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Rheumatoid Arthritis and CBD Oil: Benefits, Effectiveness, and Dosage

For sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis, the impact of the disease is not only debilitating, but life-altering. Severe and chronic inflammation of the joints means pain becomes part of life, at times making the simplest of tasks impossible.

While there are treatment options currently available, some can cause serious and unwanted side-effects. Because of this, rheumatoid arthritis sufferers have started to look to CBD oil specifically for its anti-inflammatory and largely side effect-free qualities.

Below you’ll find how CBD oil works to reduce the symptoms of this autoimmune disease, summaries of the research being done in this space, and general dosage and consumption information, should you decide to try CBD oil as a treatment for your arthritis.

Benefits of Using CBD Oil for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like aspirin and ibuprofen, are a common treatment for rheumatoid arthritis. However, long-term NSAID use can cause issues like stomach pain, stomach ulcers, heartburn, and kidney or liver problems.

For treating severe cases of arthritis, Trexall (methotrexate) may be prescribed. While largely effective, Trexall comes with unfortunate side effects including nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, and dizziness.

To avoid the side effects associated with more traditional rheumatoid arthritis treatments, many people are turning to CBD oil for relief from their inflammation and joint pain.

While cannabis has been used medicinally for centuries, it is only recently that it has gained popularity as a health supplement. Part of this could be due to the fact that present day technology allows for the extraction of cannabidiol (CBD) from the cannabis plant, isolating this therapeutic compound from more intoxicating compounds like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This means arthritis patients can seek relief with CBD oil without any of the THC-driven, mind-altering side effects often associated with marijuana. In short, while cannabidiol is derived from the cannabis plant, CBD oil will not get you high.

Effectiveness of CBD Oil for Rheumatoid Arthritis

The cannabis plant contains over 100 compounds known as cannabinoids, each with its own properties. While THC is the cannabinoid responsible for the ‘high’ typically associated with cannabis use, there is an equally potent and highly beneficial compound also present: CBD, one of the most therapeutic cannabinoids.

Cannabidiol (CBD) directly and indirectly impacts the way in which the body experiences pain. The CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors specific to cannabinoids are located in the brain (CB1) and throughout the body (CB2). The CB2 receptors regulate pain and inflammation, often through their influence on the immune system.

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CBD Oil for Arthritic Pain and Inflammation

The pain and swelling associated with rheumatoid arthritis are caused by an autoimmune response that results in inflammation of the joints. Studies have found that cannabinoids like CBD can increase the function of inhibitory receptors within the central nervous system, reducing inflammation throughout the body and decreasing the perception of pain.

Additionally, CBD oil is able to reduce inflammation in the body by limiting reuptake of the neurotransmitter adenosine. By doing this, the level of adenosine in the brain increases, which impacts adenosine receptors in a way that significantly reduces inflammation within the body.

Finally, in a 2016 study in rats, researchers tested whether cannabidiol applied topically (e.g. CBD lotion or gel) could help alleviate the symptoms of arthritis, and the results were promising. The CBD gel was placed directly on the skin, over inflamed joints for four consecutive days. The study concludes, “These data indicate that topical CBD application has therapeutic potential for relief of arthritis pain-related behaviours and inflammation without evident side-effects.”

CBD oil’s pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory properties demonstrate great potential in the treatment of conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, especially if you’re looking for a more natural and largely side effect-free option.

CBD Oil for Arthritic Fatigue

Fatigue is a common symptom experienced by those suffering with rheumatoid arthritis, and can be brought on by inflammation associated with the disease. While inflammation is a normal immune response, autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis cause the immune system to work overtime. As mentioned above, CBD oil may be able to reduce the inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis, taking some of the extra work off of your immune system so you can divert that energy elsewhere.

The chronic pain of arthritis may also interrupt your sleep, causing you to feel fatigue during the day. Luckily, current studies suggest CBD oil may be able to combat this fatigue by relieving pain, promoting REM sleep, and even increasing daytime wakefulness.

While further research needs to be done, the current data shows that CBD oil has a great deal of potential benefits in the treatment of fatigue related to rheumatoid arthritis.

How to Take CBD for Rheumatoid Arthritis

The decision to try an alternative  type of treatment can be a daunting one. A decade ago there may have been a negative stigma associated with the use of cannabis and cannabis-derived products, but thanks to recent legislation and public education, that stigma is disappearing. Information is more readily available and medical professionals are starting to understand all of the ways CBD can assist in managing not only pain, but a wide range of complex conditions.

Make sure you talk to your physician about your questions, concerns, and plans around CBD oil. While CBD oil has been found to be relatively safe with little to no side effects, it can interact with common medications you may already be taking, like antidepressants and antibiotics. You might also consider a second consultation from a cannabis doctor with an expertise in using CBD oil as a medical supplement.

Once you have the go-ahead from your doctor, you’ll need to decide how you’d like to administer your CBD oil. There are many options to consider when treating rheumatoid arthritis with CBD oil because it comes in a variety of forms. The method you choose will come down to your specific ailment and your personal preferences.

For arthritis in the hands and feet, a topical cream can be applied to the affected area, which will allow you to target specific joints quickly and effectively. Alternatively, you can apply transdermal patches that release CBD throughout the day, or ingest CBD oil by way of drops, capsules, and edibles. You can also inhale your CBD through a vape for the fastest-acting (but shortest-lived) effects.

Experiment with the different CBD oil delivery methods until you find a system that’s right for you; it may end up being a combination of a few different products.

CBD Oil for Rheumatoid Arthritis Dosage

In the same way that no two people or their illnesses are exactly the same, there is no universal dose of CBD oil for rheumatoid arthritis. We suggest always following the serving sizes listed with your chosen product.

However, at CBD Oil Review we have analyzed hundreds of CBD products and come up with a standard serving suggestion if you need further guidance:

The CBD Oil Review Serving Standard is 25mg of CBD, taken twice daily.

If you are not getting results from this amount, we recommend increasing the serving size by 25mg every 3-4 weeks until you find relief.

To determine if CBD oil is the best solution for you, continue to do your research and talk to your physician. Together you can examine all the ways in which cannabis may benefit you.

+ 5 sources


  1. Sreemanti Basu et al. (2015) Unraveling the Complexities of Cannabinoid Receptor 2 (CB2) Immune Regulation in Health and Disease - National Center for Biotechnology Information https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4624216/
  2. Wei Xiong et al. Cannabinoids suppress inflammatory and neuropathic pain by targeting α3 glycine receptors - National Center for Biotechnology Information https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3371734/
  3. Clementino Ibeas Bih et al. (2015) Molecular Targets of Cannabidiol in Neurological Disorders - National Center for Biotechnology Information https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4604182/
  4. D.C. Hammell et al. (2015) Transdermal cannabidiol reduces inflammation and pain-related behaviours in a rat model of arthritis - National Center for Biotechnology Information https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4851925/
  5. Eric Murillo-Rodríguez et al. (2014) Potential Effects of Cannabidiol as a Wake-Promoting Agent - National Center for Biotechnology Information https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4023456/

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