How Does CBD Affect Inflammation, Arthritis, and Much More?

What exactly is inflammation?

Inflammation is - in a word - a reaction. Your body reacts to some stimulus where your immune system is dealing with some sort of threat. 

It’s the heat and redness and other properties associated with a bee sting. But it doesn’t have to be a venom that triggers this kind of reaction. Many foods cause inflammation like sugar, saturated fats, trans fat, omega 6 fatty acids, refined carbohydrates, MSG, and alcohol. All of which are considered bad for you in our modern world of excess, and all are foods the Arthritis Foundation explicitly recommends avoiding for those with the namesake disease.

Arthritis and inflammation are extremely common but not that well understood. Like cancer, arthritis is more of a group of diseases than a single phenomenon. Inflammatory arthritis is basically a mistaken attack on your joints by your own body. It’s almost as if your body is too good at defending itself but not great at determining what it needs defending from.

CBD and Inflammation

A European Journal of Pain study found CBD to help lower pain and inflammation due to arthritis. Is that the same inflammation from the bee sting? The answer is complicated, although it’s safe to say it’s unpleasant either way. Unfortunately, so many illnesses have included inflammation in their list of causes or complications. 

For those suffering from arthritis, there is no known cure. But there are many treatments, and the goal is to slow down the progression. As mentioned above, evidence for the effective use of CBD for arthritis is mounting up. You will also see people finding relief from other supplements, and a lot of people use a mind an approach that considers the mind, body, and soul.

Of course, many people use more traditional healthcare methods like physical therapy and pain pills. Although, the potential negative effects of using strong opioids regularly and for extended periods are hard to ignore.

If you use CBD topicals, try applying some on your skin if you ever get eaten up by mosquitoes. Ancedontley, you can experience less itching, redness and swelling. It’s possible CBD is essentially telling your body that this is a false alarm.

How exactly does CBD, inflammation, and anxiety work?

In some ways, anxiety is your mind and body overreacting to a perceived threat. Anxiety can drain on you physically including increasing heart rate and causing you to breathe rapidly. Are these physical symptoms in any way related to the swelling and redness. Again, too complicated to say anything definitely. Ancetoctely, you see a lot of people touting CBD in treating their anxiety.

What does science say about CBD?

A study done by researchers from the University of South Carolina’s School of Medicine explained the effects of CBD in the following summaries: 

“The cannabinoid system has been shown… regulating the immune system through its immunomodulatory properties.”

“Cannabinoids suppress inflammatory response and subsequently attenuate disease symptoms.“

“Cannabinoids have been tested in several experimental models of autoimmune disorders such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, colitis and hepatitis and have been shown to protect the host from the pathogenesis through induction of multiple anti-inflammatory pathways.”

“Cannabinoids may also be beneficial in certain types of cancers that are triggered by chronic inflammation. In such instances, cannabinoids can either directly inhibit tumor growth or suppress inflammation and tumor angiogenesis.”

In plain English, CBD may help regulate the immune system, reduce inflammation, effectively treat rheumatoid arthritis, and may even be able to slow down tumor growth. But, how in the world does it do all of this? We know the cannabinoid system can do all this through various processes, some of which are outlined in the article about; but exactly how all the cannabinoids work together to do so much is still unknown.

The “entourage effect” is a term that tries to explain the phenomenon in which THC works with other cannabinoids to provide a unique, enhanced event only seen when they are combined. The importance of all the cannabinoids is so salient some have tried to amend the concept to the “ensemble effect” with the connotations that each compound is as important as another.

This study outlines these processes at the cellular level; they explain the body’s cannabinoid receptors like CB1 (expressed in the brain) and CB2 (found on immune system cells). They talk about endocannabinoids like N-arachidonoylethanolamine, anandamide (AEA), 2-arachidonoyl glycerol (2-AG), N-arachydonoyldopamine, and other excitingly named compounds.

A study conducted at Medical University of Białystok in Poland outlined, not only the antiinflammatory properties of CBD, but it’s antioxidant activity as well. These properties are what allow treatment and prevention of diseases associated with redox imbalance and inflammation. These properties and more make CBD a possible treatment for diabetes, diabetes-related cardiomyopathy, cardiovascular diseases (including stroke, arrhythmia, atherosclerosis, and hypertension), cancer, arthritis, anxiety, psychosis, epilepsy, neurodegenerative disease (i.e., Alzheimer’s) and skin disease. It’s amazing how much potential one compound has. The same study highlights the potential medical uses for the many CBD derivatives as well.

But here’s the thing, you can tell me about all the compounds, proteins, and T-regulatory cells, and it’s still difficult to get your head around. The truth is there is no concise answer to the question “So what does CBD do?” or “How will CBD make me feel?” Practically, however, you don’t need to deeply understand the scientific phenomenon to get benefit out of it. You don’t need to know any chemical reaction or anything about medicine. You just take it.


Yes, there isn’t enough research on cannabis or CBD products. But, that’s not because clinical trials have been suspended due to mysterious complications. Research has been artificially stifled since the Nixon administration, and you won’t see a word about the endogenous cannabinoid system in a medical school curriculum. 

You take CBD, all this happens, and all the while you could feel absolutely nothing discernable. If you accidently mistake a CBD gummy for a regular old gummy, you may not ever realize what you ate. It’s subtle, and that’s the point. If you do suffer from arthritis, you may want to consider trying medical cannabis or CBD products. The risk is minimal. There has never been a known instance of a cannabinoid overdose. And, the reward for those suffering with arthritis is possibly returning to a normally functioning life.

If you speak to people suffering from debilitating chronic pain, they sometimes describe the experience as a prison. You’re limited not by four walls of a cell but by your own body. Even in your own mind, it’s difficult to think about anything else and go on with a normal life. So for these people, relief from cannabinoids is as sweet as freedom.

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