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Updated on January 29, 2024

CBD for Rheumatoid Arthritis

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Key takeaways

  • About 18 million people were diagnosed with Rheumatoid arthritis in 2019.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis is more common in women than in men.
  • The first research on CBD for arthritis was published in 2006.
  • CBD holds several potentials as an anti-inflammatory, analgesic agent.
  • People who use CBD oils reported improved symptoms in their rheumatoid arthritis.

It is almost impossible to discuss the therapeutic benefits of CBD without making reference to its interaction with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) and its pain relieving effect. This pain-relieving effect have been studied by different researchers and was found to hold a promise in improving symptoms related to several diseases including rheumatoid arthritis. This article will look at the therapeutic roles of CBD in rheumatoid arthritis and how best to use them.

Overview of Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic autoimmune disorder characterized by the immune system attacking the joints' synovium, leading to inflammation and joint-related symptoms. In 2019, the World Health Organization reported that 18 million people worldwide were living with rheumatoid arthritis. Notably, around 70% of individuals affected by RA are women, and a significant portion, approximately 55%, are older than 55 years. Furthermore, statistics indicate that 13 million people with rheumatoid arthritis experience severity levels (moderate or severe) that could potentially benefit from rehabilitation. Early diagnosis and comprehensive management are crucial in improving the quality of life for those affected by this condition.

Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) manifests through various symptoms, and their severity can vary among individuals. Common symptoms include:

  1. Joint Pain
  2. Joint Swelling
  3. Joint Stiffness
  4. Fatigue
  5. Fever
  6. Weight Loss
  7. Joint Deformities
  8. Limited Range of Motion
  9. Rheumatoid Nodules

What research says about CBD and Rheumatoid Arthritis

The role of CBD in arthritis have been widely reported by several researchers. The first research study that looked into the possible role of CBD in Rheumatoid arthritis was published in 2006. The study found that, after five weeks of using a cannabis-based medication called Sativex, participants experienced reduced inflammation and significant pain improvement. Additionally, better sleep was reported, and side effects were mostly mild. Sativex is a prescription medication that contains a combination of THC and CBD. It is an oromucosal spray, meaning it is administered by spraying it into the mouth. Sativex is primarily used for the treatment of spasticity (muscle stiffness and spasms) in people with multiple sclerosis (MS) who have not responded adequately to other medications.

Another research in 2008 looked into the role of CBD in chronic pain management. Findings of the research showed that CBD led to pain reduction and improved sleep without adverse effects.

In 2016, a study using CBD gel on rats showed promising results, reducing both joint pain and inflammation with no side effects.

A recent study published in 2022 also supported the potential roles of CBD in pain relief. The researchers discovered that CBD was linked to enhancements in pain, physical function, and sleep quality.

How may CBD assist people with rheumatoid arthritis?

Information from research studies shows that CBD may provide the following therapeutic benefits to people dealing with rheumatoid arthritis.

  1. Anti-Inflammatory Effects: CBD may help reduce inflammation, a key factor in RA symptoms.
  2. Pain Management: CBD's analgesic properties could contribute to alleviating pain and discomfort associated with RA.
  3. Improved Sleep: Some users report better sleep quality, which can be particularly beneficial for those with RA experiencing sleep disturbances.
  4. Improved physical function: CBD's potential to improve physical function is attributed to its interaction with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), a regulatory network in the body. By exerting anti-inflammatory effects, CBD may alleviate inflammation in joints and tissues, crucial in conditions like arthritis where inflammation hampers physical function. Additionally, CBD's ability to relieve pain can make movement and activities more comfortable for individuals with conditions affecting physical function. Its muscle relaxant properties may contribute to enhanced flexibility and reduced stiffness. Moreover, some studies suggest CBD's neuroprotective effects, which could positively influence the central nervous system, supporting better motor function.

How does CBD work for Rheumatoid arthritis?

CBD oil influences brain activity, but its impact differs from THC, the primary psychoactive component in marijuana. CBD interacts with CB1 and CB2 receptors, diminishing pain and inflammation effects.

CB2 is integral to the immune system, and since RA involves the immune system attacking joint tissue, CBD's effectiveness in alleviating RA symptoms might be linked to this immune system relationship.

Furthermore, CBD's anti-inflammatory properties may contribute to slowing down or halting RA progression, preventing lasting joint damage. These effects could also alleviate other inflammation-related RA symptoms, including fatigue and fever.

What is the best CBD product for arthritis?

Most research studies focused on the use of full spectrum CBD oils to improve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis however, products like tinctures, CBD creams and salves may also provide relief to users.

While choosing these products make sure to focus on CBD products derived from organic hemp with zero additives. The CBD should be tested by a verified third party lab for pesticides, microbial contaminants, heavy metals and pesticides.

Frequently asked questions

What are the side effects of using CBD products for arthritis?

While CBD is generally considered safe, some individuals may experience side effects. The potential side effects of using CBD products for arthritis can include:
Dry Mouth
Changes in Appetite
Interactions with Medications metabolism
High dose of CBD may trigger Liver Enzyme Changes

Can CBD cure arthritis?

While we can’t answer this question at the moment, it is pertinent to note that CBD may improve symptoms of arthritis by promoting pain relief, reducing inflammations and relaxing muscles.

What is the best CBD Dosage for rheumatoid arthritis?

There is no best dosage for CBD products. The best dosage is one that produces the best effect for you since we respond to cannabis medicines differently. To determine the right dosage, we suggest we start small and go slow.

Want to Learn More?

  1. Living, Beyond Organic CBDa Oil Vs. Dead CBD
  2. Is CBD Safe? What You Should Know About It
  3. CBD Regulations: Where Do We Stand on Organic Hemp Oil?
  4. The CBD Benefits for Kids — Why Moms are turning to hemp 
  5. What is CBDa? What To Know Now


Russo EB. Cannabinoids in the management of difficult to treat pain. Ther Clin Risk Manag. 2008 Feb;4(1):245-59. doi: 10.2147/tcrm.s1928. PMID: 18728714; PMCID: PMC2503660.

Russo EB. Cannabinoids in the management of difficult to treat pain. Ther Clin Risk Manag. 2008 Feb;4(1):245-59. doi: 10.2147/tcrm.s1928. PMID: 18728714; PMCID: PMC2503660.

Blake DR, Robson P, Ho M, Jubb RW, McCabe CS. Preliminary assessment of the efficacy, tolerability and safety of a cannabis-based medicine (Sativex) in the treatment of pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatology (Oxford). 2006 Jan;45(1):50-2. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/kei183. Epub 2005 Nov 9. PMID: 16282192.

Frane N, Stapleton E, Iturriaga C, Ganz M, Rasquinha V, Duarte R. Cannabidiol as a treatment for arthritis and joint pain: an exploratory cross-sectional study. J Cannabis Res. 2022 Aug 24;4(1):47. doi: 10.1186/s42238-022-00154-9. PMID: 35999581; PMCID: PMC9400326.

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