The absence of any guidance from health officials or government agencies hasn’t done anything to slow the meteoric increase in the number of people turning to CBD products. In fact, the lack of any clear guidelines for using CBD seems to be prompting people to try it as a treatment for just about everything. That, together with the recent nationwide legalization of hemp, is driving both public awareness and personal curiosity about the potential health benefits of using CBD. And arthritis patients are no exception. According to a recent Arthritis Foundation survey of 2,500 people with arthritis, 79 percent of people had either already tried or were considering trying CBD products to manage pain. The Arthritis foundation listened. And last week, the foundation became the first such organization to release CBD guidelines.
First CBD Guidelines Focus on Treating Arthritis-Related Pain
There are over 50 million people in the United States with arthritis struggling to treat pain, swelling and other symptoms that hinder their activity. So it’s no wonder that people with arthritis are among the top consumers of CBD products. In fact, industry reports show that pain relief is the top reason for CBD purchases. Arthritis sufferers want alternatives to dangerous and addictive prescription painkillers.
The Arthritis Foundation is the largest organization representing the voices and needs of people with arthritis, people who are making their voices heard. Federal legalization of hemp and hemp-derived products like cannabidiol (CBD) is an important step. But the FDA and other federal regulatory agencies have still not produced any significant CBD studies or issued any guidance for using CBD products to treat different conditions. Without standards for quality and dosage, people interested in CBD have been left to figure things out on their own.
That’s where the Arthritis Foundation stepped in. In addition to urging the FDA to expedite researching and regulating CBD products, it consulted with leading health experts and its own members to develop general recommendations for arthritis patients and anyone else interested in trying CBD.
Key Takeaways From The Arthritis Foundation’s CBD Guidance
The Arthritis Foundation’s CBD Guidelines are a great source for learning all about cannabidiol. But those looking for a deeper dive at the research behind CBD might want to take a look elsewhere. Still, whether its an introduction to what CBD is and how it works, tips for shopping smart, or what kinds of products to use, the Arthritis Foundation is putting patients on the right path.
The foundation consulted with three MDs studying pain and medical cannabis to develop its guidelines. Kevin Boehnke is a University of Michigan researcher studying medical cannabis as an opioid substitute for managing chronic pain. Daniel Clauw is a professor of anesthesiology at the University of Michigan and a leading researcher on arthritis pain, fibromyalgia and CBD. Mary Ann Fitzcharles conducts research on pain and rheumatoid arthritis at the University of Montreal in Quebec, and she is the lead author of the Canadian Rheumatology Association’s position statement on medical cannabis.
Animal studies suggest that CBD has multiple pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties. Those findings haven’t been confirmed in large-scale clinical trials. But the anecdotal testimonies of thousands of patients attest to CBD’s effectiveness for treating pain. The Arthritis Foundation says it isn’t endorsing the use of CBD. Rather, the organization says it has always welcomed new treatment options, since no single drug or therapy works for everyone.
So while emphasizing the safety and potential effectiveness of CBD treatments for arthritis pain, the foundation also says CBD should never replace disease-modifying drugs that prevent permanent joint damage. The guidelines also warn patients to buy from reputable companies who transparently test their products. Finally, the Arthritis Foundation is urging patients to consult directly with their doctors about beginning any CBD treatments.
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