Is cannabis an effective treatment for joint pain?
Cannabis has been used to treat pain for thousands of years. However, since the early part of the 20th century, laws restricting cannabis use have limited its evaluation using modern scientific criteria. Over the last decade, the situation has started to change because of the increased availability of cannabis in the United States for either medical or recreational purposes, making it important to provide the public with accurate information as to the effectiveness of the drug for joint pain among other indications. The major psychotropic component of cannabis is Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), one of some 120 naturally occurring phytocannabinoids. Cannabidiol (CBD) is another molecule found in herbal cannabis in large amounts. Although CBD does not produce psychotropic effects, it has been shown to produce a variety of pharmacological effects. Hence, the overall effects of herbal cannabis represent the collective activity of THC, CBD and a number of minor components. The action of THC is mediated by two major G-protein coupled receptors, cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1) and CB2, and recent work has suggested that other targets may also exist. Arachidonic acid derived endocannabinoids are the normal physiological activators of the two cannabinoid receptors. Natural phytocannabinoids and synthetic derivatives have produced clear activity in a variety of models of joint pain in animals. These effects are the result of both inhibition of pain pathway signalling (mostly CB1) and anti-inflammatory effects (mostly CB2). There are also numerous anecdotal reports of the effectiveness of smoking cannabis for joint pain. Indeed, it is the largest medical request for the use of the drug. However, these reports generally do not extend to regulated clinical trials for rheumatic diseases. Nevertheless, the preclinical and human data that do exist indicate that the use of cannabis should be taken seriously as a potential treatment of joint pain.
Rock EM, Parker LA. Rock EM, et al. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2021;1264:1-13. doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-57369-0_1. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2021. PMID: 33332000 Review.
Pertwee RG. Pertwee RG. Forsch Komplementarmed. 1999 Oct;6 Suppl 3:12-5. doi: 10.1159/000057150. Forsch Komplementarmed. 1999. PMID: 10575283 Review.
Pertwee RG. Pertwee RG. Br J Pharmacol. 2008 Jan;153(2):199-215. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjp.0707442. Epub 2007 Sep 10. Br J Pharmacol. 2008. PMID: 17828291 Free PMC article. Review.
Chayasirisobhon S. Chayasirisobhon S. Acta Neurol Taiwan. 2019 Jun 15;28(2):27-39. Acta Neurol Taiwan. 2019. PMID: 31867704 Review.
Gaston TE, Friedman D. Gaston TE, et al. Epilepsy Behav. 2017 May;70(Pt B):313-318. doi: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2016.11.016. Epub 2017 Jan 10. Epilepsy Behav. 2017. PMID: 28087250 Review.
Cited by 7 articles
Lovecchio F, Langhans MT, Bennett T, Steinhaus M, Premkumar A, Cunningham M, Farmer J, Albert T, Huang R, Katsuura Y, Qureshi S, Schwab F, Sandhu H, Kim HJ, Lafage V, Iyer S. Lovecchio F, et al. Int J Spine Surg. 2021 Aug;15(4):663-668. doi: 10.14444/8087. Epub 2021 Jul 20. Int J Spine Surg. 2021. PMID: 34285125 Free PMC article.
Orhurhu V, Urits I, Olusunmade M, Olayinka A, Salisu Orhurhu M, Uwandu C, Aner M, Ogunsola S, Akpala L, Hirji S, Viswanath O, Karri J, Simopoulos T, Gill J. Orhurhu V, et al. Adv Ther. 2020 Aug;37(8):3571-3583. doi: 10.1007/s12325-020-01416-9. Epub 2020 Jul 6. Adv Ther. 2020. PMID: 32632850 Free PMC article. Review.
Fede C, Pirri C, Petrelli L, Guidolin D, Fan C, De Caro R, Stecco C. Fede C, et al. Int J Mol Sci. 2020 Apr 22;21(8):2936. doi: 10.3390/ijms21082936. Int J Mol Sci. 2020. PMID: 32331297 Free PMC article.
Gusho CA, Court T. Gusho CA, et al. Cureus. 2020 Mar 23;12(3):e7375. doi: 10.7759/cureus.7375. Cureus. 2020. PMID: 32328386 Free PMC article. Review.
