Today’s article seeks to answer a simple query. Does CBD oil work for Polymyalgia Rheumatica (PMR)? In order to answer this query successfully and determine the effectiveness of CBD oil and cannabis-based treatment, we need to understand what Polymyalgia is.
What Is Polymyalgia Rheumatica?
Polymyalgia is an inflammatory disorder. It causes pain and stiffness in your muscles, joints, and soft tissue. The word polymyalgia means “pain in many muscles”. The word ‘poly’ means ‘many’ and ‘myalgia’ means ‘muscle pain’. The areas of your body most likely to be affected by Polymyalgia are your shoulders, neck, and hips. Polymyalgia rarely develops in people under the age of 50. It commonly develops in people above 50 years old and the average age of onset is about 70 years old.
What Causes Polymyalgia Rheumatica?
The cause of polymyalgia is unknown within the medical community. Polymyalgia is believed to be an autoimmune disease. An autoimmune disease is one where your body’s immune system attacks its own healthy cells. In the case of polymyalgia, the immune system attacks your joint tissue and muscle cells causing inflammation, pain, and stiffness.
The medical community suspects that genetics and environmental factors play a role in the onset of polymyalgia. It is believed that certain genes and gene variations increase your susceptibility to getting polymyalgia. Cases of polymyalgia tend to be cyclical in nature leaning towards seasonal triggers. A potential environmental trigger such as a virus is suspected to play a role, but no specific virus has been shown to cause polymyalgia. Thus, its specific cause is still a mystery.
According to the American College of Rheumatology:
…research suggests that inflammation in PMR involves the shoulder and hip joints themselves, and the bursae (or sacs) around these joints.
What Are The Symptoms Of Polymyalgia Rheumatica?
As stated earlier, the areas of your body most likely to be affected by Polymyalgia are your shoulders, neck, and hips. Symptoms of polymyalgia include severe stiffness and pain in your neck, shoulder, and hip muscles. Symptoms usually develop quickly, occur on both sides of your body, and tend to be worse in the morning or after long periods of inactivity.
Patients also report flu-like symptoms including fever, weakness, fatigue, depression, and weight loss. Though polymyalgia is an inflammatory disorder, it does not cause swelling in the joints or muscles. This makes polymyalgia difficult to identify.
About 15 percent of patients with polymyalgia develop a condition known as Giant Cell Arteritis (GCA). GCA is the inflammation of the arteries in your head, most often your temples. GCA can cause headaches, vision difficulties, jaw pain, and scalp tenderness. And, it is possible to have polymyalgia and GCA at the same time.
What Is The Current Treatment For Polymyalgia?
Doctors use blood tests to detect inflammation because polymyalgia does not cause muscle or joint swelling. Tests would result in abnormally high inflammation in your blood. But before doctors can diagnose you with polymyalgia, they need to rule out other conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.
If your doctor suspects polymyalgia, you’ll receive a low dose of corticosteroids such as Prednisone. This helps reduce inflammation. If polymyalgia is present then stiffness can be alleviated in as fast as one dose. However, some patients report a slow response rate. Typically, a patient is on corticosteroids for a few months to a year under the supervision of their doctor.
According to the American College of Rheumatology, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and naproxen are said to be ineffective for polymyalgia treatment. Yet, according to Musculoskeletal Australia, NSAIDs and OTC pain medication can provide temporary relief of pain and stiffness.
The problem with corticosteroids is that they cause unwanted side effects, especially with long-term use. Potential side effects include high cholesterol, weight gain, loss of bone density and strength (osteoporosis), high blood pressure (hypertension), diabetes, and clouding in your eye lenses (cataracts).
To counteract the side effects, your doctor will recommend a daily vitamin D and calcium supplement. Supplements are normally recommended if you take corticosteroids for more than 3 months. Due to the negative side profile of corticosteroids, patients are looking for alternative solutions. One of the solutions being considered is cannabis-based treatment in the form of CBD oil. This leads us to the question of the day…
Does CBD Oil Work For Polymyalgia?
Yes, CBD oil does work for the treatment of Polymyalgia. More specifically, CBD oil will help with treating inflammatory and pain symptoms associated with Polymyalgia. Cannabis-based treatment is scientifically proven to provide anti-inflammatory and pain relief effects in human clinical trials.
How Effective Is CBD Oil For Treating Inflammation In Polymyalgia?
We established earlier that Polymyalgia is an inflammatory disorder, which the medical community believes is autoimmune in nature. Hence, to answer the above question, we need to look at the results of a 2000 collagen-induced arthritis rodent study and a 2005 rheumatoid arthritis patient study. The results from these two studies will help you understand how effective cannabis-based treatment is for inflammation in Polymyalgia.
