Is CBD oil good for arthritis?

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Many people use CBD oil to manage arthritis. Early studies and health bodies like the Arthritis Foundation acknowledge that the cannabinoid may help with the condition. Still, more studies are needed to prove these claims, and clear information on the safety of the cannabinoid is critical.

The Arthritis Foundation acknowledges that CBD oil may be good for osteoarthritis, a form of arthritis affecting cartilages and bones and specific body parts, including the hips, knees, and joints. Besides, early studies record that CBD oil for arthritis may be good, primarily because the cannabinoid promises to help with chronic pain and reduce joint pains in the affected areas. Still, the same studies agree that there is insufficient scientific evidence to prove that CBD oil is effective for pain management. This article covers all you need to know about CBD for arthritis, including the safety of the cannabinoid for this very condition.

Understanding CBD Oil

While many people have embraced CBD oil and have made it part of their regimen as a supplement or medication for managing health conditions, not everyone understands it. Massi et al. (2006) described CBD as the non-psychoactive component of the hemp and other cannabis plants. CBD oil is the dilute form of this chemical compound, prepared by mixing it with a carrier oil like coconut or hemp seed oils, whose bioavailability makes it possible for the body to take advantage of CBD. Studies such as Watt & Karl (2017) find CBD oil therapeutic. It is no wonder that many people have made the cannabinoid part of their lifestyle, with others even using it to manage chronic conditions like arthritis. So, what is arthritis? Is CBD oil efficacious for treating it?

Introducing Arthritis and Its Various Types

Arthritis is a chronic condition characterized by the swelling and stiffening of one or more joints. It usually comes with pain. This condition can affect the joints or bones in the knees, feet, hips, thumbs, or neck. The intensity of the swelling and pain from arthritis vary depending on the type of the condition, with the main types being;

Rheumatoid Arthritis

This is an autoimmune condition affecting the hands and feet. It causes swelling and pain in these regions and affects one or many joints.


This is a degenerative condition in which bones and cartilages in the hips, knees, and thumbs are affected. Other than pain and inflammation in the affected areas, osteoarthritis may cause reduced motion and stiffness in the affected areas.

What Studies Say About CBD Oil and Arthritis

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), arthritis affects more than 58.5 million people. Is CBD oil the answer to this menace? The Arthritis Foundation issued a report that showed that many people find relief in arthritic pain by using CBD oil. Is this a reason to believe the cannabinoid is a suitable treatment option for arthritis? Mlost et al. (2020) noted that CBD oil might relieve pain, fight inflammation, and improve osteoarthritis. Besides, Philpott et al. (2017) reported that CBD oil might help reduce pain, particularly in the case of osteoarthritis. These findings show the potential of CBD oil helping with arthritis, but there is a need for further studies to prove this. Meanwhile, bodies like the Arthritis Foundation acknowledge the knowledge gap in CBD oil for arthritis and urge the FDA to research the cannabinoid before recommending it for arthritis.

CBD Oil for Inflammation

Other than pain, stiffness and reduced range of motion, many types of arthritis may lead to inflammation, and it is, in fact, one of the major symptoms of the disease. CBD oil seems to have the potential to help fight many things; could it help with inflammation as well? Hammell et al. (2016) topically applied transdermal CBD oil on rats with inflammation and pain because of arthritis. The study reported that both symptoms significantly improved, suggesting that CBD oil could be great for arthritic inflammation. Schuelert & McDougall (2011) experimented with rats and reported that the cells had receptors that positively responded to CBD oil, affecting the pain and inflammatory stimuli.

Is CBD Oil for Arthritis Safe?

While many people use CBD oil for arthritis, pain, inflammation, and other health challenges, you may wonder if it is safe for arthritis. Generally, CBD oil is considered safe, especially when administered in the right dosages. However, there are no dosage recommendations for the cannabinoid, and a CBD user has to figure out the dose himself. Still, in the New York Times Magazine, Velasquez-Manoff (2019) reported that CBD oil might have dangerous chemicals, making it unhealthy. This results from the lack of regulation in the CBD space. The FDA does not control or monitor the production of non-prescription CBD oil in any of its delivery methods. Epidiolex is the only FDA-regulated CBD-produced drug in the market considered relatively safe. The 2019 report also acknowledged that taking CBD in any delivery method might have side effects, including rashes, weight loss, loss of appetite, and lip damage.

The Knowledge Gap in the CBD Field

Other than the expected side effects of CBD oil, it is worth noting that there is a wide knowledge gap in the CBD field. This means that a lot remains unknown about the cannabinoid, and there is a need for more research to provide sufficient evidence to prove CBD oil’s potential in managing any form of arthritis. With this in mind, one needs to be cautious when using CBD oil.


Initial studies show that CBD oil could help fight inflammation and pain, two commonest symptoms of arthritis. Whether osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, CBD oil seems to be the answer. Still, the safety of CBD oil remains questionable, and a wide knowledge gap exists in the CBD field. Until further studies provide sufficient evidence to prove that CBD oil might help with arthritis, we cannot recommend the cannabinoid for arthritic pain or inflammation.


Hammell, D. C., Zhang, L. P., Ma, F., Abshire, S. M., Mcilwrath, S. L., Stinchcomb, A. L., & Westlund, K. N. (2016). Transdermal Cannabidiol Reduces Inflammation and Pain-Related Behaviors in A Rat Model of Arthritis. European Journal of Pain (London, England), 20(6), 936–948.

Massi, P., Vaccani, A., Bianchessi, S., Costa, B., Macchi, P., & Parolaro, D. (2006). The Non-Psychoactive Cannabidiol Triggers Caspase Activation and Oxidative Stress in Human Glioma Cells. Cellular And Molecular Life Sciences CMLS63(17), 2057-2066.

Mlost, J., Bryk, M., & Starowicz, K. (2020). Cannabidiol For Pain Treatment: Focus on Pharmacology and Mechanism of Action. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 21(22), 8870.

Schuelert, N., & Mcdougall, J. J. (2011). The Abnormal Cannabidiol Analogue O-1602 Reduces Nociception in A Rat Model of Acute Arthritis Via the Putative Cannabinoid Receptor GPR55. Neuroscience Letters, 500(1), 72–76.

Philpott, H. T., O’Brien, M., & Mcdougall, J. J. (2017). Attenuation Of Early Phase Inflammation by Cannabidiol Prevents Pain and Nerve Damage in Rat Osteoarthritis. Pain, 158(12), 2442–2451.

Velasquez-Manoff, M. (2019). Can CBD Really Do All That? The New York Times.

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