Are CBD Gummies Good For Arthritis

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Our 2022 guide picks out the top seven best CBD products to help ease the pain associated with arthritis. If you have chronic arthritis pain, you may have been tempted to try cannabidiol as a treatment, or you may have tried it already. But is there any evidence that it works? Studies are finally addressing this question, and the results are just starting to come in.

Best CBD for Arthritis

Our expert identifies the seven best CBD products to help you move easier by reducing pain and inflammation.

Arthritis is a family of common chronic conditions where inflammation builds up around joints, causing stiffness and pain. There are several kinds of arthritis with different causes and ways of maneuvering care. Although symptom-relieving medication is available for all types of arthritis, it can have unwanted side effects like nausea and lowered immune support.

Some sufferers have started turning to alternative remedies to get around those side effects. Early studies suggest that CBD may benefit arthritis thanks to its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties.

But not all CBD products are made equal. Many contain less CBD than advertised, lack other beneficial ingredients, or simply cost too much. To make your search easier, we found the best CBD products for arthritis and compared them in this guide so you can determine what might work best for you.

Summary of recommendations

  • Editor’s Choice: Receptra Naturals Serious Relief + Turmeric 0% THC Tincture
  • Best budget option: Lazarus Naturals Full Spectrum & High Potency CBD Oil Tincture
  • Strongest option: CBDistillery Full Spectrum CBD Oil Tincture
  • Best THC-free option: CBDfx CBD + CBG Oil Wellness Tincture
  • Best gummies: Charlotte’s Web CBD Gummies: Recovery
  • Best capsules:Elixinol Active Omega Turmeric Capsules
  • Best topical: CBDistillery CBDol Topical Salve
Receptra Naturals Serious Relief + Turmeric 0% THC Tincture

Receptra Naturals Serious Relief Tincture contains turmeric- an ingredient scientifically proven to relieve pain.

This berry-flavored tincture comes in two strengths and contains key ingredients for reducing joint inflammation. Enjoy free shipping on all orders.

The Research

How we evaluated CBD products for arthritis

We consider diverse criteria to find the best CBD oils, gummies, capsules, and topicals.

Third-party testing

It’s important that your CBD products come with up-to-date third-party test results. While the FDA is supposed to regulate CBD according to the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, lots of CBD companies and products mean the agency is backed up. This means that many high-quality CBD products don’t yet have FDA approval. Third-party tests are performed by independent laboratories and verify that you’re getting exactly what you paid for.

Since many CBD products aren’t yet approved by the FDA, there are limits around what they can legally do (or say they do). You’ll likely see disclaimers stating that they are not intended to treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Some companies even go to lengths like editing customer reviews to minimize any chance that people could think their products could be a good substitute for necessary medication. Always check with your doctor before starting a new supplement, even if you’re considering CBD oil, which is generally regarded as safe.

CBD type

CBD is available in several forms: full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolate.

Full-spectrum CBD captures hemp’s complete cannabinoid and terpene profile, using every beneficial part of the plant. It’s generally considered the most effective form of CBD since nothing goes to waste.

Broad-spectrum CBD is similar to full-spectrum CBD but without THC. While all CBD must have a THC content of 0.3% or less, even that tiny amount can make a big difference if you need to pass a drug test or avoid any potential psychoactive effects. Thanks to the entourage effect, full- and broad-spectrum CBD are likely to have the most health benefits.

CBD isolate is a pure form of CBD that contains no other compounds found in cannabis. It’s great if you’re looking for a hefty dose of CBD since it’s very potent, but you won’t get any of those beneficial effects you might find from a full- or broad-spectrum formula.

We recommend using full-spectrum products for arthritis because they may be more effective than isolates. For more info on the different types of CBD, take a look at our CBD guide.

Ingredients

Some CBD products contain additional active ingredients that may help with arthritis, such as curcumin, omega-3 fatty acids, or ginger. Like the entourage effect, a product containing more ingredients that support joint health and decreased inflammation will further help your body and minimize your symptoms.

