Sports and accidental injuries, overuse, and chronic ailments can leave our joints feeling stiff or sore and restricting movements. Some people experience joint issues so severe that it can significantly reduce their quality of life—having to take time off work, not enjoying favorite activities, or interfering with regular exercise.
Maintaining good joint health is important, which is why many people are learning more about natural ways to prevent joint problems and provide comfort when they arise.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of those buzzword active ingredients popping up in supplements, food, drinks, and even beauty and body products. One of its promising uses is for healthy joint mobility and comfort by supporting the body's immune response that triggers inflammation—one of the most common reasons for joint discomfort.
Let's investigate how people use CBD products to support their joint health and the best ways to optimize your CBD products.
What Causes Joint Pain?
Joint pain is often related to inflammation.
Inflammation is the body's natural self-preserving immune system function. It's designed to fight off infection and initiate tissue repair by calling regeneration cells to gather at the site of the injury. However, prolonged inflammation can lead to more damage and soreness. This is typically the case in rheumatoid arthritis pain.
But there are other causes of joint problems, including injury where there is damaged connective tissue, degenerative joint diseases such as osteoarthritis, or gout, which is a disease caused by the build-up of uric acid crystals attacking the joint tissue.
How Does CBD Support Joint Health?
One of the ways CBD has been observed to support joint health is through its interaction with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is an important regulatory system that maintains nervous system balance. It moderates vital systems, including the immune system, stress, metabolism, and much more.
When we're in a state of imbalance, we're more prone to disease and illness. CBD can help steer the body towards optimal function by supporting the endocannabinoid system's function by increasing the levels of communication cells—called endocannabinoids—in the ECS.
There's another way in which CBD oil shows potential in supporting healthy levels of inflammation too.
In an animal study, researchers observed that CBD might support inflammation function by stimulating markers that stop the inflammatory response when it becomes far too harmful than beneficial .
6 Tips On How To Optimize CBD For Joint Health
Prescription medications offer potent pain relief, but they often come with a long list of negative outcomes, which is why many people living with chronic pain are looking for natural alternatives to manage their joint health.
It's true. There are a lot of CBD products out there that promise the world—but they are underwhelming. Since marketing regulations are slow to catch on to the new products emerging, it can be difficult to distinguish the good products from the scam ones.
In this next section, we'll help you out with some shopping tips for choosing CBD products that are likely to be effective in supporting your joint aches and tips for making the most of your experience with CBD oil and topicals.
1. Look For Full-Spectrum CBD Or THC-Free Broad-Spectrum CBD
When shopping for CBD, you'll likely come across the terms "full-spectrum," "broad-spectrum," and "isolate/distillate."
These terms refer to the hemp extract used in the product.
CBD is the main active compound found in hemp, but over 100 cannabinoids and terpenes are being investigated for potential therapeutic uses.
Full-spectrum CBD and broad-spectrum CBD extracts contain cannabinoids and terpenes that work together alongside CBD to amplify its effects and offer a more well-balanced effect profile through a phenomenon called "the entourage effect."
The difference between full-spectrum and broad-spectrum is that full-spectrum extracts may contain up to 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)—which is federally legal and not enough to produce intoxication in most people. Some brands recognize that even trace amounts of THC aren't for everyone.
Broad-spectrum extracts are the way to go for those sensitive to THC or who live in states where THC is completely illegal. While they still contain a range of cannabinoids, it undergoes extra processing steps to eliminate THC.
CBD isolate products only contain CBD. It's much easier for manufacturers to produce large quantities of isolate as they don't have to worry about preserving other heat-sensitive cannabinoids. CBD isolate products are much cheaper and come in very high potencies, but they're not always better.
When taking CBD to support healthy joint mobility, it's recommended you look for products that contain a range of cannabinoids as they can work together for a more potent effect towards a healthy inflammatory response.
2. Shop For Products With Third-Party Testing
All CBD companies will claim to have the best CBD oil—but lab tests don't lie.
A Certificate of Analysis (COA) conducted by an accredited third-party lab is the only way to know what's in the product you're buying.
The COA verifies the exact cannabinoid and terpene content and ensures it came from a clean hemp source. It should read "ND" or "not detected" for pesticides, heavy metals, extraction solvents, or mold.
It's not required for brands to acquire lab testing, but reputable brands opt for testing to foster a sense of trust with customers in a market full of dupe products. You should be able to access a company's third-party lab test on its website and be sure to read that the test is recent and complete.
