CBD for Arthritis

What is Arthritis

Osteoarthritis, or more often referred to simply as arthritis, is a common but not very well understood condition. Arthritis is not a single disease which is instead referring to a group of symptoms resulting from, and in joint pain and joint disease. There are over 100 types of arthritis with people of all ages, genders and races suffering from it. However, it is most common among women and develops more frequently with age.

Arthritis is the swelling and tenderness in one or more joints that is accompanied by stiffness and pain. This is most often as a result of the cartilage that covers the ends of bones where they form the joint and/or lining of the bones to break down due to injury, infection or autoimmune issues.

Arthritis causes permanent changes in the joints and may be visible as knobbly finger joints. However, damage can also be invisible from the outside, and can only be seen on X-ray. In addition, some types of arthritis also move beyond the joints and can also affect other systems and organs including the heart, eyes, lungs, kidneys and skin.

Types of Arthritis

Arthritis is more than just wear and tear or an old person’s disease and come in various forms, with differing degrees of severity and symptomology. The two most common are:

Other, less common types of arthritis include:

Symptoms of Arthritis

Symptoms may come and go and can range from mild to moderate or severe that can remain the same for years but will eventually progress and get worse over time. Severe arthritis can cause chronic pain that makes it difficult to perform various types of common daily activities and impede the ability to work.

The most common arthritis joint symptoms include:

Arthritis Medications & Treatments

Treatments vary depending on the type of arthritis. The main goals of arthritis treatments are to reduce symptoms and improve quality of life.

Pharmaceutical Interventions

Painkillers: Help reduce pain (but have no effect on inflammation) and can include over-the-counter (OTC) options, or for more-severe pain, opioids might be prescribed. However, when opioids are used for a long time, they may become habit forming, causing mental or physical dependence.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): Reduces both pain and inflammation and most often include OTC NSAIDs like ibuprofen and naproxen. Some NSAIDs are also available as creams or gels, which can be rubbed on joints. Oral NSAIDs can cause stomach irritation and may increase your risk of heart attack or stroke.

Counterirritants: Interfere with the transmission of pain signals from the joint itself and include menthol or capsaicin. Rubbing cream or gel preparations that contain counterirritants on the skin may reduce aching joint pain and inflammation.

Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs): Used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, DMARDs slow or stop the immune system from attacking joints. Examples include methotrexate and hydroxychloroquine.

Biologic response modifiers: Genetically engineered drugs that target various protein molecules that are involved in the immune response. Biological response modifiers are typically used in conjunction with DMARDs.

Corticosteroids: A class of drugs that reduces inflammation and suppresses the immune system. Corticosteroids include drugs like prednisone and cortisone that can be taken orally or can be injected directly into the painful joint.

Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions

Regular physical activity, hot and cold compresses and assistive devices are commonly used to help manage mild, to moderate osteoarthritis symptoms. Osteoarthritis in particular may be managed effectively by staying active, maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding injury and repetitive movements.

Physical therapy can also be helpful for some types of arthritis with certain exercises improving the range of motion and strengthening the muscles surrounding joints. In some cases, splints or braces may be warranted. Other therapies that are thought to help treat arthritis include acupuncture, glucosamine, chondroitin, yoga, tai chi and massage.

In severe cases surgery may be necessary and include: