person experiencing knee pain

Is CBD good for relieving arthritis pain?

CBD is seen chiefly as an alternative to conventional anti-anxiety meds, and it is also a potential treatment option worth exploring if you suffer from chronic arthritis pain. Of course, there is a plethora of anecdotal evidence and testimonials, such as reports of dramatic improvement by people who tried CBD in various forms (including capsules, oils, topicals, and sprays) for their pain. But before you decide to try CBD, we suggest you discuss this with your doctor, especially if you have to take other medications simultaneously. And it would be useful to seek feedback or read reviews from people who have used it for the same purpose you are considering.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant, along with other compounds such as THC and Delta-8. Unlike the latter, CBD does not have intoxicating effects, meaning it does not result in the same feelings of euphoria or “high” commonly associated with marijuana use. Even though more research is needed, CBD is proven safe and effective in treating various medical conditions, including insomnia, anxiety, depression, nausea, and chronic pain. Arthritis is one condition that falls under the chronic pain category.
There is no single standard treatment for arthritis, so people often use a combination of medications.
  • Painkillers
  • Anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive corticosteroids
  • Inflammation medication, specifically nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Counterirritants – block the transmission of pain signals
  • Biologic response modifiers – target different immune response proteins
  • Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) – prevent further joint inflammation and damage
Though these drugs address the target issues, they also come with not-so-pleasant consequences when used frequently and for long periods. These medications have been linked to muscle weakness and weakened immune systems. Excessive dosing or prolonged exposure to these substances frequently causes liver damage. In fact, long-term usage of NSAIDs, the most popular OTC anti-inflammatory, can cause stomach pain and ulcers. 
The downsides to these conventional inflammatory treatments prompted most of us to seek alternative treatments that treat chronic pain without harming some other body parts. Most suggested alternative treatments are changes in lifestyle and diet, and exercise. Several consumer reports say that incorporating CBD into these changes gave better results.
But, what’s the proof that it actually works on arthritis pain?


CBD’s possible effects on widespread medical issues like chronic pain have fascinated researchers for quite some time. Arthritis is one condition that researchers have started looking into and in particular rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis is an inflammatory and autoimmune disorder that occurs when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells, most often affecting a single joint (1). This abnormal cell behavior destroys the bone and cartilage and eventually renders them unstable and unable to perform their normal functions (2).

  • Chronic Pain

Intense pain that lasts for more than a few months and persists even after full recovery is known as chronic pain, and it can be the result of an injury or an illness like arthritis. Chronic pain varies in intensity from person to person with arthritis, but it can be crippling and severely impact a person’s daily life.

Although painkillers can alleviate the discomfort associated with arthritis, they often come with their own set of unwanted side effects. Therefore, they should be used with caution when added to other medications. As a result, more people are looking to CBD and similar pain-relief options that are safer and less invasive. In addition, numerous patients continue to opt for CBD oil due to its proven ability to lessen the intensity of chronic pain.

A 2017 review looked at the research on CBD for chronic pain and summarized the main findings (3). Researchers concluded that cannabis could be an effective treatment option for adults with chronic pain after reviewing the results of numerous trials and reviews. These results were backed up by another study that found CBD and other cannabinoids effective at reducing inflammation and pain, making them a promising new treatment option for people with chronic pain. They also found that patients were not likely to develop a tolerance to CBD’s potent effects, which was encouraging because the dosage did not need to be increased over time.

  • Inflammation

Joint swelling and widespread inflammation are associated complications of arthritis. Inflammation caused by the immune system is the root cause of most, if not all, forms of arthritis. In a healthy person, the body makes white blood cells and other substances to fight off infection. But in conditions like arthritis that cause inflammation, the immune system will trigger a response that hurts its own tissues.

The symptoms of arthritis can be lessened by cannabinoids like CBD, which have been shown to suppress inflammatory responses. Cannabinoids have powerful properties that regulate pathways that inhibit inflammatory cytokines at sites of inflammation and induce immune cell apoptosis. Because of this, researchers think CBD might be an effective preventative treatment for illnesses like arthritis that cause chronic inflammation in the body (4). The situation calls for additional study, though.