Sarris J, Sinclair J, Karamacoska D, Davidson M, Firth J. Sarris J, et al. BMC Psychiatry. 2020 Jan 16;20(1):24. doi: 10.1186/s12888-019-2409-8. BMC Psychiatry. 2020. PMID: 31948424 Free PMC article.
CBD and Arthritis: Ten Ways CBD Lotion Might Help Manage Cold Weather Flare-ups
It is incredible how some people with arthritis can foresee a cold winter spell from the pain in their joints beginning to tingle. Aching joints being an indicator of a change in weather was once an old wives’ tale, but it could actually have some truth in it. The Arthritis Foundation in the US has reported studies that indicate a lower barometric pressure can cause more aches and pains for people in barometric pressure chambers.
Apart from the slight added advantage of being able to naturally forecast cold weather, winter is not the easiest season to manage arthritic pain. The bone-chilling cold can cause arthritic joints to swell and get inflamed with agonising stiffness. When winter is in full swing, cold weather pain and arthritis can be uncomfortable and affect the quality of life for those with arthritis.
Arthritis affects people of all ages, and symptoms will vary depending on the type you have. Although the cold doesn’t cause arthritis, it can increase joint pain. The way arthritic pain is managed will vary from person to person, but many are now turning to a more natural approach. CBD lotion has been embraced by the arthritic community, as it is showing the great potential to support wellbeing.
With the help of CBD lotion, you may have a slightly easier time keeping your body healthy and moving a little easier in the cold weather. Before checking out the top ten ways arthritic flare-ups can be managed during the winter months, let’s look into what arthritis is, and examine the potential of CBD lotion.
What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is categorised as either inflammatory or non-inflammatory, and studies have shown that cold weather can affect both inflammatory and non-inflammatory arthritis. There are many different kinds of arthritis that feature in both categories. There are currently over 100 different types of known arthritis conditions, and around 10 million people in the UK that have arthritis or related joint inflammation conditions.
Inflammatory arthritis includes rheumatoid arthritis, lupus arthritis, and gout. These forms cause inflammatory white blood cells in the joint fluid, which can be very painful. The types of non-inflammatory arthritis include osteoarthritis, arthritis of thyroid disease, and even arthritis after injuries.
Some of the most common varieties of arthritis that flare-up in cold weather include:
- Osteoarthritis – Almost nine million people in the UK have been identified as suffering from osteoarthritis, and it is now the most common type of arthritis. It initially affects the smooth lining of the joint, and is a wear-and-tear condition. Osteoarthritis more commonly affects women. There is also a genetic element to it, as those who have a family history of osteoarthritis have an increased chance of developing it at some stage in their life.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis – This is a chronic disease that results in your body’s immune system targeting affected joints. It leads to the joints becoming painful and inflamed. Rheumatoid arthritis often spreads across the joint, triggering additional swelling and modifying the joint’s natural shape. Once the joint shape has been altered, it can lead to the bone and cartilage breaking down. Rheumatoid arthritis is considered one of the most debilitating forms of arthritis, and again women are more susceptible than men. Women are, in fact, three times more likely to be affected by rheumatoid arthritis than men.
- Septic Arthritis – Yes, It is as painful as it sounds. Septic arthritis arises when a joint becomes severely infected. Those with the condition will experience swelling, redness, and extreme pain in their joints. It is also accompanied by a fever, which can be uncomfortable in itself. There is seldom any trauma to the joint before the onset of pain, and this type of arthritis can quickly cause extensive damage to the joints in the body.
- Gout – This type of arthritis generally occurs on the big toe, but it can also appear on other joints, such as your knee. It is a result of too much uric acid in the body, a waste product found in the blood. Gout can occasionally run in the family and tends to affect men in their older years. The risks of developing gout increases significantly if you drink alcohol, are overweight, or have high cholesterol levels. It is uncommon to develop “chronic gout”, but if it does occur, it creates small white lumps under the skin called “tophi”. These lumps appear under the skin, generally on the finger, elbows, or ears.
- Pseudogout – Unlike ‘real’ gout, pseudogout is triggered by calcium-containing crystals that develop in the joint fluid. It is sometimes termed Calcium Pyrophosphate Deposition Disease (CPPD), and can often be mistaken for gout. Pseudogout most commonly affects the knee joints and causes severe pain, swelling, and tenderness. Like many types of arthritis, pseudogout is more prominent in the older generation. It is estimated that roughly half of the UK population have developed this form of arthritis by the age of 80.
