What You Should Know About CBD for Arthritis

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If you use cannabidiol (CBD) to relieve joint pain and other arthritis symptoms, the Arthritis Foundation has a message: Buyer beware.

In 2019, the Arthritis Foundation released guidance on the safe and wise use of products containing CBD, which is a chemical found in marijuana that won’t make you feel “high,” but has been touted in recent years as having a variety of alleged medical benefits. You can find an array of CBD products, such as liquid extracts, topical balms, and even candy and cookies, at retailers and online, available without a prescription.

The Arthritis Foundation’s guidance states that CBD “may help” with pain, insomnia, anxiety, and other arthritis-related symptoms, but adds that the only evidence to support these uses comes from animal studies. No well-designed clinical trials have confirmed these medical benefits in humans, although research is underway. The Arthritis Foundation also says that CBD appears safe at recommended doses, but that the chemical could interact with some drugs, including medications used to treat arthritis.

You can find the Arthritis Foundation’s complete guidance at arthritis.org (search “CBD”), but keep these key rules in mind: Don’t replace any prescribed medication with CBD. Be aware that CBD purchased without a prescription is unregulated, so you can never be sure what the product you buy actually contains. And if you decide you want to try CBD, talk with your doctor first.