CBD for Rheumatoid Arthritis: It REALLY Works
October 15, 2017

CBD for Rheumatoid Arthritis: It REALLY Works

Exploring the healing benefits of CBD
MarijuanaBreak Staff MarijuanaBreak Staff / Updated on October 15, 2017

cbd for rheumatoid arthritis

Wondering if CBD for rheumatoid arthritis actually works? Well wonder no more, because it most certainly does. Keep on reading to find out why.

As is the case with other diseases such as multiple sclerosis and psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune condition with no known antigen. In other words, it’s a disease wherein white blood cells – for apparently no rhyme or reason – attack healthy cells in the body’s major joint areas. This causes intense pain and inflammation in areas like the knees, ankles, fingers, and hips.

While most people are familiar with THC in the respect that it helps combat pain, Cannabidiol (CBD), in turn, has long since been proven as an effective treatment method for pain related to swelling and inflammation. And in fact, as we’ll discuss in this article, several studies have even been carried out specifically showcasing the drug’s potential therapeutic benefits on RA-related pain.

If you’ve been waiting for a safe, all-natural, effective replacement for your prescription RA pain medications, CBD oil just might be the treatment option you’ve been looking for.

Rheumatoid Arthritis: What is it, What causes it, and Who’s at risk

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Like we mentioned, RA is an autoimmune disease that causes pain, severe inflammation, and loss of function in the joints.

In healthy individuals, proper joint functioning is administered in part by a layer of connective tissue called the synovium, which produces a lubricating mechanism called synovial fluid. In rheumatoid arthritis sufferers, the cells in the synovial tissue are attacked by the body’s immune system, causing them to thicken and subsequently damage surrounding cartilage and bone tissue. And while doctors are unsure of what exactly initiates the immune attack on the healthy cells, they have been able to determine several risk factors associated with developing rheumatoid arthritis:

  • Sex: Women are more than three times likelier to develop RA than men
  • Genetics: The presence of specific genes may cause increased susceptibility to environmental factors that trigger onset of the disease
  • Age: People between the ages of 40 and 60 are most at risk for initial onset
  • Obesity: Overweight individuals are more at risk for developing RA due to weaker metabolisms (which promote joint area inflammation)

Moreover, it is known that the presence of rheumatoid factor – a specific antibody in the bloodstream – is in some way responsible for initiating the white blood cell attack on healthy joint tissue, though its exact physiological mechanism(s) and/or environmental trigger(s) remain unknown. (Also, not all people who test positive for rheumatoid factor in the bloodstream end up displaying symptoms of RA).

In terms of prevalence, the disease is estimated to affect about 1.5 million people, making it the second most common joint disease worldwide after osteoarthritis. Also, given the fact that RA is a systemic disease (meaning it affects other areas of the body), many sufferers will eventually experience subsequent complications with the skin, eyes, lungs, heart, kidneys, and nerve tissue.

(RA) is an inflammatory type of arthritis that usually affects the knees and hands.

Conventional (Non-CBD Related) Treatment Methods for RA

As it stands, the primary aim for current rheumatoid arthritis medications is to target localized inflammation. That is to say, to target the effects of the disease rather than the underlying cause of it.

While unfortunate, this is thoroughly understandable; until the mechanism or genetic stimuli of rheumatoid factor is discovered (and thus the stimuli of the immune attack on joint tissue), the disease will have to remain existing as ‘treatable’ rather than ‘curable’.

Naturally, the course and range of treatment options will be determined by the severity of RA expressed in any given individual.

For milder cases, standard over-the-counter NSAID’s (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like ibuprofen, Aleve, Aspirin, and Bayer are recommended, and can be effective. However, rarely are these medications strong enough to alleviate conditions in the more advanced stages of the disease.