Potency

Products that contain more milligrams of CBD per dose have greater effects. We prefer high-potency products because they provide more CBD at a lower price, making them more suitable for serious conditions like arthritis.

Hemp quality

CBD is derived directly from hemp plants, so unlike other supplements or medications, the plant’s quality matters. That’s why we look for brands with a high-quality organic hemp source. In the best-case scenario, a company would grow its own hemp and hold third-party certifications from the USDA or U.S. Hemp Authority.

Brand reputation

Reputable brands provide details about their hemp source, production process, company history, and more. This transparency is key in discovering flaws in their process or vetting that they’re actually as good as they sound. Thousands of positive customer reviews can also key us to a quality brand. If hundreds of people find a product useful, you’re more likely to find yourself among them.

Price

CBD isn’t cheap. We compare products by their cost per milligram of CBD and account for free shipping, subscriptions, discount programs, and other deals to help you save.

CBD and arthritis research

While CBD won’t cure or treat arthritis, early studies show promise in symptom relief.

  • In a 2018 study of osteoarthritis sufferers, transdermal CBD gel led to greater knee pain reductions than placebo treatment (but not in all participants).
  • In a similar 2016 animal study, transdermal CBD gel lowered pain and inflammation in rats with arthritis.
  • In a 2006 study of people with rheumatoid arthritis, the drug Sativex (which combines equal amounts of CBD and THC) significantly reduced pain and improved sleep.
  • In a 2000 study of rheumatoid arthritis in mice, CBD blocked arthritis progression through anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive effects.
  • The researchers of a 2020 study noted that “CBD might be beneficial as an adjuvant treatment in rheumatoid arthritis.”

Additionally, a recent Arthritis Foundation survey of arthritis patients who used CBD found that 71% reported better sleep, 67% experienced better physical function, and over 30% felt relief from morning stiffness and fatigue. Most also reported improvements in mood, anxiety, and overall well-being.

Nonetheless, high-quality research evidence is still lacking. Until more placebo-controlled clinical trials are done, we won’t fully understand CBD’s anti-arthritic potential.

Is CBD safe?

CBD appears to be a generally safe compound. Decades of research have revealed a few minor side effects, including fatigue, dry mouth, diarrhea, nausea, lightheadedness, reduced blood pressure, and changes in appetite or weight.

CBD can also inhibit liver enzymes that metabolize drugs, which means it may have some drug interactions. This applies mostly to people who are taking medication that interacts with grapefruit. Still, most of these side effects were reported by studies using large oral doses of purified CBD.

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Most people who use smaller doses of CBD go with full-spectrum products or different consumption methods, such as sublingual administration (putting CBD oil under your tongue). As such, the likelihood of side effects is low.

How the top CBD products for arthritis compare

CBD type Total cannabinoids Potency Volume/Count Value ($/mg)
Receptra Naturals Serious Relief + Turmeric 0% THC Tincture Full-spectrum 500-4,000mg 33-66 mg/ml 15-60ml $0.05-0.07
CBDistillery CBDol Topical Salve Full-spectrum 500mg 17.6mg/ml 1oz $0.10
Lazarus Naturals Full Spectrum, High Potency CBD Oil Tincture Full-spectrum 750-6,000 mg 50mg/ml 15-120ml $0.02-0.03
CBDistillery Full Spectrum CBD Oil Tincture Full-spectrum 5,000mg 167mg/ml 30ml $0.05
CBDfx CBD + CBG Oil Wellness Tincture Broad-spectrum 750-9,000mg 25-150mg/ml 30-60ml $0.02-0.05
Charlotte’s Web CBD Gummies: Recovery Full-spectrum 150-450mg 5mg 30-90 $0.13-0.20
Elixinol Active Omega Turmeric Capsules Full-spectrum 900mg 15mg 60 $0.07

Receptra Naturals Serious Relief + Turmeric 0% THC Tincture

  • Contains anti-inflammatory turmeric
  • Comprehensive third-party testing
  • Vertically integrated company
  • No subscription option
  • Lacks very high potencies

Our top pick for arthritis management goes to Receptra Naturals’ Serious Relief + Turmeric 0% THC Tincture. It’s one of the only CBD oils on the market with turmeric, an anti-inflammatory spice loaded with curcumin. Research studies suggest it can relieve pain and other symptoms of arthritis for an extra-loaded effect.

