Cannabidiol oil, also known as CBD oil, is a medicinal product derived from cannabis (marijuana). Many of the primary chemicals in cannabis are cannabidiols. However, CBD oils do not contain THC, the compound in marijuana that makes you “high.”
Researchers have recently starting focusing on CBD oil’s effects on several conditions that cause pain, including rheumatoid arthritis (RA). So far, the results are promising. Keep reading to learn more about what recent studies suggest about CBD oil as well as tips on how to use it.
The first controlled trial to evaluate the use of cannabis-based medicine to treat RA happened in 2006. Researchers concluded that, after five weeks of use, a cannabis-based medication called Sativex reduced inflammation and significantly improved pain. Participants also reported improved sleep, and most of the side effects were mild.
A 2008 review of the use of CBD to treat chronic pain similarly concluded that CBD reduced pain and improved sleep without any negative side effects.
In 2016, another study was done using CBD gel on rats. Researchers again found that the CBD gel reduced both joint pain and inflammation without any side effects.
While all of this research is very promising, the existing studies have been relatively small. Many more studies, especially on large numbers of human participants, are still needed to fully understand the effects of CBD oil and other cannabis-based treatments on RA symptoms.
CBD oil affects brain activity, but not in the same way that THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, does. CBD oil interacts with two receptors, called CB1 and CB2, to reduce pain and the effects of inflammation.
CB2 also plays a role in your immune system. RA involves your immune system attacking the tissue in your joints. So this relationship to the immune system could explain why CBD oil seems to work well for RA symptoms.
In addition, CBD’s anti-inflammatory effects could also help to slow down or stop the progression of RA, which causes permanent damage to your joints over time. These effects could also reduce several other inflammation-related RA symptoms, such as fatigue and fever