Research Shows CBD May Help Lower Your Arthritis Pain


Can CBD help with arthritis

CBD has shown promising results as a potential treatment for pain, inflammation and sleep. Many of the benefits of CBD are thanks to its ability to modulate and interact with many parts of the body including the nervous system, immune system, and even the circulatory system.

What is Arthritis?

Arthritis is a disease which causes stiffness, pain and inflammation of the joints and surrounding tissue. It affects more than 22% of the U.S. population and generally worsens with age. Due to the different types and causes of arthritis, the disease is mainly found in adults over 40 but it can also affect children from childbirth.

There is not a single unified treatment that helps all sufferers, however, common treatments include over the counter pain medications such as paracetamol and ibuprofen. It should be noted that the long term use of these medications, also known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, has been linked with damaged gut tissue and other unpleasant side effects. 


Although there are many different types of arthritis, the primary symptoms of each include:

  • Pain

  • Swelling

  • Discomfort

  • Decreased Range of Motion

  • Joint stiffness

How can CBD help?

Recent CBD studies have shown cannabidiol (CBD) may be effective at treating pain, inflammation, chronic anxiety and many other medical conditions. The ability for CBD to effectively influence all systems in the body, including the nervous system, the circulatory system, and even the immune system has led to new and continuous research in CBD for a variety of medical conditions. Put simply, CBD may provide a multitude of benefits across a broad spectrum of diseases and illnesses.

Aside from the scientific community, there have been numerous first hand accounts of the benefits and long term efficacy of CBD in the form of lotion or sublingual drops. As we continue to learn more about the science of cannabidiol some companies, like Potter Hemp, are adding natural terpenes to provide a more optimized effect.

What is CBD and how does it work?

CBD, known as cannabidiol, is one of the primary phytocannabinoids found in the hemp plant. Like THC, CBD is a phytocannabinoid, over 113 of which are found in cannabis that we know about today. Despite THC being the most popular due to its psychoactive properties, most cannabinoids do not produce the feeling of being high.  

CBD works by modulating the endocannabinoid receptors which appear throughout the brain and body of all mammals. These receptors known as the CB1 and CB2 receptors, are responsible for regulating the environment in different parts of the body and typically affect things like mood, body temperature, immune response, inflammation response, etc.

CB1 receptors

CB1 receptors are mostly found in the brain, central nervous system and connective tissue. These receptors help to produce a more relaxed feeling with lower anxiety-like symptoms.

CB2 receptors

CB2 receptors, which are found in the immune system, lymphatic system and GI tract of the body, are one of the key receptors in reducing pain and inflammation throughout the body.

CBD is a partial antagonist of the CB1 and CB2 receptor, although it mainly interacts with CB2. This means that CBD only partially binds to the receptor and almost creates a blocking mechanism. This blocks the entry of THC, which is an agonist, or “perfect fit” for the CB1 receptor. CBD’s partial binding properties are what scientists believe creates a non-intoxicating stimulation of the CB1 and CB2 receptors. CBD also interacts with non-endocannabinoid receptors like the serotonin receptor, and thus not all of CBD’s effects are driven by the endocannabinoid system.  

Which CBD is most effective for Arthritis?

There are so many different brands and ways to use CBD that it can be quite confusing knowing where to start. The most important thing to know about CBD is that there are 3 basic types available. No matter if you are taking a CBD oil, Tincture, edible or even lotion, CBD is either CBD isolate, Broad Spectrum or Full SpectrumCBD Isolate: CBD isolated from all other plant ingredients. CBD isolate will not contain any THC or terpenes. While this may be preferred for some, science shows CBD effects are magnified with additional cannabinoids and terpenes present. Isolate products may not be as effective as broad or full spectrum.

Broad Spectrum:

Broad spectrum CBD is when cannabidiol is extracted from the cannabis plant with all of the other compounds from the plant excluding THC. That means the CBD oil also contains terpenes, essential oils, and other cannabinoids from the plant.

Full Spectrum:

Full spectrum CBD is an extract that contains all compounds found naturally occurring in the plant, including terpenes, essential oils, and other cannabinoids.

The full spectrum of cannabinoids, terpenes, and essential oils extracted from the plant work together to magnify the therapeutic benefits of each individual cannabinoid. This is commonly referred to as the “entourage effect“.

Since terpenes and additional minor cannabinoids like CBG also assist with pain and inflammation, we recommend full or broad spectrum products for arthritis patients. 

Research on How CBD Helps with the Different Types of Arthritis

Research suggests that CBD can be very helpful for many types of arthritis. CBD is even recommended by the Arthritis Foundation. CBD has been shown to help arthritis patients in three main ways:

  • Anti-inflammatory effects

  • Regulating immune response

  • Pain relieving properties

Anti-Inflammatory Effects:

In 2016 the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy tested a topical CBD gel on a rat model for the potential of arthritis induced pain relief and anti-inflammatory effects.

