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What Does CBD Feel Like? Arthritis Patients Tell What It’s Like to Use CBD

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a compound extracted from the cannabis plant — yep, the same plant most of us know as marijuana. If that concerns you, know this: Pure CBD is not the same as recreational pot or medical marijuana. CBD is not intoxicating; it doesn’t make you high.

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared in 2018 that CBD is generally safe for most people and shows no abuse or dependence potential or evidence of other public health-related problems. In fact, in a critical review report on CBD, the WHO found that CBD may be helpful in managing a variety of chronic illnesses, including arthritis.

The topic of CBD usage has become a staple in online arthritis groups and discussions. You may have encountered various CBD products — oils, oral tinctures, lotions, pills, gum, inhalants, and others — being sold in local stores or online. Even major drugstore chains like CVS and Walgreens announced earlier this year that they plan to start selling certain CBD products in stores in certain states.

This is for good reason, says Jordan Tishler, MD, a Harvard emergency physician who specializes in medical cannabis products and is the founder of InhaleMD, which is a Boston-area medical practice that specializes in cannabis therapeutics. “I have seen tremendous improvements for patients in pain control, stiffness, and increased mobility with cannabis products, including CBD,” he says. “Most importantly, I have seen significant improvement in reported quality of life.”

After coping for years with chronic pain from endometriosis and osteoarthritis, April Olshavsky found so much relief from using CBD to help manage her pain that she decided to open her own business, Herbal Risings, which is a company that educates people on the proper use of CBD products. It has also opened several CBD dispensaries with the purpose of helping people with chronic pain.

Taking CBD for Arthritis: Things to Consider First

If you haven’t yet tried CBD yourself, you may be wondering what all the fuss is about — and whether CBD could help you with your pain or other symptoms. It’s important to keep the following things in mind as you do research on CBD and talk to others about it.

CBD research is still in very early days. Much of the available information is anecdotal (as are the examples below) or based on animal studies. Factors like the placebo effect can play a role when people tout CBD’s benefits. And with so much hype about CBD, it’s easy for companies to make false or misleading claims. In fact, the FDA has issued several warnings to companies about unproven claims that CBD products will treat or prevent disease. Since CBD products are not regulated the way prescription medications are, there’s no way to know exactly what you’re getting.

The legal status of CBD in America is complicated. The short answer is that, as of now, state and local laws dictate whether the sale and possession of CBD products is allowed. Laws about CBD are in flux and will likely remain this way for years. You should always check with your local government for the most up-to-date information, according to Bridget Seritt, co-founder of the Canna-Patient Resource Connection, a Colorado-based organization that is working to protect patient rights and end stigma against those who choose cannabis as medicine.

For this reason, we have changed the names of some people (per their request) who shared their stories for this article.

There’s no truly “pure” CBD. Certain laws make a distinction between products that contain THC, the cannabinoid that’s associated with the “high” of using marijuana, and products that contain CBD but little or no THC. However, there’s no way of knowing exactly how much THC is in the products you’re using. Even those labeled as “pure” CBD or CBD isolate can have small amounts of THC, which can build up over time and possibly cause someone to fail a drug test. If you need to take drug tests for your housing, job, or medical care, this is something important to consider before you start using CBD, says Seritt.

CBD — or any supplement — should never replace the treatment your doctor recommends for your arthritis. Prescription medications are often at the core of treatment due to the strong evidence supporting their success.

Talk to your doctor about your interest in using CBD. They can let you know if CBD might interact with any medications you currently take or potentially worsen a chronic condition.

If you’re intrigued about what it’s actually like to use CBD for arthritis and chronic pain, we talked to six people about their experiences with taking CBD for their arthritis. We hope this story sheds some light on why they decided to use CBD and how using CBD affected their health.

What Patients Say It Felt Like to Use CBD

‘CBD Ointment Helps My Osteoarthritis Flares’

April Olshavsky’s first experience with CBD was in 2016 during a severe bout of endometriosis pain. “Normally this would have sent me to the emergency room; I was doubled over in pain,” she says. She took a vaporized form of CBD and felt right away that her muscles had relaxed, which made the pain more bearable.

