Tag Archives: CBD

CBD Oil for Arthritis Pain Relief

Ingesting or applying cannabidiol (CBD) to treat a variety of symptoms, ranging from seizures and inflammation to insomnia and anxiety, is growing in popularity nationwide. Consumers looking to alleviate their health concerns or simply join the trend can now choose to add CBD oil to their morning latte, take it daily in the form of capsules and even gummy vitamins, or feed it to their pets. Concurrently, researchers have been evaluating the possible therapeutic uses of CBD and have found evidence of its efficacy at improving symptoms of chronic pain, epilepsy, type 1 diabetes, and other health conditions.

Recent studies suggest that cannabidiol oil could also be an effective treatment option for arthritis and chronic pain symptoms associated with the illness. Arthritis is one of the leading causes of disability in the United States, causing inflammation, pain, and stiffness in joint cartilage and bones. It is estimated to affect more than 50 million Americans with the primary symptom being chronic pain.

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol, commonly referred to as CBD, is a chemical compound derived from the cannabis sativa plant. Unlike THC, another type of cannabinoid, CBD does not induce any of the psychoactive effects associated with marijuana. Many CBD products are extracted from a different kind of cannabis sativa plant – hemp – which is the least processed form and has less than 0.3% THC content.

By attaching to certain receptors, CBD can produce therapeutic effects in the body as it stimulates the production and use of the body’s own cannabinoids – endocannabinoids – to regulate movement, pain, appetite, inflammation, and other functions.

CBD Oil and Arthritis Pain

Preliminary research suggests that CBD may be able to relieve arthritis pain and inflammation however, the majority of these studies have been conducted on animals. In 2011, a study found that CBD significantly reduced inflammatory pain in mice and rats while in 2014, an extensive review reported CBD as a potential treatment for osteoarthritis in animals. Additional research has shown that topical application of CBD has the potential to alleviate arthritis pain and inflammation.

Although these findings are promising and human-based studies are underway, there is a lack of clinical evidence to support CBD as an effective treatment for arthritis pain in humans. However, a recent trial that has yet to be published, found CBD to be successful in treating knee osteoarthritis. As the body of research continues to grow, CBD has the potential to be a more natural alternative to commonly used prescription or over-the-counter pain medication in arthritis patients.

Using CBD Oil

There are various CBD oil products with different amounts of CBD on the market; low potencies and doses are recommended for people new to the chemical. The compound is available in oil or powder form, which is made into creams and gels that can be applied to areas affected by arthritis or capsule form, to be ingested orally.

Because CBD is not FDA-regulated, the amount of CBD in products may vary widely and caution should be advised to patients considering it as an option. Before using CBD oil, it is recommended to consult a doctor and local laws regarding the product to ensure treatment is safe and legal.

The future of CBD oil as a treatment for chronic pain management is promising and it could prove especially beneficial for arthritis patients. If ensuing studies confirm that the therapeutic effects of CBD on animals translate to humans, a new natural alternative method for pain relief may soon replace prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications.

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Applications of Clinical Cannabis in Medicine

As clinical cannabis is rapidly becoming accepted as a treatment for an array of chronic diseases and disorders, there is a growing and pressing need for clinical education surrounding medical marijuana—and alternative treatments for pain control. The use and acceptance of medical cannabis continues to evolve, as demonstrated by the growing number of states that now permit its use and applications for specific medical indications. 

While the marijuana plant contains over 100 different chemicals—or cannabinoids—each one produces a different effect on the body. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) was originally identified by Raphael Mechoulam, who later also described and named anandamide: a naturally occurring endogenous cannabinoid neurotransmitter that binds to cannabinoid receptors. The human endocannabinoid system is a biological system involved in regulating a variety of physiological and cognitive processes, including appetite, pain sensation, mood, memory, fertility, etc. The CB1 receptor (THC) occurs in the central and peripheral nervous system, while the CB2 receptor is located on immune cells, and the peripheral nervous system. Cannabidiol (CBD) does not have the psychotropic effects of THC, nor does it have the memory impairment or appetite effects; the two main chemicals used in medicine are THC and CBD.

The most common use for medical marijuana in the United States is for pain control: while marijuana is not strong enough for severe pain (i.e. post-surgical pain or a broken bone), it is said to be highly effective for the chronic pain that plagues millions of Americans, particularly as they age. Part of its attraction is that it is clearly safer than opiates—almost impossible to overdose, and far less addictive—and it can take the place of NSAIDs such as Advil or Aleve, if people cannot take them due to problems with kidneys, ulcers, or GERD.

Marijuana specifically appears to ease the pain of multiple sclerosis, and nerve pain in general. This is an area in which few other options exist; moreover, those that do—such as Neurontin, Lyrica, or opiates—are highly sedating. Patients claim that marijuana allows them to resume their previous activities without feeling drugged or disengaged. Marijuana is also said to be a highly effective muscle relaxant; many users swear by its ability to lessen tremors in Parkinson’s disease. Other successful clinical applications include fibromyalgia, endometriosis, interstitial cystitis, and most other conditions where the final common pathway is chronic pain.

Further users of marijuana include management of nausea and weight loss, and treatment for glaucoma. A highly promising area of research is its use for PTSD in veterans who return from combat zones. Many veterans and respective therapists have reported drastic improvements, recommending more research and studies, and a loosening of governmental restrictions on its study. Medical marijuana is also reported to help patients suffering from pain and wasting syndrome associated with HIV, as well as irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn’s disease.

Despite lingering controversy, use of botanical cannabis for medicinal purposes represents the revival of a plant with historical significance reemerging in today’s healthcare system. Legislation governing use of medicinal cannabis continues to change quickly, necessitating that pharmacists and other clinicians stay abreast of state regulations and institutional implications. Ultimately, as the medicinal cannabis landscape continues to evolve, hospitals, acute care facilities, clinics, hospices, and long-term care centers must consider the implications, address logistical concerns, and explore the feasibility of permitting patient access to this treatment.

Senior Vice-President of A4M/MMI Joseph Maroon, MD—Clinical Professor and Vice Chairman in the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and expert in clinical cannabis therapies—has published a white paper on the neurological benefits of cannabinoids.


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