CBD and Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Natural Path to Pain Relief?

A person with joint pain in his hand

The Key Points:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder causing joint pain and inflammation, and is traditionally treated with medications like Methotrexate, Sulfasalazine, and Leflunomide.
  • These conventional treatments often come with side effects such as dizziness, light sensitivity, rash, itching, vision disturbances, and hair loss.
  • CBD, or Cannabidiol, has shown potential in managing rheumatoid arthritis symptoms by interacting with the body's cannabinoid system, particularly the CB1 receptors in the nervous system and CB2 receptors in the immune system.
  • Studies and patient testimonials suggest that CBD can provide relief from pain and inflammation, leading to increased mobility.
  • While CBD can interact with some medications and cause minor side effects, it is generally considered safe and can be taken in various forms, including oil, capsules, creams, and food.

Curious about whether Cannabidiol (CBD) can help with rheumatoid arthritis? Familiar with the pain of getting up and sleep disturbances? You're not alone, as this disease is not uncommon in the US.

But what is rheumatoid arthritis? What symptoms occur and what can you do about it? Is CBD really the miracle cure that many believe it to be? We've delved into these questions and answer them based on summaries of studies in this article! Enjoy reading!

Rheumatoid Arthritis? What is it exactly?

Rheumatoid arthritis is a term that is further subdivided in medical terms.

  • Inflammatory rheumatic diseases (autoimmune):
  • Degenerative ("wear-related") rheumatic diseases
  • Metabolic disorders that are associated with rheumatic complaints
  • Non-inflammatory rheumatic diseases

Especially with regard to the symptoms that cause problems in everyday life, similarities can be seen.

  • Inflammation of joints
  • Pain, varying in intensity, during movements

Since rheumatoid arthritis is not curable, the focus is on alleviating these limiting symptoms. Let's look at how conventional medicine treats these.

How is Rheumatoid Arthritis Treated?

The following medications are often used to enable this relief:

  • Methotrexate
  • Sulfasalazine
  • Leflunomide

The goals of the medications lead, in different ways, to a reduction of pain, a decrease in inflammation, and an improvement in joint mobility.

As with most pharmaceutical products, the rule here is: No effect without side effects! For simplicity's sake, we have reduced the side effects to those that occur more frequently.

  • Dizziness
  • Light sensitivity
  • Rash
  • Itching
  • Vision disturbances
  • Hair loss

A course of one of the medications is no guarantee for an improvement. Rather, each patient reacts individually to it, which is why the right product must be "tried out".

Because of these side effects, many patients search for alternatives or useful supplements from natural medicine in forums. Cannabidiol often comes into play here. Let's now look at how this supposed miracle cure can help with rheumatoid arthritis.

Is CBD a Help with Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Since it's about alleviating inflammation and pain, the term Cannabidiol (CBD) is increasingly associated with rheumatoid arthritis therapy.

The reason for this is that studies [1] provide scientific foundations for perceiving CBD as an effective treatment for rheumatoid arthritis and pain.

The strength of CBD lies in the way it works. The body is not restricted, nothing is blocked or similar. Rather, CBD is a kind of "fuel" for one of our systems in the body, in this case for the cannabinoid system.

Two places where this system demonstrably interacts are

  • in the nervous system through CB1 receptors located there and
  • in the immune system through CB2 receptors occurring there.

Since symptom relief in rheumatoid arthritis focuses on pain and inflammation, an enhancement of performance in this system can provide relief.

The foundations for pain relief lie in the nervous system, the foundation for inflammation inhibition in the immune system.

When these two effects occur, it results in increased mobility. These effects have already been proven in studies. [2]

In addition, many testimonials reinforce this. The improved quality of life that is frequently reported gives hope to those affected by rheumatoid arthritis.

What Side Effects Can I Expect?

In case of intolerance or too rapid dosage, the following side effects may occur in some cases.

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue

If they occur, they occur directly in connection with the intake and disappear correspondingly soon.

