Updated on December 6, 2018.
Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
Living with pain is an everyday experience for people around the world, and a common complaint that many have is knee pain. It can affect people of all ages for a variety of causes, from injury to severe medical conditions. Knee pain is a prevalent type of chronic pain because of how frequently we use this joint throughout the day. Pain can arise from any of the intricate parts that comprise the knee: the joints, ligaments, bone and cartilage.
If you struggle with chronic knee pain, you have probably been trying to cope using over-the-counter pain meds. Or, if the injury to your knee is too severe, you and your doctor may be working on a treatment plan that involves prescription pain medication or even surgery. Although consulting with your physician is essential to your health, you may want to suggest an alternative treatment option for your knee pain: CBD.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the main compounds found in marijuana. But unlike its counterpart, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD is non-psychoactive and will not get users high. You can only obtain cannabis-derived CBD with a medical marijuana card in states where the medicinal use of cannabis is legal. However, you can buy hemp CBD online or in health food stores across the nation.
Instead of resorting to prescription pain meds like opioids, which have a wide array of adverse side effects and can cause severe addiction, CBD is a far healthier choice. Even readily available medications like ibuprofen can cause damage to the liver, kidneys and stomach lining when misused. Here, we will discuss how using a CBD treatment may be the best option for your knee pain.
Many Causes of Knee Pain
What starts out as a slight ache can quickly turn into something serious if you ignore it. You may see that your knee starts swelling or gets stiff easily. Pretty soon, it looks red and feels warm to the touch. Then, you notice that it’s not as strong as it used to be or that it makes popping or cracking noises when you move. You may even be unable to straighten it all the way. All these, along with chronic knee pain, are indicators that your knee pain could be the result of an injury or a serious medical condition.
Some of the injuries and disorders that commonly cause knee pain include:
ACL Injury, prevalent among those who play sports
Torn meniscus, the cartilage that acts as a shock absorber in your knee
But knee pain can also occur in those who are overweight or due to daily wear and tear — especially if you have a job that causes you to move your knee joint in a repetitive motion.
Why CBD Treatments Work
Although some of the causes of knee pain may require surgical intervention, others have not reached that level of seriousness. Even patients who do have surgery sometimes still struggle with achy knees. If you’re taking either prescription or over-the-counter pain meds on a regular basis to deal with your knee pain, then it’s time to give CBD a shot.
What makes CBD and the other cannabinoids in cannabis so useful is how they work with our body to provide an array of positive benefits. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a network of receptors found throughout our body that influence major functions like digestion, mood, immunity, neural function and more.
The ECS naturally produces cannabinoids to produce desired results. However, the cannabinoids in marijuana also activate our ECS — particularly CBD. For that reason, CBD can be used to treat a wide range of conditions.
How CBD Helps Knee Pain
No matter the cause of your knee pain, CBD can provide you with different benefits to alleviate your symptoms. When you take CBD treatments or use them topically, the medication works naturally within our body’s ECS to produce relief for knee pain. Some of the positive side effects you can expect include:
Pain Reliever: First and foremost, CBD is an effective pain reliever. This cannabinoid works with the receptors in the brain to stop the transmission of pain signals, thus supplying much-needed relief.
Reduces Inflammation: Anyone who has had inflamed knees can tell you how painful this side effect is. Whether it’s the result of an injury or arthritis, CBD can reduce inflammation, too.
Relaxation: When you take CBD, it can also relax stiff and aching joints because of its ability to help your body loosen up.
Regulate Blood Pressure: Healthy circulation is essential to recovery, especially if you have had surgery on your knee. CBD has been shown to reduce blood pressure.
Best Methods of CBD Treatment
If you haven’t kept up with the latest advancements in medical marijuana treatments, then you may think that smoking is the only way to use these forms of treatment. However, a wide variety of CBD ingestion methods exist. Each is effective in its own way, but depending on your individual complaint, there may be one that suits you better than the others:
Smoking or Vaping: Often considered the quickest and easiest ingestion method. The effects felt from smoking or vaping kick in quickly, allowing you to feel almost instantaneous relief for your knee pain. This is effective if you need fast pain relief, but you may have to re-dose often because the effects don’t last as long.
Topical Application: Salves, oils, creams and other topical CBD treatments can be applied directly to the knee. This offers targeted relief to your joint pain. Unfortunately, waiting for the medication to absorb into your skin can take up to an hour, but some users report the relief lasts for up to six hours.
Tinctures: This is another quick relief method. Place tinctures directly under the tongue, and the effects of this method last longer than vaping or smoking.
Speak to Your Doctor About CBD for Knee Pain
Although hemp CBD is legal, some users say it’s not as effective as CBD derived from marijuana plants. If you have chronic pain in your knee and live in a state where medical cannabis is legal, you could qualify. Contact a doctor certified to issue cannabis recommendations in your state to find out more.