According to rheumatoidarthritis.org, the autoimmune disorder known as rheumatoid arthritis affects 1.3 million people in the United States alone and up to 1% of the world’s population; which would equate to over 70 million people.
Also known as RA, this condition is systemic which means it can impact the entire body. It results in chronic swelling and severe pain and in some cases, it causes permanent disability. An increasing number of people are turning to CBD for relief from rheumatoid arthritis; keep reading to find out why.
Traditional Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatments & Their Side Effects
One of the main issues with RA is that the precise cause is unknown. As a result, physicians are forced to adopt something of a ‘scattergun’ approach when prescribing medication. Autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis occur when the immune system mistakes its own tissues for ‘invaders’ such as viruses or bacteria.
The immune system becomes confused and creates antibodies to destroy these perceived threats. RA is capable of attacking the body’s organs including the lungs and heart along with tissues such as cartilage and muscle.
In the initial stages of rheumatoid arthritis, small joints such as toes and fingers get stiff, swollen or warm. The pain comes and goes, but eventually, RA begins to impact larger joints such as the shoulder or knees. If left untreated, rheumatoid arthritis could lead to permanent disability. According to Healthline, 60% of people with poorly treated RA are unable to work within ten years of its onset!
Typical rheumatoid arthritis symptoms include:
- Weight Loss
- Firm lumps beneath the skin in the elbows, ankles, and hands.
- Pain and stiffness for over 30 minutes in the morning after sitting
Each year, 41 people for every 100,000 are diagnosed with RA in the United States, and women are twice as likely to suffer from the condition as men. It tends to start in women between the ages of 30 and 60 and occurs slightly later in males.
The mildest form of medication for rheumatoid arthritis is known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). While these drugs help reduce inflammation, they do nothing to prevent the spread of the condition. Despite being somewhat mild, NSAIDs still result in issues such as stomach upset, heartburn and more serious side effects such as increased risk of heart attacks, blood clots, and strokes.
Corticosteroids are more powerful than NSAIDs and are prescribed on a short-term basis. Possible side effects include elevated blood sugar levels and bone loss. Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) are the most commonly prescribed rheumatoid arthritis treatment and help slow down the progression of the condition. Side effects include increased risk of infection.
Biologic response modifiers are often used in concert with DMARDs and help modify immune systems that don’t respond well to DMARDs. Side effects include adverse reactions to infusions such as swelling along with increased risk of serious infections.
Apart from the side effects, the cost of rheumatoid arthritis drugs means that CBD is now seen as a viable alternative for those on a budget. The most effective treatment is biologics, but according to WebMD, they can cost between $1,000 and $3,000 a month!
How Can CBD Help With Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Although the cause of rheumatoid arthritis is not conclusively known, there is a strong link between the body’s T-cells and the molecular onset of RA. In essence, T-cells could be one of the main contributing factors to the onset of the disease. What’s exciting about CBD and the rheumatoid arthritis puzzle is its ability to suppress localized T-cell activity and function.
The study, by Kaplan, Springs, and Kaminski, was published in Biochemical Pharmacology in 2008 and suggests that CBD is the only drug capable of handling the underlying cause of rheumatoid arthritis.
At present, CBD’s ability to properly treat RA is theoretical, but further studies have shown that it makes for an effective method of treating the inflammation that accompanies the condition. One of the most relevant studies was by Witkamp and Meijerink and was published in 2014. As CBD can reduce localized pain, it is possible for RA sufferers to ditch their medication altogether.
One of the most interesting studies regarding CBD and chronic pain associated with RA was published in 2006 by Blake et al. The study consisted of a double-blind trial on 58 people living with rheumatoid arthritis over the course of five weeks. 31 patients received medication with CBD while the rest received a placebo.
At the end of the study, the patients that received the CBD medication reported significant improvements in quality of sleep and pain at movement and at rest. This study was conducted over a decade ago and was early proof that CBD could have a positive impact on the pain caused by joint inflammation during rheumatoid arthritis.
The relatively widespread availability of CBD medication means tens of thousands of people are eschewing their painkillers and biologics in favor of an all-natural solution with limited side effects. Moreover, CBD medications cost just a fraction of the price of prohibitive RA drugs.
What CBD Oils Should You Choose For Rheumatoid Arthritis?
In a saturated market, you don’t always get what you pay for. What you need is CBD oils created via supercritical CO2 extraction which contains minimal THC and no additives or preservatives. Our goal is to test as many CBD oils as possible and help you separate time-wasters from pain relievers. Check out which CBD oils work on our CBD Oils for Rheumatoid Arthritis Comparison Chart
Final Thoughts on CBD & Rheumatoid Arthritis
If left untreated, rheumatoid arthritis can cripple an individual and increase the likelihood of suffering from a life-threatening medical condition. At present, medications for the disease are mainly ineffective; the ones that actually work to reduce the onset of the condition cost tens of thousands of dollars a year.
CBD for rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, is a relatively affordable solution that doesn’t cause side effects. At worst, it helps relieve the joint inflammation associated with RA and at best, it could gradually reduce the onset.
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