Today we’re going to look at Tendonitis and whether CBD helps with the treatment and healing process. In order to do that, we must first understand the problem that is Tendonitis.
What Is Tendonitis?
Tendonitis, sometimes referred to as tendinitis, is described as the inflammation and/or irritation of a Tendon. A tendon is a thick cord that connects bone to muscle. The main cause of tendonitis is the stressing out of soft tissue structures by either overusing your body in ways your tendons are not used to or habitually placing your joints in poor positions.
The areas of the body that suffer the most from tendonitis are the elbow, shoulder, heel, knee, hip, and thumb-base. Some sporting activities seem to be the lead cause of tendonitis such as Tennis, Golf, Running, Basketball, Baseball, Swimming, and Bowling. These sports have given rise to tendonitis being known by different names such as Tennis Elbow, Golfers Elbow, Pitchers Shoulder, Swimmers Shoulder, and Jumpers Knee to name but a few.
The common symptoms of tendonitis include:
- Pain during movement
- Mild swelling
- Tenderness in the tendon and its surroundings
The common treatment for mild-to-moderate cases of tendonitis include:
- Icing the injured area on the day of injury
- Resting the injured area
- Over-The-Counter (OTC) anti-inflammatory drugs
- Topical anti-inflammatory gels
- Range of motion exercises
The common treatment for severe cases of tendonitis include:
- Steroid injections
- Surgery for ruptured tendons
Does CBD Help With Tendonitis?
Of the 100 plus cannabinoids present in Cannabis, CBD seems to be playing the role of the Messiah. It’s helping people suffering from conditions such as epilepsy, cancer, and multiple sclerosis all the way to anxiety, depression, and psychosis.
CBD is being viewed as a miracle cure and it can’t be helped. It’s building up an impressive track record so early in its re-discovery. Despite it’s impressive track record so far, the question we want to answer today is: Can CBD help people suffering from tendonitis?
At the time of publishing this article, there are no direct studies that look at the effectiveness of CBD for people with tendonitis. The closest study found was a peer-reviewed study published in 2011 that looked at the expression of the Cannabinoid Receptor, CB1, in Achilles Tendinosis without the use of cannabis.
Tendinosis is the degeneration of the tendon’s collagen in response to chronic overuse without giving the tendon time to heal. Think of it as Stage 2 Tendonitis. Collagen is important for healing purposes because it is the main structural protein found in skin and connective tissue such as tendons.
The study demonstrated that CB1 immunoreactivity is detectable in cells of the human Achilles Tendon that produce collagen. Immunoreactivity is a measure of the immune reaction caused by a foreign substance that induces an immune response in the body. The study concluded that the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is most likely imbalanced in patients suffering from Tendinosis. The ECS is important to note because it’s the system that maintains balance within the body.
Seeing that there are no direct cannabis and tendonitis studies (yet), it makes sense to look at cannabis studies that look at conditions with crossover symptoms to tendonitis.
In order to find a clear answer through other conditions, we need to establish what problems we’re aiming to eliminate with tendonitis. The main issues tendonitis presents are joint pain, inflammation, and soft tissue damage. If we can identify studies that demonstrate CBD helping eliminate these issues, then we can make a case for tendonitis.
Does CBD Help Relieve Joint Pain?
The first condition we’ll look at is fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain syndrome that causes muscle pain, joint pain, bone pain, and tenderness amongst other symptoms such as tiredness and fatigue.
In a 2019 fibromyalgia patient study, varying CBD solutions were used to test the effectiveness of cannabis for pain relief. Researchers found that a balanced solution of CBD and THC got the best pain relief response from patients in comparison to a CBD dominant solution, a THC dominant solution, and a Placebo. The patients who received the combined cannabis solution saw a reduction in pain of 30 percent or more from baseline. The researchers concluded that CBD is most effective for pain relief in fibromyalgia when combined with THC in a 1:1 ratio.
The next condition we’ll look at is cancer pain. Pain caused by cancer can affect the bones, joints, and soft tissue creating a symptomatic crossover with tendonitis. The type of cancer known to cause pain in these areas of the body is Blood Cancer. There are three subsets of blood cancer namely leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma.
In a 2010 cancer patient study, varying cannabis solutions were used to test how effective cannabis was for pain relief. The patients were previously on opioids that provided inadequate pain relief effects. Researchers found that a solution of CBD combined with THC in a 1:1 ratio provided the most effective pain relief results in comparison to a Placebo and a THC extract.
The patients who received the combined cannabis solution also saw a reduction in pain of 30 percent or more from baseline. The study concluded that combining CBD and THC in a 1:1 ratio solution is effective for pain relief in patients with advanced cancer pain not fully relieved by strong opioids.
Does CBD Help Reduce Joint Inflammation?
Cannabinoids and their anti-inflammatory properties have been studied in animal models and human cells of rheumatoid arthritis patients. Rheumatoid arthritis is a progressive chronic disease that causes inflammation in the joints resulting in pain, deformity, and immobility in the fingers, wrists, feet, and ankles.
