14 Oct CBD for Joint Pain: Can it help?
- Joint pain is particularly common among older generations and people who are overweight or stressed.
- It can be caused by many factors, including injury, illness or a medical condition such as arthritis.
- Doctors may prescribe medication to ease the pain, and certain lifestyle changes may also help.
- Many people report that CBD can support relief from joint pain or mobility issues, but the scientific evidence is currently limited.
Joint pain is a common condition which involves discomfort, bruising or swelling in one or more joints. It can have a negative impact on quality of life and prevent people from performing certain tasks. The pain can occur during or after certain activities, such as exercise, or it can be more constant. Joints often affected include the shoulders, wrists, hands, hips, spine, knees and feet.
Doctors can prescribe a range of medications to ease joint pain, and there are also a number of lifestyle changes people can make to find relief. CBD is one supplement that is gaining popularity as a natural way to aid relief from some symptoms of joint pain – but does it really work? What does the research say? Read on to find out.
Joint pain can produce a wide range of symptoms, including:
- Stiffness or pain when moving the joint
- Numbness or loss of mobility in the joint
- A red, swollen, hot, bruised or tender area around the joint
- Grinding or clicking sounds when moving the joint
While it may be possible to manage these symptoms without the help of a medical professional, a doctor will be best placed to perform an assessment and advise on treatment. Therefore, if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, or if the pain is getting worse or preventing you from performing certain activities, it’s recommended that you consult a doctor.
What causes joint pain?
Joint pain can be caused by various factors, including injury, overuse or a medical condition, such as arthritis or fibromyalgia. It’s particularly common among older generations, who are more likely to suffer from injuries or conditions which can contribute to joint pain. People who are overweight, who repeatedly use a particular muscle or who suffer from stress are also more vulnerable to join pain.
Common causes of joint pain include:
- Medical conditions, such as gout, bursitis, arthritis and fibromyalgia
- Old age
- Poor nutrition
- Lactic acid build up
- Not exercising properly
- Not allowing the body enough time to rest after intense exercise
How to ease joint pain
As well as seeking medical advice, there are a number of other things you can try which may help to ease joint pain. These include:
- Rest the affected joint
- Put an ice pack wrapped in a towel on the joint (do not apply ice directly to the skin)
- Compress the area around the joint to reduce swelling
- Elevate the joint to reduce swelling
- Take painkillers after consulting your doctor
- Take a warm bath or shower
- Gently stretch or massage the muscles around the joint
- Try light, low-impact exercise such as walking, cycling or hydrotherapy
- Take the right nutrients to support recovery
- Try to lose weight if you are overweight
- Do not completely stop moving the joint
- Do not carry heavy objects
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of over 100 compounds known as cannabinoids that are found in the hemp plant (Cannabis sativa). It has risen in popularity as a wellness supplement in recent years, and can be taken in many different forms, including CBD oils, capsules, snacks, balms and vape juice.
Unlike the controlled cannabinoid THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD is non-intoxicating, which means it does not produce a “high” and is unlikely to have abuse potential. While research on CBD is still in the early stages, preliminary studies suggest that it could offer a wide range of potential benefits, such as supporting pain relief, easing feelings of anxiousness and aiding a more restful sleep. However, more research is needed to support these initial findings.
CBD for joint pain: Can it help?
Early studies into CBD and pain have yielded promising results, providing evidence that CBD may have the potential to ease the perception of different types of pain, including chronic pain, joint pain and arthritis-caused pain.
CBD and pain
Alongside a wealth of anecdotal evidence, some preliminary research indicates that CBD could support pain relief. A 2018 review of research into CBD and pain concluded that CBD can regulate the perception of pain by affecting a range of receptors within the body. It also inhibits the uptake of an endocannabinoid called anandamide, which is linked to increased pain tolerance.
CBD and chronic pain
Chronic pain is a type of pain which lasts for more than three months. It can be caused by an illness or injury which has long passed, or by an ongoing health or medical condition, such as arthritis. It can negatively impact a person’s daily life and sometimes cause distress or even disability. In a 2021 survey of patients’ perspectives on CBD as a treatment for chronic pain, the majority responded that CBD products have helped their pain (59.0%) and allowed them to reduce their pain medications (67.6%).
CBD and arthritis-related discomfort
There’s also evidence that CBD could support relief from arthritis-related pain and inflammation. In one animal study, transdermal CBD was applied to rats with arthritis for four consecutive days. At the end of this period, the researchers observed significant reductions in joint swelling, improvements in limb posture and normalised sensitivity to noxious stimuli. The researchers concluded that topical CBD could have the potential to relieve arthritis-caused pain and inflammation, without adverse side effects.
CBD is also growing in popularity among people with arthritis. A survey conducted by the Arthritis Society found that 79% of 2,600 arthritis patients either use CBD, have used it in the past or are considering using it. Of those currently using CBD, 87% use it to help manage their arthritis symptoms and 94% use it to support pain relief. Other reported benefits include improved sleep (71%) and wellbeing (67%).
However, while these figures paint a promising picture, more clinical evidence is needed to support them.
Learn more about CBD and pain in our other blog articles:
Is CBD safe?
Yes, CBD is safe and generally well-tolerated, according to a critical review by the World Health Organisation (WHO). However, consumers must be aware of the prevalence of low quality CBD products which may contain unsafe levels of THC or other toxic substances. For this reason, it’s essential to purchase CBD from a trusted seller who provides proof of third party laboratory testing for each of their products.
Are there any side effects?
CBD affects everyone differently and can cause side effects for some users. However, these are normally rare and mild, and usually the result of taking too much CBD or using a low quality product. Side effects may include a dry mouth, drowsiness and lightheadedness. To minimise the risk of experiencing side effects, it’s recommended that you find a dosage that’s tailored to your needs and use only high quality products.
Can CBD interact with medication?
Like many other supplements, CBD does have the potential to interact with certain medications. Therefore, if you take prescription medication or have a pre-existing medical condition, please consult a doctor before using any CBD products.
CBD should not be used as a replacement for prescription medication and should supplement a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle. It is not suitable for pregnant or lactating women, as there is insufficient evidence to confirm its safety for this group.
How to use CBD
There’s an ever-growing number of ways to use CBD, from oils and e-liquids to creams and bath bombs. If you are suffering from joint pain and looking to supplement your diet with CBD, products like CBD oils and balms are likely to be most effective.
CBD oils are one of the most efficient ways to absorb CBD into the body. Unlike capsules and edible products, CBD oils are administered under the tongue, sublingually, as there is some evidence that when taken this way, it allows faster absorption and starts to work within 15-30 minutes.
On the other hand, CBD balms are applied topically and absorbed into the upper layers of the skin. As a result of their soothing properties and the topical massage action, they can start working within 30 minutes. This makes CBD joint balms and muscle balms a highly effective way to target aching joints or muscles, and arguably the best place to start for people suffering from joint-related pain.
CBD for joint pain: The takeaway
Joint pain is a common condition that can have a significant impact on daily life. It can hinder people from performing certain tasks, and negatively affect their health by restricting mobility and making it difficult to sleep.
If you experience any of the symptoms of joint pain, the first thing to do is consult a doctor who will advise on the most suitable treatment. They may prescribe you medication, or they may suggest you adopt some new habits which might help to ease some of the pain.
Many people suffering from joint pain report that CBD helps to ease some of their symptoms. While there is some evidence to suggest that CBD may support pain relief, more clinical research is needed before these initial findings can be verified. Therefore, if you have joint pain and are thinking of trying CBD, we recommend that you speak to your doctor beforehand.
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