CBD Oil: a Promising New Treatment for Arthritis

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Cannabidiol oil, often sold as “CBD oil,” is a product extracted from the plant species Cannabis sativa L—where both marijuana and hemp come from. But unlike marijuana, CBD oil does not get you high. Nope, not even a little bit. This is because CBD oil contains only trace amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)—the chemical component in marijuana that has psychoactive effects. CBD oil does contain, however, cannabinoids—the naturally occurring chemicals in both hemp and marijuana that are anti-inflammatory and patented by the U.S. Government as neuroprotectant and antioxidant.

Researchers have known for a long time that the cannabinoids found in CBD oil have the ability to promote homeostasis throughout the human body, making it a promising treatment option for a variety of chronic diseases, including cancer, multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain disorders, anxiety, and arthritis. So why has it taken so long for CBD oil to gain popularity amongst doctors and patients?

One of the main obstacles being faced by manufacturers lies in breaking the taboo surrounding marijuana use and the association between CBD oil and recreational marijuana. Here, we’re going to bust through thesestigmas, as we break down the science behind what makes CBD oil a smart molecule, a powerful anti-inflammatory, and a promising treatment option for the millions of people currently suffering from arthritis.

A smart molecule

CBD oil essentially works as an adaptogen, a regulator, and a modulator within the human body. This means it will act in a dynamic fashion, working to promote homeostasis depending on whatever is happening in within the body: reducing inflammation, decreasing blood pressure (if it’s high), killing cancer cells, boosting serotonin, regulating sleep, reducing anxiety, and the list goes on.

Here’s why: all humans, and every chordate creature for the last 500 million years, have an internal endocannabinoid system (ECS)—a complex network of biochemical modulators that maintain balance throughout all body systems, including the immune system.

Here’s how: the ECS is made up of cannabinoid receptors present on all cell surfaces and neurological junctions,plus the endocannabinoids that hit these receptors to trigger various metabolic processes.  These cannabinoids keep track of metabolic systems all over the body. This information then gets shared with the nervous system and the immune system so that any imbalance is attended to. If the body is in a state of chronic disease or stress, however, the immune system can start to fall behind and lose control over inflammation in the body.

Here’s where phytocannabinoids—the cannabinoids extracted from hemp and marijuana plants—can help: these cannabinoids mimic the functions of the body’s primary signaling endocannabinoids. This means that cannabinoids ingested from CBD oil can pitch in to support both the ECS and the immune system. On one level, the phytocannabinoids from CBD oil will bond with cell receptors, boosting communication between cell systems. On a second level, CBD oil cannabinoids help to regulate and suppress inflammation within the body.

A powerful anti-inflammatory

During times of illness or infection, the body’s immune system signals inflammatory cytokine production. These cytokines are cells that flood the infection site in order to ward off the bad guys.  However, during periods of chronic stress, the body’s immune system starts to lose control. This means that immune system starts to signal more and more cytokine production to help fight off the illness. Over time, this runaway immune system response can lead to chronic states of inflammation. Chronic states of inflammation, in turn,can lead to chronic diseases, including depression, dementia, cancer, arthritis, and other autoimmune disorders.

Phytocannabinoids from CBD oil have the ability to recognize this runaway immune system response. But they also have the ability to inhibit the production of inflammatory cytokines to help restore order and balance within the body.

Take for instance, a study conducted in 2012, which showed that phytocannabinoids suppressed intestinal inflammation and helped reduce intestinal permeability. Studies like this have rendered CBD oil as a powerful treatment option for sufferers of chronic intestinal diseases, such as ulcerative colitis and celiac disease.

But the line doesn’t stop here. Several more studies haveshown that the phytocannabinoids found in CBD oil can suppress the painful inflammation that accompanies a host of other chronic illnesses, including multiple sclerosis, liver disease, leukemia, and most notably, arthritis.

A promisingnew treatment option

Put simply, arthritis is a chronic and oftenvery painful inflammation of the joints. Conservative estimates suggest more than 50 million people are currently living with a form of diagnosed arthritis—two of the most common diagnoses being osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). By 2040, it’s expected that more than 78 million people will be living with this extremely painful disease.

While RA is an autoimmune condition, brought on by chronic inflammation and that runaway immune system response we talked about earlier, OA is not. It’s a degenerative condition, whereby joint-cushioning cartilage slowly wears away. But despite causes, inflammation remains the centripetal force among all arthritis sufferers. It’s what’s to blame for the constant, throbbing, and sometimes excruciating pain that accompanies the disease. And while reducing inflammation is key to treating arthritic conditions, it’s actually pain relief that remains of the essence for doctors and patients alike.

