Move your Joint! Find Relief in CBD
Anastasiia Myronenko is a Medical Physicist actively practicing in one of the leading cancer centers in Kyiv, Ukraine. She received her master’s degree in Medical Physics at Karazin Kharkiv National University and completed Biological Physics internship at GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research, Germany. Anastasiia Myronenko specializes in radiation therapy and is a fellow of Ukrainian Association of Medical Physicists.
- What is CBD?
- How Does CBD work
- Endocannabinoid System
- Types of CBD Oil
- The Entourage Effect
- Adverse Effects of CBD
- Causes of Joint Pains
- How CBD Helps with Joint Pain
- The Bottom Line
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Most people will agree that when your body and mind is healthy, you are happy. Nothing is liberating when you can do what you want; go on adventures, enjoy fun activities with family and friends, go on walks with your dog, enrol in a gym, basically be able to move freely without anything to stop you. But of course, life isn’t perfect! Some things put a pause in our lives. There comes a time when we encounter unpleasant events, get into accidents, or get sick, or it’s just due to old age that you cannot move and do things like you used to.
When we feel pain, our body is signalling us that there is something wrong going on, and it makes the discomfort affect our whole system. Pain comes in different intensity, and it varies from person to person how we perceive it. One can have a high pain tolerance while others are too sensitive to feel pain more intensely than others. But regardless of how painful it may feel, we should always pay attention to what our body is telling us. Some pain may go away in a short period, while others linger, creating much more damage to our body and affecting our daily lives even more. Pain is a tricky symptom as it can be present in general medical conditions; that is why it is essential to seek medical advice if it starts altering your everyday life.
Joint pain is a common complaint. People from many walks of life may experience this kind of pain due to different reasons. It comes in various presenting symptoms, and sometimes, some may not need hospital attention, and others with severe damage, requires medical intervention.
Joint pain can either be acute which goes away after a few weeks, or chronic which can last up to several weeks or even months. Regardless of the source of your joint pain, there are different options to help you manage it; all with the same goal to reduce the inflammation and eventually restore and preserve joint function. It can be through physical therapy, medications or alternative treatments like CBD.
Cannabidiol, commonly known as CBD, is being used by people with joint pains to relieve the discomfort brought about by different conditions. Although CBD is not a cure-all substance, scientific studies and anecdotal evidence suggest that CBD has effectively affected pain management. Let’s go deep into details and find out how CBD can help with relieving joint pain.
What is CBD?
Since the legalisation of CBD oil and CBD-based products, the hype for this compound began. It is essential to learn what CBD is and why many people are leaning on it as a supplement and incorporating it into their daily lives.
Cannabidiol, more commonly known as CBD, is the most studied cannabinoid found in Cannabis sativa L. plants or hemp along with other cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. Cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive chemical that made people feel euphoric and addicted to weed, are often confused whether they both come from the same species of plant. Although marijuana is also a kind of hemp, it is different from the Cannabis sativa L. plant that is an industrial-grade kind of cannabis used to extract CBD oil. This kind of hemp has low THC content and is not considered to cause psychoactive effects typically associated with the high of marijuana.
According to the law, hemp plants for CBD production should only contain 0.2% of THC; otherwise, it will not be allowed to be in the market and will be considered illegal. Marijuana, on the other hand, can contain 6% of THC or higher and has minimal CBD percentage hence cannot be used for CBD production.
CBD is extracted from hemp with different types of methods. The most commonly used is carbon dioxide extraction. This method is expensive yet hailed as the most innovative. It uses carbon dioxide to separate the oil from the plant using high pressure and low temperature to extract high amounts of CBD.
Based on studies, CBD is generally safe to use. Although not regulated by the FDA and FSA, it has a broad range of therapeutic benefits like anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, analgesic, and anti-epileptic properties. At the moment, CBD is available in different formulations intended for several health conditions and is used as an alternative supplement to help manage symptoms of several disorders and diseases.
