By Dan Reich
The Arthritis Foundation surveyed a group of those struggling with various kinds of arthritis, a painful condition that affects a large segment of our aging population. They asked the question “Are you using CBD for your arthritis?” Here’s what respondents had to say…
Nearly one out of three reported that they use CBD to manage the pain that accompanies their arthritis. The vast majority of those used it daily or several times a week. Patients were almost evenly split between those using a liquid (ingested) product or topical (roll-on or salve) applied to the affected joints. A comparable number claim to be “open to CBD” despite not currently using it. Only one out of five was satisfied with their current regimen and had no curiosity as to the benefits of CBD. Some of these likely had questions about its efficacy or safety, having heard of opportunists peddling untested, inferior products.
By far, pain relief was cited most often as a reason to use CBD, but in that context, many felt CBD was less addictive than opioids. Some used CBD to wean themselves from opioids after joint replacement procedures. But while patients used CBD very effectively to relieve pain and recover function, they discovered many other benefits.
Nearly three quarter of CBD users reported improved sleep. A significant number felt that it lessened fatigue. Two out of three said it improved depressed moods, and even more experienced less anxiety.
Summary: CBD is rapidly entering the mainstream as an effective remedy for arthritis patients, and those using it are experiencing a myriad of benefits without the negative effects of opioids or other pharmaceutical approaches. And sharing good information is the best way to persuade those wary of CBD to do some research and inform themselves.
A Need For More Research
I did quite a bit of searching for recent research into the effectiveness of cannabinoids on relieving symptoms of arthritis. What I found was that there were very few clinical trials that involved humans, and the few that had been undertaken were called out for reasons from too few participants to a lack of standardization in dosages and quality of cannabis medicines. Following are two quotes which sum up the situation:
“Google Scholar was queried using “cannabinoids, joint pain” as key phrases. While the search returned myriad articles from receptor classification to the effects of CBD in animal models, there were no relevant studies regarding any human, clinical data entertaining prospective CBD use and joint pain.”
“There is a lack of high-quality, novel research investigating the use of CBD in human musculoskeletal diseases aside from anecdotal accounts.”
Clearly, despite mountains of anecdotal data, rigorous research studies have been few and far between. Whether the uncertain regulatory climate that affects all things cannabis, the difficulty in standardizing a plant product (as opposed to a pharmaceutical) or a combination, we need more high-quality research on humans to validate what so many are experiencing and sharing anecdotally…CBD is more effective (and safer) than pharmaceutical solutions.