Whatever the type of arthritis, it is uncomfortable, and can flare-up due to cold weather. Some people in the position to do so relocate to a warmer climate, so that they can manage their condition in a more comfortable environment. But for those who would prefer to stay where they are, whatever the weather, there are some ways to help manage arthritic symptoms. For a natural, holistic, and supplementary approach, why not give CBD lotion a try?
What is CBD Lotion?
CBD is short for the cannabis compound known as cannabidiol. It is a natural compound produced by hemp plants (a type of cannabis plant). CBD is only one of the hundreds of cannabinoids that have been identified in hemp plants, but it accounts for almost 40% of the hemp plant extract, according to one 2012 study. It is produced by extracting CBD from the hemp plant, and then diluting it with a carrier oil, such as organic coconut oil, or hemp seed oil. The finished extract can then be added to a number of consumer products, such as CBD lotion.
CBD lotion may affect our bodies in a variety of ways. One of the main ways is to simulate and supplement the compounds in our bodies called endogenous cannabinoids. They are named endogenous cannabinoids as they are similar to the compounds found in hemp plants. Endocannabinoids are connected to what scientists refer to as the endocannabinoid system.
The discovery of the endocannabinoid system in the 1990s has considerably expanded scientists’ understanding of how CBD oil may have the potential to support arthritic symptom management. The endocannabinoid system plays a central role in modulating an extensive range of physiological processes that affect our everyday lives, which could include how arthritic pain is experienced.
Modulating the endocannabinoid system activity may have substantial therapeutic potential for managing arthritis. It does, however, have significant consequences for nearly every area of medical science, and may help explain how CBD oil is fast gaining the reputation of a multipurpose compound.
CBD lotion is a topical lotion that has been infused with the phytocannabinoid known as CBD. It may be applied directly to the skin to help support our overall wellbeing, as well as be included in the daily self-care routines for those living with arthritis. When CBD lotion is used in conjunction with other practical cold-weather coping tips, it could potentially make a difference. Let’s check out ten ways CBD lotion has the potential to manage cold weather flare-ups.
1. Try To Stay warm and Layer Up
This may seem like an obvious tip, but it is also one of the most effective. Making sure achy arthritic joints are kept warm will help reduce the pain. Apply CBD lotion to the affected joints, and then layer up. Protect your hands when you go outside with some decent quality gloves, and add extra layers to your elbows, knees, and other achy spots.
The reason heat is such an efficient method for dealing with arthritic pain in the winter is that it can help relax the muscles and encourage the body to lubricate the joints. If you warm the joints up with a gentle CBD lotion massage, it may work as a form of heat therapy. This heating method may relieve muscle and joint stiffness, and help warm up the joints before daily activities.
Once you have layered up and get moving, you may feel a little too warm. If this happens, you can peel off the layers one by one, but try not to get too cold. When the cold weather kicks in, the fall in barometric pressure can cause the joints to expand and become painful. The lower temperatures can also increase synovial fluid thickness, which acts as a shock absorber to the joint. The change in fluid viscosity makes the joints stiffer and more sensitive to pain.
If the cold has set in, it can be hard to warm up again.
Have a soak in a hot bath, and then apply CBD lotion as a potentially great way to get those joints warmed up again. Many arthritic people enjoy swimming in a heated pool during the winter months, as it is a low impact way to exercise and keep them moving. This leads us to why staying active is integral to keeping the pain at bay.
2. Stay Active and Exercise
It may be the last thing you want to do when experiencing a painful condition such as arthritis, but exercise is one of the most helpful ways to deal with the discomfort. Physical activity helps improve strength and flexibility, provide a new burst of energy, and ease the pain. Once you get moving, you’ll be thankful you got up off that chair.
