In France, nearly 10% of the population is affected by some form of arthritis. This inflammation causes discomfort, decreases range of motion and stiffens the joints of arthritis sufferers. The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis, which primarily affects adults 65 years and older.
CBD can provide relief for people with arthritis, including the elderly who are most often diagnosed with osteoarthritis.
What is arthritis?
Arthritis is a generic term used to describe 200 rheumatic diseases affecting the joints and their surrounding tissues. It causes inflammation and stiffness to develop suddenly or gradually around one or more joints.
Causes and forms of arthritis
Although more common in older people, arthritis can severely affect a person of any age, leaving them unable to work or perform daily tasks. In the United States, arthritis is the most common cause of disability, and high levels of stress and depression are often associated.
Genetic causes can lead to arthritis, as well as obesity, joint injuries, infections and occupations that require repetitive bending or squatting. Immune system dysfunction and abnormal metabolism can also lead to various forms of arthritis, although many rheumatoid diseases are caused by a combination of factors.
Forms of arthritis are divided into seven main categories:
- Inflammatory arthritis: joints become inflamed for no apparent reason
- Degenerative or mechanical arthritis: the body tries to remodel the bone to restore stability. Osteoarthritis is an example
- Musculoskeletal soft tissue pain: pain felt in the tissues rather than in the joints or bones, affecting overused parts of the body. For example, “tennis elbow”.
- Back pain: unspecified pain associated with muscles, discs, nerves, ligaments, bones or joints in the back, such as osteoporosis
- Connective tissue disease: pain in tendons, ligaments and cartilage characterized by inflammation of the skin, muscles, lungs and kidneys
- Infectious arthritis: inflammation of a joint caused by bacteria, viruses or fungi (examples of causes include food poisoning, STDs and hepatitis C). Antibiotics can usually treat it
- Metabolic arthritis: too much uric acid can form sharp crystals in a joint that cause sudden, excruciating pain. Gout is an example.
Treatment methods for arthritis
Although they do not cure joint inflammation, painkillers can be prescribed to reduce pain. Over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can also be taken to reduce pain and inflammation.
Rheumatoid arthritis is treated with disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) to prevent the immune system from attacking inflamed joints. Corticosteroids such as prednisone and cortisone may also be prescribed to reduce inflammation and suppress the immune system.
Exercise can relieve pain and stress for people with arthritis, but nearly a quarter of adults with arthritis report being physically inactive. Dietary changes can manage arthritis, as meats and foods high in sugar can exacerbate inflammation.
CBD and arthritis
Several recent studies have shown that huge dosages of CBDs may be beneficial in treating joint pain and inflammation associated with arthritis.
A 2015 study published in the European Journal of Pain found that CBD reduced inflammation and pain in rodents. Notably, the route of administration of CBD was topical, which may give hope to arthritis patients looking for a balm to massage painful joints. Check out more effects of CBD in this Observer CBD arthritis article.
While the results of animal testing don’t always reflect the human experience, a 2018 study published in the Journal of Headache Pain reported positive results from a cohort of CBD patients. Researchers found that CBD strains rich in the terpenes caryophyllene and myrcene (the most dominant chemovars on the market at the time of the study) had the best success in treating headaches, migraines, and other pain disorders, including arthritis.