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Can CBD Oil Reduce Symptoms of Psoriatic Arthritis?

Some doctors and alternative health practitioners have begun to include this hemp product in their treatment arsenal.

There’s been an explosion of interest in CBD (cannabidiol) oil as a treatment for pain, anxiety, depression, and a host of other ailments. Now some doctors and alternative health practitioners are using CBD, a natural chemical found in the cannabis plant (also known as industrial hemp), to help patients with psoriatic arthritis.

Psoriatic arthritis affects about 30 percent of people with psoriasis. Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that causes cells to build up on the surface of the skin, resulting in thick red patches with silver scaling. Psoriatic arthritis develops when the immune system begins to attack healthy cells and tissue, causing swelling, pain, fatigue, and inflammation in joints.

James W. Baumgartner, PhD, head of research and development and a manufacturing partner for the CBD business BIOS Labs, believes that CBD oil and medical marijuana extracts may be new alternative treatments for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

According to Baumgarnter, there is scientific evidence that cannabinoids, which include CBD and other active compounds in the cannabis plant, help regulate the immune system through the body’s endocannabinoid system. Researchers are still trying to understand the underlying mechanisms, he says.

A review of the scientific literature on this subject, published in a 2016 issue of the journal Current Clinical Pharmacology, makes the same point. The investigators conclude that there’s reason to believe cannabinoids have the potential to help treat psoriasis.

In a small study published in the April 2019 edition of the Italian medical journal La Clinica Terapeutica, researchers concluded that for patients with some skin disorders, especially those related to inflammation, topical CDB is a safe, effective, noninvasive way to reduce symptoms and improve quality of life.

How Do You Use CBD?

Hervé Damas, MD, founder of the medical marijuana business Grassroots Wellness in Miami, uses an array of CBD products for patients with inflammatory skin disorders. Depending on the severity of the disease, he says, he’ll either use topical CBD or a combination of a cream and systemic treatments (formulations that are absorbed into the bloodstream, such as drops that go under the tongue). “For issues such as psoriasis, dermatitis, and eczema, I’ve found CBD very effective at decreasing flare-ups, irritation, and discomfort in patients,” he says.

Aly Cohen, MD, a rheumatologist and integrative medicine practitioner in Monroe Township, New Jersey, and the founder and medical director of the website The Smart Human, says it’s important for patients to take CBD oil under the guidance of a practitioner who has expertise in this area and knows all the benefits and potential risks. “You need to watch for dangerous interactions with antidepressants, chemotherapy drugs, anticoagulants, and anti-seizure medications,” she says.

How Much CBD Oil Should You Use?

Dr. Damas finds that dosing with CBD is more art than science at this point. “For patients with inflammatory skin disorders I typically recommend 20 to 30 milligrams for daily maintenance, but this dosage varies based on a person’s body weight, health, and other medications they may be taking,” he says. “Applying topical applications to an affected area two or three times daily usually suffices.”

What Kind of CBD Oil Should You Buy?

Damas suggests buying full-spectrum oil (containing all cannabinoids and other compounds naturally occurring in the cannabis plant), as some research has shown this form of CBD to be more effective than isolates (just CBD).

How Do You Know if Your CBD Is Pure?

Shital Mars, CEO of PharmCo RX, an independent pharmacy in Miami, explains that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate CBD products (with the exception of a single CBD-based drug, Epidiolex, used to treat two rare forms of epilepsy).

“The best way to choose a CBD product is to do your research, work with a licensed physician or trusted pharmacist, and get a verified certificate of third-party analysis from the manufacturer,” says Mars. “That is the only way to know you are getting a quality product.”

Mars explains that manufacturers that offer transparency merit the most trust, so ask how much CBD you are actually getting in each dose. Understand that most labels show CBD content by volume, not by dose.

Some research suggests that for people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, CBD (hemp) oil may reduce flair-ups and discomfort. Products include CBD creams and CBD drops that go under the tongue.

