A reminder... what is CBD?
CBD is the shorthand term for cannabidiol, which is one of the active ingredients in cannabis. More specifically, the cannabis sativa plant.
Many people still associate CBD with cannabis. But in contrast to THC (the more commonly known marijuana), it is not psychoactive, does not get you 'high' and is not addictive. The effects of cannabis are quite commonly known, and include impaired cognitive and motor functions, as well as an increased appetite. CBD does not have the same effect.
CBD - like THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) - comes from the cannabis plant. It is known as a powerful natural pain reliever, as well as having numerous other benefits. For example, it's anti-inflammatory, and also it's antidepressant-like effects.
CBD interacts with the human body's endocannabinoid system, which affect many different processes in the body.
Both CBD and THC work with cannabinoid receptors that release neurotransmitters in your brain. These transmitters can affect processes such as mood, sleep, memory and pain.
But CBD and THC are not the only cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. In fact, the hemp plant contains over 100 cannabinoids! CBD products often contain some of these other cannabinoids, as well as flavonoids and terpenes.
This is because the cannabinoids work together and enhance the effect of the product.
This is known as the entourage effect.
In general, there appears to be some resistence to CBD. From people who still associate it with the illegal drug marijuana to big pharmacuticals who may not may not benefit financially from CBD. Consequently there are limited clinical studies for CBD. But we do feel we are moving in the right direction.
There is one FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approved medical cannabis treatment at present - Epidiolex - which is used for Epilepsy. So we know that CBD has been accepted in the conventional world of medicine as a substance that offers significant health benefits.
How could CBD help with arthritis and osteoarthritis?
There are already promising animal studies that suggest that CBD could help with osteoarthritis and arthritis.
To understand why CBD could work for osteoarthritis or arthritis, a look inside the body and how CBD works helps.
Put simply, CBD influences the exchange of neurotransmitters in the brain and body. CBD, therefore, has the ability to inhibit receptors or increase the exchanges of these neurotransmitters.
Specifically, CBD interacts with two specific receptors in the body's endocannabinoid system - CB1 and CB2. Regulating the neurotransmitters to these receptors can actually relieve pain and the effects of inflammation.
CB1 and CB2 receptors are primarily involved in emotional performance, movement, coordination and the immune system.
The fact that CBD has an effect on chronic pain and inflammation, has already been scientifically investigated. The American non-profit organization CreakyJoints explains how these properties can be transferred to osteoarthritis and arthritis.
Areas of action: the affected area and in the nervous system
CBD is believed to work in two parts of the body for pain caused by osteoarthritis and arthritis.
Firstly, at the point where the pain occurs (e.g. the knee joint).
And secondly, in the central nervous system, which sends pain signals to the brain. Such pain signals are sent out when the nervous system detects certain stimulations or damage to nerves or cells.
And it is precisely this ability of CBD to calm this reaction which is one of the reasons why CBD could be an effective pain reliever for people with osteoarthritis and arthritis.
Another reason is the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD. Inflammation occurs when the body fights an infection (or something that is perceived as an infection).
With autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system attacks healthy parts of the body such as your joints.
The brain receptor CB2 also plays an important role in the immune system. In rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system mistakenly attacks the tissue in the joints. This relationship with the immune system could explain why CBD might work for rheumatism symptoms.
In addition, the anti-inflammatory effects of CBD can also help slow or stop the progression of rheumatism, causing permanent damage to joints over time. These effects could also relieve other inflammation-related rheumatism symptoms such as fatigue and fever.
Experimental animal studies on CBD in arthritis
Some rodent studies in recent years have suggested that CBD may be effective in osteoarthritis and arthritis. This is mainly due to the anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects of CBD.
- A study from 2011 showed that CBD eased inflammatory arthritis pain in rats, because CBD influences the way pain receptors respond to stimuli.
- A review in 2014 showed that CBD can be an effective treatment for osteoarthritis.
- A 2016 study by the European Journal of Pain found that CBD gel can relieve pain and inflammation associated with arthritis in rats. In this case, the CBD gel was applied topically (i.e. externally).
- In a further study in 2017 it was found that with osteoarthritis pain in rats, CBD blocked and prevented the later development of nerve damage in the affected joints.
Of course, we must bear in mind that these are animal studies. The results do not automatically transfer to humans. However, in other areas (but not osteoarthritis or arthritis), successful studies with CBD have also been carried out on humans.
In chronic pain, for example, CBD can be effective. The research results published in Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management in 2008 show that cannabinoids can be successfully used for pain relief in multiple sclerosis and cancer patients.
Also, fibromyalgia patients have already taken part in other studies where an analgesic effect by CBD has been proven.
CBD could also be used for sleep disorders, because problems falling asleep are often associated with osteoarthritis or arthritis pain.
We're at risk of writing a long list of things CBD has been reported to help alleviate the symptoms of so instead shall direct you to our section on what CBD can be used for!
Are there any CBD creams or gels for osteoarthritis?
When evaluating hundreds of experience reports and current CBD products, one thing is striking: CBD creams, lotions, ointments or gels are often suggested for patients with joint pain from osteoarthritis or arthritis.
These are simply applied to the skin of the affected joints. The amount of CBD in the products can vary greatly so check the labels.
Can CBD help dogs and cats with osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis can also occur in (mostly older) dogs and cats.
And unfortunately, arthrosis and arthritis are not curable in dogs and cats. However, one can try to alleviate the suffering of our four-legged friends.
6 ways you can tell if your pet has arthrosis or arthritis:
1. Visible problems when walking
2. Dog is very reluctant to go for a walk (as this is often associated with severe pain)
3. Muscles feel stiff or swollen
4. Frequent wheezing or whimpering, especially during movements
5. Stairs are largely avoided
6. Sleeps more than usual
If you notice any of the symptoms above, we advise you to see a veterinarian immediately. Because even if arthrosis and arthritis are not curable, quick treatment is advisable to reduce suffering and the risk of progressive damage to the joints.
How could CBD work in dogs and cats?
Simply put, similar to the way it works in humans. Again, you should note that there is still no direct scientific evidence for the effectiveness of CBD in osteoarthritis or arthritis in pets (unless you keep rats as pets...). Since it has not yet been scientifically tested.
CBD triggers sensors in the natural endocannabinoid system found in dogs and cats as well as humans.
These sensors then send a message to the brain to relieve pain and activate the other internal systems needed to fight disease and inflammation. And this regulation of the sensors can be affected by CBD.
Therefore, it would be suspected that CBD could also have anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects.