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The Benefits of Treating Arthritis With Cannabis Topicals

treating arthritis Now Magazine
Photo by Sonja Yruel courtesy of the Drug Policy Alliance


The Benefits of Treating Arthritis With Cannabis Topicals

If you are one of the more than 50 million people worldwide suffering from the condition, treating arthritis with cannabis might be the safe alternative you have been looking for.

Arthritis is a painful and sometimes debilitating condition characterized by joint swelling, pain, and stiffness, along with a decreased range of motion.

As a consultant for cannabis patients, I often work with those who are suffering from arthritis and looking for alternative ways to manage the painful condition. Often these patients come to me when they have exhausted the conventional options.

When arthritis gets severe, painkillers (such as opiates) are usually the primary treatment that these patients are receiving. But opiates have their limits. Patients adjust to their dose and it has to be continually increased. In some cases, opiates can actually increase sensitivity to pain. Many have already reached the highest allowable dose and will receive less and less relief from the drug as time goes on. Patients who have been relying on that pain relief are suddenly left without any recourse.

Thankfully, cannabis offers new hope for safely and effectively managing arthritis. As a potent painkiller and anti-inflammatory agent, cannabis has helped many with their arthritic symptoms. It can also be used safely in conjunction with opiates, so patients who are still using opiates, or tapering off of them, don’t have to worry about dangerous interactions. Research shows that cannabis use actually allows patients to decrease their opiate use, and in states where cannabis is legally accessible, opiate-related deaths have gone down by 25 percent.

In addition, research suggests that cannabis can do more than just ameliorate the symptoms of the condition, it may also be able to reverse it, leading to increasing improvements in mobility, inflammation and pain. Research shows that arthritis patients actually have a higher level of CB2 receptors in their damaged joints, than most.

One study, currently underway in Canada, is researching the effects of topical applications of cannabis on rheumatoid arthritis. While the study is not complete, the researchers behind it believe that saturating the patients CB2 receptors with cannabinoids will not only aid with pain relief but may actually repair the joint damage that has already been done.

Treating Arthritis with cannabis topicals

In my own experience with arthritis patients, topical applications of cannabis have been extremely helpful. Patients often complain that the topical isn’t doing much at first, but with regular saturation, they experience a gradual but significant change in their pain and mobility.

Those looking to try treating arthritis with cannabis topicals should start by finding a topical cannabis product that they can regularly apply. For patients with mild arthritis, you might start with a regular strength topical. I am a big fan of Leafy Botanicals’ hard lotion balm, as well as their massage oil. These topicals not only work well, but they smell delicious, with hints of lavender and rosemary.

For those with more severe arthritis, I recommend Fleurish Farm’s extra strength balm. This incredibly potent product was designed specifically with arthritis sufferers in mind, and I have seen it deliver immediate pain relief to some of the most severe arthritis patients I have worked with. This whipped balm is unscented and made entirely of oils that score a zero on the pore clogging scale, so it is light and hypo-allergenic enough for even the most sensitive skin. It’s also infused with high-quality rosin, a solventless cannabis concentrate, which contains powerful terpenes in addition to the cannabinoids found in most topicals.

Whether you are using topicals, edibles or inhaling it, cannabis can help ease the pain of arthritis and may even lead to long lasting improvements in joint health. If you are one of the 50 million people struggling with daily arthritis pain, cannabis just might be the perfect solution. Talk to an MD who specializes in cannabis to find out if it is right for you.

TELL US, do you use cannabis topicals to treat arthritis?



  1. Joe Dokes

    July 24, 2018 at 9:58 am

    I don’t know squat about cannabis.
    My wife has RA, is on Humira, is a firefighter/emt and is required to drive a lot.
    Drug testing is random by her employer.
    She has been told by several that topical cannabis is very helpful in fighting stiffness and soreness in many cases. She would like to try it, but is concerned that it will show up on the random drug tests. Not worth getting fired over.
    Help and info on this issue please.

  2. IM Right

    May 28, 2018 at 6:51 am

    You can tell the sales people that work for BioCBD because they all sign their names at the end of their comments. – I.M. Right

  3. Laura

    January 5, 2018 at 6:54 am

    CBD is a real blessing for us seniors. It completely takes away my joint pain long enough to get a good night’s sleep. I use water soluble BioCBDplus. For my 70th birthday I took an international trip that involved a 13 hour plane ride and then a transfer to another 3 hour plane ride. The night before I left, my back went out and I was in terrible pain. I literally could not have taken that trip without taking CBD. – Laura

  4. richard

    December 12, 2017 at 6:55 pm

    i live I riverside,ca where can I buy extra strength balm.

  5. Jennifer

    November 29, 2017 at 5:13 am

    I’ve been using CBD for a few weeks now and saw great improvement after taking it the first day. I had knee pain from an unknown cause that prevented me from being able to do my chores easily, but after taking water soluble BioCBDplus, my knee pain was gone and I had this amazing sense of calm and focus. – Jennifer

  6. Sharon

    November 20, 2017 at 2:34 am

    I can definitely agree that CBD works. I’ve tried a few of water soluble BioCBDplus that were given to me by a friend, and they are definitely helping my arthritis pain. -Sharon

  7. Alice G

    November 15, 2017 at 9:30 am

    I live in the UK. I suffer from lumbar spinal stenosis which makes walking far very difficult and It causes sciatica. Could using topical creams help this problem I have and if do what would you suggest? I wouldn’t want anything that would show up in a blood test.

    • Rick

      November 27, 2017 at 4:32 pm

      Unfortunately most topicals do contain THC, and as a result will show up on a drug test. The risk might be worth it if it gives you the relief you are looking for. Anything with a 1:1 ratio of THC:CBD will work well, but some brands are better than others, so it’d be wise to do some research before you buy.

      CBD is found in very small quantites in most strains of Cannabis, so as a result more plant matter is needed to end up with a large extraction of CBD. This is why most strictly CBD items will contain some THC.

      Good luck, and I hope you find the relief you need.

  8. Allen Moore

    November 14, 2017 at 12:02 pm

    This article was excellent! The use of cannabis is something more people need to consider, as it can provide great relief. I use a combination of cannabis oil and Absorbine Jr ointment to provide relief for my arthritis in my hands. Locating cannabis topicals is an issue for me as well though because I live in Florida and it is not legalized yet. Hopefully soon! Because for me, the combo of Absorbine Jr and cannabis works as a great remedy for me

  9. Scott

    September 9, 2017 at 6:34 pm

    I’ve been using CBD oil for the last two days, and so far absolutely nothing. I’ve been dosing two or three times a day, and nothing is happening. I think that this CBD oil is a crock of manure!

  10. Ms. Brenda Harris

    August 16, 2017 at 10:02 pm

    Where can I buy this?

  11. Margo

    August 7, 2017 at 9:07 pm

    I have had some success with the CBD, especially the topical oil. I have spondylolisthesis, which has impinged on my spinal canal, and it is causing drop foot and back and leg pain. I also have arthritis in my facet joints. I can no longer use NSAIDS because of kidney damage. The water soluble BioCBD has helped my back and also my arthritic fingers. – Margo K.

  12. Kim wehe

    June 14, 2017 at 12:06 pm

    How do I purchas this ?

    • Stan Thomas

      August 3, 2017 at 10:43 am

      Fleurish Farms extra strength is what I’m interested in. I have arthritis in my shoulders and unable to sleep well. Can you advise my how to purchase it?


        August 6, 2017 at 12:25 pm


  13. Maudy

    April 6, 2017 at 10:01 am

    Can I use cannabis topical for post shingle related nerve pain?