Other problems can arise if no consultation with the doctor has been held despite current medication. CBD can interact with, sometimes everyday, medications.

  • Aspirin
  • Ibuprofen

are included, which is why you should speak to your doctor before taking it. When talking to the doctor, you don't need to worry about the legality of the product. Due to the low THC content, CBD products are not narcotics and can be sold freely.

However, the intake for

  • pregnant and breastfeeding women
  • children up to two years

is prohibited for safety reasons. Here, caution is better than regret.

Experiences of a Patient with Rheumatoid Arthritis & CBD Oil

When we looked for experiences, the numerous rheumatoid arthritis forums provided a multitude of reports. Some write about no effect with CBD, others about very good results.

We have chosen a post from 2015 to share with you. Her acquaintance had a severe form of rheumatoid arthritis:

"It was so bad afterwards that she almost lost her leg. She was given Enbrel because nothing else worked. In addition, 30 mg of cortisone and she could hardly move despite it. I had recommended the oil to her. She is totally enthusiastic. She makes it herself with glycerin. She is now without Enbrel at 5 mg cortisone and is slowly getting out of it!"

There are three terms that keep coming up in the forums:

  • pain-relieving
  • anti-inflammatory
  • antispasmodic

The extent is very different, whereby pain perception is also subjective to evaluate.

Which CBD Product is Suitable for Rheumatoid Arthritis?

The choice of the right product depends on personal preferences. There are

  • Capsules
  • Creams
  • Oil
  • Food

The favorite is the oil, due to its fast action. The sublingual intake allows this fast action, as the dripping under the tongue leads to absorption through the mucous membrane.

In connection with rheumatoid arthritis, the oil can also be rubbed onto the painful joints to use the anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effect locally.

The first alternative to oil is mentioned as the capsule, as the taste neutrality is important for some users. The, differently intensive, taste of the oil is thus no longer an obstacle and the active ingredient CBD is still well dosable.

The active ingredient CBD works after ingestion, regardless of the time of day. The intake can

  • be permanent
  • acute
  • in courses
  • or preventive

be carried out, depending on tolerance and disease pattern.

Dosage Recommendation: How Much is Too Much?

The dosage with CBD is comparatively simple, as an overdose is almost impossible and the effect is independent of the time of ingestion.

The golden rule is: As much as necessary, as little as possible.

A gradual approach to the right dosage is easiest with drops. In the morning, at noon and in the evening the appropriate dose, initially one drop each, may be increased to a maximum of 30 drops per day.

With the capsules, the gradual increase is somewhat more difficult, as two capsules per day represent the maximum.

Pay Attention to Quality When Buying!

With the multitude of CBD manufacturers, there are unfortunately also many where the quality does not match the price. We have a list of factors that can help in choosing:

  • the origin
  • the harvesting conditions
  • the THC content
  • the purity from pollutants
  • the ingredients.

We have dealt with this more deeply and selected a small preselection for you based on the above list!

Is CBD a Drug?

Because it is obtained from the cannabis plant, some categorize it as a drug. Since CBD products do not have a psychoactive effect, there is no change in consciousness here. THC, a related active ingredient, makes

  • high
  • dependent.

Both are not (!) the case with CBD. It can be taken without fear of a violation of the law.


The restriction of everyday life is the big challenge with rheumatoid arthritis. Pain and inflammation limit many movements, which is why the focus is on alleviating these.

Medical treatments bring many side effects. Numerous testimonials and emerging studies give hope that CBD products can provide relief for some symptoms.

Do you have experiences with rheumatoid arthritis? Have you been able to experience the effect of CBD? We look forward to your comment!


[1] Eva Martín-Sánchez et al.,Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Cannabis Treatment for Chronic Pain, 2009, Pain Medicine

[2] Burstein S.Cannabidiol (CBD) and its analogs: a review of their effects on inflammation. Bioorg Med Chem. 2015

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