3. Take The Right Doses Regularly
The effects of CBD can vary from one individual to the next because everybody's state of balance is different. There's no one standard dose for most people, so most people can expect to experiment with the mg of CBD they take per day until they reach the desired effects.
People new to CBD oil should start with lower doses and work their way up to higher doses to acclimatize their endocannabinoid system to the cannabinoid support.
With topical CBD, you don't have to worry about taking too much as it doesn't enter the bloodstream. Just make sure it contains a high strength of at least 8 mg of CBD per ml of cream or lotion. The added benefit of CBD topicals is that it works quickly and you can reapply as needed throughout the day.
CBD works best when taken regularly and as part of your routine wellness routine—so don't expect results overnight.
4. Take CBD Along with Exercise And A Balanced Nutrition
If you're prone to joint pain and inflammation, you should seek advice from your doctor to find ways to adjust your lifestyle to prevent future injury or flareups, especially if you're diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis or another degenerative condition.
Many people use CBD oil and topicals for added comfort, but it's by no means a miracle compound, and it's best taken alongside proper exercise, balanced nutrition, and effective stress management practices to maintain your overall wellness.
5. Combine Topical CBD With CBD Oils Or Capsules
Topical CBD is an excellent way to target your discomfort in the joints and muscles.
It works by interacting with endocannabinoid receptors in the skin to maintain the skin organ's function balance. You'll find a whole aisle of drug-store muscle rubs for pain management. Many CBD topicals have very similar ingredient lists for cooling and heating sensations, but you now get the added benefits of CBD for long-lasting effects.
CBD creams and lotions can work on-site quickly, but supplement it with CBD oils, capsules, and gummies provides extra support overall.
6. Look At The Ingredient List
Some CBD products are better geared towards maintaining joint health than others.
To reap the benefits of CBD for your joints and muscles, read the ingredient list.
When it comes to topical CBD products, make sure it has a potent amount of CBD—8 or more mg per mL of product to support the endocannabinoid system in the skin. Heating and cooling agents like capsaicin (found in red peppers) or methol are known to help with joint and muscle inflammation and pain and can go a long way in proving you with the extra comfort you may need.
The Indigo Harper Nourishing Cannabidiol Body Balm contains more than 10 mg of CBD per mL and arnica extract that work together to maintain healthy inflammation levels in the skin, muscles, and joints.
Side-Effects Of CBD Oil And Topicals
CBD is considered a safe and effective compound by the World Health Organization, but that doesn't mean it's right for everyone, and it's not completely without side effects.
For most people, the adverse effects of CBD are mild and temporary. They're also most likely to happen when a CBD product is taken incorrectly, as in taking too high of a dose.
The potential side-effects of CBD oil include:
- Upset stomach
There's far less risk of adverse effects when you take CBD topically since the active compounds don't enter the bloodstream. However, some people may experience an allergic skin reaction to the cannabinoids or the other ingredients in the formula.
Be sure to always patch-test your topical CBD on your skin before applying a large amount to an area.
The Takeaway: Joint Health & Cannabinoids
Joint pain can arise from many different causes, from injury to chronic health conditions, and looking for products that offer pain relief without a long list of problematic side effects is on many people's minds.
In the scientific literature, there's substantial evidence in clinic settings that does show CBD's potential towards maintaining healthy levels of inflammation and providing long-term comfort.
To be clear—there are no CBD products you can buy in-store or online that can ethically claim to treat, cure, or mitigate any disease, including joint pain. Those who do risk fines or getting shut down by the FDA, so it's important to shop cautiously to avoid scam products.
Still, many people swear by CBD oil and topical products to support their joint and muscle discomfort as a natural supplement with very few adverse effects. We've outlined the best practices for shopping for CBD oil and topicals and tips on optimizing them for the best experience.
Quality products will include third-party testing and have appropriate levels of CBD to support your intended use. You should expect to experiment with different doses and forms of CBD as it affects everyone differently. To get the best results, you want to consistently take it over time to support the endocannabinoid system's job of regulating homeostasis.
- Zurier, R. B., & Burstein, S. H. (2016). Cannabinoids, inflammation, and fibrosis. The FASEB Journal, 30(11), 3682-3689.
The Food and Drug Administration has not evaluated the statements made regarding CBD in this article.
We are not recommending that our CBD products can treat, cure or prevent any disease. All information presented here is not meant to substitute for or alternative to information from health care practitioners. Please consult your health care professional about potential interactions or other possible complications before using any product.