In the year 2000, a rodent model study was conducted to determine the effectiveness of cannabidiol (CBD) treatment in mice with collagen-induced arthritis (CIA). Arthritis is an inflammatory disorder similar to polymyalgia that causes pain and stiffness in your joints that worsens with age. The results this study presents reflect how cannabis-based medicines will interact with Polymyalgia.
After inducing arthritis in the mice, CBD was administered as soon as signs of clinical symptoms were clear and evident. The mice were administered CBD daily for 10 days either through injection or orally. The mice that received CBD via injection were broken down into the following groups:
- Group 1: 12 mice received 20 mg/kg of CBD in ethanol/cremophor and saline
- Group 2: 17 mice received 10 mg/kg of CBD in ethanol/cremophor and saline
- Group 3: 15 mice received 5 mg/kg of CBD in ethanol/cremophor and saline
- Group 4: 9 mice received 2.5 mg/kg of CBD in ethanol/cremophor and saline
- Group 5: 23 mice received 0 mg/kg of CBD, just ethanol/cremophor and saline (control group)
The mice that received CBD via oral administration were broken down into the following groups:
- Group 1: 6 mice received 10 mg/kg of CBD in olive oil
- Group 2: 6 mice received 25 mg/kg of CBD in olive oil
- Group 3: 6 mice received 50 mg/kg of CBD in olive oil
- Group 4: 6 mice received 0 mg/kg of CBD, just olive oil (control group)
The study found that CBD was equally effective for treatment when administered via injection or orally. The study also found that daily administration of CBD in mice with collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) via both modes of treatment effectively blocked the progression of arthritis. The optimal daily dosages for the mice were 5 mg/kg via CBD injection, and 25 mg/kg via CBD oral administration.
The study highlighted that clinical improvement was associated with the protection of the joints against severe damage. The data uncovered in this study shows that CBD has a potent anti-arthritic effect through its immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory actions. This suggests that CBD is a valuable treatment option for other (chronic) inflammatory diseases.
In the year 2005, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patient study set out to investigate the effectiveness of a cannabis-based medicine called Sativex. The study’s focus was on the pain relief effects Sativex could provide patients. However, it’s worth noting that rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory autoimmune disease that causes joint damage, joint pain, inflammation, swelling, tenderness, and stiffness throughout your body.
Sativex is a cannabis-based medicine with a 1:1 ratio of CBD and THC dominating the solution. Sativex contains other minor cannabinoids as well. Sativex and a placebo were administered to a group of 58 rheumatoid arthritis patients over a period of 5 weeks via an oromucosal spray. 31 patients received Sativex while 27 patients received the placebo.
Results from the study showed that patients who were administered Sativex displayed a significant improvement in the following areas:
- Pain on movement (reduced)
- Pain at rest (reduced)
- Quality of sleep (improved)
However, what was more interesting is that arthritis activity was significantly suppressed following Sativex treatment. If you remember, rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory autoimmune disease. This suggests that Sativex not only showed pain-relief effects but anti-inflammatory effects as well, which is the point of this article. The study highlights that the suppression of inflammatory activity indicates an influence on the immune effector system. This is consistent with the results from the rodent model study covered earlier where CBD suppressed the progression of arthritis in mice. The data from this study shows that CBD also suppresses the progression of arthritis in humans as well.
In addition to the above studies, commentary from a 2018 peer-reviewed journal points to CBD being beneficial for multiple inflammatory disorders. The journal states that:
CBD has been demonstrated to be useful in the treatment of different inflammatory ailments, including bowel diseases (e.g., Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis), neuronal diseases (e.g., Parkinson and Alzheimer), and a wide range of inflammatory skin diseases (e.g., atopic dermatitis and psoriasis).
The journal adds that not only can CBD interfere with the progress of inflammatory disorders but it can also interfere with the progress of cancer cells. The journal states that:
From a pharmaceutical point of view, CBD represents at the moment the most promising compound present in C. Sativa. Although this component is well-known mainly for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities, a number of researchers pointed out its ability to interfere with cell proliferation apoptosis and cancer growth. If we consider also that cancer biology and inflammation share several common pathways in some stages of their biological processes, CBD might be a potentially important tool in the control of cancer spread and growth.
How Effective Is CBD Oil For Providing Pain Relief In Polymyalgia?
This question was already answered in the results found in the 2005 rheumatoid arthritis patient study. However, it doesn’t hurt to add more studies for additional support. We’ll look at the results of a 2019 fibromyalgia patient study and the results of a 2010 cancer patient study, which both focus on pain relief. The results of these studies will help you understand just how effective cannabis-based treatment is for pain relief Polymyalgia.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain syndrome that causes widespread muscle and joint pain, muscle tenderness, joint stiffness, physical sensitivity, fatigue, and a few other symptoms. The focus of the 2019 study was to investigate the impact cannabis-based treatment had on pain symptoms caused by fibromyalgia.