How Does CBD Work
Currently, there are 113 known cannabinoids, and each plays a role in providing therapeutic effects on our body. Scientific research and anecdotal evidence suggest that CBD works in our body by interacting with our endocannabinoid system. This specialized system is responsible for regulating a variety of body functions such as sleep, pain, and immune system response.
How CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system is unclear yet. Experts say it doesn’t bind to CB1 and CB2 receptors, but they believe that it prevents endocannabinoids, which are naturally occurring transmitters in our body that binds to cannabinoid receptors in the nervous system, from being broken down hence delivering lasting and more therapeutic effect to our body.
The Endocannabinoid System
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a specialized modulatory system composed of vast receptors that play an essential role in homeostasis and sustaining good health. It is located throughout our body and functions whether there’s CBD or not.
Endocannabinoid system has CB1 and CB2 receptors, enzymes, and endocannabinoids as its components. The receptor CB1 exists in our brain, with high concentrations in our hypothalamus, hippocampus and amygdala. At the same time, CB2 receptors occur in the spleen, tonsils, thymus and the immune cells.
According to research, the endocannabinoid system is linked to many body functions like appetite and digestion, chronic pain, inflammation and other immune system responses, mood, learning and memory, sleep, stress, skin and nerve function amongst many others that makes your internal environment stable.
Types of CBD Oil
When choosing your CBD oil, it is important to know that they are not created equal. Once CBD is extracted from hemp, it goes through a series of refining where components like cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids are being separated. There are three types of CBD oil in the market.
Full-Spectrum also known as whole-plant CBD oil. It contains multiple components of the hemp plant extracts including cannabinoids such as cannabidiol (CBD), cannabinol (CBN), cannabigerol (CBG), trace amounts of THC, essential oils, terpenes, and flavonoids. Although it only contains less than 0.2% of THC and does not give psychoactive effect, consumers are always advised to consider which type of CBD oil to use if they are undergoing a drug test as THC in full-spectrum type of CBD may show up in the results. On the other hand, a full-spectrum of compounds extracted from cannabis is believed to be more effective than a single compound, and is suggested to give a synergistic therapeutic effect called the entourage effect.
Broad-Spectrum is nearly identical to full-spectrum CBD oil only that the THC content is removed, leaving only other cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. With that being said, broad-spectrum CBD can also deliver the enhanced benefits of the entourage effect without the risk of exposing its user to psychoactive effects of THC. This is a good option for people with sensitivity to THC or beginners that are hesitant about THC.
Isolate is the purest form of CBD oil. It went through a series of refining to get rid of all other components of the cannabis plant until the only isolated cannabinoid that is left is CBD. It is only considered an Isolate when the concentration level is over 99.5%. This usually has mild taste or no taste at all. This is the best option for CBD users who live in locations with strict THC-laws.
The Entourage Effect
When cannabinoids and terpenes extracted from hemp plants are present, they can work together and become more therapeutic. This is what they call the entourage effect. It is a chemical reaction that happens when cannabinoids are present all together in our body.
To put simply, the entourage effect is what they call it when all of the compounds present in cannabis are working in unison to deliver all its benefits to its maximum capacity.
The Benefits of Using CBD
Non-CBD users might wonder why CBD is gaining more and more popularity these days. As we all know, something won’t get to be in the spotlight if there’s nothing good about it. Many studies confirm that CBD carries many beneficial properties that connect to providing therapeutic effects. Here are the main benefits of CBD oil that are supported by scientific and anecdotal evidence.
There has been evidence that CBD has been used since ancient times. Aside from using hemp plants as an industrial material, people consumed this for pain management and other conditions. In the present times, studies conducted suggest that CBD can reduce inflammation and has pain-relieving properties. It also showed great potential in the management of suppressing chronic inflammatory and neuropathic pain. Anecdotally, some people have tried CBD for pain management caused by different conditions, including arthritis, and claimed noticeable pain relief after some time of regular usage.