The study references a 2010 CDC article which talks about the amount of adult Americans diagnosed with arthritis in 2007-2009. It goes on to further examine the adverse side-effects of injectable fusion-proteins, the most effective treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.

“Almost 50 million (22.2%) adult Americans over 18 were diagnosed with arthritis in 2007–2009, most prominently osteoarthritis and the autoimmune disease rheumatoid arthritis. A projected increase to 67 million is anticipated by 2030 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2010).”

This 2016 study is conducted on the idea that since topical drug application, in this case a CBD gel, avoids any gastrointestinal administration which provides a more direct and constant effect.

“Measurement of plasma CBD concentration provided by transdermal absorption revealed linearity with 0.6–6.2 mg/day doses. Transdermal CBD gel significantly reduced joint swelling, limb posture scores as a rating of spontaneous pain, immune cell infiltration and thickening of the synovial membrane in a dose-dependent manner.”

These results provide a bright future for the use of topical CBD products for those suffering from arthritis.

Regulates the Immune Response:

Many types of arthritis are auto-immune diseases. Auto-immune diseases are when the body’s immune system is overactive. This results in white blood cells and T cells attacking the body's healthy cells. This results in significant inflammation and reduces the range of motion in areas like hands or fingers, and results in significant pain. 

CBD has been shown to regulate the immune system, and may be able to help reduce the immune response in arthritis auto-immune patients. 

Another example of CBD regulating the body’s immune response comes from studies underway in Israel researching if CBD and terpenes may be a possible vaccination for COVID-19.  A number of COVID-19 cases have been linked to ‘Cytokine Storm Syndrome’ whereby the immune system goes into overdrive and releases too many cytokines – proteins important in cell signaling – into the body at once, attacking healthy lungs and causing massive organ failure.CBD alone inhibited around an average of 75 percent of the cytokines, while the terpenes alone inhibited around 80 percent, while NT-VRL inhibited around 90 percent. Dexamethasone inhibited around 30 percent, the report says. The study has neither been peer-reviewed nor published and more research is needed to consider this a conclusive finding. 

Pain Relieving Properties:

In this lab study, mice with acute arthritis were given both i.p. and oral treatments of a CBD product to test it’s pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects. In both cases (i.p. and orally) the treatment effectively blocked progression of the arthritis. This study concludes that through its combined immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory actions, CBD has a potent anti-arthritic effect.

Do Hemp Terpenes Help With Arthritis

Terpenes are also found in the cannabis sativa plant and have many pain, inflammation, and other properties that can be helpful for arthritis. Terpenes are the essential oils of cannabis that give it it’s smell, taste, and effect properties. Terpenes can pair with CBD to produce a more sedative effect, a more potent anti-inflammation effect, anxiety relief, etc. 

Myrcene and Beta-Caryophyllene:

The terpenes Myrcene and Beta-Caryophyllene has been shown to be helpful in Osteoarthritis.This study done by the Centre for Neuroscience and Cell Biology, University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal shows that both terpenes has significant anti-inflammatory and anti-catabolic effects.

Types of Arthritis and Relevant Studies 

Ankylosing Spondylitis is a form of arthritis that causes inflammation and fusing of the vertebrae. As many studies have shown, we know that CBD products can treat inflammation.

Gout is another type of arthritis that targets the joints causing severe pain, redness, and tenderness. Multiple studies have been done to determine the effectiveness of cbd products for many of the symptoms of gout, all of which come to the conclusion that cbd can be greatly beneficial for those suffering from all forms of arthritis-related pain

Osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis that erodes the cartilage in your joints and causes chronic pain. Recent studies have come to the conclusion that using CBD products with E-caryophyllene and limonene cannabinoids can have anti-inflammatory effects.
Psoriatic arthritis is common among people who have the skin condition psoriasis, which causes cells to build up and inflame the surface of your skin. An Italian medical journal recently published an article that concluded patients with this skin disorder, as well as others related to inflammation, were highly treatable with safe and topical CBD products.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a rare but long-term autoimmune disorder that results in warm, swollen, and painful joints. Oftentimes, people with this type of arthritis experience pain in their wrists and hands. A study done on mice models with inflamed leg joints conducted and determined that BCP cannabinoids can relieve these symptoms.

What is the Best Method of Delivery for CBD and Arthritis?

As many of the referenced studies suggest, most arthritis patients are having best results with topical or transdermal CBD products. Products infused with additional cannabinoids and terpenes like Beta Caryophyllene may produce the most potent effect. Apply the salve to the areas of pain and liberally apply for serious arthritis. Most patients with severe arthritis symptoms tend to have best results by using both topical or transdermal products with sublingual drops. Because CBD oil passes through the GI tract and into the bloodstream, it can provide relief to areas that are hard to penetrate with a topical or transdermal application. 

