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Some early evidence, mostly from animal studies, suggests that topical cannabidiol (CBD) cream may help with arthritis, inflammation, and chronic pain.
However, recent research looking at the effects of CBD on arthritis on humans is limited, while no research exists on the use of CBD cream specifically.
This article discusses the use of CBD cream to treat arthritis, its effectiveness, products to consider, and other natural remedies.
The cannabis plant contains many different chemical compounds. One of these, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is the component known to cause the “high” when people consume it.
However, CBD, another major compound of the cannabis plant, does not induce this feeling. Many supporters and some researchers believe CBD may offer several health benefits.
Learn more about the differences and similarities between CBD and THC here.
CBD is legal at the federal level, but only in products where the concentration is less than 0.3% THC. In addition, different states have varying additional regulations. Some require a prescription, while others permit selling CBD as a supplement or even a beauty product.
A person should research the CBD regulations in their state.
Is CBD legal? Hemp-derived CBD products with less than 0.3% THC are legal federally but still illegal under some state laws. Cannabis-derived CBD products, on the other hand, are illegal federally but legal under some state laws. Check local legislation, especially when traveling. Also, keep in mind that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have not approved nonprescription CBD products, which may be inaccurately labeled.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have approved one CBD drug to treat certain types of seizures. However, it has not granted approval to CBD cream for any purpose, including arthritis.
These creams combine CBD with a mixture of oils or butters. Companies that market these products for people with arthritis may include other topical ingredients that may relieve pain, such as capsaicin.
The Arthritis Foundation say that research on CBD for arthritis is promising but not conclusive. And while several animal studies show potential, currently, there are no well-designed trials that prove CBD cream is beneficial for people with this condition.
Most research on CBD suggests its primary benefit is not as a numbing or pain relief agent. Instead, it helps reduce the inflammation that triggers arthritis pain. This means it may require long-term use to see noticeable results.
An older 2000 study on mice with laboratory-induced arthritis found that oral CBD — as opposed to CBD cream — could reduce arthritis symptoms by targeting inflammatory chemicals.
A 2015 study on rats found that they displayed fewer pain-related behaviors and had fewer inflammation markers after 4 consecutive days of treatment with CBD cream.
While some research assesses CBD in humans, none have looked specifically at CBD cream.
A preliminary assessment of the CBD drug Sativex, an oral mucosal spray, found that it could ease arthritis pain over 5 weeks. Sativex offered better pain relief than a placebo, but the study was small and did not specifically use a CBD cream.
Many similar studies use CBD alongside other derivatives of cannabis, so it is uncertain whether any apparent benefits come from cannabis, other cannabis derivatives such as THC, or CBD alone.
Proper use of CBD cream depends on the product. Below are some general tips for use:
- Follow the instructions on the label and avoid using more than the recommended amount.
- Try massaging the affected area while applying the cream to promote blood flow and ease tension.
- To see the most significant benefits, use CBD cream along with mainstream remedies, such as disease-modifying agents.
- A person may also need to use CBD for several days to see results.
Note that CBD cream should not replace any medical treatment unless a doctor recommends it.
At moderate doses, CBD is safe for most people and should not cause serious side effects. However, like all medications, the substance may interact with other drugs and trigger adverse effects, including some serious ones.
Some common side effects include:
CBD may also interact with other sedating drugs such as alcohol and opioids. Doctors have not identified all drug interactions, so talk with a healthcare professional before using CBD alongside other medications.
Similar to other drugs, CBD may also cause an allergic reaction, particularly in people with tree or nut allergies.
People should also note that researchers cannot confirm the long-term effects of using CBD.
The following products may be suitable for people with arthritis. Speak with a doctor if a person has concerns about using particular CBD products.
For guidance on buying CBD products, click here.
Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based.
Lazarus Naturals Soothing Mint Full-Spectrum CBD Balm
This balm contains moisturizing mango butter and beeswax, making it suitable for dry or irritated skin.
In addition to the added 600 milligrams (mg) of cannabis per ounce (oz), it also includes mint to soothe and cool the skin.
The product is third-party tested and certified free from heavy metals.
Lazarus Naturals Soothing Mint Full-Spectrum CBD Balm is available for purchase online.
CBDistillery CBD Warming Cream
With 300 mg of CBD per 1.7 oz tube, this warming cream contains 2 mg of CBD per pump.
Rich in moisturizing ingredients, such as shea butter, the product offers a subtle warming sensation to ease muscle tension and soothe inflammation.
CBDistillery test this product for potency, dangerous chemicals, and heavy metals, while it is also certified for safety.
CBDistillery CBD Warming Cream is available for purchase online.
CBDfx Muscle & Joint CBD Hemp Cream
This high potency formula product offers 1,000 mg of CBD per 1.7 oz bottle.
It also contains caffeine and menthol to stimulate blood flow and provide a pleasurable cooling sensation.
In addition, the added white willow bark may help soothe inflammation.
The product is also vegan and certified cruelty- and solvent-free.
CBDfx Muscle & Joint CBD Hemp Cream is available for purchase online.
People who wish to try natural remedies for arthritis have several options beyond CBD, including:
- Stress management and mind-body techniques: Research supporting the effectiveness of these remedies is not conclusive, but mind and body techniques, such as meditation, are generally safe.
- Exercise: Taking part in physical activity can:
- prevent damage to surrounding muscles
- promote blood flow to the affected area
- help a person maintain a moderate weight
- Dietary supplements: Emerging research suggests some supplements may help arthritis. However, they can interact with other drugs and cause serious side effects, so talk with a doctor before trying them. These supplements include:
- Alternative medicine: Some people may find relief from:
Learn more effective home remedies for arthritis here.
People who wish to use CBD products for arthritis but prefer not to use creams could try other forms such as oils or edibles.
Learn about using CBD oil for treating arthritis here.
CBD may help relieve arthritis inflammation, although further research is necessary. CBD cream is a possible option for people who wish to try a natural remedy for joint pain.
However, every case of arthritis is different, and what works well for one person might not be effective for others. Talk with a doctor to find a suitable combination of natural and medical remedies for arthritis relief.
For more information and resources on CBD and CBD products, please visit our dedicated hub.