Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic disease of connective tissue and is immunological in nature. Its causes are not really known, with either genetic or environmental factors (e.g. smoking or a history of viral illness) suspected. Some of the symptoms are visible to the naked eye, namely swelling of the joints and periarticular tissues of the hands and feet. The invisible ones are joint effusions that do not cause redness of the skin. And the perceptible and extremely troublesome ones are the soreness of the joints on pressure and their morning stiffness, which is caused by the accumulation of oedematous fluid during sleep. This condition reduces the mobility of the joints, deforming them and causing often unbearable pain.
These symptoms are often accompanied by sub-febrile states, feelings of fatigue, muscle aches and anorexia, resulting in weight loss. Over time, bone mass loss, osteoporosis and bone erosions also occur.
RA affects women more often (3 times) between 30 and 50 years of age. In 10-20% of the population, it appears after the age of 60, at which point the difference between the number of men and women developing RA becomes blurred.
Rheumatoid arthritis often leads to disability and is also accompanied by various complications, such as atherosclerosis.
Treatment includes immunosuppressive drugs, supplemented with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and glucocorticoids. Research is also being conducted into the use of cannabinoids in the treatment of RA.
CBD oil in the fight against the pain of diseased joints
Pain is an intrinsic companion of rheumatoid arthritis.
Cannabidiol in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis
In 2014, Japanese scientists conducted a study on mice which clearly showed that, in addition to its analgesic effects, CBD can be used in the treatment of RA. Indeed, the application of cannabidiol had positive effects, even leading to a quieting of the joint disease. Mice were administered a cannabinoid called JWH133, which had a threefold effect. Firstly, it inhibited the body's secretion of inflammatory substances. Secondly, treatment with JWH133 reduced serum levels of the anti-collagen IgG1 antibody, which helped to alleviate the arthritis. This is a really big success, as an excess of these enhances the inflammatory response in RA. And thirdly, there was a significant reduction in the number of osteoclasts, i.e. osteogenic cells, which are responsible for the formation of erosions of rheumatoid origin.
The results of the animal studies conducted are extremely promising. And they are certainly only a prelude. They show that cannabidiol has extraordinary potential and that, in the future, both it and other cannabinoids will form the basis for the production of effective and safe drugs to treat rheumatoid arthritis.
- "Everyday life with rheumatoid arthritis Knowledge, attitudes and psychosocial experiences of people with RA", report under the direction of Dr T. Sobierajski; http://ref.org.pl/RZS_raport_web.pdf
- "Suppression of early inflammation by cannabidiol prevents pain and nerve damage in osteoarthritis in rats"; Holly T Philpott, Melisa O'Brien, Jason J McDougall (2017) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28885454/
- "Cannabinoid receptor 2 as a potential therapeutic target in rheumatoid arthritis"; Shin Fukuda,Hitoshi Kohsaka ,Aiko Takayasu et al (2014) https://bmcmusculoskeletdisord.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1471-2474-15-275
- 'The role of cannabinoids in the regulation of bone remodelling'; Aymen I. Idris and Stuart H. Ralston (2012) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3499879/