The UK National Health Service (NHS) advises that adults with arthritis with no other severe health conditions can engage in regular exercise. As long as the right type and level of movement are matched to the arthritic condition, it will not cause additional impairment to the joints. Regular exercise will not only keep excess weight at bay (which does place additional strain on joints) but will also:
- Improve the range of movement and joint mobility
- Increase muscle strength
- Lessen stiffness
- Boost your energy
If you find it a little tough to get moving, try rubbing some CBD lotion onto any sore joints. The combination of the two may help release tension in the muscles, and promote a comforting sensation throughout the body. You should then be able to embark on the activity that best suits the arthritis type. The exercises recommended could include swimming, walking, cycling, and pilates, among others.
3. Eat a Healthy Balanced Diet
Alongside staying active, a healthy balanced diet should also be followed on a daily basis. This is a good rule for everyone, but especially for those with arthritis. Overindulging in rich comfort foods in the winter can cause some people with rheumatoid arthritis to have a flare-up. The colder months are especially suspect due to the heavier meals, rich gravy, and temptation to eat more significant portion sizes.
Eating healthy foods will also provide the nutrients needed to help maintain a healthy weight. People with arthritis should have a diet that consists of a variety of foods from all five food groups:
- Fruit and vegetables
- Starchy foods (such as bread, pasta, rice, and potatoes)
- Meat, fish, eggs, and beans
- Milk and dairy foods
- Foods containing healthy fat and sugar
Bad food choices may possibly worsen arthritis pain and increase the risk of other health issues like osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease, according to one 2018 review. If the person with arthritis is already overweight, losing the surplus pounds can genuinely help with the discomfort. Too much weight on the joints in the knees, hips, ankles, and feet cause excess pressure on these areas. It can also lead to increased pain and mobility problems.
Although the research is limited, there is some indication that CBD may help supplement weight loss. This is due to the way CBD potentially affects the body’s natural cannabinoid system. The cannabinoid system responds to different chemicals in the body through cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2. It has been found that those with obesity have more widespread CB1 receptors in the fatty tissue. Due to this, as of 2018, researchers have a theory that there may be a correlation between the activation of CB1 receptors and obesity. The research in this field is still in its infancy, but try applying CBD lotion before your meals. It won’t cause you any harm, and may even do some good.
4. Skip The Sugary Drinks
Although not all fizzy drinks are full of empty calories and vast amounts of sugar, studies have shown that sugar can cause inflammation. This is not something an arthritic person wants, so it is best to skip the sugary drink and instead opt for a low-sugar alternative.
If the urge for a sugary hot tea is too tempting and painful, arthritic inflammation has triggered the joints; gently massaging the affected joints with CBD lotion may potentially affect some symptoms. The combination of the CBD and massage may promote blood circulation, reducing inflammation symptoms and easing the signs of pain.
5. Get Your Stress Under Control
While there are currently no studies to confirm that stress causes arthritis flare-ups, it can cause people to inadvertently put extra strain on their bodies. We tend to speed up in the winter months, as not many of us enjoy a leisurely stroll in freezing, sleety rain. Life does not stop for those with arthritis. Many people continue to live busy lives regardless of the seasons, as they have to run around the shops, frantically cook, work long hours, etc. and all this mental stress can take a toll on the body.
The daily stresses of life can cause pain in the joints to increase, and leave little time for self-care. Those with arthritis need to get any underlying tension under control. There are many coping activities you can try, such as yoga, meditation, and deep breathing. If there is a shortage of time, another way to help with relaxation is to include CBD lotion in your arthritis care routine.
CBD lotion can be used in conjunction with traditional relaxation methods to bring a sense of balance and relaxation to busy lives. Treating yourself to some me-time is not a selfish thing to do, and everyone should take a moment to reflect and unwind. Once relaxation becomes a part of an arthritic coping routine, it can really help make everyday life a little less stressful.
6. Get Plenty Of Sleep
Dealing with an arthritic condition is much easier if a full, restful night of sleep has been had. It is no secret that a shortage of sleep makes life much harder. In 2012, one study showed that sleep might be linked to fatigue, increased pain levels, and a higher risk of depression in those who have arthritis.
If sleep is a struggle, a hot bath and the application of CBD lotion afterwards may help. One study found that taking a hot bath around 90 minutes before you plan to go to bed could help people fall asleep more quickly. The hot water could help alter your body’s core temperature, so that you go to bed at a lower temperature. A drop in temperature often helps signify to the body that it’s bedtime.
