Osteoarthritis, or what we call degenerative arthritis, affects millions of people and most all of us as we age. Why is this? Arthritis is not just a part of getting old. It is a result of wear and tear on the body. If we had proper conditioning, posture, nutrition, sleep, and most other factors of health working in our favor, we’d have far less arthritis. Being this is not usually the case, arthritis sets in when there is adverse mechanical tension on our joints. Think of it this way: as we age, we lose muscle mass and as this occurs, more stress is placed on our joints. The joints respond by losing their proper movement patterns, and the body lays down calcium, or bone, to eventually fix the problem; albeit by fusing the joints. This creates further pain and dysfunction.
A recent 2017 study in the journal Pain, called ‘Attenuation of early phase inflammation by Cannabadiol Prevents Pain and Nerve Damage in Rat Osteoarthritis’ by Holly Philpott et al. is a great study that discusses how CBD can help with the arthritic condition.
First off, we need to remember how the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) works. The system works by having our natural cannabinoids, Anadamide and 2-AG activate CB1 and CB2 receptors. This does not happen because most people are producing too much FAAH and MAGL (what we call the nasty enzymes that eat your endocannabinoids). Enter CBD: it eats away at FAAH and MAGL so that your ECS can be activated and work as it was intended.
Through affecting the CB2 receptor, 2-AG helps the inflammatory and pain pathways that are creating problems in your body. This is, in a nutshell, how the system helps us function at a more optimal levels.
Although this study was performed on rats, and we certainly are not rats, it gives guidance to how CBD works with the body. Every mammal has an ECS and it operates the same way. Therefore, this study opens the door for continued research in this area. Of course, we know CBD works as we see the results every day. However, continued research is very promising.
Besides the great effects that CBD has for people with arthritis, it’s great to note that reducing dependance on medications, many with serious side effects, is always a good thing. Ask yourself: would you rather take medications with side effects or get the same or better results without any side effects? The answer should be clear…CBD is the way to go. If you are unsure, at least give it a try. Your physician should be open to this as well as they know the side effects from medications.
At this time, we believe that oral administration of CBD benefits most everyone. We can best address the CB1 and CB2 receptors this way. There is no data that suggests otherwise. In the case of localized pain and inflammation, topical application of CBD works very well. This study showed that CBD reduced ‘leukocyte trafficking and joint hperaemia’ as well as ‘attenuating this initial inflammatory reponse with CBD, end-stage osteoarthritis (OA) pain and peripheral neuropathy were abbrogated.’
The study concludes with the statement ‘CBD may be a safe therapeutic to treat OA pain locally as well as block the acute inflammatory flares that drive disease progression and joint neuropathy.’
There’s not much more we can add. If you are getting arthritic changes, it is worth it to try CBD. It has no psychoactive effects like THC. For that matter, THC directly affects CB1 receptors and it’s really the CB2 receptors that are working with pain and inflammation directly. Indirectly, of course, the CB1 would work with the brain interpretation of pain. CBD works, it is safe, it helps the ECS work better, and it makes a great first intervention for pain and inflammation due to arthritic changes.