Cannabidiol (CBD) can reduce inflammation and pain in arthritis and similar conditions. Ongoing research is exploring its effect on ankylosing spondylitis (AS) specifically.

AS, a rheumatic condition affecting the spine, often leads to inflammation and persistent pain. This is despite conventional treatments like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

As a result, some people seek alternative remedies, such as CBD. This is a non-euphoric compound from the cannabis plant. Around 20% of people with rheumatic conditions report using cannabis for relief.

Anecdotal reports suggest that CBD may have some benefits for AS and similar conditions, but scientific research remains limited. Here’s what we currently understand.

Research on whether CBD can help manage pain in AS is lacking. That said, research suggests that CBD may be an effective tool for managing chronic pain. More research is needed to understand the role that it can play in managing AS pain symptoms specifically.

When considering trying CBD for AS, it’s important to exercise caution and not discontinue any prescribed medications without discussing this with a healthcare professional.

Does CBD reduce chronic inflammation?

Some evidence suggests that CBD has the potential to reduce inflammation. CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which plays a role in regulating immune responses, including inflammation.

One study explored the effects of a CBD gel on arthritis-induced pain and inflammation in rats. The results revealed that this significantly reduced joint swelling, pain scores, and inflammation without observable adverse effects, suggesting potential as an arthritis treatment.

Although not directly related to AS, considering AS’s similarities to a form of spinal arthritis, these results might offer insights into potential treatment avenues for AS.

Additionally, a 2021 review explored the impact of cannabinoids on inflammation in animal studies. It found that compounds like CBD and cannabigerol, especially when used in combination with tetrahydrocannabinol, demonstrated consistent anti-inflammatory effects by reducing various pro-inflammatory cytokines.

These findings may be considered relevant, as AS is characterized by chronic inflammation, primarily affecting the joints in the spine and pelvis. However, more research is necessary to fully understand CBD’s effect on this specific condition.

CBD use for AS isn’t yet standardized, and recommendations might vary based on individual responses and product formulations. Here are some general considerations:

  • Type of CBD: CBD is available in various forms, like oils, capsules, edibles (gummies), topicals, and more. The choice often depends on personal preference and the desired onset and duration of effects. Sublingual oils or tinctures might provide quicker effects than edibles, which need digestion. Topicals could offer localized relief for joint pain.
  • Dosage: Determining the right dosage is an individual process. Start with a low dosage and gradually increase it until you find relief. Always follow the product’s recommended dosage unless you receive different instructions from your doctor.
  • Frequency: How often you take CBD depends on various factors, including the severity of your symptoms and the product’s duration of action. Some people might find relief with once-daily use, while others may require more frequent doses.

Researchers haven’t studied the safety of CBD for AS comprehensively. While experts generally consider CBD safe, it’s best to consult a healthcare professional before using it, especially if you’re considering using it as a treatment for AS or another condition.

Individual reactions to CBD can vary. It’s best to discuss its potential side effects or interactions with other medications with a healthcare professional.

Here are some strategies to consider for reducing inflammation in AS:

  • Medication: Many people use NSAIDs to manage pain and inflammation in AS. Your doctor might prescribe disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs and biologics in more severe cases.
  • Physical therapy: Exercise and physical therapy help maintain your flexibility and posture, reducing stiffness and pain associated with AS.
  • Heat and cold therapy: Applying heat or cold to affected areas can reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Dietary changes: You might find relief from inflammation by adopting an anti-inflammatory diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and omega-3 fatty acids and low in processed foods and sugars.
  • Supplements and alternative medicine: While research is ongoing, some people explore supplements like fish oil, turmeric, and ginger for their potential anti-inflammatory properties. Acupuncture and massage therapy might also offer relief for some people.

CBD holds promise as a potential aid in managing inflammation and pain in AS, but its direct effect on AS remains under investigation.

If you’re thinking about using CBD to manage your AS symptoms, consider consulting a healthcare professional for guidance. Research in this area is ongoing, and individual responses to CBD can vary.