7. Don’t Make Life More Difficult
There is no need to make life more difficult than it needs to be, and, with a whole range of assistive gadgets out there, arthritic joints can be saved from unnecessary strain. For instance, there are now electric can openers, which will give your hands a break from twisting and turning in painfully repetitive motions. Wearing shoes with Velcro fasteners may also save you a standard daily frustration.
If pressure from squeezing lotion or using a lotion pump causes your hand and wrist discomfort, automated dispensers are available. This may help make the application of CBD lotion a more enjoyable experience. It should not cause pain, and the topical application of CBD should be looked forward to, like any other supplementary piece of self-care.
8. Get Your Daily Dose Of Vitamin D
It may be cold out there, but it is vital people with arthritis get outside and obtain their daily dose of vitamin D. Often referred to as the “sunshine vitamin,” vitamin D is generally produced when your skin is exposed directly to sunlight. It then makes vitamin D from cholesterol. The sun’s ultraviolet B (UVB) rays hit cholesterol in the skin cells, providing the energy for vitamin D synthesis to take place.
During the winter months, it’s particularly important to get enough vitamin D. It has been found that those with rheumatoid or other inflammatory forms of arthritis experience intensified pain if their vitamin D levels drop. Low vitamin D intake can also increase pain sensitivity. Both women and men should aspire for 600 IU of vitamin D daily. If the sun is not shining, vitamin D can also be obtained via supplements, or foods like fortified cereal, oily fish, and egg yolks.
If you are intending on spending a lengthy spell out in the sun, it is worth remembering to protect your skin. The sun can cause a lot of harm to the skin. Balance up the sunscreen factor with your vitamin D needs. Sunscreen will prevent the body from absorbing as much vitamin D as it would without any protection; however, the safety factors need to be weighed up. Some research indicates CBD may help boost the uptake of this vital vitamin, so try applying CBD lotion before putting on your sunscreen, as an additional precaution.
9. Consider Wearing Compression Gloves
There are few arthritic aids out there that may be worth investing in, and compression gloves are among them. These gloves work in a similar way to compression socks, by squeezing the joints to encourage additional blood flow. There are some compression gloves that even help trap heat, so they will help keep your hands warm. These gloves are especially good for those who naturally suffer from cold, achy hands or poor circulation.
If you enjoy spending a lot of time outdoors, a compression mitten may be a better option over gloves, as they tend to be warmer. To get an added benefit, you can apply CBD lotion to your hands before putting on the compression mitten to help protect your hands from the cold. It is vital to keep your skin well moisturised in the winter months, as it can dry out and become painful. Rheumatoid arthritis, for example, has the added frustration of complications that can affect the tear and saliva glands. This can lead to dry skin and other symptoms, such as dry mouth and dry eyes.
10. Be Vocal and Get Support
If, at any point, the arthritic pain becomes intensified, it is vital to be vocal and get support when you need it. Being in chronic pain can lead to anxiety and depression, especially in the winter months when people tend to socialise less. By sharing the arthritic coping journey, it can be beneficial for your mental health.
CBD lotion is a great natural product to include in a daily wellness routine. It can be rubbed into sore joints and even help bring out the skin’s natural glow. When the skin is looking healthy, it may help bring a sense of confidence, which could just be what is needed to be vocal and let people know you need support. Remember, you are not alone. It is projected that, by the year 2050, at least 130 million people around the world will have a degenerative joint disease disorder, such as arthritis.
Due to a lack of quality clinical studies into CBD and arthritis, there is a place for safe, natural products to be used in conjunction with traditional coping strategies. CBD oil shows promise as a skin product to potentially support those with arthritis symptoms. It is exciting to see if the ongoing research will prove if CBD alters receptors in the body in the way scientists are beginning to speculate.
Topical CBD products, like CBD lotion, are simple to use and can be applied to the skin directly over the painful joints. With so much promise, it may be worth it for you to give CBD lotion a try, and see if it helps manage those cold weather arthritic flare-ups.
Written by | Infused Amphora Team
The Infused Amphora Team is dedicated to creating resources to educate and engage consumers on the growing evidence of CBD benefits and the extensive health and wellness properties of CBD Oil.
Contributor | Angus Taylor CEO
Infused Amphora “Learn” is intended for informational purposes only and is NOT a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.