Today, we’re going to look at Bursitis and see whether CBD oil works for treating bursitis symptoms and the overall healing process. In order to determine the usefulness of cannabis as a treatment option for bursitis, we first need to understand what bursitis is.
What Is Bursitis?
Bursitis is described as the inflammation of your synovial bursa, or bursae for plural (pronounced BUR-SEE). Your synovial bursa is a lubricating sac located around your joints between tendons, muscles, and bones. A bursa sac is made up of a synovial membrane (or synovium) that contains and produces synovial fluid. The added lubrication bursae provide help reduce friction during joint movement.
What Causes Bursitis?
There are a variety of scenarios that can cause bursitis. Similar to tendonitis, bursitis can be caused by injury due to repetitive overuse and/or misuse of your joints. Medical conditions such as arthritis, gout, diabetes, and kidney conditions caused by alcoholism contribute to developing bursitis. Bacterial infection to bursae close to your skin causes a variation of bursitis medically known as Septic Bursitis. Bursitis can also be caused by calcium deposition along a tendon or joint. The areas where you’re most likely to get bursitis are your elbows, shoulders, knees, heels, hips, and buttocks.
What Are The Symptoms Of Bursitis?
The common symptoms that makeup bursitis include:
- Localized pain
- Swelling and tenderness
- Warmth around the affected area
- Redness of the skin around the affected area
- Pain that worsens with movement
- Potential fever
What’s The Current Treatment For Bursitis?
The current treatment model for bursitis is what is known and abbreviated as P-R-I-C-E-M. The P stands for Protection padding particularly for bursae close to the skin. The R stands for Resting the affected area to aid in alleviating symptoms. The I stands for Icing the affected area to reduce swelling and inflammation. The C stands for Compression and the E stands for Elevation wherever feasible to compress the affected area. And lastly, the M stands for Medication to reduce pain and inflammation.
If your bursitis is not infectious your doctor may provide you with steroid injections to help reduce inflammation. However, if your bursitis is infectious your doctor will drain your bursa with a syringe and prescribe you with antibiotics.
It’s obvious to see that CBD oil falls within the M section of the P-R-I-C-E-M treatment model, where M stands for medication when treating for bursitis. Current bursitis medication aims to provide pain relief and reduce inflammation around your affected joints. However, the challenge with current medication options such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and low-dose steroids is that they’re filled with side effects, especially when used for a long time.
The hope that cannabis-based medicines provide is that they can achieve the same results, if not better, without the negative side effects. As it stands at the moment, cannabis-based medicines such as CBD oil have a positive side effect profile.
Does CBD Oil Work For Bursitis?
Based on my research so far, I can confidently say that cannabis-based medicines such as CBD oil will work for bursitis treatment. The anti-inflammatory properties of CBD and other non-psychoactive cannabinoids have been studied in human and rodent models of arthritis. The pain relief effects of CBD combined with THC have been studied in human clinical trials on patients with fibromyalgia, arthritis, and advanced cancer pain.
In a 2005 rheumatoid arthritis patient study, a cannabis-based medicine (CBM) called Sativex was used to determine the effectiveness of cannabis for joint pain relief. The CBM was a 1:1 ratio of CBD to THC and was tested against a Placebo. The study found that the CBM produced significant pain relief effects for the patients. The study also found that the CBM suppressed the inflammatory effects of rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes pain, inflammation, swelling, tenderness, and stiffness that leads to the immobility and deformity of your joints.
In a 2019 fibromyalgia patient study, a small set of CBMs was used to determine the effectiveness of cannabis for pain relief. The CBMs used were a CBD dominant solution, a THC dominant solution, a combined 1:1 solution of CBD and THC, and a Placebo. The study found that the combined solution of CBD and THC was the most effective for pain relief in patients with fibromyalgia. The study also found that the CBD dominant solution lacked any pain relief effects for the patients. The THC dominant solution produced notable pain relief effects but none higher than the combined solution. Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain syndrome that causes muscle pain, joint pain, joint stiffness, tenderness, fatigue, anxiety, and a host of other symptoms.