This fresh berry-flavored full-spectrum CBD oil is available in two strengths: regular (33mg/dose) and high (66mg/dose). It’s also available in two different bottle sizes for a wide range of dosing options. We’ve put together a chart below that breaks down the differences in doses.

15mL bottle 60mL bottle
Regular strength (33mg/dose) 495mg 1,980mg
High strength (66mg/dose) 990mg 3,960mg

Depending on your bottle size, it costs between five and seven cents per CBD dose. That’s a low price for such a unique, full-spectrum CBD tincture. Better yet, it comes with free shipping, and veterans can get 50% off.

Colorado’s Receptra Naturals does everything in-house, including growing its organic hemp on a family-owned farm. It offers a full range of third-party tested CBD products.

CBDistillery CBDol Topical Salve

  • Multi-ingredient relief formula
  • Comprehensive third-party testing
  • U.S. Hemp Authority certified
  • Vertically integrated company
  • Lacks higher potencies
  • No cream option

Topical CBD products are an excellent option for arthritis when you need targeted pain relief since you can apply it exactly where you’re aching. But topical CBD salves and creams require more specialized features since you don’t consume them. Luckily, the CBDol Topical Salve from CBDistillery checks off all the right boxes.

It contains 500mg of full-spectrum CBD alongside numerous botanical ingredients that can relieve pain and help with arthritis, including:

  • Peppermint oil
  • Camphor oil
  • Arnica oil
  • Frankincense oil
  • Willow bark extract

Given the long (but necessary) ingredients list, this topical product is affordable at 10 cents per mg of CBD. CBDistillery also offers free shipping on orders over $75 (which you won’t quite make with one jar of salve) and has a subscription option with 30% off.

The salve comes in a 1oz container and can be applied precisely where needed. It’s made by CBDistillery, one of the most reputable names in the CBD industry. The company is certified by the U.S. Hemp Authority and controls the whole production process from seed to shelf.

Lazarus Naturals Full Spectrum, High Potency CBD Oil Tincture

Best budget option

  • Exceptionally low price
  • Comprehensive third-party testing
  • Certified USDA-organic
  • Vertically integrated company
  • Lacks higher potencies
  • Can’t consume with medications that are affected by grapefruit

You won’t find many better deals for CBD oil than the high-potency full-spectrum tincture from Lazarus Naturals. At 2-3 cents per mg of CBD, it’s one of the cheapest options on the market. But you’re still getting a quality product as this tincture is certified organic by the USDA and provides a complete variety of beneficial hemp cannabinoids and terpenes. Lazarus Naturals even gives you access to all of their third-party test results, so you know exactly what you’re getting.

You can get free shipping by spending over $50. On top of that, veterans, individuals with disabilities, and low-income households can apply for a steep 60% discount.

This tincture has a high potency of 50mg/dose and comes in several bottle sizes:

  • 15ml (750mg CBD)
  • 30ml (1,500mg CBD)
  • 60ml (3,000mg CBD)
  • 120ml (6,000mg CBD)

You can choose between classic, chocolate mint, and strawberry lemonade flavors. We found that sweeter flavors like chocolate mint masked any herby hemp tastes and were relatively pleasant.

Lazarus Naturals is a vertically integrated brand owned by its employees. It has some of the cheapest third-party tested CBD products in the industry.

CBDistillery Full Spectrum CBD Oil Tincture

  • Extremely high potency
  • Comprehensive third-party testing
  • U.S. Hemp Authority certified
  • Vertically integrated company
  • No flavored options
  • Lacks larger bottle sizes

With conditions like arthritis, regular-strength CBD products aren’t always enough. If you need a serious dose of CBD, we recommend Full Spectrum CBD Oil Tincture from CBDistillery.