  14. RickSimpsonOilcalifornia

    March 29, 2017 at 5:06 am

    Thank you for writing this awesome article. I’m a long time reader but I’ve never been compelled to leave a comment.
    I subscribed to your blog and shared this on my Facebook.
    Thanks again for a great article!

  15. Donna

    March 28, 2017 at 5:22 pm

    Pennsylvania has not legalized yet. Just diagnosed with arthritis in neck shoulder and lower back. Would love to try something natural. The only thing I have now is percocet

    • Kyra Grissette

      August 31, 2017 at 7:42 am

      Look into apothecanna, you can order it online from any state because it’s hemp oil and that is legal. I live in Vegas so I can get it at a dispensary but found it cheaper online so I’ll do that from now on. I got the extra strength. I have fibromyalgia, scoliosis,tmj,and carpel tunnel. From reading reviews the spray works better on neck and shoulders.lotion better on everything else so I’m going to get the spray to compare. Good luck.

  16. Catalina zayas falcon

    March 23, 2017 at 5:57 pm

    I would love to buy it by mail but I’m afraid someone could open it in the post office. I live in Florida but they still debating it .

  17. Karen

    March 20, 2017 at 9:19 am

    I use Cannabis Craft Products for my arthritis. They work better than other topicals I have tried. I highly recommend them!

    • Bernadette

      March 26, 2017 at 7:08 pm

      I am suffering very bad with osteoarthritis of knees and hips, and can’t work, it’s really bringing me down, do you really think this would help me get my life back, I’m only 57, was a medical secretary and had to quit, as I couldn’t sit all day, thanks Bernadette.

      • Peggy

        October 21, 2017 at 7:48 am

        I see your comment is from March. Did you ever find a product that works? I want to try a topical because the oil I bought did nothing for my arthritis pain…..I’m hoping for some relief, I don’t expect the pain to completely disappear, just need it minimized.

  18. Cherie

    March 5, 2017 at 7:53 pm

    I live in Oregon and bought a topical cannibis balm today. I need pain relief for arthritis, especially in my hands. I am not feeling any relief yet, after two hours, but I’m hoping that with regular use, I’ll get relief.

  19. Rachel Bee

    December 31, 2016 at 9:33 am

    Does topical cannibis hurt your stomach like other anti-inflammatory creams do, that contain aspirin?

    • Twila Johnson

      November 25, 2017 at 10:53 am

      No, because there is no aspirin in the topical creams and salves. Plus you’re not ingesting it. I’ve been using salve for a couple of years now, My doctors are shocked that I’m still able to walk. Thanks to the salve I am still able to walk. I have psoriatic arthritis as well as osteoarthritis. Both debilitating.

  20. Hope Hart Petrie

    June 27, 2016 at 1:33 pm

    I have been using Leafy Botanicals for my arthritis for over a year now. At first I was doubtful, but that went away with the pain! I applied the balm and got instant relief. I highly recommend for arthritis pain relief.

  21. Tami Ritter

    June 20, 2016 at 5:41 am

    Love the topicals they work pretty good n help. Actually all of it helps with the pain but doesn’t take it all away but it helps a lot n some people it takes the pain away all the way. But I’m a Cronic pain sufferer so I’m in pain 24/7 n the pain Meds I take just take the edge off but the marijuana helps to so I can get as much relief as I can n still function just fine with no problems except still pain. But there is a lot of stuff I can’t do anymore. Thank u for the help. N I can’t wait to get the cloudponics n grow my own n read up on new things to try that I don’t know about. Thank u. Tami

  22. Lawrence Goodwin

    June 17, 2016 at 5:12 pm

    Phenomenal article, Emily. Thank you! A friend of mine, only in his early forties, already complains of arthritis. He recently started using arm braces to deal with the pain. Unfortunately, we live in New York, so he’ll have to wait a long time to even think about legally buying such medicinal topicals. New York is a state that’s very depressing for anyone interested in the healing powers of cannabis flowers.

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