This experience inspired her to keep using CBD to help manage the arthritis pain in her arms and shoulders from years of being a pet groomer. “I started with a low-strength 100 mg CBD salve [ointment], and only noticed a slight difference at first,” she explains. “When I combined it with trigger massage, the pain was noticeably less, but it does take a few minutes to work.” The trick for her was the combination of CBD salve and massage daily to stay on top of her symptoms. Doing this has helped reduce the frequency of bad arthritis flare-ups, she says.

She prefers topical CBD ointments for their ability to target her sore joints individually, but she says many of her clients with inflammatory types of arthritis prefer daily tinctures, which are oral suspensions taken under the tongue, to help with inflammation and flare-ups.

‘CBD Helps, But It’s Not a Miracle Cure’

While some people describe “life-changing” results from using CBD, others, like Jessie Abdullah, of British Columbia, Canada, experienced benefits but not in a dramatic way. “The first time I tried CBD oil for my rheumatoid arthritis it was a big nothing,” she says. She’d read miracle stories about CBD in online forums and was excited to try it for her newly diagnosed condition. She bummed a few CBD oil pills off a friend and waited. And waited. She didn’t feel a thing.

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After six months of trying different diets, exercises, and supplements, Jessie went back to her rheumatologist. “I told him everything I tried, including the CBD. I was in an insane amount of pain and misery. He convinced me that I needed to start meds for the arthritis right away, as the longer I waited the more damage it was doing and that couldn’t be fixed,” she says. Her doctor pointed out she could still use some natural approaches in conjunction with RA meds and even gave her the names of some CBD oil products he considered high quality.

She did daily sublingual CBD drops, per her doctor’s advice, and took her prescription medications consistently. “It took a good six weeks to see results after starting methotrexate but I think the CBD helped me get through that time,” she says. “For me, it really is the two together. I think the CBD has helped lessen my flare-ups and improved my mood, helping me cope with my diagnosis better.”

‘I Noticed a Big Difference in My Hand Arthritis’

Hand pain from osteoarthritis was making Angie Kynaston’s life unbearable. “It was keeping me awake at night and I would wake up so stiff that if anyone even bumped my fingers I would cry out,” says the Draper, Utah nurse and mom. “If I even moved wrong I would be jolted with sharp pain.” Yet because she has only one kidney, many pain medications and arthritis treatments are off limits for her. Then a friend told Angie about a “marijuana cream” that had brought her father significant relief from his arthritis, and she decided it couldn’t hurt to try it.

She got a CBD lotion with a small amount of THC (the compound in marijuana responsible for the “getting high” feeling) in it and rubbed it on her hands. The effect was so immediate, she says — within minutes she felt the pain dissipating — that she burst into happy tears. “It was the first time I felt like there was hope for me,” she says.

Even though the CBD lotions she prefers also contain THC, she is clear that they have never made her feel buzzed. “It doesn’t make me feel ‘high’ in any way; it only makes my hands less inflamed and less painful,” she says.

She wishes legislators could understand the difference between CBD products and recreational marijuana and how important CBD is for people living with arthritis.

‘CBD Helps Me Sleep Through the Night Again’

It had been over three years since Carmen Martinez, of Los Angeles, California, slept through the night. Pain and swelling from her psoriatic arthritis would wake her as soon as she got comfortable, making her feel like a walking zombie. “I was barely making it through my day, I had no energy,” she says. “It made me very depressed and unhappy to the point where my family was very worried about me.”

Then, three months ago, her doctor suggested she check out CBD oil. He started her on an oral tincture, doing one drop under her tongue, twice a day. “I noticed a difference after the second dose,” she says. “It wasn’t huge but it was there. I just felt calmer and there was less pain.” Over the next month her doctor increased her dose until she was taking 15 mg of CBD oil twice a day, with her second dose right before bedtime.

