CBD oil is a health supplement that has proved helpful, even life changing, for thousands of people around the world. More and more research is going into CBD oil and studies are increasingly suggesting that it might be beneficial for easing both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.

woman with arthritis using cbd

What is CBD?

CBD oil, or cannabidiol oil, is derived from the hemp plant -- different strains of which are known for also being used to make cannabis. CBD oil, unlike cannabis, is extremely low in a substance known as THC, which causes the user to become high, and is instead extremely high in CBD which has a huge range of benefits to the body.

Research has been completed, and is still being done, into the full range of benefits that CBD oil could have, including benefits to those suffering from arthritis.

If you want to learn more about what CBD is or how it works, then visit our Ultimate Guide to CBD. It’s packed full of loads of helpful information!

CBD and Arthritis

There are two varieties of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA). Research on the way CBD affects arthritis has largely (although not exclusively) focused on RA.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA): is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation as a person’s immune system attacks their joints. It most commonly impacts hands and feet, causing swelling, stiffness and pain in the joints.

Osteoarthritis (OA): is a degenerative disease affecting the cartilage and bones of joints and causing stiffness and pain. It commonly affects the hip, knee, and thumb joints.

hands with arthritis

How Might CBD Work for Arthritis?

CBD works in the endocannabinoid system in the body. It was relatively recently that medical scientists discovered this system and it affects everything from the brain to the immune system.

It’s controlled by natural cannabinoid substances in the body that are similar in molecular makeup to CBD. These are called endocannabinoids, while the ones found in the hemp plant are known as phytocannabinoids.

Your endocannabinoids bind to two receptors in the brain called CB1 and CB2, which then trigger the brain to take different actions. These can vary hugely from processing pain through to causing an inflammatory response in a certain area of the body -- and a lot more besides!

So what does CBD do?

Research is still ongoing into exactly how CBD works, but because of its similarity to your natural endocannabinoids, it is known that is impacts your endocannabinoid system. It was previously thought that it acted in place of your natural endocannabinoids, but more recently scientists have begun to think it actually plays a part in encouraging your endocannabinoids to work more effectively.

Either way, CBD interacts with the two receptors that play a key role in immune health and response, pain management, inflammation and even upon mental health and mood.

The relationship between the receptors and pain and inflammation is why research suggests that CBD might be effective in helping those suffering from arthritis.

Immune Response

The CB2 receptor plays an important role in immune response. Rheumatoid arthritis is a result of your immune system attacking your joints so the impact that CBD has on improving immune response could explain why CBD is thought by many to work on RA symptoms.


Lots of studies have shown that CBD is effective in reducing inflammation. Most studies have been completed on animals, which means there is potential for the effects to be different in regards to humans, but nonetheless CBD is thought effective in reducing inflammation which is a primary cause of pain in arthritis.

It is thought that cannabinoids, including CBD, interact with the cytokines in an immune response, which are responsible for reducing inflammation. (Source)

CBD’s anti-inflammatory effects could not just ease the pain of RA, but also slow down the progression of it, which leads to permanent joint damage.

Pain Relief

CBD oil is used for pain relief by those suffering from a wide range of chronic illnesses. Not only are the CB1 and CB2 receptors responsible for immune response, they also impact the way the brain processes and deals with pain. CBD stimulates certain chemicals in the brain which help a person manage their pain.

An animal study in the European Journal of Pain tested whether CBD could help people with arthritis manage their pain and it noted a significant drop in both inflammation and signs of pain in the animals.

It is thought that CBD could have a big impact on the way pain is experienced, helping those suffering from arthritis live as free from pain as possible.

How to Use CBD for Arthritis

CBD oil comes in a variety of different forms including drops and paste. We would recommend that someone new to CBD starts with CBD oil drops. These come with a pipette and the drop is administered under the tongue and held their for at least thirty seconds.

It’s best to start with a low dose. Try a drop of 5% CBD oil (which has 50mg of CBD per 1ml) twice daily, and then slowly increase if you don’t notice any effects. Everybody has a different tolerance to CBD and therefore it takes different amounts of CBD oil to have an impact.

Some people also highly recommend using CBD creams on areas of localised pain to really target joints that are causing pain.

You should also remember that CBD products are not monitored or regulated by the FDA. This means that they are not approved as a medicine and should, therefore, be treated as a health supplement. Even as you incorporate CBD into your health routine, we would recommend that you never stop taking medication for arthritis or pain without talking to your doctor.

If you want more information about CBD, then explore our blog. We have loads of guides and topics that you might find interesting from our tips to combat stress to how CBD is extracted.