Can CBD Oil Help Manage Your Arthritis Pain?
Here's what you should know about the products currently on the market that claim to do so.
As CBD oils, gels, creams, tinctures, and gummies continue to surge in popularity, so, too, do the claims that they help alleviate pain and inflammation. When it comes to using these products to manage arthritis pain, the medical community is split: Many doctors encourage their patients to seek out what works for them, while others prefer to wait for the hard, cold data.
Dr. Brent Bauer, director of the Mayo Clinic Integrative Medicine and Health Research Program, recommends a cautioned approach to CBD, but he has seen many positive outcomes when used (he says several of his patients have reported success using CBD products to manage their arthritis). "It takes time to review current medications, look for potential drug-herb interactions, help the patient find a quality product, watch carefully for side-effects or liver toxicity, and so forth," he explains. "It's doable, but until we have more data, caution still needs to be the guiding principle." Ahead, Dr. Bauer shares his tips for treating arthritis pain with CBD oil—beginning with consulting your medical professional every step of the way.
First and foremost, check with your physician.
Dr. Bauer advises his arthritis patients to use caution when testing these products. "Because CBD can interfere with the metabolism of many prescription drugs, don't start a CBD product without first reviewing it with your primary care team. If you get the clearance to try it, look for products from companies that have Good Manufacturing Practices certification in the United States, E.U., and Australia," he says. "Also look for companies that have an independent company handle any reports of adverse events related to their products. It takes a little work, but I believe this is currently the best way to find those (few) companies which are deeply committed to providing the highest quality products."
Full spectrum products may be more effective.
Another target term to watch for? "I've also had many patients who seem to do better with the 'full spectrum' products—not just CBD, but multiple other cannabinoids, as well," he explains.
Medical research is limited but progressing rapidly.
Within the medical community, many doctors are hesitant to recommend CBD products to patients with arthritis because the research is still so limited, Dr. Bauer explains. "We have some preliminary data (i.e. from laboratory studies) that suggest that CBD (and other cannabinoids) may have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects that might make them potentially beneficial for people with most kinds of arthritis," he says. "The challenge is that we currently lack good clinical data—large, rigorous, placebo-controlled trials that actually measure the effect (good or bad) and the safety of these preparations."
Dr. Bauer says there are many challenges within these trials, from the many different topical and oral forms of CBD, products that vary in quality, and a number of reports of possible liver injury in some patients. "Fortunately, a lot of good clinical trials are underway at a number of institutions, and I expect we'll be able to make more informed decisions about this intriguing compound in the near future," he says.