Read the Foundation’sofficial CBD Guidance for patients.
We recently connected with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patient and Arthritis Foundation volunteer Ron Lev to find out more about his personal experience with CBD. Ron was formally diagnosed with RA 27 years ago and currently leads an Arthritis Foundation Connect Group, providing support to other arthritis patients.
Ron:Yes, for overall management of my RA, I use rituximab.
ARTHRITIS FOUNDATION: I also see that you have used CBD to help with your pain. What made you decide to try CBD?
Ron:In one word — steroids. Pretty much since day one of my RA diagnosis I was put on prednisone, and for the following 23 years, was a real addict. Trying to quit steroids, I always ended up in pain. And we all know what harsh side-effects steroids have, especially when taken long-term.
ARTHRITIS FOUNDATION: With the rise in awareness of CBD products, where did you find information on CBD?
Ron:一切都始于一个骗局。大约五年前，我在网上看到一则广告，要求我试用只付运费的CBD油瓶。我心想，见鬼，为什么不呢?我不知道，这是个骗局。我确实买了一瓶油，但也买了一个每月高达100美元的自动充电计划!Getting off their fraudulent scheme was tougher than terminating cable television, but I finally did it.
This sparked my interest in really researching the topic of CBD. I learned all about the hemp plant and the naturally occurring substances within it. I also learned that there were many more cannabinoids in addition to CBD and how all these interact with our bodies.
ARTHRITIS FOUNDATION: That must have been very frustrating. When you decided to start researching on your own, how did you decide what form and dosage of CBD to use?
I have honest and open communication with my rheumatologist but decided to try CBD for a few months to see how my body reacted before discussing it. I’m not saying this is the right approach for everyone, since it depends on your type of arthritis, disease activity, other medications, etc. When I shared with him that I didn’t need the steroids, he respected my decision, although he said he couldn’t recommend CBD.
In the case of CBD, or rather hemp oil (and cannabis in general), most MDs will refrain from actively approving such treatments simply because they have to follow the traditional guidelines of medicine with recommendations supported by substantial clinical trials if not completely approved by the FDA.
ARTHRITIS FOUNDATION: Thinking back on the entirety of your experience with CBD, what advice would you give other RA patients about using CBD?
Ron:I think three things are very important to remember:
- Give it some time. People tend to expect an overnight miracle, and in the case of systemic diseases like RA, it just won’t happen. Cannabinoids need time to interact with our own endocannabinoid system and to interact with the relevant receptors within our cells. Give it time — it can take weeks, or even months to work. And, yes, it may not work at all. But if you won’t give it a fair chance, how would you know?
- Use trial and error. Like with any medication, there’s no “one-fits-all” formula. There’s a lot of trial and error involved both with dosage as well as with the substance itself. You might be lucky and find your perfect match on your first trial, but you might also have to go through a few other products to find the one that works for you.
- Don’t believe everything you read and hear. There are many people out there who are in the CBD space “for the ride” (Amazon is full of super cheap CBD products with specifications that don’t even make sense). Do your research and talk to others in your condition that found relief. There’s nothing like that patient-to-patient trust.
To learn more about CBD, visit theArthritis Foundation’s website. Want to have your voice heard? Participate in acollaborativesurvey on medical cannabisfrom researchers at the University of Michigan, McGill University, the Arthritis Foundation and the Arthritis Society (Canada).