Published May 23, 2019
- CBD has anti-inflammatory properties which may treat pain from Rheumatoid Arthritis
- THC has some pro-inflammatory properties which can be decreased by CBD
- CBD has some anti-arthritic properties beyond decreasing inflammation (1)
How does CBD work?
CBD decreases arthritic pain through its interaction with the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
Activation of the CB2 receptor (the CBD receptor) in the endocannabinoid system causes a “decrease cytokine production and immune cell mobilization” both of which play a role in Rheumatoid Arthritis.
On the other hand, activation of the CB1 receptor (the THC receptor) causes an inflammatory response.
CBD down-regulates the CB1 receptor when it is activated by THC. This downregulation of the CB1 receptor may provide an anti-inflammatory response “by increasing β2-adrenergic signaling in the joint and secondary lymphoid organs.” (2)
Pain Reducing Properties
Cannabidiol has also been shown to have anti-arthritic properties beyond reducing inflammation.
- Cannabinoids, in general, have shown the ability to reduce pain by “activating central and peripheral CB1, peripheral CB2 receptors and CBD-sensitive noncannabinoid receptor targets.” (3)
- Even though THC may cause inflammation, it may be the case that its pain-relieving properties still make it suitable to take in the context of relieving joint pain. (4)
Interaction CBD vs. THC
CBD has been shown to “down modulate” how THC interacts with the CB1 receptor in the endocannabinoid system.
In the context of Rheumatoid Arthritis, CBD appears to have a number of beneficial properties.
It is likely the case that CBD taken together with THC would be the most helpful cannabinoid course for symptoms of RA.
“Cannabinoids might be a suitable treatment for RA, but it is important to target the right receptors in the right place.” (5)
2019 study results show that topical CBD cream significantly improves neuropathic pain. See the results summary here.
Video: Science behind CBD benefits for arthritis.
Lowin T, Schneider M, Pongratz G. Joints for joints: cannabinoids in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Curr Opin Rheumatol. 2019;31(3):271–278. doi:10.1097/BOR.0000000000000590