Remember that CBD use for pain and related symptoms is not an exact science, so you may need to try more than one brand and method before feeling relief. The good news is that, to date, CBD is not considered to be physically addictive, and there’s no history of anyone overdosing on it, so a little trial and error likely won’t hurt as long as you are sourcing safely.
But it is important to be cautious if you are taking other medications or substances, like alcohol. Specifically:
The dosage of CBD that works for your pain will depend on the amount/percentage of CBD in the product, how you take it (whether by mouth, inhalation, or topical application) and your body weight and chemistry (several websites offer CBD calculators to determine a starting dose). The best thing is to speak with your doctor or a budtender (essentially a dispensary pharmacist) before choosing a CBD dosage. If your doctor does not recommend a dose, it is best to start small and gradually increase the dose from there until you achieve the desired effect.
HAVING THOSE HARD CONVERSATIONS ABOUT CBD USE
Overall, the risks of taking CBD are very low, and the rewards can be quite promising. Still, it’s important to remember that more research is needed to understand the full effects of CBD. Your treatment is a personal choice and for many, a personal journey.
2. Rudroff T, Sosnoff J. Cannabidiol to improve mobility in people with multiple sclerosis. Front Neurol. 2018;9:183.
Vaping has become a popular form of taking CBD. Unlike rolling a joint, vaping involves a CBD oil cartridge that is inserted into a vaping pen. While some may assume that vaping is safer than smoking, there are dangers associated with both practices regarding lung health.
CBD is a cannabinoid found in marijuana plants that has many beneficial effects, without the psychotropic effects of its cannabinoid counterpart, THC. (Image: iStock)
When taken orally, CBD has poor bioavailability. Topical CBD application to localized areas of pain appears to provide more consistent levels of CBD with less systemic involvement.
Cathy Wong is a nutritionist and wellness expert. Her work is regularly featured in media such as First For Women, Woman's World, and Natural Health.
However, it should be noted that the studies used a variety of cannabis-based medicines (e.g., inhaled cannabis, sprays, and oral tablets containing THC and/or CBD from plant sources or made synthetically), some of which are more likely to result in these side effects than products without THC.
Scientists are still trying to determine how CBD oil might alleviate pain. However, there’s some evidence that cannabidiol may affect the body’s endocannabinoid system (a complex system of cell-to-cell communication). Along with contributing to brain functions like memory and mood, the endocannabinoid system influences how we experience pain.
Side effects included sleepiness, dizziness, and mental confusion. The authors concluded that the potential harm of such medicines may outweigh their possible benefit.
Should I give CBD a try? Without quality clinical studies on CBD and arthritis, doctors have not been able to say who might benefit from CBD, at what dose and in which form, who likely won’t benefit and who should avoid it. Still, there is agreement on several points:
CBD for Arthritis Pain: What You Should Know
Inhaled. CBD can be inhaled via a vaporizing, or vape, pen. However, inhalation of vapor oils and chemical byproducts carry unknown risks, particularly for people with inflammatory arthritis. For this reason and because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating vaping in association with widespread hospitalizations and deaths from severe pulmonary disease, vaping is not recommended.
Taking the First Step
On the skin. Topical products, like lotions and balms, are applied to the skin over a painful joint. Whether these products deliver CBD below the skin is unknown. Topical products may also include common over-the-counter ingredients such as menthol, capsaicin or camphor, making it difficult to determine if a positive effect is due to the CBD or another ingredient.