In more severe cases, many people will be prescribed pharmaceutical-strength drugs as a means to deal with the chronic pain. DMARD’s (disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs) and biologics are common options, but these treatments – in addition to being expensive – can be incredibly dangerous. They work to modify the immune system, with the goal being to minimize onset attacks on joint tissue, but in doing so they pose a severe risk of infection. Methotrexate, for example – one of the most commonly prescribed RA biologics – has been well-documented to increase risk of serious infections due to inhibited immune response.

Other popular RA DMARD’s (such as Minocin, Azulfidine, and Plaquenil) pose an equally dangerous risk.

Opioid painkillers, the strongest pharmaceutical pain relievers on the market, are another common treatment option, but we hardly need to go into the myriad risks of abuse, reliance, and overdose potential that they present.

And lastly, while surgery for rheumatoid arthritis is an option in some cases, it’s by no means a “guaranteed fix” as it often is with osteoarthritis (osteoarthritis is pain in the joints due to mechanical ‘wear and tear’ – not due to an autoimmune response).

CBD for Rheumatoid Arthritis: Medical and Physiological Implications

What’s exciting about CBD oil as an emerging RA treatment is its proven physiological role as an immune modulator.

T-cells are a type of white blood cell that are crucial to the body’s ability to produce a healthy immune response. Likewise, they’ve also been shown to play a key role in the molecular onset of rheumatoid arthritis – they can be one of, if not the contributing factor to development of the disease.

In a recent study, however, CBD was proven to suppress localized T-cell function and activity, suggesting that the cannabinoid may be the only scientifically-backed drug capable of treating the underlying cause of RA. While this is no more than speculation at this point, the notion that the drug may play a key role in suppression of autoimmune responses is nothing short of phenomenal.

Of course, though, much more commonly understood and thoroughly studied has been CBD’s ability to suppress inflammation, and thereby minimize localized pain. This is where the drug has proven to be a viable treatment option for thousands upon thousands of RA sufferers, and is the reason why it’s allowed many to shed their pharmaceutical painkillers altogether.

In fact, a study published in Rheumatology by Dr. David Blake of the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases, has showcased cannabis’ direct role in the therapeutic treatment of chronic pain brought on by RA-induced joint inflammation.

The double-blind study, whose objective was to “assess the efficacy of a cannabis-based medicine in the treatment of pain due to rheumatoid arthritis”, was carried out over the course of 5 weeks on 58 RA patients. 31 of the patients received a CBD-containing medication, while 27 of them received placebo. After the final week of treatment, results showed that the cannabis medication produced “statistically significant improvements in pain on movement, pain at rest, [and] quality of sleep.”

Additionally, other studies have pointed to the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is an innate network of cannabinoids and cannabinoid receptors in the human body, as “active participants” in the pathophysiology of both osteo and rheumatoid arthritis.

According to one study published in February 2014, cannabinoid receptors of the ECS were found to be “ubiquitously distributed” throughout body organ and tissue systems (including the synovial membrane tissue affected by RA), and to play a central role in the regulation of “pain, inflammation, and even joint function.”

Furthermore, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) has gone so far as to declare the endocannabinoid system (due to its central role in regulating homeostasis), as “perhaps the most important physiologic system involved in establishing and maintaining human health.”

In any regard, no matter how clear the objective evidence on CBD oil for rheumatoid arthritis is, the simple fact that thousands of people use it every day to effectively treat their condition has been enough to galvanize most chronic sufferers to take it into serious consideration. Not only is the drug far cheaper than most prescription medications, given the fact that it is a 100% natural extract of the cannabis plant, it is an exponentially safer option that produces far fewer (essentially zero) side effects.

And one final thing of note, it’s important to point out that unlike THC, CBD does not get you high. While whole-plant marijuana (i.e. the flowers that are broken up and smoked as ‘weed’) contain copious amounts of both THC and CBD, CBD oil has hardly any traces of the psychoactive ingredient – the only side effects it has ever shown to produce is mild fatigue, dizziness, and irritability.

The Bottom Line: CBD for Rheumatoid Arthritis

As scientific research has more than capably pointed out, CBD for rheumatoid arthritis is without a doubt an effective and medically viable treatment option for the disease – there are no if’s, and’s, or but’s about it.