According to a study, CBD is found to reduce cortisol levels in our body. Cortisol, also known as stress hormones, is normally notably high in the morning, but people with sleep disorders, particularly insomnia, may have high cortisol levels during night time. Due to this, the reduction of cortisol may suggest that CBD affects cortisol production in our body hence reducing stress and contributing to better sleep. Aside from this, CBD is also believed to help the mind and body to relax, making it easy for the user to drift into sleep.
Stressful life situations bring about anxiety disorder. People with this condition often worry about anything in life more intensely and excessively than normal anxiety. People who suffer from anxiety disorders particularly experience panic, restlessness, irritability, or poor concentration amongst many others. This condition sometimes manifests in more physical symptoms like insomnia, headache, muscle tension, chest tightness, etc. A scientific study suggested that CBD has therapeutic properties that may help with neuropsychiatric disorders due to its ability to interact with several receptors in our body that regulates fear and anxiety-related behaviors.
CBD affects our central nervous system (CNS). Because of its anti-inflammatory effects, it is said to be useful in neuroinflammatory disorders. Epidiolex, an approved CBD-based drug, is used to treat people above one year of age for seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, Dravet Syndrome, and tuberous sclerosis.
Cannabidiol (CBD), unlike its cousin tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), does not have any psychoactive effect. Instead, it is said to help with the reduction of some of the psychoactive effects caused by THC which are euphoria and sedation hence not giving any feeling of high that people get from weed.
A recent study showed that CBD can reduce sebum production on the skin. Aside from this, since it is known to have anti-inflammatory properties, it may be beneficial in treating acne, and other skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis.
Due to CBD’s positive effects in stress and anxiety, it is linked to provide benefits to the heart and our circulatory system. A small study showed that CBD may help reduce high blood pressure and prevent heart damage.
There’s an array of other studies conducted about CBD and the therapeutic effects it can provide our body. However, most of them used animal and test-tube models hence more human studies are needed. Some favorable findings on these studies have found that CBD can also help with mental disorders, diabetes, and certain types of cancers.
Adverse Effects of CBD
CBD is known for its array of therapeutic benefits. Although it is well-tolerated and is generally safe to use, like medications and treatments available in the market, there are certain side effects that have been reported by some people when they used this substance. Some of which are;
- Dry mouth
- Reduced appetite
- (Rare) liver problems
It is also important to know that CBD may have drug interactions so it is best to consult your doctor and discuss the use of if you are taking any medications to avoid any potential implications.
Causes of Joint Pains
Joints in the human body connect two or more bones that support and allow our bodies to move freely. There are different kinds of joints in our body where some are fixed and not moving, and others are mobile that enables us to turn, bend, and move in different directions, or rotate. It is crucial to keep in mind that the heavier the movement in areas with joints, the greater the risk of injuring it. There are many reasons why someone may experience joint pain. It could be due to injury or medical conditions that may interfere with our movement and cause pain.
Here are common medical conditions that may cause joint pain:
Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease or wear and tear arthritis, is the most common kind of arthritis amongst its 100 more types. It is characterized by breaking down of cartilage within the joint and the bone beneath starts to change. While this change develops slowly, it worsens over time. Osteoarthritis commonly occurs in the hands, hips, and knees with presenting symptoms such as pain, swelling, stiffness, and decrease in flexibility.
Rheumatoid Arthritis, is another type of arthritis. This is classified as an autoimmune disease because it attacks healthy joint tissue in the body. This commonly affects the hands, knees, elbows, ankles, wrists, and feet. Its common presenting symptoms are joint pain and stiffness but with the distinction of experiencing them in the same joint on both sides of the body.
Lupus erythematosus is also an autoimmune disease with joint pain and swelling as major presenting symptoms accompanying other symptoms such as chest pain, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, and fever amongst others.
Gout is also a form of arthritis with sudden pain, swelling, redness, and heat often found in the big toe. This condition arises when hyperuricemia occurs. When there's too much uric acid in the body, uric acid crystals (monosodium urate) build up in joints, fluids, and tissues.