“The results have been beyond what I dreamed. I can sleep eight hours at night and I’m not feeling depressed anymore,” she says, adding that she thinks using CBD has also helped her deal with the nausea and other side effects of her prescribed arthritis medications. “For years I felt like there was no light at the end of the tunnel and now I have hope. I never thought I’d be able to say that.”

‘Using CBD Made Me Feel Drunk — and Not in a Good Way’

Anxiety is what prompted Jason Johnson,* of Minneapolis, Minnesota, to try CBD oil. “I was going through a really tough time in my life, a lot of stress at work and at home. I was a total basket case, not eating or sleeping,” he says. To add insult to injury, the stress caused a flare of reactive arthritis, adding chronic pain to his list of woes.

A work colleague gave Jason a vape pen with CBD oil in it. He took it and was surprised to feel his anxiety melting away. Not wanting to vape long-term, he switched to an oral tincture with a small percentage of THC. “At first I didn’t feel much of anything, not like the relief from the vape pen,” he says. “So I tried increasing the dose. The first thing I noticed was the pain from my arthritis was gone. But I think I went overboard because it made me feel nauseous and dizzy, similar to how I feel when I’m drunk.”

He tried the CBD tincture a second time, spacing the doses further apart, but had similar results. He didn’t like the feeling and as a father was hesitant to do anything that might make him impaired while caring for his kids. The variability in the effects may have to do with the product he was using. He wonders if he might have had a better experience using CBD if he’d been able to go to a professional dispensary.

“It did help my arthritis and anxiety but ultimately I decided that CBD oil wasn’t for me,” he says. “Worrying how it was going to affect me stressed me out more and I don’t need that.” However, he would be open to trying CBD again if he could do so under the direction of his doctor with higher-quality products, he adds.

*Name has been changed

‘CBD Has Made Me Less Reliant on My Cane’

With two knee replacements and one hip surgery under her belt, Mary Patridge, of Dallas, Texas, was resigned to her limitations. Even though she was only in her early forties, juvenile arthritis and later rheumatoid arthritis had taken a serious toll on her body. She had to rely on canes and walkers to go to the bathroom; a wheelchair was necessary any time she left the house.

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“About a year ago, after my hip replacement, my friend brought me a ‘get well’ basket and it had a bottle of CBD capsules in it. I figured what the heck and took some,” she says. The capsules, which also contained a small percentage of THC, had an almost immediate effect on the swelling in her hands and feet, she says. “It just felt like a wave of relief washing over me,” she says, remembering the wonder she felt as she clenched and unclenched her hands without the searing pain she’d become used to.

The longer she took the CBD capsules, the more benefit she says she experienced. Her pain has improved to the point that she can take short walks unassisted. Mary adds that she has also started a gluten-free, low-sugar diet, which she also credits with some of her improvement.

“The last time I could walk around the block by myself, Brittney Spears and Justin Timberlake were still together — well, I guess I outlasted them,” she jokes. “My movement isn’t great but it’s so much better than what it was that I can’t be anything but thankful.”

CBD oil or THC/CBD for pain management?

Does anyone have any experience with using CBD and/or THC with CBD for pain management with RA?

Any positive results or input?

MJ just became legal for medicinal purposes here, but I have never really even given it a thought – not even the legal form CBD – but I am now as pain hs been getting progressively worse. seeing if anyone has had any personal experience here.

Beginning of the discussion – 11/30/18

CBD oil or THC/CBD for pain management?

I have had decent success with pure CBD oil for pain and inflammation. I have no experience with CBD and THC in one since it is not legal here.

I have read that the beneficial effects from CBD oil is that it influence our immune system positvely, which we need! It helps resolve some of the pain for me and thus give me more mobility because I am not as limited as I would be with the presence of the pain. not sure if it also has affects on the stiffnes or if my moderate increase in mobility is just purely because of the reduction of pain.

If try the one with THC let me know how it goes. I am concerned of the mental effects it may have, but I do not know enough about it.

CBD oil or THC/CBD for pain management?

