Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an inflammatory disease of the joints characterized by pain, stiffness, and swelling, as well as an eventual loss of limb function. Rheumatoid arthritis affects about one percent of the population, primarily women.
Cannabinoids, including CBD, are acknowledged to possess anti-inflammatory, anti-arthritic, and anti-rheumatic properties, [1-4] and the endocannabinoid system has been proposed as modulator of RA. [5-6]
Nonetheless, few human studies are available assessing the use of either cannabis or cannabinoids in patients with RA. In one such trial, investigators reported that the administration of cannabis extracts over a five-week period produced statistically significant improvements in pain on movement, pain at rest, quality of sleep, inflammation, and intensity of pain compared to placebo.  Other human trials assessing the use of synthetic cannabinoid agents in patients with rheumatic diseases have yielded mixed results.  A review of the relevant literature, published in 2021 in the Journal of Clinical Rheumatology, identified 26 systematic review papers. Authors concluded: “Cannabis, cannabis-derived products and synthetic cannabinoids may slightly reduce disease activity in patients with RA.” They cautioned, however “Its use may result in little to no difference in pain reduction and may slightly increase nervous system adverse events. The evidence is very uncertain about the effect of cannabis, cannabis-derived products, and synthetic cannabinoids on serious adverse events risk.”  Additional human trials, such as an assessment of the use of CBD in patients with osteoarthritis are ongoing. 
Despite these limited results, patients with RA frequently report using cannabis therapeutically. For instance, in a 2005 anonymous questionnaire survey of medical cannabis patients in Australia, 25 percent reported using cannabinoids to treat RA.  A survey of British medical cannabis patients found that more than 20 percent of respondents reported using cannabis for symptoms of arthritis.  A review of state-registered medical cannabis pain patients reported that 27 percent used it to treat arthritis.  Most recently, survey data published in 2020 in the journal Rheumatology reported: “Nearly 20 percent of patients suffering from rheumatologic diseases actively consume cannabis, with an improvement in pain. … A favorable effect of cannabis on pain in our meta-analysis reinforces the idea that cannabis could be used for analgesic purposes.” 
How CBD oil might help treat Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the most common forms of rheumatism today. Unfortunately though, it is a chronic ailment with few pharmaceutical treatments possible. Considering the ones available are not always effective and some might even carry undesired or dangerous side-effects. Luckily, a growing body of research shows potential for natural remedies like CBD oil, as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis and other forms of rheumatism:
What is rheumatoid arthritis?
With over 23 million people worldwide affected by it, according to the WHO, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is one of the most common chronic disorders in the world today. It is a long-term (or chronic) autoimmune disorder which mainly attacks the joints. Some of the most heard symptoms of RA are stiff, painful, warm and swollen joints – greatly impairing mobility in most cases. These symptoms might worsen with a lack of exercise. Though the disorder could also affect other parts of the body. Like most autoimmune diseases there’s more than one way it’s expressed in the body. Rheumatoid arthritis might therefor also cause low red blood cell count, and inflammation around the lungs and heart, for example.
Although it is believed the disorder is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors; it remains unclear what exactly causes rheumatoid arthritis. However, we do know it triggers the immune-system to overreact – like most autoimmune diseases – causing the body to needlessly attack its own joints. This results in inflammation and swelling of the joint’s capsule – which can be very painful and decrease the joint’s mobility.
While there is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, there are some treatments available to try and reduce symptoms and improve patients’ life quality. The majority of these focus on reducing pain and inflammation. Steroids and NSAIDs for example, are sometimes used to help reduce rheumatoid arthritis related pain. Other common used drugs are disease-modifying anti rheumatics (DMARDs). Though this often used medication is not always that effective. Moreover, some even carry heavy unwanted side-effects; ranging from possible addiction to serious life-threatening toxicity.
CBD as potential rheumatoid arthritis treatment
Fortunately, Cannabidiol (CBD) appears to be one of the natural remedies able to help treat disorders like rheumatoid arthritis effectively. However, we can’t go around making claims about CBD’s efficacy in treating the disease. That’s why we’re happy to present a number of studies, showing promising results for cannabinoid treatment against rheumatoid arthritis and similar autoimmune disorders.
Firstly, CBD has shown it possesses strong anti-inflammatory traits. Proven by this research from the University of Kentucky, Cannabidiol can reduce inflammation and rheumatism-related pain. More importantly, it does so without the unwanted and potentially dangerous side-effects associated with some of the most used pharmaceuticals. After all, CBD is a natural and safe-to-use vegetal substance, free of any unwanted side-effects.
Cannabinoids from hemp might also offer significant improvements in mobility and related pain, reducing pain while in rest and offering a better night’s rest. As proven by another controlled study, performed by the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Disease in the UK. Considering the fact that sleep and rest are extremely important for the body’s ability to restore itself; CBD might be very welcome for patients dealing with rheumatoid arthritis. Especially when combined with a healthy dose of exercise – within each person’s limits of course.
Effects of CBD in the body
The fact that CBD appears to be such an effective treatment for rheumatic disorders, comes from its unique interaction with the body’s own endocannabinoid system (ECS). This is a communication network consisting of CB1- and CB2-receptors spread throughout the body. These exist to interact with neurotransmitters our body should produce naturally, and regulate close to all processes in our body needed to keep us alive. Including pain, hunger, your body’s temperature and certain emotional responses – to name a few.
In some cases however, this ECS is distorted. This might cause your body to break down these neurotransmitters too fast, for example. Or to not produce enough of them at all, causing all sorts of ailments and discomforts. In such cases, it might be helpful to supplement your body with phytocannabinoids (phyto = vegetal), the ones we know from the hemp plant. This might help bring back the essential balance your body needs to thrive. So it’s not the CBD healing or treating ailments; it’s a boost from nature enabling your body to heal and restore itself better.
CBD products to help treat rheumatoid arthritis
Hemp based CBD products exist in many different forms, sizes and strengths. All offering different effects on the body and mind. So if you’re new to CBD, this might be a bit confusing. Luckily we’re happy to share our professional advice and customer’s experience, to help you find the right product for your personal needs.
The first CBD product that comes to mind in the search for something to treat RA, is our signature 8% CBD Oil. This is the most common form of CBD on the market today, and carries more than just Cannabidiol. Considering this full spectrum CBD oil is also rich in all other cannabinoids found in hemp – like CBG, CBC and CBN for example – providing the best possible entourage effect.
However, this might not be the most effective product due to its limited absorption by the body. Because cannabinoid molecules are fatty substances, which can barely penetrate the mouth’s tissue. So most of the ingested Cannabidiol needs to travel through the digestive system and go through a ‘first pass effect’ before it reaches the bloodstream. A process resulting in a huge loss of cannabinoids.
One way to avoid this loss, is by using our water soluble CBDactive+. As this product carries Cannabidiol which is already bound to a lipoprotein. This means it’s much easier to be absorbed by the body and provide the highest possible bioavailability; close to 100%! The fact that it is water soluble makes the product easy to use, by mixing it in a glass of water or tea, for example.
Another CBD product that might help treat rheumatoid arthritis are Dutchnaturals’ Topical CBD Patches. With delayed absorption of the active ingredients through the skin, to ensure long lasting relief. At first, CBD Patches deliver local relief where applied; which slowly spreads out to the rest of the body. That’s why you can place them either around the affected area – or choose a hairless spot with thin skin to place a patch. Depending on various environmental factors, CBD Patches offer at least 12 and up to 36 hours relief. According to its users, Dutchnaturals’ CBD Patches work extremely well against chronic pain – making it a promising form of CBD for treating rheumatoid arthritis.