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CBD and Arthritis

Written by Asia Mayfield

Arthritis is one of the most common diseases in the U.S. If you search for treatments for arthritic pain online, you’ll likely come across someone touting the benefits of cannabidiol (CBD).

According to a poll by the Arthritis Foundation, 29 percent of people with arthritis are already using CBD to treat their symptoms. A further 33 percent said they hadn’t tried CBD yet but were interested in doing so.

These patients might have found a decent cure for their discomfort. Multiple studies show that CBD may be an effective treatment for arthritis pain. However, the answer is still speculative because most of these studies were done on rats.

For example, a 2017 study that examined the effect of CBD on rats afflicted with osteoarthritis (OA) found that “local administration of CBD blocked OA pain… These findings suggest that CBD may be a safe, useful therapeutic for treating OA joint neuropathic pain. (1)”

An earlier study that also used rats with osteoarthritis came to similar conclusions (2). Those researchers applied CBD gel to the rats’ skin and noted the pain response when the rats moved around. Ultimately, they determined that “transdermal administration of CBD has long-lasting therapeutic effects without psychoactive side-effects.”

Human studies have been less promising, but there haven’t been very many conducted. A randomized trial using CBD to treat osteoarthritic knee pain had mixed results. Still, those researchers express hope that further efforts will demonstrate CBD’s effectiveness as a pain reliever for arthritic patients.

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1- Philpott, Holly T et al. “Attenuation of early phase inflammation by cannabidiol prevents pain and nerve damage in rat osteoarthritis.” Pain vol. 158,12 (2017): 2442-2451. doi:10.1097/j.pain.0000000000001052

2- Hammell, D C et al. “Transdermal cannabidiol reduces inflammation and pain-related behaviours in a rat model of arthritis.” European journal of pain (London, England) vol. 20,6 (2016): 936-48. doi:10.1002/ejp.818

About the author

Asia Mayfield

Asia Mayfield is a freelance writer who focuses on the cannabis industry. She can be reached at