Side Effects of CBD:

CBD oil is generally safe to take, but there may be risks and side effects. From the few clinical trials that have been conducted, no conclusive severe side effects have surfaced.

These are the side effects they most often experienced:

  • Tiredness

  • Decreased appetite

  • Gastrointestinal problems

  • Altered liver enzymes (*see note below)

For most patients, these side effects occurred during the first few weeks while they were quickly raising their dosage. The symptoms typically subsided after their dosage stabilized, and lowering the dose was also an effective way of decreasing undesirable side effects. If you’re experiencing any of these side effects on your current CBD product, you might experiment with waiting it out a week, lowering your dose or trying a different type of product entirely.

*If you suffer from liver problems or take medication that is hard on your liver, you might want to monitor your liver enzymes when introducing CBD into your daily routine. Some CBD manufacturers suggest that people with liver impairments slowly increase their CBD doses. 

CBD Safety and Legality: 

Though it's often well-tolerated, CBD can cause mild side effects, such as dry mouth, diarrhea, reduced appetite, drowsiness and fatigue. CBD can also interact with other medications you're taking, such as blood thinners.

Another cause for concern is the unreliability of the purity and dosage of CBD in products. A recent study of 84 CBD products bought online showed that more than a quarter of the products contained less CBD than labeled. In addition, THC was found in 18 products. Be sure to research the brand you are purchasing from and ensure they have strict quality control measures in place, such as GMP certification, and 3rd party lab testing. 

If CBD comes from a hemp plant with less than 0.3 percent THC, you can buy it under federal law — but some states still have legal restrictions on the possession of CBD.

Arthritis Dosage Guide for CBD oil and lotion:

As of now, the FDA does not recognize CBD as a treatment for arthritis. Therefore, there are no currently established guidelines recognized by the FDA in regard to the proper dosing of CBD (cannabidiol) for treating arthritis or arthritis- related symptoms.

The key to finding the most effective dosage is by using a Stepwise Dosing procedure.

Stepwise Dosing is a process by which you first establish a baseline dosage, then adjust the dosage incrementally over a set period of time (typically 3-7 days) until you find your effective dose.

It is important to recognize that everyone responds a little differently to CBD so there is no set dose for everyone or every condition. By following a stepwise dosing procedure you can find the most effective dosage of CBD for you.

While the stepwise method is recommended, most arthritis patients utilize topical CBD products for arthritis. With topicals, it may be more difficult to measure out an exact dosage, although patients will have less to monitor since the CBD will not be processed through the liver. Most patients are advised to liberally apply the CBD topical to the arthritic area and should notice benefits within 10-15 minutes. For stubborn arthritis cases, the patient may have to re-apply, or apply frequently for best results. 

Is CBD more effective than Ibuprofen?

Research is still being conducted on exactly how effective CBD is for reducing chronic pain, and it’s still not FDA-approved for such use, but one thing is clear: it’s helping many people find relief, and without any of the serious health risks associated with long-term ibuprofen use such as internal bleeding.

Can I take CBD with Ibuprofen?

Research has shown some cannabinoids, such as CBD, may increase the effects of blood thinners such as warfarin and ibuprofen. It is best to consult your doctor about trying a new therapy, including herbal therapy, when using medication for your arthritis. However, this only occurs when CBD is ingested and goes through the GI tract and into the bloodstream. One way to avoid CBD drug interaction is by using a CBD lotion, cream or stick. Arthritis patients tend to prefer this delivery method, since the CBD can be locally applied to the area with arthritis. 

In Conclusion

Research studies and the Arthritis Foundation agree that CBD products can be very helpful for patients suffering from arthritis. CBD has the ability to help reduce the symptoms of arthritis by reducing pain, inflammation, and regulating the body's immune response. Additionally, certain terpenes commonly found with CBD such as Myrcene and Beta Caryophyllene have been shown to be beneficial for arthritis. Most patients utilize topical or transdermal CBD products so that they can apply directly to the localized area. This also reduces the worry of drug interactions, since CBD topically applied does not enter the bloodstream or liver. Finally, patients suffering from severe arthritis symptoms find best results utilizing topical products and sublingual products at the same time. Sublingual CBD may be able to benefit hard to reach areas that topical or transdermal formulations cannot penetrate. 


Study 1: Transdermal cannabidiol reduces inflammation and pain-related behaviours in a rat model of arthritis by the Department of Pharmacy, University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy

Study 2:

Arthritis Foundation CBD Recommendation: by the Arthritis Foundation  by the Department of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology, University of South Carolina, School of Medicine, Columbia by the European Journal of Pharmaceuticals (having trouble figuring out how to properly cite this one) by the Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Messina