CBD and Inflammation
It’s that burning, persistent pain around the joints. It robs sufferers of normal function or, at the very least, makes day-to-day activities difficult to complete without throbbing aches. We’re speaking, of course, about inflammation. Beyond being at best an annoying condition and at worst a debilitating complication that levels quality of life, inflammation is the body’s natural response to detected bacteria and potential infection. When bodily intruders are detected, our bodies send a rush of white blood cells to the compromised area, attempting to prevent either initial problems or worsening of already-compromised regions. Despite being a literal pain, inflammation helps to keep us healthy; the white blood cells and white blood cell-produced substances are sent to protect that/those area(s).
However, if you’re one of the 50 million Americans who are unfortunate enough to have doctor-diagnosed arthritis, then you know all too well how painful chronic inflammation can be. While there are two main types of arthritis — inflammatory and noninflammatory — both bring about inflammation. If this sounds confusing, that’s because it can be. Let’s breakdown the two types and how CBD for arthritis may bring relief for both.
Two Types of Arthritis, One Sinister Pain
Whether you have osteoarthritis (OA) or rheumatoid arthritis (RA), you know how debilitating the pain can be. While both conditions share some symptoms, there are some stark differences between the two. Despite their differences, CBD has consistently shown to relieve pain caused by inflammation. How? Let’s get into it.
OA, the non-inflammatory type of arthritis, is a degenerative disease that affects joint cartilage and bones. It causes stiff bones and joints, often manifesting itself in knees, hips, and thumb joints. Moreover, OA can make basic movement difficult, if not excruciatingly painful. Many who have been diagnosed with OA find they experience joint locking, which results in limited mobility of everyday function — and all of these symptoms are considered to be noninflammatory. How can that be so? Since OA is a degenerative disease — the result of degenerative cell changes that impact joints, leading to deterioration over time — it’s its end result that causes the inflammation, not the disease itself. Bluntly, once OA has wreaked havoc on joints, it’s the wear and tear of that havoc that causes the inflammation. Remember that rush of white blood cells to compromised areas we mentioned earlier? That’s them doing their thing, albeit to a painful degree.
Before we get into RA, let’s first discuss how CBD and inflammation interact in regards to OA. Each of us possesses an endocannabinoid system (ECS), a biological system that is composed of — wait for it — endocannabinoids. Endocannabinoids are lipid-based retrograde neurotransmitters, meaning that they are cell bodies that move “backwards” across chemical synapses and then bind to axon terminals. What does all this mean in common speak? Essentially, CBD binds to the ECS and, in doing so, relieves inflammation via pathways that we all possess. While common OTC pain relievers work by blocking pain receptors but do little to address the pain itself, CBD simply finds its way to receptors in the body, binds to those receptors, and seems to balm and quell the aches and pains caused by inflammation.
What does this mean for CBD’s and osteoarthritis? Quite a lot; evidence has consistently shown that local CBD administration inhibits pain and peripheral sensitisation in established OA. The same study also found that topical CBD application (like our Serenity Muscle and Joint Salve) reduced leukocyte cycle and hyperaemia, which is excess blood in vessels around a certain area of the body. Looking at you, excess white blood cells. . .
While RA affects the body similarly to OA, it has fierce differences. RA is an autoimmune disorder, meaning that is it an abnormal response to an otherwise normal-functioning part of the body. In short, it’s the body attacking itself. Its most common characteristics are swelling and inflammation around the joints. Further departing from OA, RA brings about inflammation at the onset rather than being a by-product of the condition. However, the two conditions overlap in that they both can cause debilitating stiffness around the joints, leading to a litany of mobility and functionality problems.
So, how is CBD thought to stamp out the often agonizing pain of RA? Quite similarly to OA, RA is believed to be quelled by CBD when it binds to ECS receptors. Once CBD binds to a CB2 receptor, it then plays its role in stifling the pain caused by inflammation. Moreover, some evidence suggests that, not only does CBD bind to CB2 receptors, but once CBD has found its way into the ECS, the body may then produce additional cannabinoids that attach themselves to the CB2 receptors. And, since one in every five persons the world over is diagnosed with some form of arthritis, studies concerning both topical application and oral ingestion of CBD not only shows promising results for millions of sufferers, but also suggests that further research may pinpoint which types of application work best for RA, OA, and other causes of inflammation.
While CBD has shown and continues to show promise for improving quality of life for those who suffer from RA or OA, these two inflammation-causing conditions are far from the only two culprits. Since inflammation is the body’s response to stress, any type of stress can bring about inflammation; the body doesn’t discriminate whether your stress is lifestyle-, diet-, or environmentally-induced. That leaves us with quite a number of conditions and disorders that bring about inflammation. What are some of the main causes?
- Food allergies and/or food sensitivities
- Too much bacteria and fungi in the gastrointestinal tract
- Accumulation of environmental toxicity such as water-, air-, and food-borne toxins
- Lifestyle, such as poor diet and lack of (or too much) exercise
While many of these causes can be hard to avoid (like the air we breathe, or the food to which we have access), CBD is thought to help mitigate or, in some cases, completely eliminate, inflammation brought about by these issues.
The Bottom Line on CBD For Inflammation
Where does this leave us in the discussion of CBD for inflammation? The available research sheds quite a bright and positive light on one simple piece of information: CBD has consistently shown to lessen, quell, or even prevent pain caused by inflammation. No matter the source of your inflammation, CBD may be an excellent weapon with which to combat this painful condition, restoring quality of life, improving mobility, and a renewed sense of normalcy.