In fact, chronic pain relief is now one of the most pressing public health issuesin the Western world. In 2005, an ABC News poll reported that 19 percent of American adults (approximately 38 million) live with chronic pain.In 2006, a study conducted by the European Journal of Pain, found that 46 percent of participants suffered from chronic pain; 61 percent of which could not or were less able to work outside of their homes because of pain; and 40 percent of which had inadequate pain management.Hence, limited pharmaceutical options, coupled with mounting concerns over prescription drug abuse and increasing scrutiny over prescribing practices in these countries, have left patients and doctors searching for new means of treatment.

Enter: CBD oil. While researchers have already proven that phytocannabinoids can suppress pro-inflammatory cytokines in the body, they are also now proving that CBD oil can regulate immune cell adhesion and migration to the inflamed joint in arthritis patients. Together, these two processes mean that CBD oil has the potential to help slow down the perpetuation of disease, while also alleviating arthritic pain.

This is huge!—not only does CBD oil have the potential to block arthritic pain, but it can actually help to slow the progression of the disease. Plus, the therapeutic cannabinoids found in CBD oil are completely naturally occurring substances, which mimic the functions of our own internal cannabinoid system. This means that the phytocannabinoids found in CBD oil are natural to our biology and are nontoxic to our tissues, unliketraditional pharmaceutical drugs.

In short, CBD oil is a very promising and important treatment option for an escalatingpublic health issue. But in order to garner public access and attention, we first need to the remove the stigma and break the association between CBD oil and recreational marijuana use. (To reiterate: CBD oil can be extracted from either hemp or marijuana plants. However, CBD oil cannot, and will not, get you “high.”) We need to realize that without busting through these misconceptions, we run the risk of denying millions of people the chance toreturn to a happy, healthy, and pain-free way of living.

[i] US Patents, US 6630507 B1Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants, Google, (Online: 2003)

[ii] Dennis Hill, Cannabis & Hemp, The Human Endocannabinoid System Meets the Inflammatory Cytokine Cascade, (Online)

[iii] Natalya M Kogan Raphael Mechoulam, Dialogues Clinical Neuroscience, Cannabinoids in health and disease, (Online: 2007)

[iv]Arthritis Foundation, Arthritis Facts, (Online: 2018)

[v] Liz Moody, Mind Body Green, CBD is the best Anti-inflammatory, Anti-cancer, Anti-anxiety Superfood You’re Not Eating (Online: 2017)

[vi]Dennis Hill, Cannabis & Hemp, The Human Endocannabinoid System Meets the Inflammatory Cytokine Cascade, (Online)

[vii]Dennis Hill, Cannabis & Hemp, The Human Endocannabinoid System Meets the Inflammatory Cytokine Cascade, (Online)

[viii]Dennis Hill, Cannabis & Hemp, The Human Endocannabinoid System Meets the Inflammatory Cytokine Cascade, (Online)

[ix]Philip Hunter, EMBO, The inflammation theory of disease, The growing realization that chronic inflammation is crucial in many diseases opens new avenues for treatment, U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, (Online: 2012)

[x]Nicola Barrie and Nicholas Manolios, European Journal of Rheumatology, The endocannabinoid system in pain and inflammation: Its relevance to rheumatic disease, U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, (Online: 2017)

[xi]A Alhamoruni, KL Wright, M Larvin, SE O’Sullivan, British Journal of Pharmacology, Cannabinoids mediate opposing effects on inflammation-induced intestinal permeability, U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, (Online: 2012)

[xii]PrakashNagarkatti, RupalPandey, SadiyeAmcaogluRieder, Venkatesh L Hedge, Mitzi Nagarkatti, HHS Pubic Access, Cannabinoids as novel anti-inflammatory drugs, U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, (Online: 2009)

[xiii]Malifat AM, Galily R, Sumariwalla PF, Malik AS<Andreakos E, Mechoulam R, Feldmann M, ProcNatlAcadSci U.S.A., The nonpsychoactive cannabis constituent cannabidiol is an oral anti-arthritic therapeutic in murine collagen-induced arthritis, US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, (Online: 2000)

[xiv]Kinsey SG, Mahadevan A, Zhao B, Sun H, Naidu PS, Razdan RK, Selley DE, ImadDamaj M, Lichtman AH, Neuropharmacology, The CB2 cannabinoid receptor-selective agonist O-3223 reduces pain and inflammation without apparent cannabinoid behavioral effects, US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, (Online: 2011)

[xv]Arthritis Foundation, Arthritis Facts, (Online: 2018)

[xvi]Ethan B Russo, TherClin Risk Manag.,Cannabinoids in the management of difficult to treat pain, U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, (Online: 2008)