I suffered from RA, the pain was so severe. My hands, wrists and fingers would throb, swell along with severe stiffness. My rheumatologist would prescribe medication after medication and the only thing I experienced were side effects, and no relief from the excruciating pain I was experiencing. Then, I was was introduced to CBD oil. Just a few drops under my tongue a few times a day and I’m now pain free! I’m free of pharmaceuticals and experience no side effects! I’m so blessed by this product, that I want to share it with everyone who’s suffering from this dreadful condition. I strongly recommend CBC oil and it’s products, they’re all natural and most of all effective. Visit this website to get your relief from RA or any form of arthritis! [link removed] You’ll be glad that you did!

CBD oil or THC/CBD for pain management?

I would like to try, but isn’t legal here yet. I am also trying to find a job and as a new hire testing positive on any level I afraid may leave SOL. Those who I have spoken to, that have tried it, have had pretty good results with lowering inflammation levels and pain.

CBD oil or THC/CBD for pain management?

I’m sorry that the products are not legal in your area, does that include ordering online?

CBD oil or THC/CBD for pain management?

@Harleyharlot from my understanding, CBD oil is legal in all states by way of the 2014 Farm Bill, except Idaho, Nebraska, and S. Dakota,

. it is only the THC that is legal in some.

CBD oil or THC/CBD for pain management?

I recently have begun to use CBD vape. I have to smoke a lot for me to feel some relief. it does not take the pain away by any means, but some how makes it less noticeable.

I did try THC when I was in CO and I freaked out! I do not know. I do not smoke and this made me panic and have like an anxiety attack. I was forgetting about everything and just freaking out. So I cannot say it helped me.

CBD oil or THC/CBD for pain management?

@rtr097u1‍ The pure CBD that I use can be bought with it without CBD. I use the one with 0.03% THC which is nothing but it has extra CB2 and CBG. You can email me if you like. It also comes with A 60 day money back guarantee.

CBD Oil for Joint Pain

Is anyone out there using CBD for Arthritis or any other pain management? If so, could you describe your experience as it relates to your quality of life and of course your golf game.


I’m not a medical professional but I work in a related medical based industry and just always like to give a polite heads up about general mass market CBD products: what allows those products to be sold is essentially a farming and textile related bill with no third party testing requirements thus you are buying off of blind faith in a label. You could be getting high quality medicinal level CBD oil, you also could be getting something high in THC, you also could be getting a bottle of plain olive oil at a dramatic upcharge, you also could be getting a product high in pesticides, heavy metals, etc.

Like anything pertaining to health and wellness: consult a physician, do research, weigh pros and cons, and consider trial and error.

Silver Member

I have really bad arthritis.. or something. All I know is my elbows and legs hurt every time it rains or it’s cold, I’m 37 now but I’ve dealt with that for as long as I could remember. They called it growing pains when I was a child but obviously I’m not growing anymore

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And CBD has been a huge help for me. It doesn’t get me high, more feels like the after high feeling where your relaxed, chilled out and it helps me control pain.

I don’t vape or smoke, but i did buy a CBD vape on vacation and it really helped with my anxiety but less with pain.

Find a reputable seller and find the oils and products that have a lab result you can pull up by the serial or barcode.

In Ohio, we also have Delta 8 THC, which for the time being is legal… that gets me high lol and I didn’t want to get high. Thc high gives me an anxiety but CBD gets rid of it for me. That’s how I know if it’s legit

Kit: 5 piece Pearl Session Studio Select (10,12,14,16,22), Sonor AQ2 Safari (10,13 FT, 14FT, 16BD)
Snares: Sonor Benny Greb 2.0 Beech, Sonor Benny Greb 2.0 Brass, Sonor AQ2 Maple, Pearl Master Maple Reserve MCC, Summit Steam bent Walnut 14×7
Cymbals: Meinl Byzance & Paiste Masters
Pedals: Pearl Redline Eliminator Double, DW MDD

“Uncle Larry” – Administrator

Having normal boron levels in my body took away about 90% of my arthritic stiffness

For joint stiffness, I take 1/4 teaspoon of borax (the source of all boron compounds) everyday in a few ounces of fruit juice.

Borax is a naturally occurring salt scraped from dried up lake beds in Turkey and California, cleaned and sold as is. Nature made, food grade.

