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CBD Oil for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Person with Rheumatoid Arthritis

More than 50 million Americans live with some form of arthritis. Of those, more than a million people live with rheumatoid arthritis.

Rheumatoid arthritis, or RA, causes the body to attack the joints. What causes RA isn’t exactly known right now, and there’s no cure. Managing symptoms can be a challenge for many people who live with RA.

The good news is that there are effective methods of pain relief. One of the most promising developments right now is CBD oil. Many people with RA have tried CBD oil to help manage their pain.

What does science say about CBD oil for RA? This guide takes a look at how CBD might be able to help.

Understanding Rheumatoid Arthritis

RA is an autoimmune disease. That makes it different from other types of arthritis, such as osteoarthritis.

Like other autoimmune diseases, RA sees an overactive immune system attacking the body’s own tissues. In this case, the immune system attacks the joints. Other symptoms may include low-grade fevers.

RA causes pain and swelling in the joints. People with RA may notice they have stiff joints in the morning or after they’ve been sitting for a while. They may feel the urge to get up and move.

The pain from RA can be debilitating. Over time, the disease causes permanent damage to joints and nerves.

What Causes RA?

Nobody is sure what exactly causes RA. Right now, it seems likely that it’s a combination of factors.


These include:

  • Genetics

  • Environment

  • Lifestyle factors


Someone who inherits a predisposition to RA and experiences a lot of stress may develop RA. While no single gene causes RA, there are many genes linked to the condition.

Who Gets RA?

Unlike osteoarthritis, which is more common in older people, RA may affect anyone of any age. Current statistics suggest it’s likely to affect people from all ethnic backgrounds. It is more likely to affect women than men, with about three times as many women being diagnosed with RA.

Some people will show symptoms of RA early in life. Others may not develop the condition until they’re into their 60s or 70s.

What Can CBD Oil Do for Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Recent scientific research suggests that CBD may provide effective pain relief for a variety of conditions. It seems as though there are a couple of different mechanisms for this.

Most important for people with RA, CBD seems to affect the immune system. In doing so, it helps to reduce inflammation.

Inflammation is the immunological response to damaged tissue. It can cause pain and swelling, which are hallmarks of RA. By telling the body to dial back the inflammation response, CBD may be able to offer pain relief.

CBD also affects GABA. Specifically, it increases levels of GABA in the brain. In turn, this can suppress the production of the stress hormone cortisol.

Cortisol is associated with plenty of negative effects. It seems to be connected to increased levels of inflammation in people who are under chronic stress. Since CBD can help reduce levels of cortisol, it may be able to reduce inflammation and pain this way as well.

Perhaps CBD’s most effective claim to pain relief is the fact it interacts with opioid receptors in the body. By connecting with these receptors, CBD can block pain signals from reaching the brain. Some studies have indicated that cannabinoids like CBD may be just as effective as morphine and other medications.

If that’s true, then CBD could provide people with RA much needed pain relief. Some studies also suggest CBD can relieve nerve pain. For people who have nerve damage associated with RA, that’s good news.

Neuropathic pain can be particularly difficult to treat. The science around CBD offers some hope for effective pain relief.

Other Potential Benefits of CBD Oil

Much like other chronic disease patients, people who live with RA are at an increased risk of mood disorders, like depression. Living with constant pain takes a mental toll on many people.

Limited mobility may prevent people with RA from doing things they once loved. They may find it difficult to engage in activities that require the use of fine motor skills. They might also find pain prevents them from exercising.

These factors can contribute to depressed mood. CBD may be able to help with this effect as well. CBD interacts with serotonin receptors in the brain.

Serotonin is a “feel-good” substance. By blocking the receptors, CBD can help increase serotonin levels in the blood. That, in turn, can lift your mood.

Between that and reduced pain, many people find that CBD can help them get moving again. That’s key for people with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Using your joints helps to reduce joint stiffness and may limit damage.

It can be tough to keep moving if you’re in pain, though. Depression may also make it hard to stay motivated. CBD seems to be able to assist on both fronts.

Does CBD Have Any Side Effects?

It seems as though CBD oil has plenty of potential benefits for people with RA. Before you try it, though, you want to know if there are any side effects.

CBD itself has very few side effects. It’s difficult to take too much, but if you do, you may notice:

  • Nausea

  • Diarrhea

  • Fatigue

  • Change of appetite

Another well-known cannabinoid is THC. THC is famous for its psychoactive effects. In some people, it can cause hallucinations and paranoia.

You might worry about these effects if you want to take CBD oil. Can CBD make you feel anxious or paranoid?

The good news is that, unlike THC, CBD is non-intoxicating. That means you won’t experience side effects like paranoia.

You may also wonder if CBD is addictive. Many pain relief medications can be habit-forming, so should you watch out for this with CBD?

Studies are still underway, but CBD appears to be non-addictive. At the very least, it seems much less addictive than other medications, like opioids.

Between fewer side effects and an almost non-existent risk of addiction, many people feel CBD oil is a much better choice for chronic pain relief.

You should be aware that CBD can interact with some medications. You should check in with a doctor before you add it to your pain management program.

Choosing the Right CBD Oil

Now that you know about the potential benefits of CBD oil for RA, you want to give it a try for yourself. Your next step is choosing the right CBD oil.

That can be a challenge. There are tons of products on the market. It can make finding a great CBD oil difficult, especially for someone new to the market.

You should always look for CBD products from reputable producers. This way, you can be sure you’re getting high-quality products. Some CBD oils can contain harmful ingredients or fillers that make them less effective.

Hemp vs. Cannabis CBD

You should also look to ensure your CBD oil is made from hemp plants versus cannabis plants. There are two major reasons for this.

The first is the legality. Hemp-derived CBD products are legal everywhere in the United States. If the oil is made with cannabis plants, it may not be legal where you are.

The other issue is THC content, especially in full- or broad-spectrum products. Hemp plants legally contain less than 0.3 percent THC. That means hemp-derived CBD oils have little to no THC.

Pure CBD oil from either hemp or cannabis plants should not have any THC in it. Full- or broad-spectrum CBD oil made from cannabis plants might have THC in it.

By contrast, CBD oils made from hemp should always have little to no THC in it.

The Spectrum of CBD

The other factor to pay attention to is what type of CBD oil you get. As mentioned, pure CBD oil is more refined. The refinement process takes other substances out of the oil, leaving you with nothing but CBD.

Full-spectrum oil is much less refined. That means it has other cannabinoids, terpenes, and more in it.

There’s some debate about whether full-spectrum or pure CBD oil has more benefits. Some people say the entourage effect enhances CBD’s effects. That means CBD works with other cannabinoids and other substances.

If that’s the case, then full-spectrum oils are better. They leave other substances intact, so the entourage effect can get to work.

If you have any concerns about THC, though, you’ll probably want to stick with pure CBD oil. If you have concerns about drug interactions, then pure CBD oil may also be a better bet. You know for sure what’s in it, so you shouldn’t experience adverse effects.

Discover What CBD Could Do for You

It’s easy to see why people with rheumatoid arthritis believe CBD has plenty of potential. The science makes a strong case for CBD as a substance that can help manage symptoms.

Ready to give CBD a try for yourself or a loved one? Then you want to make sure you’re getting high-quality CBD products. Check out our online shop and discover the best on the market today.

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