The effects of CBD on arthritis have been on the forefront of the CBD world for a while now. The most common ways to use CBD for arthritis or fast pain relief is by applying a calming CBD balm topically or ingesting oil drops.
Arthritis is a tricky condition to handle–there isn’t too much you can do about the chronic joint pain. You can apply heat, adapt your movements, or take painkillers.
The problem with the latter is that pain medications can be highly addictive and have serious side effects.
Even over the counter analgesics like Tylenol and Advil are not meant to be taken for the long term, as they can cause gastrointestinal and liver problems.
So what to do? A lot of patients have started looking into alternative treatments. Among these, one of the most popular and anecdotally effective is cannabidiol, or CBD.
What Is CBD and How Does it Work?
CBD (or cannabidiol), is a cannabinoid–a plant compound that is extracted from hemp. There are over a hundred known cannabinoids, but the ones we know most about are CBD and its cousin THC.
Unlike THC, CBD is not psychoactive. You don’t get a high from using it, and it is legal on a federal level and in most states (although for some it’s on a conditional level).
CBD may be ingested or applied topically. It offers many potential benefits, from neuroprotective properties to managing the symptoms of anxiety.
The benefits that are most relevant to arthritis, however, are the two that have the most research backing them: pain relief and anti-inflammatory effects.
We’ll be honest, while research has exploded for CBD recently, it hasn’t yet caught up with the promise of anecdotal evidence and preliminary studies.
The medical world wants desperately to find out more, but CBD as a research topic didn’t take off until demand nudged it.
However, when it comes to pain and inflammation, there have been some good results with both animal and human studies.
The Endocannabinoid System
The Endocannabinoid system (or ES) threads throughout the body and regulates any number of functions in the body, including pain, appetite, sleep, digestion, and immune response.
Human beings and many animals (all mammals and even many reptiles) have an ES.
It works through the interactions of endocannabinoids, a neurotransmitter in the body, interacting at cannabinoid receptor sites all over the body.
The cannabinoids found in the hemp and cannabis plant react at these sites as well.
When taken internally, at CB1 receptors found in the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord).
When applied as a topical, the CBD interacts with CB2 receptors found in the peripheral nerves.
CBD and Arthritis
The results of CBD on arthritis pain speak for themselves. The American Arthritis Foundation performed a poll that found that a full 79% of the arthritis patients polled were either actively using CBD for their pain, had done so, or were planning to start.
These results caused them to release guidelines for the use of CBD to ensure that people were using it in a safe way.
And it isn’t any wonder that more and more patients are turning to CBD to help with their pain. Besides the strong anecdotal evidence, we also know that CBD is incredibly safe to use.
The WHO has granted it a good safety profile, and there are only a few mild potential side effects with use (even internally). Used as a topical cream, it’s even safer.
Many quality CBD topical products are on the market, and made with pain relief in mind. Some even add other beneficial ingredients to their formula, like arnica (another popular pain reliever in the arthritis world), menthol for a cooling sensation, or capsaicin for a warming effect.
There is, however, one caveat to the excitement over CBD products and this is addressed by the AAF, you have to purchase your CBD from a reputable source.
Finding a Safe and Effective CBD Brand
While a quality CBD topical may absolutely be helpful in addressing pain and inflammation, you have to be sure that’s what you’re getting.
Unfortunately, the FDA does not regulate the CBD marketplace, and there are approximately a million and one products in this unregulated marketplace. You can buy CBD at gas stations now, for goodness sake.
So, how does one find a safe and effective CBD product in this wild west atmosphere? It’s actually not too hard, it just takes a little research and knowing just what you’re looking for.
Here are three tips to use when tracking down your CBD cream products.
Find a Reputable Company in the CBD Business
An internet search can help you knock out a lot of the garbage. Simply google CBD alongside reputable health publications and see what comes up.
You can also check out third party review websites to find out what brands are being talked about the most. When you’ve found a few that look good, take the search to their websites.
Look for evidence of excellence…certifications, awards, membership in professional organization and things of that nature. Some will point you to write ups they’ve had in major news or magazine publications as well.
Only Purchase From a Brand that Offers Third Party Testing
This is the most important piece of the puzzle. The company you buy from needs to have the results of third party lab tests posted on their website.
This is the only way they can prove both purity and potency of their products.
“Lab tested” is not enough. It needs to be third party tested by an independent lab. And these results should be easy to find–ideally right on the product page.
Check the Reviews
As a final piece, it doesn’t hurt to see what other people are saying about the product. When you see a cream that looks good, read the reviews.
Are people with arthritis using it? How effective do they find it? The more reviews, the better.
One final note: It’s a good idea to go with a brand that offers a money back guarantee. That way, you can really do your own research to find which CBD cream works best for you.
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