Dealing with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) can have a serious impact on a person’s quality of life.
Understanding Rheumatoid Arthritis
RA is a chronic disorder that causes inflammation in the joints. It can also impact the skin, heart, blood vessels, eyes, and skin. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder, so the inflammation occurs when the immune system attacks your body’s tissues by accident.
Rheumatoid arthritis will affect the joint lining. This causes swelling that is not only painful but can also cause joint deformity and bone erosion over time.
The Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis
The most common symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include warm, swollen, and tender joints; fever, loss of appetite, and fatigue; and joint stiffness that feels worse after inactivity or in the morning. Patients with RA may also notice redness and warmth on the affected areas due to inflammation.
Early on, the condition mostly affects smaller joints, specifically those connecting the toes with the feet and the fingers with the hands. Over time, RA spreads to other joints, such as the wrists, ankles, knees, elbows, shoulders, and hips. Most people with rheumatoid arthritis will notice the symptoms mirrored on the same joints on either side of their body.
In about 40 percent of cases, RA will also lead to symptoms in areas other than the joints. It can affect blood vessels, bone marrow, nerve tissue, kidneys, salivary glands, the heart, lungs, eyes, and skin.
Traditional Treatments for Rheumatoid Arthritis Are Lacking
There are numerous treatments for rheumatoid arthritis, but each comes with its own issues. Over-the-counter medications can reduce symptoms, but those are not designed to be used over a long period of time and if you do continue to use them, they can cause damage.
There are also stronger prescription medications to help with inflammation, pain, and other symptoms. Unfortunately, all of those come with side effects that can be very unpleasant.
CBD Offers an Alternative Without Side Effects
CBD steps in as a strong option for those who deal with rheumatoid arthritis. Many people have experienced relief from their symptoms by taking CBD and there are usually no side effects associated with it. It may cause some drowsiness at times, but this is not always the case. Other potential but rare side effects include diarrhea, dry mouth, and a reduction in appetite.
CBD is cannabidiol, which is a cannabinoid from the cannabis plant. It is non-psychoactive and legal since it does not necessarily contain THC. THC is the psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis.
Although there is still minimal research on specific uses of CBD, experts agree that it seems to be safe. Most medical experts agree that CBD is safe to use for the vast majority of people. There are no addictive effects, like those associated with some strong pain medications.
It May Interact With Medications
While CBD is safe for the average person, it may interact with certain prescription drugs, either causing side effects or making your other medication less effective. Because of this, you should always ask your doctor before taking CBD if you are already on another medication. At the very least, look at a reputable source online to confirm that none of your medications interact with CBD.
Staying Safe With CBD
To stay safe while taking CBD for rheumatoid arthritis, always be sure to purchase your cannabidiol from a reputable source. CBD is still unregulated, so the best brands will have third parties test their products, then publish those results. Always look for a CBD product with testing that confirms its potency, purity, and ingredients.
CBD Can Ease Pain From Rheumatoid Arthritis
Research has already started to show that those with rheumatoid arthritis can experience some symptom relief when taking CBD. A study that the Pain, the scientific journal, published in December 2017 looked at CBD for preventing joint neuropathy and osteoarthritis pain. It showed that CBD was able to help with both of these factors, showing a great deal of promise for CBD’s ability to reduce pain from RA.
Other Ways CBD Relieves RA Symptoms
In addition to assist with the pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis, experts also feel that CBD can potentially reduce other symptoms of RA. It might reduce the inflammation within your joints and can also help with sleep quality. The only issue is that scientists still need to conduct more research to prove these benefits.
How CBD Works
When someone with rheumatoid arthritis takes CBD, it will encourage the body to produce more of its own endocannabinoids within the endocannabinoid system. These endocannabinoids then trigger the body’s response to inflammation and pain.
Choosing Your CBD and Dose
Once you decide to use CBD to reduce your rheumatoid arthritis symptoms, you need to figure out how much to take and what form you prefer. CBD oils are incredibly common and are forms of CBD that you ingest orally. You can also get a topical solution with CBD oil, which is a good option if you want to target an inflamed area of your body with the treatment. You can also get vape cartridges, tinctures, powders, capsules, gummies, and edibles.
The form you choose will depend on your preferences as each has its own reaction time. For example, vapes will help you ingest the CBD quickly, so you get relief almost right away, but edibles will provide the longest-lasting relief.
In terms of dosage, you should always start with a smaller dose and work your way up. Choose the dose based on your body weight and the severity of your pain, but err on the side of caution. This will reduce the possibility of a negative reaction to the CBD.
If you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis symptoms like pain and inflammation, CBD may be able to provide relief without any of the negative side effects associated with traditional medications. There is still not enough research to confirm that CBD will help you, but there is plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest it is likely to. Given the lack of side effects from taking CBD, it is a great choice for those with RA to consider.