As pain and inflammation are closely related and often go hand in hand in many diseases, the joint pain an arthritic patient experiences can also exacerbate inflammation levels. Both acute and chronic forms of inflammation exist. Patients with arthritis suffer from chronic inflammation because of a prolonged inflammatory response, which can increase oxidative stress and negatively affect otherwise healthy organs and tissues.

  • Appetite Loss

The extreme discomfort and stiffness associated with arthritis often lead to a loss of appetite or a reduction in food intake, all of which can harm the patient’s overall well-being, temperament, metabolism, and appetite for food. Leflunomide, for instance, is routinely used to treat rheumatoid arthritis have been shown to have side effects that suppress the appetite, leading to unintended weight loss. A 2016 study shows that it can cause nausea, diarrhea, and changes in bowel habits (5).

Loss of appetite that lasts for a long time can be bad for the patient because it can lead to not getting enough nutrients and feeling tired because so much muscle is lost. The results of studies on the effects of cannabidiol (CBD) on hunger have been mixed, with some showing weight increase and others showing apparent weight loss. However, despite the lack of definitive evidence, scientists believe CBD greatly impacts appetite.

Obesity is a common risk factor for developing arthritis, so controlling one’s appetite or losing weight can improve one’s health and alleviate arthritis symptoms. But unintentional weight loss and a diminished appetite might be dangerous for already underweight people.


Don’t try to self-medicate with CBD.

CBD is an option that patients and their doctors have to weigh on a case-by-case basis, depending on both accessibility and interest. It is neither a cure-all nor a substitute medicine for inflammatory arthritis. Instead, it is meant to be a part of a comprehensive pain management strategy that includes non-drug alternatives (like exercise) and psychological support. Furthermore, and most importantly, CBD can interact with heart medications, blood thinners, and immunosuppressants (medications provided after organ transplantation). So, it would be best to discuss considering CBD with your physician.

Also, talking this over with your physician will let both of you see what has worked and what has not worked in the past, whether there are alternative possibilities to try first, what to look out for, and when to return for a follow-up appointment to evaluate the results. Record your CBD dose and symptoms in a journal to keep track. We suggest taking CBD edibles in a modest dose before bedtime. Keep in mind that your experience with CBD will vary depending on things, including your genetic makeup, tolerance level, and bioavailability.

Choose a CBD product that has undergone third-party testing to ensure its purity, efficacy, and safety; for instance, search for a “Good Manufacturing Practices” (GMP) certification. Quality CBD products can be pricey, especially if you intend to use them regularly. So, invest wisely by making sure the product is actually relieving your problems. And so, we make sure our products are both high-quality and reasonably priced. We put each finished product through a rigorous quality assurance testing process. And when we say high-quality, we mean consistent, potent, and zero impurities products.

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Shmerling, H. R. MD. (2020, April 10). Does CBD help with arthritis pain? Harvard Health Blog.
1 Senthelal S, Li J, Ardeshirzadeh S, et al. (Updated 2022, June 19). Arthritis. National Library of Medicine.
2 Nicholson, L.B. (2016, Oct 31). The immune system. PubMed.
3 Committee on the Health Effects of Marijuana: An Evidence Review and Research Agenda.Washington (DC). (2017, January 12). Therapeutic Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids. The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: The Current State of Evidence and Recommendations for Research. National Library of Medicine.
4 Schilling JM, Hughes CG, Wallace MS, Sexton M, Backonja M, Moeller-Bertram T. (2021, May 5). Cannabidiol as a Treatment for Chronic Pain: A Survey of Patients’ Perspectives and Attitudes. PubMed.
5 Baker, J.F., Sauer, B.C., Cannon, G.W., Teng, C.-C., Michaud, K., Ibrahim, S., Jorgenson, E., Davis, L., Caplan, L., Cannella, A. and Mikuls, T.R. (2016), Changes in Body Mass Related to the Initiation of Disease-Modifying Therapies in Rheumatoid Arthritis. Arthritis & Rheumatology, 68: 1818-1827.
Nina Julia (2022, May 3). Does CBD Increase Your Appetite? CFAH.

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