Fibromyalgia is a neurologic health problem. People are at risk in having this condition when they have a rheumatic disease that affects the joints, muscles and bones. This is characterized by pain and tenderness in the muscles and joints that come and go. Symptoms also include severe fatigue and sleep problems.
Strains and Sprains are two very similar injuries to the soft tissues in your joint and its surrounding. This commonly occurs due to accidents. While sprains are the injury to the ligaments, strains, on the other hand, are injuries to the tendons. Both present similar symptoms, such as pain, swelling, and immobility in the affected area. Their only distinctions are in sprain, there is bruising, and in strain, there are muscle spasms.
There are also daily activities that you do that contribute to the joint pain you’re feeling. Here are some:
Wearing High Heels
While wearing high heels looks sophisticated and fabulous, we all know that it also comes with discomfort, especially when worn for a long period of time. The higher the heels, the more it pulls your muscles and joints out of alignment. And because it disrupts the body’s natural form of our body, it may also cause low back, neck and shoulder pain.
Wearing the Wrong Shoes
There’s a reason why shoemakers make different types of shoes tailored to its purpose. Aside from fashion use, shoes are designed to make people feel comfortable while doing the things they love. In sports, for example. There are shoes specifically intended for athletes because each needs different support. Supportive shoes help prevent impact injuries and fatigue to the body.
Lug A Big Bag
When only one shoulder carries the weight, it can stress the body and may cause unbalanced strain. This often leads to pain, poor posture and health problems. Doing this repeatedly for a long time may cause arthritis in the facet joints.
Poor Body Mechanics
Posture is essential to a healthy body. Meaning, when you have a proper body posture, your joints are safe, too. Whether you are standing tall, sitting straight, or lifting anything, it is important to make sure that your body is aligned the best way possible to avoid any injury not just to the joints, but to the rest of the body.
While each and everyone has their own favourite sleeping position that they find comfortable, there are sleeping positions that might cause injury than good to your body. Sleeping on your back and side is acceptable, and doesn’t put any strain on your body. However, there are two positions that are bad. Fetal position causes the pain of arthritis because the knees are bent the whole night, and the supine position prevents you from having a normal spine hence putting pressure on the joints and muscles.
Stretching is important in our everyday life even when we are not doing any strenuous tasks. It helps your joints by lubrication and encourages a range of motion reducing the chance of injury. It also reduces tension and increases the blood flow to our body.
When you smoke, your brain releases more dopamine giving off the satisfying sensation. Smokers may think that it helps with the pain, but it actually is worsening your joint pain and your general pain sensitivity. A study showed that nicotine in tobacco activates neutrophils in the body creating molecules that increase inflammation and causes stress on connective tissues that, in turn, increases pain.
Not Getting Enough Sleep
We all know that sufficient sleep is crucial to general wellness. But there is also research linking poor sleep to pain. It suggests that insufficient sleep and low-quality sleep increase the risk of developing widespread pain. When someone doesn’t have enough sleep, the CNS pathways regulating pain are abnormal.
Pain in the body means there’s something wrong. More often than not, pain is manifested by an underlying condition. Remember that any pain that limits your daily activity should not be ignored.
Bearing Too Much Weight
Weight gain can increase complications of arthritis and contribute to joint pain. When you add on weight, especially more than your body mass index (BMI), it puts additional stress on weight-bearing joints, like your knees, back, and feet. It can cause inflammation and swelling, which may lead to immobility and pain.
How CBD Helps with Joint Pain
Now that we know that a medical condition or an injury usually causes joint pain and daily activities contribute to it, let’s find out how exactly CBD can help with joint pain.
Our endocannabinoid system (ECS) is composed of vast receptors signalling our central nervous system and immune system. For CBD to work, it needs to activate these receptors that are attached to the cells in our body. When this happens, it stimulates the cells creating an influence in our pain signalling pathways.
Although CBD is not a substitute treatment or a cure-all substance for inflammation and pain, according to research, CBD has anti-inflammatory and pain relief properties that no doubt can help with joint problems. Cannabidiol interacts with our endocannabinoid system and binds to the receptors which inhibit the release of molecules causing inflammation in our body. It then provides synergistic effects along with other systems that control and perceive inflammatory and neuropathic pain. Although there are only limited clinical trials connecting CBD to pain management, the progress is increasing rapidly.
