The pain and discomfort which comes with arthritis can be a harrowing experience, especially as the condition often becomes more debilitating over time. Regardless of whether it stems from an old injury or has sprung up recently, more than 10 million people in the UK suffer from arthritis or similar joint-based issues, making it one of the UK’s most common reasons to go to the doctor.
Across the last ten years, CBD oil has taken centre stage as natural, popular treatment for conditions such as joint pain. Research into how and why CBD effectively combats arthritis is still at a relatively early stage. However, research carried out is showing promising results. We take a look at some studies which present the facts about why CBD is so beneficial for chronic joint pain.
As background, CBD (short for Cannabidiol) oil is a naturally occurring chemical compound extracted primarily from the hemp plant. There is still some confusion around hemp and CBD oil’s legality. Hemp and marijuana derive from the Cannabis sativa plant. However, Marijuana has high levels of THC, (Tetrahydrocannabinol), a naturally occurring chemical compound and produces the psychoactive “high” experienced when consumed. On the other hand, hemp has an extremely low THC content, meaning that CBD has no ability to intoxicate you.
How The Body Utilises CBD
The key to CBD as pain relief comes from how the body has evolved to use it. The human body has the endocannabinoid system (ECS) which regulates many bodily functions. When the body’s ECS is balanced it creates its own endocannabinoids that bind to our ECS receptors to keep our bodies in check. When stress or inflammation increases, the body shuts down its production of endocannabinoids. CBD oil stimulates the body’s ECS receptors and helps to restore its natural balance. CBD’s antioxidant properties make it an effective pain relief option. CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties act an analgesic to reduce the perception of pain in the brain. CBD enhances other chemicals in the brain such as serotonin and anandamide to lessen the perception of pain.
In terms of the types of pain CBD is useful to reduce, it can be applied to tackle conditions where swelling and inflammation has made things more sensitive and painful. In particular CBD has proven useful when treating arthritis through reducing swelling and reducing stiffness.
What The Research Tells Us About CBD As Pain Relief
Despite CBD being linked with a variety of natural health benefits, including chronic pain relief, research confirming it to definitively be the case is at a relatively early stage. However, studies on how CBD can alleviate arthritis are delivering promising outcomes. For instance, a 2017 study found that CBD may be a valuable form of pain relief for treating osteoarthritis. The study observed rats affected by osteoarthritis when given CBD. The researchers noted that CBD “prevented the later development of pain and nerve damage” in the joints of rats receiving the treatment.
CBD is also linked to alleviating general pain, which is a prevalent issue affecting people who suffer with arthritis. A 2008 study determined that treatments containing CBD may help people with chronic pain. Importantly, CBD is also deemed to improve a range of secondary conditions that are often connected with arthritis. A study from the Arthritis Foundation shows that CBD can improve depression, which is common amongst those impacted by arthritis. Sufferers unfortunately tend to have higher rates of depression than the general population and often do not seek mental health support.
What Can We Take Away From The Data?
Although it isn’t possible just yet to declare CBD is a definitive cure for arthritis pain, early studies, coupled with a raft of anecdotal evidence show that it is worthwhile testing CBD to understand how effective it is on personal level to treat chronic pain. Anecdotal evidence speaks to CBD’s effectiveness when it is coupled with other forms of joint relaxation such as heat treatment and acupuncture.
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