This 30ml bottle contains 1,000mg of oil, providing 167 mg of CBD per milliliter. Standard CBD oils contain only between 30 and 83mg per ml, making this double-strength formula one of the highest potencies on the market.

This third-party tested tincture is affordable at only five cents per mg, with further savings from CBDistillery’s free shipping on orders over $75 and subscription program.

CBDfx CBD + CBG Oil Wellness Tincture

  • THC-free broad-spectrum CBD
  • Comprehensive third-party testing
  • Additional anti-inflammatory ingredients
  • Low price
  • No flavored options
  • Can get expensive at higher doses

If you need a THC-free product for arthritis, the wellness tincture from CBDfx fits the bill. CBDfx is a leading CBD brand out of California, known for offering unique product formulas for different goals and benefits. This tincture is made with broad-spectrum CBD extract, containing 0% THC while keeping other beneficial hemp cannabinoids and terpenes.

More importantly, this tincture has added curcumin and coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), two anti-inflammatory ingredients that have beneficial effects on arthritis symptoms.

This unique tincture combines a 2:1 ratio of CBD to cannabigerol (CBG), a minor cannabinoid with more anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties. It comes in 30ml bottles available in five strengths:

  • 500mg CBD, 250mg CBG
  • 1,000mg CBD, 600mg CBG
  • 2,000mg CBD, 1,000mg CBG
  • 4,000mg CBD, 2,000mg CBG
  • 6,000mg CBD, 3,000mg CBG

The price is also significantly cheaper than average: between two and five cents per mg of cannabinoids, depending on the strength you choose. While some of these prices may give you a little bit of sticker shock, you can rest assured knowing that one bottle will last you a long time, particularly in higher doses.

You can get free shipping by spending over $75, which you can achieve with any bottle 2,000mg or stronger.

Charlotte’s Web CBD gummies: Recovery

  • Additional anti-inflammatory ingredients
  • Comprehensive third-party testing
  • U.S. Hemp Authority certified
  • Vertically integrated company
  • Low potency
  • Third-party test results only available after purchase

Charlotte’s Web offers the best CBD gummies for arthritis we’ve come across. What makes these recovery gummies unique is the addition of ginger and turmeric, two anti-inflammatory herbs with evidence-based arthritis benefits. Other tinctures and salves contain tumeric, but few other high-quality CBD gummies do.

These gummies are flavored with juice from fruits and vegetables and provide 5mg of full-spectrum CBD. You can choose from packs of 30, 60, or 90 gummies that cost 13-20 cents per mg of CBD.

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This price is above average, but you are getting a high-quality product certified by the U.S. Hemp Authority and additional active ingredients. Charlotte’s Web also offers free shipping on orders over $74, and you can join their subscription service to save 20% on every order (at least $6 every month). Few other CBD brands offer Subscribe & Save deals, so we recommend partaking if you know you like these products and use them regularly.

Founded in 2013 by seven brothers, Charlotte’s Web is one of the oldest and most established CBD brands. They’re a Certified B-Corporation and work to provide natural and organic CBD at high quality (though you can’t access their third-party test results until after purchasing).

If you want to learn more about CBD gummies, check out our full guide.

Elixinol Active Omega Turmeric Capsules

  • Additional anti-inflammatory ingredients
  • Comprehensive third-party testing
  • U.S. Hemp Authority certified
  • Entirely vegetarian
  • Vertically integrated company
  • Relatively low potency
  • Only one bottle size

Many people prefer to take capsules and softgels because of their convenience. When it comes to arthritis care, we like the Active Omega Turmeric Capsules from Elixinol.

These capsules are an excellent pick to help soothe symptoms associated with arthritis because they contain anti-inflammatory turmeric and omega-3 fatty acid DHA, which have both been shown to help with rheumatoid arthritis. Each vegetarian softgel combines 15mg of full-spectrum CBD with 237mg of turmeric curcuminoids and 120mg of algae-derived DHA.

They cost about seven cents per mg of CBD, a below-average price for a full-spectrum, multi-ingredient product. Considering there are 60 capsules per bottle, that’s a reasonable price despite their relatively low potency. Elixinol provides free shipping on orders over $50, which you’ll automatically hit when purchasing one bottle of capsules. If you know you like these (or want to try them at a discount), Elixinol has a monthly subscription program that gives you free shipping, 30% off your first order, and 15% off all subsequent orders.

Elixinol is an established, global CBD brand certified by the U.S. Hemp Authority. It offers a diverse range of third-party tested CBD products.

FAQ about CBD for arthritis

How does CBD help with arthritis?

CBD has anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain-relieving) properties that can help relieve some of the inflammation, swelling, and pain associated with arthritis symptoms. While there’s more evidence that CBD may help with reducing pain from rheumatoid arthritis, it may still be helpful for osteoarthritis.

How much CBD should I take for arthritis?

CBD dosage varies by individual depending on your body weight, genetics, arthritis form and severity, the product you’re using, and more. It’s best to start with the dosage recommended by your product or an otherwise small amount of around 1mg. See how your body responds and gradually raise the dosage over several days or weeks until you experience the desired relief.

What’s the best CBD product for arthritis?

With arthritis, your two primary options are full-spectrum CBD oil tinctures and topicals. Tinctures provide the greatest body-wide relief, whereas topical products like salves and creams work better for localized pain. You can also combine both for the best results. Gummies and capsules can be used as well but are less effective due to lower absorption.

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Does CBD help with arthritis pain?

If you have chronic arthritis pain, you may be wondering about cannabidiol (CBD) as a treatment. CBD, along with delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other chemicals, is found in marijuana. But unlike THC, CBD is not “psychoactive” — that is, it does not cause the intoxication or high associated with marijuana use.

There’s a good chance you’ve tried it already: according to a Gallup poll in August of 2019, about 14% of Americans report using CBD products, and the number one reason is pain. The Arthritis Foundation conducted its own poll and found that 29% reported current use of CBD (mostly in liquid or topical form), and nearly 80% of respondents were either using it, had used it in the past, or were considering it. Of those using it, most reported improvement in physical function, sleep, and well-being; of note, a minority reported improvement in pain or stiffness.

Perhaps you’ve been tempted to try it. After all, most types of arthritis are not cured by other treatments, and CBD is considered a less addictive option than opiates. Or maybe it’s the marketing that recommends CBD products for everything from arthritis to anxiety to seizures. The ads are pretty hard to miss. (Now here’s a coincidence: as I was writing this, my email preview pane displayed a message that seemed to jump off the screen: CBD Has Helped Millions!! Try It Free Today!)

What’s the evidence it works? And what do experts recommend? Until recently, there’s been little research and even less guidance for people (or their doctors) interested in CBD products that are now increasingly legal and widely promoted.

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But now, there is.

A word about arthritis pain

It’s worth emphasizing that there are more than 100 types of arthritis, and while pain is a cardinal feature of all of them, these conditions do not all act alike. And what works for one may not work for another. Treatment is aimed at reducing pain and stiffness and maintaining function for all types of arthritis. But for certain conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, conventional prescription medications are highly recommended, because these drugs help prevent permanent joint damage and worsening disability.

In addition, individuals experience pain and respond to treatment in different ways. As a result, it’s highly unlikely that there is a single CBD-containing product that works for all people with all types of arthritis.

What’s the evidence that CBD is effective for chronic arthritis pain?

While there are laboratory studies suggesting CBD might be a promising approach, and animal studies showing anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects, well-designed studies demonstrating compelling evidence that CBD is safe and effective for chronic arthritis pain in humans do not exist. A randomized trial of topical CBD for osteoarthritis of the knee has been published, but in abstract form only (meaning it’s a preliminary report that summarizes the trial and has not been thoroughly vetted yet); the trial lasted only 12 weeks, and results were mixed at best. One of the largest reviews examined the health effects of cannabis and CBD, and concluded that there is “substantial evidence that cannabis is an effective treatment for chronic pain in adults.” But there was no specific conclusion regarding CBD, presumably because definitive studies were not available.

Of course, there is anecdotal evidence and testimonials galore, including reports of dramatic improvement by people who tried CBD in its various forms (including capsule, liquid, topical, and spray) for their pain. But we are still waiting for well-designed, scientifically valid, and rigorous clinical trials (such as this one in progress) that are so badly needed to answer the question of just how helpful CBD may be to people with chronic arthritis pain.

Are there downsides to CBD treatment?

As with any treatment, there can be downsides. CBD is generally considered safe; however, it can still cause lightheadedness, sleepiness, dry mouth, and rarely, liver problems. There may be uncertainty about the potency or purity of CBD products (since they are not regulated as prescription medications are), and CBD can interact with other medications. For pregnant women, concern has been raised about a possible link between inhaled cannabis and lower-birthweight babies; it’s not clear if this applies to CBD. Some pain specialists have concerns that CBD may upset the body’s natural system of pain regulation, leading to tolerance (so that higher doses are needed for the same effect), though the potential for addiction is generally considered to be low.

There is one definite downside: cost. Prices range widely but CBD products aren’t inexpensive, and depending on dose, frequency, and formulation, the cost can be considerable — I found one brand that was $120/month, and health insurance does not usually cover it.

Are there guidelines about the use of CBD for chronic arthritis pain?

Until recently, little guidance has been available for people with arthritis pain who were interested in CBD treatment. Depending on availability and interest, patients and their doctors had to decide on their own whether CBD was a reasonable option in each specific case. To a large degree that’s still true, but some guidelines have been published. Here’s one set of guidelines for people pursuing treatment with CBD that I find quite reasonable (based on recommendations from the Arthritis Foundation and a recent commentary published in the medical journal Arthritis Care & Research):

Dos:

  • If considering a CBD product, choose one that has been independently tested for purity, potency, and safety — for example, look for one that has received a “Good Manufacturing Practices” (GMP) certification.
  • CBD should be one part of an overall pain management plan that includes nonmedication options (such as exercise) and psychological support.
  • Choose an oral treatment (rather than inhaled products) and start with a low dose taken in the evening.
  • Establish initial goals of treatment within a realistic period of time — for example, a reduction in knee pain that allows you to walk around the block within two weeks of starting treatment; later, if improved, the goals can be adjusted.
  • Tell your doctor(s) about your planned and current CBD treatment; monitor your pain and adjust medications with your medical providers, rather than with nonmedical practitioners (such as those selling CBD products).

Don’ts:

  • Don’t make CBD your first choice for pain relief; it is more appropriate to consider it if other treatments have not been effective enough.
  • Don’t have nonmedical practitioners (such as those selling CBD products) managing your chronic pain; pain management should be between you and your healthcare team, even if it includes CBD.
  • For people with rheumatoid arthritis or related conditions, do not stop prescribed medications that may be protecting your joints from future damage; discuss any changes to your medication regimen with your doctor.

The bottom line

If you’re interested in CBD treatment for chronic arthritis pain or if you’re already taking it, review the pros, cons, and latest news with your healthcare providers, and together you can decide on a reasonable treatment plan. Depending on the type of arthritis you have, it may be quite important to continue your conventional, prescribed medications even if you pursue additional relief with CBD products.

We may not have all the evidence we’d like, but if CBD can safely improve your symptoms, it may be worth considering.

Follow me on Twitter @RobShmerling

About the Author

Robert H. Shmerling, MD , Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Dr. Robert H. Shmerling is the former clinical chief of the division of rheumatology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), and is a current member of the corresponding faculty in medicine at Harvard Medical School. … See Full Bio

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