain of inflamed tissues and joints in mammals for almost a decade. It affects the way the body’s pain receptors respond to signals. It has been shown – again in animals – to work on osteoarthritis specifically. Studies as recent as 2017 indicate that CBD could be both effective and safe to remedy a variety of joint complaints.
It has also proven to be effective for chronic pain. It achieves this feat as CBD interacts with our CB1 & CB2 receptors. By interacting with our endocannabinoid system, blocking of pain signals and reducing symptoms. With arthritis, reducing inflammation in targeted areas is one of its featured benefits.
As for exactly how CBD interacts with CB1 & CB2 receptors, is not certain. It was once thought that it binds to the receptor itself, but that is no longer believed to be true. It’s possible that it causes the body to produce other cannabinoids (or other chemicals altogether) which do bind to the receptors. Also, there’s a possibility that it binds to a different receptor, which changes the way the receptors operates. Scientists have recently discovered a CB3 receptor, with research at its early stages, cannabis researchers anticipate our current research to advance many years forward; suggesting that this may also be the missing link with identifying the cure to cancer.
How CBD lessens the inflammation of arthritis
CBD has been proven to be successful as an anti-inflammatory. It does this in three ways, all relating to its mysterious action on chemical receptors which occur on so many of the body’s cells.
First, CBD assists certain chemicals in binding to the CB2 and other chemoreceptors, whilst blocking inflammation-causing molecules or compounds. This has the effect of blocking some immune responses and making others much more powerful.
Second, Cannabidiol is also an ‘anandamide reuptake inhibitor’. Meaning, that it slows the rate at which a certain chemical signaling agent – anandamide – is reabsorbed into the cells. Anandamide is an ‘endocannabinoid’. That is a chemical which is a cannabinoid-like but produced entirely within the human body. The anandamide stays present at the signaling site longer, and the cells receive stronger anandamide signals that would otherwise be the case.
Third, some studies suggest that CBD activates human tissues’ glycine receptors, which reduces both the inflammation and pain of arthritis.
CBD seems to be effective against both chronic and acute inflammation. It interferes with the systems the body uses to (mistakenly) attack its own flesh, as in RA. It also appears to interfere with neuropathic pain and hypertension (high blood pressure) in the same complex way.
So, does CBD ‘work’ against arthritis?
Yes, all evidence shows that it does. It blocks the pain associated with both OA and RA arthritis in animals and by all reports does the same in humans. It is under heavy scientific investigation because of these known effects, and will probably be at the core of a variety of prescription painkillers in the near future.
Cannabidiol also reduces one of the primary causes of the pain and stiffness of arthritis – the inflammation of affected tissues. It makes them less inflamed, gives you more mobility, and even reduces the pain you feel by affecting the way you perceive it.
Best of all, it does both things without the risk of addiction, severe side effects, and expense of current painkillers or anti-inflammatory drugs.
With everyone’s endocannabinoid system being unique, it might not work for everyone. Regardless, if it works for you, either alone or combined with other medication, it does so naturally, and without any side effects.