Clear? You likely still have questions. Read on for specific products and which symptoms they aid.
Keep in mind that while CBD can have many benefits, it is not a cure-all and should not be viewed as an alternative to your other pain care treatments. Rather, CBD should be considered a complementary treatment to add to your pain management toolbox.
First, consider the source. Studies show that continuous CBD consumption is generally safe and can have many benefits. However, because of CBD’s complicated status, the compound itself may still be classified as an illegal substance. See the FDA’s FAQs on cannabis regulations (#9).
Be Aware of the Entourage Effect
There is no one best CBD oil for pain. The type will depend on your pain condition, how you consume the CBD, and your body chemistry. An important consideration will be whether the oil is a CBD isolate, a full spectrum extract, or a broad spectrum extract. It is also important to know you are buying a trustworthy product, especially because the CBD market is not regulated.
You can also vape a CBD isolate or broad spectrum oil, which should not induce a high.
Broad Spectrum cannabis products maintain the whole profile of the marijuana plant, but with the THC mostly removed.
1. Corroon J, Phillips JA. A cross-sectional study of cannabidiol users. Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2018;3(1):152-161.
California, for example, requires dispensaries to sell only marijuana that has been tested for pesticides, contaminants, and microbial impurities. Beginning in July 2018, California also began to require testing to determine plant potency (ie, levels of THC and CBD). This information is included on the product label. 12 In addition to t he above, 12 states have enacted legislation allowing for limited use of medical marijuana (ie, low CBD: THC ratios).
Read more about CBD Oil and its risks on our sister publication.
Cannabis oil and edibles
C. sativa is associated with higher levels of THC while C. indica is associated with higher levels of CBD. The science is more complicated. A 2015 study 11 of genetic structures of marijuana and hemp suggests that “C. sativa and C. indica may represent distinguishable pools of genetic diversity but that breeding has resulted in considerable admixture between the two.” Researchers also found that hemp has more in common genetically with C. indica than with C. sativa. Differences in THC production held true.
The key to using medical cannabis for pain is two-fold. For starters, a personalized approach is needed. Each person is different, and many adjustments may be needed to zero in on the dose that controls pain with minimal side effects. It’s also important to start on a low dose of THC and CBD.
The form/route of administration may also play a role in the pain effects of cannabis. Medical cannabis comes in herbal (marijuana), tincture, oil, and edible forms. It can be smoked, vaporized, ingested in edible or other oral forms, taken sublingually (under the tongue), or applied topically (oil). Research on the efficacy of different routes of administration for pain is sparse. However, a 2013 randomized, placebo-controlled, double-dummy, double-blind study compared analgesic effects of smoked marijuana and dronabinol. 7 The results indicated that under controlled conditions, marijuana and dronabinol both decreased pain. However, compared with marijuana, dronabinol produced longer-lasting decreases in pain sensitivity and lower ratings of abuse-related subjective effects, which can be predictive of use and abuse patterns. Other studies suggest that smoking cannabis produces rapid effects, while oral forms take longer to work but may last longer. 8
Cannabis is Complex: CBD Versus THC
Chemistry & Biochemistry: “History of Cannabis and Its Preparations in Saga, Science, and Sobriquet.”
Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research: “Cannabis and Pain: A Clinical Review.”
THC, or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, is what gets you high when you smoke, vape, or eat marijuana. CBD doesn’t affect your brain that way. For that reason, some people prefer the oil form of CBD for medical uses.
Medical marijuana has similar side effects, that may include:
Arthritis Care & Research: “Efficacy, Tolerability, and Safety of Cannabinoid Treatments in the Rheumatic Diseases: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials.”
The best way to answer this is to ask your doctor. They can tell you about possible side effects and drug interactions, legal considerations, and which form and at which dose may help you the most.
Here’s what’s known so far about how medical marijuana and a marijuana extract called CBD (cannabidiol) might affect RA.