You will likely need to start with a low dose and find what works for you. Studies have found extreme differences in dosages, with some people using 5 milligrams (mg) and others as much as 600 mg.
Studies have found moderate interactions between CBD and medications commonly prescribed for treating RA.
If you’ve decided to try CBD for treating your RA pain, the next step is figuring out how much to take.
Preparation and Dosage
Given the lack of strong scientific evidence supporting the use of CBD, it is not recommended as the first choice for pain relief in RA.
Currently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate the safety and purity of CBD products, so you cannot know for sure that the product you buy has active ingredients at the dose listed on the label. The product may contain other unknown elements. The most effective therapeutic dose of CBD for any particular medical condition has not been established.
Other potential health benefits of CBD include:
Treatment with CBD should be started slowly and under the supervision of a doctor, who will oversee its effectiveness and side effects. There have been reports of mild side effects of CBD.
If you have chronic arthritis pain, you may be wondering about cannabidiol (CBD) as a treatment. CBD, along with delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other chemicals, is found in marijuana. But unlike THC, CBD is not “psychoactive” — that is, it does not cause the intoxication or high associated with marijuana use.
It’s worth emphasizing that there are more than 100 types of arthritis, and while pain is a cardinal feature of all of them, these conditions do not all act alike. And what works for one may not work for another. Treatment is aimed at reducing pain and stiffness and maintaining function for all types of arthritis. But for certain conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, conventional prescription medications are highly recommended, because these drugs help prevent permanent joint damage and worsening disability.
The bottom line
Until recently, little guidance has been available for people with arthritis pain who were interested in CBD treatment. Depending on availability and interest, patients and their doctors had to decide on their own whether CBD was a reasonable option in each specific case. To a large degree that’s still true, but some guidelines have been published. Here’s one set of guidelines for people pursuing treatment with CBD that I find quite reasonable (based on recommendations from the Arthritis Foundation and a recent commentary published in the medical journal Arthritis Care & Research):
Of course, there is anecdotal evidence and testimonials galore, including reports of dramatic improvement by people who tried CBD in its various forms (including capsule, liquid, topical, and spray) for their pain. But we are still waiting for well-designed, scientifically valid, and rigorous clinical trials (such as this one in progress) that are so badly needed to answer the question of just how helpful CBD may be to people with chronic arthritis pain.
There is one definite downside: cost. Prices range widely but CBD products aren’t inexpensive, and depending on dose, frequency, and formulation, the cost can be considerable — I found one brand that was $120/month, and health insurance does not usually cover it.
What’s the evidence it works? And what do experts recommend? Until recently, there’s been little research and even less guidance for people (or their doctors) interested in CBD products that are now increasingly legal and widely promoted.
R+R Medicinals CBD Cream is one of the strongest full spectrum creams available. It contains 1000 mg of CBD for joint pain from arthritis or other causes, but it is free from fragrances, dyes, and menthol. This makes it an excellent option for those with sensitive skin or allergies. It does include natural ingredients like MSM, arnica, calendula flower, jojoba oil, and over 4 mg of minor cannabinoids to provide powerful plant-based relief.
Made with Colorado-grown hemp, CBDistillery makes full spectrum and CBD isolate products that are certified by the U.S. Hemp Authority. This CBD Relief Stick contains 1000 mg of CBD isolate to provide a powerful dose of CBD with no THC. It also features shea butter, arnica, menthol, and peppermint for a cooling sensation on sore muscles and joints that also moisturizes skin.
Best Organic: Cornbread Hemp CBD Lotion + Menthol
Whether you’re shopping for CBD for knee pain or a CBD lotion for arthritis, you want to make sure that you select a high-quality CBD product. There are two main things to consider when comparing CBD creams and balms, independent third-party testing and the source of the hemp.
Medterra Pain Relief Cream is our top pick for arthritis pain because it’s both a registered over-the-counter option and it won the 2021 Product of the Year award in CBD personal care. Available in strengths of either 500 mg or 1000 mg, this product is made with broad spectrum CBD in addition to menthol, arnica, jojoba oil, and aloe. Medterra’s products are all THC-free and made with non-GMO Kentucky-grown hemp.
While it is generally safe to use, CBD can cause certain mild side effects. These sometimes include: