According to the Arthritis Foundation, arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the US, with an estimated 54 million adults and around 300,000 children and infants diagnosed with arthritis. The most common type of arthritis in American adults is osteoarthritis, which is a condition that leads to the degeneration of cartilage in the joints and bones.
Osteoarthritis is the leading cause of joint, knee, and hip pain. While osteoarthritis is mostly associated with aging, more and more young people are being diagnosed with the condition, which can have an adverse effect on a person’s lifestyle.
What’s even more alarming is that a study by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that instances of rheumatoid arthritis are expected to increase to a staggering 67 million by 2030.
Clinical studies have revealed that current methods of treatment that are being used on arthritis patients are linked to various side effects. These side effects can vary from patient to patient and usually have a long half-life since the medication remains in the patient’s bloodstream. This means that some medications can have extremely long half-lives, which, in itself, can negatively impact a person’s everyday life.
However, hemp oil has been found to attenuate both pain and inflammation in patients who have been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis without any of the side effects that are commonly associated with over-the-counter medication.
The study that was carried out by the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy, and the Department of Physiology, University of Kentucky College of Medicine in Lexington found that hemp, while having a poor oral bioavailability, is effective in reducing pain and inflammation in patients with arthritis.
The study that was carried out to examine the efficiency of transdermal hemp for the reduction of pain and inflammation and their adverse side effects was carried out on rats using Freund’s adjuvant-induced monoarthritis knee joint model. During the study, the rats were given hemp gels ranging from 0.1 mg to 6.2 mg per day for four consecutive days once the arthritis induction was completed.
During that time, the researchers measured various indicators, such as immune cell invasion of histological sections as well as joint circumferences of the rats. The scientists also measured Paw Withdrawal Latency and the rodent’s level of activity during that time.
The researchers measured the changes in the rats after giving them 0.6 mg to 6.2 mg of hemp and found that there was a significant decrease in the level of pain and inflammation that the rats were experiencing.
Not only did the transdermal hemp gel that was used in the study reduce joint swelling and limb posture scores in the rats, but it also revealed immune cell infiltration and the broadening of the synovial membrane, which led to a significant decrease in inflammation without causing any side effects.
The researchers also found that the exploratory behavior of the rats was in no way altered due to the use of hemp, which indicated a limited effect on the brain function of the rats. A reduction of pro-inflammatory biomarkers was also observed during the study.
The data that was recovered during this research indicates that the topical application of hemp does have therapeutic potential when it comes to the relief of pain and inflammation caused by arthritis without causing any side effects that are common with over-the-counter arthritis medication. The study was funded by the American Cancer Society Award to K.N Westlund of the University of Kentucky.