Managing the chronic pain of arthritis every day can be a major balancing act. Those suffering from arthritis are desperate to find ways to decrease pain and improve sleep and their overall ability to function. Today, it’s common for people with arthritis to be asked: “Have you tried CBD for your arthritis pain?”

The Arthritis Foundation recently asked this question in a survey, and more than 2,600 arthritis patients answered. People with many different types of arthritis responded — the majority of whom have been living with osteoarthritis (52%) or rheumatoid arthritis (45%) for 10 or more years.

The results were clear: People with arthritis are curious to learn more about CBDCannabidiol, or CBD for short, is extracted from the hemp plant, a variety of cannabis that does not have the psychoactive effects of the variety grown for marijuana. CBD-based products are booming and have become increasingly easy to buy online and in local stores and clinics. Industry reports show that people who buy CBD cite arthritis and/or pain from arthritis as one of the most common reasons for purchasing CBD.

How are people with arthritis using CBD today? And what questions do patients have about the therapy? Here’s what you shared:

1. Many people with arthritis are using CBD or have used it.

There is no cure for arthritis, but people with arthritis want to take control by managing their symptoms.

  • 79% surveyed are currently using CBD, have used it in the past or are considering using it.
  • 29% report they currently use CBD to manage their arthritis symptoms.
  • Daily use is reported by 63% percent of those currently using CBD and 26% use it several times per week.
  • Of those surveyed, 62% use a liquid form of CBD and 55% use a topical product they apply to their joints.

2. Patients are using complementary and alternative therapies to relieve their pain.

Most people currently using CBD report relief of pain, the #1 arthritis symptom.

  • 87% of those who are currently using it say they use CBD to manage their arthritis symptoms.
    • The primary reason for using CBD is to relieve pain (94%).
    • Several survey respondents indicated they use CBD products for pain because it seems less addictive than opioids; a few say they have also used CBD to help wean off opioids following joint replacement surgery.
  • 33% of those surveyed have never tried CBD but are considering it. Those not considering using CBD say their symptoms are managed by other treatments, primarily nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs.

3. Respondents report a variety of benefits beyond pain relief from using CBD.

While pain is consistently cited as the most oppressive arthritis symptom in all past surveys, the disease causes many troubling effects. Of those currently using CBD to manage arthritis symptoms, roughly 3 out of 4 report it was either effective or very effective in relieving several symptoms.

  • 67% report improvement in their physical function.
  • Over 30% say it provides relief from morning stiffness and helps get them moving.
  • Three-fourths report improvements in their ability to sleep (71%).
  • Over 30% say it helped relieve symptoms of fatigue.


4. People report improvements in overall well-being, too.

CBD may be beneficial for the body, mind and spirit. People who have used or are currently using CBD report emotional and mental health benefits, in addition to relief of physical pain.

  • 41% report a better overall sense of well-being with the use of CBD.
  • Relieving symptoms of anxiety was reported by 77% of those currently using CBD.
  • 67% report effectiveness in improving depressed mood.

5. People with arthritis have questions and uncertainties about CBD and want more information from their doctor and from resources they can trust.

  • 66% report having a conversation with their doctor about CBD use.
  • Less than half (46%) were given information about it from their health care provider, pertaining mostly to its effectiveness and safety.
  • Almost half surveyed (47%) are unsure if it will be effective.

 Your priorities are our mission at the Arthritis Foundation. Your patient insights are powerful — from influencing decision-makers at the FDA to informing articles in Arthritis Today magazine. Your priorities are our priorities.