What is Arthritis?
At some point in our lives, we’ve all heard a grandma or grandpa say, “Feels like rain! My arthritis is acting up.” And they may actually be right! Arthritis is one word that covers more than 100 types of joint pains and disease. Categorized by joint pain, swelling and stiffness, over 50 million people have been diagnosed by a doctor with one form or another in the U.S alone. Arthritis does not see color, age or race, anyone with joints can suffer from a form of this debilitating disease. And Arthritis pain is known to come on when the atmosphere changes to prepare for a rainy day.
There are three different forms of Arthritis:
- Degenerative Arthritis – The most common, called Osteoarthritis is caused when the cartilage – the slick, cushioning surface on the ends of bones – wears away, bone rubs against bone, causing pain, swelling and stiffness. For mild or moderate forms of Osteoarthritis, people can often find relief by taking OTC anti-inflammatory medications, regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight. Once the pain becomes unmanageable, join replacement may have to take place.
- Inflammatory Arthritis – Rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis are examples of inflammatory arthritis. This can happen when rather than keeping your body healthy, your immune system begins to mistakenly attack your joints, causing inflammation and eventually erosion of the joints. The goal for these types of arthritis is ultimately remission which is achieved with medication.
- Infectious Arthritis – This type of Arthritis can happen if a bacterium, virus or fungus can enter the joint which will trigger inflammation. These types are generally killed by antibiotics, but in more serious cases can become chronic.
There are definitely no shortage of treatment options and management suggestions for the many different types of Arthritis. From anti-inflammatory diets to over the counter (OTC) anti-inflammatory medications, steroid injections to surgery, the list is incredibly long. The Arthritis Foundation website lists the following possibilities for you to consider:
- Treatment Options
- Medication – some of the more common types of medications used are: Analgesics, Biologics, Corticosteroids, Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs and NSAIDs
- Natural Treatments including supplements, vitamins, minerals, hot or cold treatment and massage
- Joint Surgery – the most common would be knee or hip surgery, sometimes complete replacement is warranted
- Pain Management – it is important to understand your arthritis pain and know how best to manage, with or without medication
- Diet – Although not a cure, several foods are known to relieve symptoms and some are known to irritate further
- Exercise – Especially for patients with osteoarthritis, exercise is a known factor in preventing or slowing the effects that OA has on your joints
CBD for Arthritis
What is CBD? CBD or cannabidiol, is a chemical compound produced by the cannabis plant. CBD alone is not a psychotropic drug as is its cousin THC, so using it will not produce the high that many associate with cannabis. Many who use CBD claim it has a calming effect when ingested, others use it in salves or creams to relax aching muscles. Recent findings have been encouragingly in favor of CBD being used to combat the pain and inflammation of arthritis sufferers. In fact, a 2016 study suggests just this, topical application has the potential to reduce pain and inflammation associated with arthritis.
As the use of CBD becomes more commonplace, the Arthritis Foundation has recognized that it can benefit sufferers and thus recently issued guidance for adults using CBD to combat their arthritis symptoms. The article walks through their position on the use, and although cautious, does suggest many arthritis sufferers have reported relief from their pain and inflammation with the use of CBD products. Some actually go as far as to suggest that it could become a cure for certain types of arthritis as it reduces the inflammation thus ultimately reducing the damage that is being caused.
The use of CBD to aid in the relief of your arthritis can come in a few different forms. For topical use, you would look to a cream, salve, lotion or body oil. A higher concentration of the CBD with the other essential oils and additives would likely garner your best result. If you prefer to ingest your CBD, tinctures and capsules are sold by most CBD dispensaries and companies these days. With any of these, start at a lower dose and then increase as you know your body will tolerate.
In general, where studies have taken place, it has been found that CBD is tolerated well by most who try it. In addition, it is not known to be an addictive substance. However, there have been cases where side effects are present associated with CBD use. These side effects include:
- Changes in appetite
- Changes in weight
It is very important to know and trust the source through which you purchase your CBD. Purity and the absence of THC are very important factors to consider. Please be sure to check into any legal restrictions prior to trying CBD for any reason. Also, it is always good practice to consult your physician before trying anything new, and please never use CBD to replace your physician’s instructions prior to talking with them.