CBD oil for ankylosing spondylitis relief
Chronic pain, joint pain, and arthritis are some of the top reasons people use CBD. These are all symptoms that affect people with ankylosing spondylitis. So how can cannabinoids help you ease your pain?
Here is our complete guide to CBD oil for ankylosing spondylitis. We will see how it works and how to use it for maximum effect. But first, here's a quick look at the condition.
What is ankylosing spondylitis?
Ankylosing spondylitis is a condition involving inflammation of the spine. It can also cause inflammation of the joints (arthritis) and the points where ligaments and tendons connect to bone (enthesitis).
Unlike many inflammatory conditions, ankylosing spondylitis tends to affect young people. This usually becomes evident in adolescence or early adulthood. It is more common in men than in women.
Symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis
Symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis can range from mild to disabling. Some patients suffer from back pain that comes and goes and may even get better over time. However, for others, the disease follows a more gradual course.
In severe cases, ankylosing spondylitis can cause permanent damage to the spine. When the body tries to compensate, it generates new bone, causing the vertebrae to merge. This leads to a loss of flexibility and mobility, called ankylosis. It can also affect the ribs and cause breathing problems.
Other symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis include:
- Painful and swollen joints
- Pain in the buttock area
- Eye inflammation (iritis)
- Increased risk of osteoporosis
- Increased risk of cardiovascular disease
People with ankylosing spondylitis also frequently experience trouble sleeping. This is mostly due to the pain and the difficulty in feeling comfortable at night.
What are the causes of ankylosing spondylitis?
Ankylosing spondylitis is associated with changes in a gene called HLA-B. It is responsible for regulating protein production in the immune system.
The HLA-B27 genetic variation exists in approximately 90% of patients with ankylosing spondylitis. However, not all people with this variation develop the disease. Some scientists believe that environmental factors can trigger the onset of the disease in susceptible people.
Treatment of ankylosing spondylitis
Physical activity tends to relieve the pain of this disease. Therefore, physiotherapy and exercise are among the most effective treatments. Daily massages and stretches can also help.
Patients who need additional pain relief may find the following drugs beneficial:
- Traditional pain relievers, including opioids
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- Corticosteroid injections
The problem with most of these drugs is that they can cause some nasty side effects, especially with long-term use. Therefore, many patients wonder if natural remedies like CBD can help relieve ankylosing spondylitis.
Does CBD Relieve Ankylosing Spondylitis?
There is currently no research on CBD for ankylosing spondylitis, in particular. However, a study is underway. It aims to test the effectiveness of cannabinoids on ankylosing spondylitis and rheumatoid arthritis.
As the researchers explain, these are two systemic inflammatory conditions. And one of the most important ways cannabinoids work is to reduce inflammation. They do this by interacting with the body's endocannabinoid system (ECS).
ECS regulates many of our physiological processes, including the inflammatory response. Inflammation is the immune system's way of dealing with injury or infection, and in acute situations, it is of great benefit.
However, sometimes the immune system can become overactive and generate inflammation for no apparent reason. This leads to a variety of painful conditions, including ankylosing spondylitis. It seems this is where cannabinoids like THC and CBD can help. They dampen the activity of the immune system to reduce inflammation and pain.
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THC exerts its effects by directly binding to cannabinoid receptors in the ECS. However, CBD works slightly differently. It appears to enhance the activity of the body's natural cannabinoid compounds to produce healing without adverse effects. CBD also affects several receptors besides ECS, adding to its overall effectiveness.
So while CBD does not cure ankylosing spondylitis, it may provide symptomatic relief.
CBD oil research for inflammation and pain
While there are no existing studies on ankylosing spondylitis and CBD, there are many on inflammation and pain.
One of these studies was published in the European Journal of Pain in 2016. Its authors investigated the effects of transdermal CBD on rats with inflammation from arthritis. They massaged the CBD gel into the skin of the rats for four days. At the end of this period, the rats showed reductions in joint swelling and pain.
A more recent 2019 study for postgraduate medicine found that CBD also benefits humans with chronic pain. It included 97 participants with painful conditions who had been using opioids for at least a year.
After taking full-spectrum CBD oil for eight weeks, 53% of participants reduced or stopped their opioid use. Additionally, 94% of participants said their quality of life had improved. An important aspect of this situation was better sleep.
How to use CBD for ankylosing spondylitis
There are many different CBD products out there, and choosing the best one for ankylosing spondylitis can be difficult. The main consideration is whether to use CBD orally, by inhalation, or as a topical cream. Each option has advantages and disadvantages.
Oral Consumption Oral
CBD products include oils, capsules, and edibles. Consumers take them by mouth and the cannabinoid passes through their digestive system into the bloodstream. The main benefit of this is that CBD can influence the whole body, making it ideal for systemic symptoms.
The downside to oral consumption of CBD is that it has a low rate of bioavailability. This means that the digestive system and the liver metabolize most of the compound.
According to a WHO report, the body can use as little as 6% of oral CBD products. This means a lot of waste, especially considering the cost of high-quality CBD.
Inhalation offers a very high rate of bioavailability. This method of consumption includes vaping CBD or smoking CBD flowers. Inhalation also provides almost instantaneous effects, making it popular among people living with painful conditions.
The obvious downside is that smoking is bad for the lungs. It is also pro-inflammatory and therefore could make symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis worse. Most experts consider vaping a safer option because there is no combustion.
Finally, topical creams and balms provide targeted relief in a specific area. They allow CBD to be absorbed through the skin rather than the digestive tract, making them popular among those with muscle soreness. These products may also contain other anti-inflammatory ingredients to provide another level of relief.
The main downside is that CBD topicals are only effective in a specific area. Therefore, they may not be the best for ankylosing spondylitis patients with pain in multiple joints. Of course, it is possible to apply these products to more than one area, but it can get expensive.
Full-spectrum or isolate of CBD
Another consideration for anyone wanting to try CBD oil for ankylosing spondylitis is to choose full-spectrum CBD or an isolate. The former contains a range of cannabinoids and terpenes, while the latter contains only almost pure CBD.
Many experts consider full-spectrum CBD products to be superior. They believe that the different active compounds in cannabis and hemp work together in synergy. This phenomenon is widely known as the entourage effect.
Additionally, other cannabinoids such as CBG and CBC have anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects. Therefore, full-spectrum CBD allows consumers to benefit from therapeutic properties beyond CBD alone.
However, full-spectrum products contain traces of THC. (Less than 0.2%) While this is not enough to cause poisoning, it may be of concern to some people. In this case, CBD isolate may be the solution.