[xvii]Gary Langer, ABC News, Poll: Americans Searching for Pain Relief, (Online: 2005)

[xviii]HaraldBreivik, Beverly Collett, Vittorio Ventafridda, Rob Cohen, Derek Gallacher, European Journal of Pain, Survey of chronic pain in Europe: Prevalence, impact on daily life, and treatment, Science Direct (Online: 2006)

[xix]Ethan B Russo, TherClin Risk Manag.,Cannabinoids in the management of difficult to treat pain, U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, (Online: 2008)

[xx]Nicola Barrie and Nicholas Manolios, European Journal of Rheumatology, The endocannabinoid system in pain and inflammation: Its relevance to rheumatic disease, U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, (Online: 2017)

[xxi]Dennis Hill, Cannabis & Hemp, The Human Endocannabinoid System Meets the Inflammatory Cytokine Cascade, (Online)

[1]US Patents, US 6630507 B1Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants, Google, (Online: 2003)

[1]Dennis Hill, Cannabis & Hemp, The Human Endocannabinoid System Meets the Inflammatory Cytokine Cascade, (Online)

[1]Natalya M Kogan Raphael Mechoulam, Dialogues Clinical Neuroscience, Cannabinoids in health and disease, (Online: 2007)

[1]Arthritis Foundation, Arthritis Facts, (Online: 2018)

[1]Liz Moody, Mind Body Green, CBD is the best Anti-inflammatory, Anti-cancer, Anti-anxiety Superfood You’re Not Eating (Online: 2017)

[1]Dennis Hill, Cannabis & Hemp, The Human Endocannabinoid System Meets the Inflammatory Cytokine Cascade, (Online)

[1]Dennis Hill, Cannabis & Hemp, The Human Endocannabinoid System Meets the Inflammatory Cytokine Cascade, (Online)

[1]Dennis Hill, Cannabis & Hemp, The Human Endocannabinoid System Meets the Inflammatory Cytokine Cascade, (Online)

[1]Philip Hunter, EMBO, The inflammation theory of disease, The growing realization that chronic inflammation is crucial in many diseases opens new avenues for treatment, U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, (Online: 2012)

[1]Nicola Barrie and Nicholas Manolios, European Journal of Rheumatology, The endocannabinoid system in pain and inflammation: Its relevance to rheumatic disease, U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, (Online: 2017)

[1]A Alhamoruni, KL Wright, M Larvin, SE O’Sullivan, British Journal of Pharmacology, Cannabinoids mediate opposing effects on inflammation-induced intestinal permeability, U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, (Online: 2012)

[1]PrakashNagarkatti, RupalPandey, SadiyeAmcaogluRieder, Venkatesh L Hedge, Mitzi Nagarkatti, HHS Pubic Access, Cannabinoids as novel anti-inflammatory drugs, U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, (Online: 2009)

[1]Malifat AM, Galily R, Sumariwalla PF, Malik AS<Andreakos E, Mechoulam R, Feldmann M, ProcNatlAcadSci U.S.A., The nonpsychoactive cannabis constituent cannabidiol is an oral anti-arthritic therapeutic in murine collagen-induced arthritis, US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, (Online: 2000)

[1]Kinsey SG, Mahadevan A, Zhao B, Sun H, Naidu PS, Razdan RK, Selley DE, ImadDamaj M, Lichtman AH, Neuropharmacology, The CB2 cannabinoid receptor-selective agonist O-3223 reduces pain and inflammation without apparent cannabinoid behavioral effects, US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, (Online: 2011)

[1]Arthritis Foundation, Arthritis Facts, (Online: 2018)

[1]Ethan B Russo, TherClin Risk Manag.,Cannabinoids in the management of difficult to treat pain, U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, (Online: 2008)

[1]Gary Langer, ABC News, Poll: Americans Searching for Pain Relief, (Online: 2005)

[1]HaraldBreivik, Beverly Collett, Vittorio Ventafridda, Rob Cohen, Derek Gallacher, European Journal of Pain, Survey of chronic pain in Europe: Prevalence, impact on daily life, and treatment, Science Direct (Online: 2006)

[1]Ethan B Russo, TherClin Risk Manag.,Cannabinoids in the management of difficult to treat pain, U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, (Online: 2008)

[1]Nicola Barrie and Nicholas Manolios, European Journal of Rheumatology, The endocannabinoid system in pain and inflammation: Its relevance to rheumatic disease, U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, (Online: 2017)

[1]Dennis Hill, Cannabis & Hemp, The Human Endocannabinoid System Meets the Inflammatory Cytokine Cascade, (Online)