In a 2010 cancer patient study, a small set of CBMs was used to determine the effectiveness of cannabis on patients with advanced cancer pain. The patients were on strong opioids before the study and did not experience adequate pain relief results. The CBMs studied were a THC dominant solution, a combined 1:1 solution of CBD and THC, and a Placebo. The study found that the combined solution of CBD and THC produced better pain relief effects than the THC dominant solution, the Placebo, and the opioids the patients were previously on. Cancer is known to cause pain and inflammation in your joints, muscles, tendons, bones, and soft tissue.
In a 2000 rodent model study, researchers set out to determine the therapeutic effectiveness of CBD in mice with collagen-induced arthritis (CIA). The study found that the daily administration of CBD in mice with CIA inhibited the progression of arthritis. The study showed that the synovial cells from mice treated with CBD released significantly less Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha (TNF-α) than synovial fluid from control mice. TNF-α is an inflammatory cytokine produced during acute inflammation. The researchers observed that the anti-arthritic potency of CBD is a result of immunosuppression and anti-inflammatory action by way of reducing TNF-α in the synovium. The study concluded that CBD has a potent anti-arthritic effect. Alleviating inflammation could lead to compounded pain relief effects.
This study is worth highlighting because arthritis is one of the main causes of bursitis. And, as we learned so far, bursitis is the inflammation of the synovial bursae found in your joints. Though it’s a rodent study, the findings provide hope that humans may stand to gain from using CBMs to treat conditions like bursitis. To further the case for humans, one more study needs to be visited.
In a 2008 patient study, researchers set out to determine whether key elements of the endocannabinoid signaling system that produce anti-inflammatory and pain relief effects are expressed in the synovia of patients with osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The study compared the levels of endocannabinoids in the synovial fluid of OA and RA patients with non-inflamed healthy volunteers. The study found that CB1, CB2, and RNA were present in the synovia of OA and RA patients. Two endocannabinoids namely Anandamide (AEA) and 2-Arachidonyl Glycerol (2-AG) were identified in the synovial fluid of OA and RA patients but none was detected in the fluid of the healthy volunteers. The study concluded that the endocannabinoid receptor system present in the synovium may be an essential therapeutic target for pain and inflammation associated with OA and RA. And, quite possibly, bursitis.
Cannabis is a viable and effective form of treatment for inflammation and pain caused by bursitis. The indirect studies made publicly available provide enough data to conclude that cannabis provides positive therapeutic effects for someone with bursitis. If you’re in the market for cannabis-based products, then the next paragraph will provide you with guidance based on my research so far.
For anti-inflammatory effects, your best option is either a Full Spectrum CBD product or a Broad Spectrum CBD product because CBD alone is shown to reduce inflammation. For pain relief effects, your best option is a Full Spectrum CBD product with a 1:1 ratio of CBD and THC because CBD combined with THC is shown to provide pain relief effects. For both pain relief and anti-inflammatory effects, your best option is a Full Spectrum CBD product with a 1:1 ratio of CBD and THC because of reasons already mentioned.
Your challenge with acquiring a Full Spectrum CBD product with a 1:1 ratio of CBD and THC is the current regulations where the maximum legal limit of THC is 0.3 percent in a cannabis-based product. Your next best option is to find a Full Spectrum product close to a 1:1 ratio as possible. Regarding bursitis, a smart approach would be to target inflammation first. Reducing inflammation in bursitis may lead to a domino effect of the other symptoms reducing.
Hopefully, this article helped provide some clarity and insight into whether CBD oil works for bursitis. If there is anything this article missed or a study you’d like to recommend, please let me know in the comments section below.
- What You Need to Know About Bursitis
- Bursitis (MayoClinic)
- What Is Bursitis?
- Bursitis (Better Health Channel)
- Bursitis (MedicineNet)
- Characterization of the cannabinoid receptor system in synovial tissue and fluid in patients with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis
- Cannabidiol: A Brief Review of Its Therapeutic and Pharmacologic Efficacy in the Management of Joint Disease
- Expression of Cannabinoid Receptors in Human Osteoarthritic Cartilage: Implications for Future Therapies
- Cannabinoids as novel anti-inflammatory drugs
- The nonpsychoactive cannabis constituent cannabidiol is an oral anti-arthritic therapeutic in murine collagen-induced arthritis
- An experimental randomized study on the analgesic effects of pharmaceutical-grade cannabis in chronic pain patients with fibromyalgia