Science Digest – Joints for Joints: Cannabinoids in the Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis

    Cannabis has become a popular alternative to treat the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Although there is not enough scientific evidence in support of its efficacy, recent findings suggest cannabinoids may actually be beneficial in treating rheumatoid arthritis (RA). So, can CBD oil help treat rheumatoid arthritis?

    Cannabinoids can activate cannabinoid type 2 (CB2) receptors throughout the body to decrease the production of chemical messengers secreted by immune cells and as a consequence, reduce inflammation.

    On the other hand, when cannabinoids activate cannabinoid type 1 (CB1) receptors located on immune cells, it promotes inflammation. However, if this activation of CB1 is blocked, then an anti-inflammatory response is seen as a result of increased b2-adrenergic signalling. 

    Furthermore, cannabidiol (CBD) can have antiarthritic effects independent of cannabinoid receptors. 

    Apart from being able to control inflammation, cannabinoids can also reduce pain by activating central and peripheral CB1 and CB2 receptors, and CBD-sensitive non-cannabinoid receptor targets.

    In summary, cannabinoids may be a suitable treatment for rheumatoid arthritis (RA), if we target the right receptors in the right place. Further studies should focus on determining the best combination of cannabinoids to be used by RA patients.



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