Borax is the sodium salt of boric acid. Borax is the brand name. It’s really just naturally occurring boron. A boron molecule is comprised of boron, water and glucose, That’s it. That info comes from the Material Safety Data Sheet, (MSDS) one of the only known sources of truth lol.

It’s half as toxic as regular table salt, boron, and it doesn’t affect DNA like table salt can. (if taken in large quantities) Borax is safe up to two teaspoons a day. 1/4 teaspoon is all you need.

The problem is most of the population is deficient in boron due to commercial farming practices. In Isreal, where the boron levels in the soil are high, arthritis is almost non existent. In Jamaica, boron levels are low, and even the dogs are arthritic. So there’s a real connection.

It’s a mineral deficiency basically. Boron is a mineral. When we are low on a mineral, a whole host of bad things happen. With a boron deficiency, arthritis is just one. My memory improved. My eyesight improved. My arthritis was taken away and it only took 2 weeks of doing this. I’m being 100% honest. 2 weeks and I felt a MAJOR difference.

Boron also oversees production of synovial fluid, which lubricates the joints. Low boron, low quality lube. Between the calcium deposits and the bad lube, it’s easy to see why arthritis happens.

I’ve been taking it every day since January 2013. Boron regulates the calcium mechanism in your body. When low on boron, your body deposits calcium in the joints, When normal levels of boron are there, it takes the calcium from your joints where it doesn’t belong, and deposits it back into your bones and teeth. I have proven this to myself. Before I started taking it, I had a very large knuckle. It’s normal sized now. It took 7 years, but it’s normal now. Keith Richards really needs this.

There’s a lot more benefits to tell, like normalizing testosterone levels, but this should be enough. It’s unconventional. It works for me.

Ingesting 1/4 teaspoon of borax everyday is the best thing I’ve done for my adult health, period

Diamond Member

Since 1963, evidence has accumulated that suggests boron is a safe and effective treatment for some forms of arthritis. The initial evidence was that boron supplementation alleviated arthritic pain and discomfort of the author. This was followed by findings from numerous other observations epidemiologic and controlled animal and human experiments. These findings included a) analytical evidence of lower boron concentrations in femur heads, bones, and synovial fluid from people with arthritis than from those without this disorder; b) observation evidence that bones of patients using boron supplements are much harder to cut than those of patients not using supplements; c) epidemiologic evidence that in areas of the world where boron intakes usually are 1.0 mg or less/day the estimated incidence of arthritis ranges from 20 to 70%, whereas in areas of the world where boron intakes are usually 3 to 10 mg, the estimated incidence of arthritis ranges from 0 to 10%; d) experimental evidence that rats with induced arthritis benefit from orally or intraperitoneally administered boron; e) experimental evidence from a double-blind placebo-boron supplementation trial with 20 subjects with osteoarthritis. A significant favorable response to a 6 mg boron/day supplement was obtained; 50% of subjects receiving the supplement improved compared to only 10% receiving the placebo. The preceding data indicate that boron is an essential nutrient for healthy bones and joints, and that further research into the use of boron for the treatment or prevention of arthritis is warranted.

“Whenever people agree with me I always feel I must be wrong. I am so clever that sometimes I don’t understand a single word of what I am saying. Oscar Wilde “

paradiddle pete

and I thought Boron was a boring moron , like me! . I just read what the internet has to say about Borax. it virtually comes with a DANGER signal.. So are Borax and Boron are 2 different things?

Platinum Member

All depends on the individual. I have a mate who swore by the stuff to get him through chemo. Still here to tell the tale thankfully.

Get the good stuff though. On a less drastic note than chemo I have lot of cricketing buddies who use it for sporting aches and pains.

I have a sauna few times a week at the gym with some scents. Really relaxes me and I sleep like a baby afterwards.

Rattlin’ Bones
Gold Member

CBD= snake oil. If it wasn’t remotely related to cannibis there’d be no one selling it. It has no credible scientific support for the wild claims. Arthritis and a zillion other maladies it’s supposed to cure or alleviate.