Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) has seriously inhibited my life. Since I was diagnosed at the age of 8, I've been dealing with its symptoms for decades. Swollen joints all over, eventual TMJ in the jaw, restless legs and brain fog, among many others. I've also been given a large variety of medications over the years and have seen specialist after specialist in search of some way to ease my symptoms.
Because there is currently no cure for RA, you have to resort to managing the symptoms that come with it. Regardless of which medication I've taken to do so, there always seems to be some sort of downside that occurs. Whether it's mood swings, painful injections, or simply liver toxicity as a result, treating RA has always seemed to require some type of exchange for feeling a semblance of relief.
This is why I was completely surprised when I was visiting California last year and decided to try some CBD oil that a friend was using. Though I had heard it could help with anti-inflammation, it had never actually crossed my mind to try it out.
A few drops of CBD oil later, though, and I was seriously impressed. It felt as though my symptoms went away entirely, like the tin man once he oiled up his joints!
However, having success one time wasn't enough for me to be sure that it was actually the CBD. After all, how many times have I had the same reaction to other medications, only to find out that it didn't work any of the times after?
This was the reason as to why I needed to investigate more and see whether or not CBD oil is actually helpful for Rheumatoid Arthritis. I'm here to share my findings with you, so let's get right into it!
Before I begin this article, it's important to note that you should always consult a medical professional before introducing any type of substance or supplement into your diet. Because CBD oil can affect everyone differently and because everyone's body is different, you should get the approval of your doctor before seeking out CBD. It also might not be legal where you live, so it's always important to check!
What is CBD Oil?
Cannabidiol (known colloquially as CBD) is a compound typically sourced from cannabis or hemp plants. It is often referred to as a part of the plant that has no psychoactive effects, giving you a gentle sensation of calmness instead. It works by satisfying your body's cannabidioid receptors which are naturally producing cannabidioids, giving the user neurological and physical effects.
Due to CBD's legality in many US states, it has become somewhat of a trend recently, with many people beginning to use it in a variety of foods and health products. However, despite it being a trend, there are a handful of healthy benefits to using CBD, namely for it potentially being able to ease the symptoms that typically come with RA.
CBD is often administered in a variety of different ways, whether you want to take an edible gummy incorporate it into your vaporizer routine, or just use a tincture to take the oil. However, it's worth noting that taking CBD oil is one of the most cost-effective and popular ways to take it, making the oil one of the best methods for anybody looking to try it out. I'll be talking about CBD oil in this article because I find it to be the most effective method and a personal preference.
Does it Work?
Whether or not CBD oil works for you depends on the circumstance and which type of product you're taking. This is what I found out when researching CBD oils, as oftentimes many products aren't regulated by the FDA and therefore don't have accurate measurements listed on their labels. This is the most crucial part of the process as without a good product you will be wasting both your time and money, something that took me a long time to figure out. If you have a doctor who can recommend you to a medical program that allows you to get government distributed CBD, that is a great option too.
However, if you do your research and are able to find a product that works for many people, then you're able to move onto the next step of the process: taking it. Taking CBD oil is typically just a matter of having a dropper (otherwise known as a tincture) that you administer directly to your mouth. You put anywhere between 1-3 drops underneath your tongue (specific measurement depends on the product) and wait 30 seconds to a minute before swallowing.
How long the CBD then takes to reach your system depends on your personal reaction to the substance. For my first time using CBD, I was able to feel noticeable results within 30 minutes, but sometimes it also took an hour.
After the CBD is absorbed into your system, you will likely start noticing many benefits. For example, it decreases inflammation very well on top of also decreasing your brain's overall reception to pain. So, not only will you be feeling less pain overall, but you'll also be having less pain to begin with.
Many people who have RA also enjoy using CBD due to it also being great for anxiety. As someone who deals with an anxiety disorder and RA, I appreciated being able to use one medication for both of my conditions. However, it's worth noting that if you take too much CBD oil, you might feel a bit drowsy, so it's important to familiarize yourself with a specific dose before you start using it regularly.
Another benefit that I love about using CBD oil is that it really helps reduce any restless leg symptoms I have. Having restless leg syndrome as a result of RA makes it incredibly difficult for me to go to sleep sometimes, making CBD a perfect solution to many different problems I deal with.
However, something I want to say about CBD is that it doesn't work for everyone. Some people with high pain thresholds will not feel any effect when using CBD, while others will notice that it only helps temper their symptoms about half of the time. If you've done your research and think that it's right for you (with the approval of a medical professional), it's definitely worth looking into, but your mileage may vary.
Another thing to mention about CBD products is that it can be quite expensive if you're paying out of pocket. Even if you were to get a medical card, it's important to note that it is not covered under health insurance, so you'll still have to pay out of pocket. That being said, if it's a medication that works for you, it's definitely worth the price, but this is why you should experiment with different brands and see if you can find one that doesn't put too much of a strain on your wallet.
Pros & Cons of CBD Products
Pros of CBD Products
- Relieves pain
- Reduces inflammation
- Reduces restless leg urges
- Easy to administer
- Lasts long
- Very accessible in the US
Cons of CBD Products
- Price might be prohibitive for some
- Might not work all of the time
- Can take a while to begin working
- Might make you drowsy
Having Rheumatoid Arthritis is not a remotely pleasant illness. This is why so many patients with the condition spend years looking for effective ways to manage their symptoms, often never finding something that doesn't have some sort of trade off.
For many people, CBD oil has profoundly helpful effects on managing Rheumatoid Arthritis symptoms, making it ideal for those who are looking for a natural medication that doesn't have any negative downsides. However, like I stated at the beginning of this article, you should always get the opinion of a medical professional before looking into using CBD oil. This is because not all treatments work the same and it might not be the best choice for you.
That being said, CBD oil has greatly helped me as somebody living with RA and I believe that it is definitely worth looking into and perhaps taking if you're somebody still looking for a substance that actually works. If you're somebody who deals with RA pain, look into CBD oil today to see if it's right for you!