That being said, it is important to point out that not all people suffering from RA will experience the same therapeutic effects of the drug – some in fact, may not experience any effects at all. The goal of medicinal research is to objectively declare the validity of a treatment method – not to declare it an effective means of treatment for any given individual.

Likewise, it’s also important to understand that not all CBD oils are created the same. Some brands, in fact, have recently been questioned by the FDA as to the validity of their “cannabidiol containing” products. Thus, when shopping around for the right oils and tinctures, make sure you do plenty of research and choose from a quality manufacturer, in addition to speaking with a health care professional, if at all possible.

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  1. Debbie
    Would like to try

    I would like to try this as I have severe ra for 16 years I am on lots of strong meds so I’m a bit scared of taking it in case it interferes with the meds I take .

  2. Sarah Dunlop
    CBD oil may be my best bet

    I have not yet tried it but my daughter is a true believer. I’m 56 and have RAZR and take merhartoxate and htdroxychloraquin butility findustry I need to take morphine for the pain I always feel sick and cant eat I think CBD oil may be my best hope bit don’t know where to get it or how much it costs

  3. Susan
    Information on cbd oil

    I’m from the UK and have recently been diagnosed with r/a, I have been prescribed sulfasalazine (4 a day) the only other medication I take is a very low dose of bendroflumethiazide for slightly raised b/p, I have some cbd oil (500mg) but a bit nervous of taking it !!!! Help !

    1. Adam

      I would reach out to Provacan, they are extremely helpful with stuff like this

  4. Sarah
    CBD OIL and TB Antibiotics

    Can you take CBD Oil with Tuberculosis Antibiotics

  5. Frances

    Hello everyone I was diagnosed with RA about 6 years ago. I am taking Methotrexate 6 pills once a week.
    I do not have any pain except for my wrist which sometimes hurts a lot. I do not want to stop the Methotrexate but want to use the oil instead of pain pills. What is your recommendation on it. Also I am taking blood pressure medication, ctragel and the foli acid. I would love to hear from someone. Thanks

  6. Jan

    Is it safe to take CBD Oil alongside Methotrexate or is it one or the other type thing? Thanks!

    1. Adam

      It is not advised. Buy you should consult with your primary physician

      1. Aleta mason

        Adamon. Why is it not advised? Who does not advise it? Why do they not advise it?
        Back up your statement. Be honest and give evidence.

  7. Laura Troy

    Used to be on tons of pain killers. Over the last couple of months I have been able to reduce the amount of pills per day. Yay!

  8. Thelma Hopson

    CBD is most suitable for rheumatoid arthritis. Just awesome!

  9. Brenda Schmidling

    I have suffered from Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia for over 6 years. This past January I took myself off of all my opioid medications cold turkey. It was living hell because I was on such an incredibly high dose of opioids, but I just could not allow myself to increase my medication. I have been trying to control my pain with Advil and Tylenol. This has not been a very effective treatment for me and I seriously considered heading to the pain clinic to start on opioids again until I read up on RSO syringes. I have decided that I am going to try using CBD and praying for a good outcome.
    My brother-in-law was just diagnosed with terminal liver and colon cancer. He’s been given 6 to 12 months. We are going to start CBD for him as soon as humanly possible. I’m praying that we can cure cancer in his liver and colon! I will update you within the next few weeks and hopefully have positive results to share.

  10. Drazen

    3 months ago I bought 1st CBD oil bottle for my mother. She is suffering RA about 30 years and her condition went pretty bad. After few days of CBD she felt less pain and she had positive mood. After few weeks she start to ride her bicycle again after long time. Now she is scheduling new checkups at doctors because her condition is visibly better. She said she stopped with some medicaments, and her joints started to “click”again after years.
    Oil is 5% CBD, made in EU

  11. Rochelle Sergent

    My hand was bad after rheumatoid arthritis but CBD gave me relief

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