Medical Marijuana, CBD Oil, and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Articles On Natural Remedies for RA Pain

Natural Remedies for RA Pain
Natural Remedies for RA Pain – Medical Marijuana, CBD Oil, and Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis Natural Treatment
  • Vitamins for Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • CBD Oil for Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Essential Oils for Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Rheumatologist

Researchers still don’t know a lot about how marijuana affects your body. But there is substantial evidence that it can help relieve long-term pain. And pain is a major symptom of rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Here’s what’s known so far about how medical marijuana and a marijuana extract called CBD (cannabidiol) might affect RA.

Benefits for RA

The Cannabis sativa plant has more than 100 chemicals that can affect your body and mind. The two that scientists know the most about are THC and CBD.

THC, or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, is what gets you high when you smoke, vape, or eat marijuana. CBD doesn’t affect your brain that way. For that reason, some people prefer the oil form of CBD for medical uses.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that can make your joints stiff, tender, and painful. RA also can affect your lungs, eyes, skin, and other body parts.

The federal ban on marijuana and CBD means studies on humans have been few. So researchers don’t know for sure that cannabis eases RA symptoms. But the results from several very small studies suggest that in people with rheumatic diseases, including RA and osteoarthritis, it may help:

  • Curb morning pain (but not the overall level of pain)
  • Improve sleep
  • Lower inflammation in joints (but not joint stiffness)

Unproven Therapy

Some lab testing suggests that cannabinoids may help tamp down the body’s immune response. But the studies have been limited to animals, not humans.

Doctors will need more proof before they can recommend cannabis products to treat rheumatic diseases. For example, we know very little about the effects on RA from smoking marijuana or other uses of herbal marijuana.

Is Cannabis Right for You?

The best way to answer this is to ask your doctor. They can tell you about possible side effects and drug interactions, legal considerations, and which form and at which dose may help you the most.

More than half of the states have legalized marijuana for medical use. More than a dozen other states allow limited medical uses of CBD.

The FDA doesn’t regulate marijuana or CBD, so you might not know exactly what’s in the products you buy. One batch of pot or edible marijuana may have a much higher or lower amount of THC than another, or affect you differently. CBD also can be unpredictable.

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Side Effects

Cannabis can affect you mentally and physically. THC can impair driving, so you shouldn’t get behind the wheel for at least 8 hours after you take it. Smoking or vaping (inhaling) marijuana will hit you more quickly than if you eat it. It’s also not good for your lungs or respiratory system.

If you use marijuana regularly, it could make you more likely to get anxiety, depression, and other mental illnesses.

CBD side effects are usually mild or moderate. They can include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Tiredness
  • Diarrhea
  • Drop in appetite
  • Interactions with blood thinners

Medical marijuana has similar side effects, including:

  • Headache
  • Coughing
  • Nausea
  • Lightheadedness
  • Increased appetite
  • Dissociation (feeling disconnected)
  • Dry eyes
  • Paranoia

Where to Get It

Depending on your state, you may need to buy medical marijuana and CBD at specific dispensaries or pharmacies from approved vendors. Your doctor may need to certify that you have a condition that may benefit from marijuana.

Marijuana is available it many forms, like pills, prepared foods, teas, nasal sprays, and as something you smoke or vape.

In some states, CBD is sold at many all-natural food stores and online. It can be taken by mouth as oil or extracts, or applied to your skin.

Sources

Chemistry & Biochemistry: “History of Cannabis and Its Preparations in Saga, Science, and Sobriquet.”

Mayo Clinic: “Mayo Clinic Q and A: Treatment with medical cannabis,” “Marijuana,” “What are the benefits of CBD — and is it safe to use?” “Rheumatoid arthritis.”

News release, The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine: “The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids.”

Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience: “Cannabis, Cannabinoids, and Health.”

Arthritis Care & Research: “Efficacy, Tolerability, and Safety of Cannabinoid Treatments in the Rheumatic Diseases: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials.”

Nature Reviews Rheumatology: “Cannabinoids for the treatment of rheumatic diseases — where do we stand?”

U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration: “Drug Scheduling.”

Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research: “Cannabis and Pain: A Clinical Review.”

Journal of Medical Toxicology: “Medical Marijuana and Driving: A Review.”

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health: “Marijuana and Cannabinoids.”

National Institute on Drug Abuse: “Marijuana as Medicine,” “Marijuana.”

You may be wondering if marijuana may ease the pain and discomfort from rheumatoid arthritis. Here’s what to know.