In a 2019 peer-review publication, the author states that cannabinoids show anti-inflammatory effects by activating CB2 receptors, which decrease cytokine production and immune cell mobilization. Cytokines are protein molecules that mediate and regulate immunity and inflammation.
The author goes on to state that cannabinoids reduce pain and control inflammation by activating cannabinoid and non-cannabinoid receptors in our body. They conclude by stating that cannabinoids are a suitable treatment for rheumatoid arthritis.
In a 2017 peer-review publication, the author states that natural and synthetic phytocannabinoids have clearly demonstrated both pain relief effects and anti-inflammatory effects in a variety of models of joint pain in animals. The author also highlights the numerous anecdotal patient reports of the effectiveness of smoking cannabis for joint pain and inflammation. They conclude that the preclinical and human data that exists indicates that the use of cannabis should be taken seriously as a form of treatment for joint pain and inflammation.
When you look at cannabis studies that target pain and inflammation in the joints, you can see that CBD helps. For pain, CBD works best when combined with THC in a 1:1 ratio. For inflammation, CBD works well on its own. However, does cannabis also help repair damaged soft tissue? Or is this something we leave alone for the body to do by itself?
Does CBD Assist With Joint Tissue Repair?
To get a clear answer to this question, we need to look at animal studies because no human clinical trials exist yet. In 2000, a rodent study looked at the effects of CBD on collagen-induced arthritis in mice. Upon the onset of clinical arthritis symptoms, CBD was administered as treatment. One group of mice received 5 mg/kg of CBD via injection. Another group received 25 mg/kg of CBD orally.
The researchers observed that when CBD was administered after the onset of clinical arthritis symptoms, CBD blocked the progression of arthritis in the mice. The study concluded that CBD has potent anti-arthritic effects through its immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory actions. Remember, arthritis is a progressive chronic disease where your joint tissue degenerates over time causing pain, inflammation, immobility, and deformation.
The researchers also noted that CBD was equally effective when administered via injection and orally. If CBD has potent anti-arthritic effects, meaning it blocks the progressive degeneration of joint tissue in arthritis. Is this strong enough evidence to suggest that CBD helps with joint tissue repair?
Yes, if you’re trying to prevent further tissue damage allowing your body to naturally repair your joint tissue. No, if you’re trying to accelerate your body’s natural ability to repair damaged joint tissue. There is no evidence to suggest that CBD, or cannabis in general, accelerates your body’s natural ability to heal joint tissue.
Until we get human trials directly or indirectly proving otherwise, we can safely say that CBD only helps joint tissue repair by blocking further joint tissue damage. However, your body still has to do the remainder of the work and repair the damage.
Keep in mind that this result is only observable in rodent models at the moment. No human trials have been conducted or published to validate the results in humans. However, numerous anecdotal patient reports suggest an improvement when engaging with cannabis as medicine for arthritis. Who’s to say patients with tendonitis will not experience similar results?
In conclusion, does CBD help with tendonitis? Yes, it does but not all by its self. Tendonitis will cause pain and inflammation due to joint tissue damage. To eliminate pain, you’ll need a solution that combines CBD with THC in a 1:1 ratio. To eliminate inflammation, you will need CBD only. And, to block any further joint tissue damage, you will need CBD only.
Thus, if I had tendonitis and was looking into cannabis treatment, I’d strongly consider Full Spectrum CBD solutions. Full Spectrum CBD is any solution that contains all the cannabinoids including THC and CBD as the big two. I’d go out of my way to ensure the CBD to THC ratio was 1:1, or as close as possible. If not, then I strongly believe the pain wouldn’t subside creating a false impression about cannabis. I’d also give my joint tissue time to repair, and incorporate range-of-motion exercises when and where necessary.
I understand how cannabinoids such as CBD is giving hope to so many people suffering from varying conditions such as tendonitis. For the same reason, I believe common sense must be applied if we’re to see cannabis become accepted as mainstream medicine. I much prefer to live in a world where we know how to use cannabis properly for therapeutic benefit.
Lastly, always consult with your doctor before you make any health decisions. Make healthy life choices that give whatever medication you’re taking a fighting chance to win. And hopefully, this article helps provide clarity and helps you live a better quality of life. Thank you for your time and attention.
- Increased Expression of Cannabinoid CB1 Receptors in Achilles Tendinosis
- An experimental randomized study on the analgesic effects of pharmaceutical-grade cannabis in chronic pain patients with fibromyalgia
- Multicenter, Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Parallel-Group Study of the Efficacy, Safety, and Tolerability of THC:CBD Extract and THC Extract in Patients With Intractable Cancer-Related Pain
- Is Cannabis an Effective Treatment for Joint Pain?
- Joints for joints: cannabinoids in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis
- The nonpsychoactive cannabis constituent cannabidiol is an oral anti-arthritic therapeutic in murine collagen-induced arthritis
- Cannabinoids as novel anti-inflammatory drugs