Some scientific studies were conducted to see if CBD can help with these health problems, and most of them found positive results. Although most of these studies used animal models, anecdotal evidence suggests that people who used CBD for arthritis noticed pain relief, sleep improvement, or reduced anxiety.
A survey conducted by the Arthritis Foundation asked 2,600 arthritis patients determined that 79% of the survey population has used CBD or is currently using CBD for their pain management. CBD industry also reported that the most common reason why people buy CBD is due to having arthritis. In that survey, 94% of the current users are using CBD for pain. Participants also cited that the use of CBD has improved their physical function, and ability to sleep.
A 2017 study was conducted to see if CBD’s anti-inflammatory property could help prevent pain caused by Osteoarthritis and joint neuropathy. It was done on rats where they induced Osteoarthritis by injecting sodium monoiodoacetate (MIA; 3 mg). After 14 days of assessment, it was found that CBD decreased joint afferent neurons’ firing rate to the central nervous system and brain. It was also noted that there was an increase in withdrawal threshold and weight-bearing. CBD also showed that it could prevent the development of MIA-induced joint pain and was also found to give neuroprotection.
Whilst the effect of CBD is not directly targeting our joint health, it has been found to help with pain, inflammation, and nerve damage, which are the most common problems brought about by joint pains.
CBD Oil and CBD Balm: The Dual Effect
Like any other medications, people perceive CBD to be best when used internally. That is undoubtedly correct. But did you know that when dealing with pain, especially for those looking for targeted pain relief, using CBD internally and externally can provide much relief than when used alone? This theory is yet to be backed by science, but anecdotally speaking, CBD users use the combination of CBD oil and balm in search of enhanced pain relief.
Unbeknownst to many, regulating your endocannabinoid system internally and externally is possible and undoubtedly the best way to benefit from the therapeutic effects you can get from CBD when dealing with pain. There is a reason why CBD brands and producers formulated balms, salves, and CBD patches. While this type of CBD product soothes aching joints and muscles, it is best partnered with CBD oils or tinctures to regulate your endocannabinoid system synergistically.
Topical CBD is created for skin application that comes in different kinds intended for a specific use. Topicals are an excellent choice whether you’re dealing with chronic pain, inflammation, aches, and stiffness. It doesn’t go through the first-pass metabolism effect that occurs when taking CBD via ingestion, which means it may improve CBD’s bioavailability.
Skin is the largest organ of our body, and it is full of endocannabinoid receptors. Hence, when topically applied, CBD can cause an amazing effect. When CBD is applied to a specific location on your body, the therapeutic effects get absorbed in the targeted area where the pain is being experienced.
Oils and tinctures, on the other hand, are usually consumed sublingually (under the tongue). This method of consumption provides immediate absorption through the oral mucosa, where benefits from taking CBD are usually achieved between 15-45 minutes.
The Bottom Line
Injuries or medical problems can cause joint pain. With this, aside from approved medical treatments available, CBD is being used by many people suffering from joint pain, specifically those with arthritis, and anecdotally speaking, many have claimed that CBD has helped them. Cannabidiol is also backed by numerous scientific studies to effectively reduce inflammation and cause pain relief, hence the reason it may help with the physical symptoms experienced by those who suffer from pain associated with joint problems.
CBD is not a miracle cure. While it is yet to be proven and approved to be a treatment for medical conditions causing joint pain like the available medications in the market, Cannabidiol, based on scientific studies, shows remarkable effects that can be beneficial to our body.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is CBD?
What is joint pain?
Can taking CBD help to alleviate joint pain?
What should I look out for in a CBD product?
On top of that, make sure the CBD product you’re getting has been tested by a third-party laboratory since these products are mostly not regulated by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Furthermore, try to get products made from organically-grown CBD as these are less likely to contain pesticides or other potentially harmful chemicals.