Osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, involves the wearing away of the cartilage that caps the bones of the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune inflammatory disease, in which the immune system attacks healthy cells in the body and causes inflammation. Combined with fibromyalgia, it is estimated that there are 34 million Americans suffering from these chronic conditions.
Major organizations like the Arthritis Foundation have released guidelines pertaining to the use of CBD for treating rheumatoid arthritis (RA). In this article from Very Well Health, many words are devoted
to how the science is inconclusive, that the studies are just not there in regard to CBD and arthritis – and this is a tired old theme with main stream reporting.
The article also refers generally to ‘CBD’ as if by itself it is a thing, when it is not. It needs other compounds and the carrier medicine is also important.
But then, the authors couldn’t completely ignore what is happening:
Based on a 2019 national survey of 2,600 people conducted by the Arthritis Foundation, 79% of respondents said they were using CBD, have used it in the past, or were considering using it to help with their arthritis pain.
Of course the science of the cannabis plant has been unnaturally suppressed while the understanding of the brain, the body, the immune system all advanced forward. Any main steam article on the subject will say quite definitively that ‘the science is unclear’ or ‘it hasn’t been scientifically proven’. That means that people with arthritis today, people using CBD to manage their pain today – are all part of this study, all part of the initial investigations.
From Harvard, we also have statistics that demonstrate where public opinion sits:
. . . according to a 2019 Gallup poll, about 14% of Americans report using CBD products, and the number one reason is pain. The Arthritis Foundation conducted its own poll and found that 29% reported current use of CBD (mostly in liquid or topical form), and nearly 80% of respondents were either using it, had used it in the past, or were considering it. Of those using it, most reported improvement in physical function, sleep, and well-being; of note, a minority* reported improvement in pain or stiffness. In addition, individuals experience pain and respond to treatment in different ways. As a result, it’s highly unlikely that there is a single CBD-containing product that works for all people with all types of arthritis.
In the report above, it says that a minority reported improvement . . . but since there is no differentiation between topicals and ingested oils, it is this author’s guess that the minority that reported improvement in pain and stiffness were the minority using the topicals.
A Word of Warning
Also, from the Harvard health blog:
“It’s worth emphasizing that there are more than 100 types of arthritis, and while pain is a cardinal feature of all of them, these conditions do not all act alike. And what works for one may not work for another. Treatment is aimed at reducing pain and stiffness and maintaining function for all types of arthritis.”
The Sisters of the Valley – Nearly a Decade of Experience in Alleviating Suffering
The Sisters of the Valley grew their first high-CBD crop in the fall of 2014 and made their first batch of topical salve in December, preparing to open the doors for sale in January of 2015. Since then, the topical salve has been and continues to be the sisters’ top selling product. In the beginning times, it only came in one scent, lavender, but at the request of the men, the Sisters introduced a eucalyptus (mint) scent.
Ingesting Oils versus Topical Applications
It’s not about oils versus topicals, as many use them together. For people suffering with chronic pain from arthritis, they are advised by the sisters to get the medicine into the system both ways, internally and externally. For most people with mild arthritis pain, the topical salve is enough.
Sister Halla, who helps with customer service between University classes has a theory about the topical salve the Sisters make and sell from their one-acre farm in California:
“If we offered anyone with Arthritis a life-time supply of product, and they would have to choose only one product, every single one would choose our topical salve. And when they run out of our salve and are waiting for their package, they don’t substitute by taking oral drops. They substitute by rubbing our oral drops into the affected area, using it like a topical liniment, which also gives relief.”
What is CBD topical salve?
CBD topical salve can have as little as two ingredients: an oil that solidifies naturally plus plant cooked into it. That’s a CBD oil. That’s not the Sisters of the Valley’s CBD oil, but it would count, so when listening to reports, note that no one is being very specific. The Sisters’ CBD topical was designed for arthritis and joint pain. The essential oils in it are all added to aid in absorption, to aid in carrying the medicine to the bone.
The popular topical that the Sisters make is called a ‘multi-purpose topical salve’ and contains olive oil with calendula – for absorption. Lavender and Vitamin E oil are both added for absorption. The base is coconut oil and the plant medicine is cooked into it. The reason the topical salve is the only non-vegan product the Sisters make is because of the beeswax. The whole point of this formula is to make it easy for the body to absorb. The trick to pain relief is keeping the medicine where it is needed and to avoid taxing the rest of the body in the process.
Why is the Salve so important?
If someone is experiencing localized pain, say, in the elbows or wrists, ingesting CBD oil drops is only going to allow about ten percent of the medicine to get to the local pain, while applying the topical salve keeps all the CBD local. Ingesting the oil drops has a ‘body processing’ tax that topical applications don’t have.
The topical salve designed by the sisters has resulted in many positive reports from people who successfully used it to make functional stiff hands, make usable stiff or sore or numb feet, relieves most all muscle and joint pain, and sometimes, sometimes healing occurs.
Sister Kate explains:
When you have been in the pain relief business as long as we have been, you hear stories. Lots of stories. One woman in her 80’s told us that if she remembered to put her salve on her knees in the morning, she didn’t need to use her cane that day. But if she forgot, she was relying on the cane by noon. Another young man (50-ish) suffered from numbness (fibromyalgia) in his feet every morning reported that if he put the salve on his feet before going to sleep, he could wake right up and use them. If he didn’t, he would have to sit on the bed for ten to twenty minutes waking up his feet. We have had many, many stories of miraculous back and muscle pain relief, as well as multiple reports from arthritis-sufferers using it daily to bring back functionality where the hands were getting stiff and unusable.
The topical salve can be applied as often as needed, every hour, if the situation calls for it, and there are such situations. People going through chemo treatments, for example, have reported using the topical salve during treatments because it prevents the skin-crawl feeling one gets when receiving the chemicals. A mother reported putting it on her daughter every hour during and after treatment and others have reported the same. With very sore muscles or knees, multiple applications a day is normal. The medicine stays local, there is no risk of ‘over-doing’ it.
With ingested CBD, however, one can take too much and the guidelines are pretty clear. CBD health maintenance dosage is about 10 mg a day and pain relief can be up to 150 mg of CBD a day (only that much for the bed-bound). Some doctors have their patients start with more and back down, while others have them start with less and work their way up. In either case, even the medical system recognizes that there is no ‘one size fits all’ with CBD. The person using it is obligated to pay attention to their bodies and find their own dosage. Most doctors start their patients with 20 to 40 mg of CBD a day. The topical salve made by the sisters has 125 mg of CBD per ounce, which means that a half teaspoon serving contains approx. 10 mg.
Also, note that a person’s own dosage changes with situations. Most of us lucky enough to live pain free use the topical salve when we have episodic pain. Others who are in pain all the time would have to be applying it regularly. It is the very same with the oral drops. Both are medicine cabinet essentials, like aspirin and ointment. Scientists agree that the pain relief comes from the anti-inflammatory provided by CBD.
Although the Sisters are not doctors or scientists and cannot give dosage information, they do advise people on how to start. People with severe arthritic pain are advised to take more CBD in the beginning, and back off as relief is achieved. People with severe arthritic pain are advised to combine the topical salve with the oral drops. Said Sister Kass, “For very many people, our topical salve is a quality-of-life critical factor. I know because I get the calls when they run out and request expedited service. I think I can speak for all the sisters when I say that this is very satisfying work because of the comfort it brings to the suffering.”