Today we're asking an important question on the use of CBD to combat the effects of Rheumatoid Arthritis!
What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a long-term, autoimmune disease that causes joint pain, swelling and stiffness. It most commonly affects the hands, wrists and feet, although it can impact on any joint in the body. RA occurs when the immune system attacks healthy body tissue, mistakenly sending antibodies that usually fight infections, to the lining of your joints.
For many, arthritis is a condition often thought to be associated with old age, but in fact, RA is most common between the ages of 30 and 60. RA can cause significant suffering and have a huge impact on daily living, depending on severity.
RA is both hard to diagnose and difficult to treat. There is no cure, only treatments that can relieve patients of some of the symptoms. The traditional medication given to the majority of RA patients are disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs), usually methotrexate, which is sometimes combined with steroids. DMARDs can have nasty side effects, including nausea, headaches, loss of appetite and even hair loss. More extreme consequences, although rare, include damage to blood cells, liver and lungs. In addition to DMARDs, which limit the progression of RA, many sufferers also have to take painkillers to relieve the discomfort from flare-ups.
However, for those experiencing chronic arthritis pain, CBD could prove a worthwhile and more natural treatment option.
CBD for arthritis – The Evidence
There are several studies that suggest CBD might be a promising approach in treating arthritis, both which highlight CBD’s anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects.
Back in 2005, the first controlled trial that evaluated the use of a cannabis-based medicine to treat RA took place in the UK. The cannabis-based medicine Sativex (which can now legally be prescribed to treat MS-related muscle spasticity), was used on 58 patients with RA over 5 weeks. Results were incredibly optimistic: Sativex was shown to reduce pain in movement and at rest.
In 2015, an American study tested whether transdermal cannabidiol reduced inflammation and pain-related behaviours in a rat model of arthritis. After applying CBD gel for four consecutive days, joint swelling and pain were reduced in the models. The study affirmed that the data indicated that topical CBD application ‘has therapeutic potential for relief of arthritis pain-related behaviours and inflammation without evident side-effects.’
There are also plenty of testimonials from people with arthritis, declaring that CBD has reduced their symptoms. The Arthritis Foundation, an organisation that champions the fight against arthritis through information, advocacy, science and the search for cures, states there is personal evidence to imply that some people with arthritis who use CBD report notable pain relief.
In a National survey undertaken by the foundation in 2019, roughly 3 out of 4 arthritis sufferers who used CBD treatment reported that CBD was effective in relieving several symptoms.
What do we think?
This data clearly calls attention to the need for further research into CBD as a legitimate treatment for RA. To try and push this agenda along, the foundation has put forward a formal opinion to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), urging them to speed up plans to carry out a larger human-based study on CBD and arthritis, a course of action that could improve the lives of millions of people.
However, here at ATH Shop, we would always advise you to obtain medical guidance first, before trialling CBD to treat RA, so as not to interfere with any other medication being taken.
The ATH Shop Team x