CBD for arthritis: Does it help?

I have osteoarthritis in a few of my fingers, and a couple of them are stiff and painful. Over-the-counter pain medications don’t have much effect. My wife was talking with a couple of people she knows recently, and they swore by using Cannabidiol, also known as CBD. They both claimed it helped them a great deal. (She didn’t ask if they were using the ointment or pills.) From what I’ve read, including the opinion of the Arthritis Foundation, CBD is useless. Yet fervent believers will claim they’ve had results.

So, have you ever tried CBD for arthritis pain, and did it work? If so, did you use pills or ointment? I tend to be skeptical of so-called “natural” cures and don’t want to spend money on something that I’ll try a few times and then throw away.

When our dog Ella was in her final years, I gave her CBD along with her NSAID and we could appreciate an improvement to her locomotion.

I have tried CBD ointment for arthritis in my hands. It did not seem to help me any more than using something like Tiger Balm.

Everyone reacts to it differently, just because it didn’t work for me doesn’t mean it won’t work for you.

Plus, and I don’t know if this makes any difference or not but, I’ve been a pot smoker since my teens so it is possible that I have built up too much resistance for it to be effective. Smoking weed doesn’t stop the pain either. It just makes it so I don’t care.

Science-based review of cannabinoids for pain resulted in this summary of the evidence, which may be found in UpToDate.com

“Systematic reviews and meta-analyses of trials including multiple patient populations and formulations of cannabis and cannabinoids have reported mixed results on efficacy for chronic pain. A 2017 report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine found evidence of significant reduction in chronic pain with the use of cannabis or cannabinoids. In a 2018 meta-analysis of 47 randomized trials of cannabis use for various types of chronic pain, there was moderate evidence that cannabis reduced pain by 30 percent, however, adverse event rates were high. Based on pooled event rates, the number needed to treat for benefit was 24 (95% CI 15-61) and the number needed to harm was 6 (95% CI 5-8). In most studies, cannabis was used as an adjunct to other pain therapies.”

Make of it what you will. More decent research is clearly needed. Particularly research specifically on the use of CBD only.

My bil had gotten a lot of relief from chronic back pain by smoking cannabis. He’s even taken to growing it.

It’s been life changing. He takes a lot less opioid pain killers than he used to. He also has discovered that he enjoys getting high, and he does that recreationally, too. My sister, who does not like the effects of cannabis when she’s tried it, thinks that enjoying the high is good for him, as well.

I kinda think that for pain, a placebo is as good as anything else. But i only have that one data point.

I tried rubbing CBD balm on my knees back before getting them replaced. I found some reduction in pain and increase in range if motion from using it. But trying various other balms and ointments I found rubbing my knees produced approximately the same effect no matter what I used.

CBD balm may work well for others but did nothing special for me.


I’m in the same boat as you on the ointment. I have also tried the gummies with little effect on my joints except, taking a gummie before I go to bed can either give me a restless night or what I refer to as a carnival of dreams. When I have done so, I have found that my muscles do relax more which eases some of my arthritis pains for a bit. I also find that due to the restlessness, I sleep really well on the following night. But if I sleep really deeply, I am often stiff and sore again in the morning. I don’t plan on buying more gummies.

So my father is 81 and has horrible arthritis in his back, knees, fingers, 2 artificial hips… He was on celebrex for 20 years which provided adequate relief until it caused some kind of issue with his intestine and they cut it off.

Long story short: He’s been on CBD oil, suggested by his doctor, for the last few years. In his own words it’s not as good as celebrex, but it’s better than tylenol. He feels the pain relief is real. The relief is not immediate like taking a tylenol, you have to take it for a couple of weeks. But he went from daily celebrex to daily CBD and doesn’t complain about pain. Worth checking out imo. Good luck.

He takes an oil that you put under your tongue, and has gummies for when he travels. None of these are psychoactive.

Anecdotal of course, my FiL takes CBD oil, a drop under the tongue, for muscle and joint relief. To be clear, he isn’t arthritic (that’s my family, not my wife’s!) but spent the last 10 years of semi-retirement as a blacksmith, so, yeah, lots of muscle and joint strain and pain.

He’s a bit too uptight to have every used various recreational options even if it’s fully legal here, but has had no adverse issues that he’s noted, and uses it as recommended by the provider with obvious release. I will also include another anecdote, in that one of my great-aunt-in-laws was visiting from a location where it ISN’T legal, and tried a CBD cream while in town and found it was ‘miraculous’, at least to the point where whenever they come through while driving they purchase it and take it home.

But honestly, for pain at least it seems just as varied in effect as a person’s response to MJ when used recreationally. Too different to really plan for, so my (free) advice is to look for a smallish sample as long as it’s legal and won’t interact with anything else you may take. And just in case of the worst case scenario, take it when you’ll have someone with you all day if there is some sort of adverse reaction.