The study tested 3 variants of cannabis-based medicines and 1 placebo on the patients. The first group of patients was administered Bedrocan, which had 22.4mg THC and less than 1mg CBD. The second group of patients was administered Bediol, which had 13.4mg THC and 17.8mg CBD. The third group of patients was administered Bedrolite, which had less than 1mg THC and 18.4mg CBD. The fourth and final group of patients was administered a placebo, which had neither THC nor CBD in it.
Results from the study found that patients who were administered THC and CBD in a 1:1 ratio (Bediol) experienced the most significant pain relief effects. The minimum amount of pain relief was measured at 30 percent or more. The next group to experience significant pain relief effects was the THC-dominant group (Bedrocan). And, the last two groups, the CBD dominant group (Bedrolite) and the placebo group, reported similar pain relief results. Though similar, the CBD dominant group reported slightly more pain relief effects than the placebo group.
The study concluded that significant pain relief effects are experienced in cannabis-based treatments. The most notable being in the 1:1 ratio of THC and CBD followed by the THC dominant solution and then by the CBD dominant solution. The researchers pointed out that, in their experience, and in that of other researchers, patients with chronic pain report beneficial effects from CBD-only treatment. Hence, either a single administration of CBD is insufficient or the dose amounts of CBD in this study were too low to elicit pain relief effects.
Now if you’re unaware, cancer can cause pain in your joints, muscles, soft tissue, and bones. The type of cancer that causes these ailments is called ‘blood cancer’. Examples of blood cancer include leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma.
The focus of the 2010 cancer patient study was to investigate the effectiveness of cannabis-based treatment on patients with advanced cancer pain. These patients got inadequate pain relief effects from prior strong opioid treatment. The study tested 2 variants of cannabis-based medicine and 1 placebo. The cannabis-based variants included a CBD and THC extract (in a 1:1 ratio), and a THC dominant extract.
After analyzing symptoms before and after treatment over a 2-week period, the study found that the patients taking the CBD and THC extract reported a minimum reduction in pain by 30 percent or more. In this study, the patients taking the THC dominant extract showed similar pain relief results to the placebo group. The study concluded that THC and CBD in a 1:1 ratio are effective for pain relief in patients with advanced cancer pain who were not fully relieved via strong opioid treatment.
CBD oil and cannabis-based medicines are effective and useful for the treatment of Polymyalgia. Specifically in regards to providing effective pain relief and anti-inflammatory effects. The studies highlighted in today’s article clearly show how effective cannabis-based treatment is for treating the major symptoms of Polymyalgia, which are pain and inflammation.
There should NOT be a doubt in your mind, moving forward, that you will be able to achieve effective treatment results from CBD oil use for inflammation and pain. Your only challenge is in finding a suitable CBD oil solution that will assist you in getting results.
Regarding inflammation, CBD alone has been scientifically proven to provide anti-inflammatory effects. However, regarding pain, the best scientifically proven solution is CBD and THC in a 1:1 ratio. This will be challenging to find commercially as current regulation limits the amount of THC availability to either 0.3% or 0.2% in a given CBD oil product based on your location.
Researchers have stated that high enough doses of CBD-dominant solutions can provide pain relief effects. Yet, what those dose levels look like is unclear at the moment. Hence, it is best to work with a pro-cannabis medical professional to guide you through the process of finding your optimal dosage levels so you can achieve your desired results.
If a pro-cannabis medical professional is inaccessible to you in your area, then you may need to consider micro-dosing as your next option. As an example, micro-dosing marijuana is the practice of taking small amounts in order to reap the medical benefits of THC while avoiding its psychoactive effects. However, instead of micro-dosing marijuana, you may look into micro-dosing CBD oil to find the optimal dosage that produces the desired effects and results for you.
You would need to keep an active journal on hand to take note of a few variants such as:
- The type of cannabis product purchased (oil, vape, flower, edibles, etc)
- The CBD and/or THC concentration levels (number of mg’s per bottle)
- The date of treatment commencement (start date)
- The times of treatment administration (times of day, AM and PM)
- The frequency of treatment administration per day (number of times per day)
- The dosage amounts per administration (number of milligrams or drops per dose)
- The noticeable effects after administration (positive, negative, or neutral)
- Malfait AM, Gallily R, Sumariwalla PF, Malik AS, Andreakos E, Mechoulam R, Feldmann M. The nonpsychoactive cannabis constituent cannabidiol is an oral anti-arthritic therapeutic in murine collagen-induced arthritis. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2000 Aug 15;97(17):9561-6. doi: 10.1073/pnas.160105897. PMID: 10920191; PMCID: PMC16904.
- D. R. Blake, P. Robson, M. Ho, R. W. Jubb, C. S. McCabe, Preliminary assessment of the efficacy, tolerability and safety of a cannabis-based medicine (Sativex) in the treatment of pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis, Rheumatology, Volume 45, Issue 1, January 2006, Pages 50–52, https://doi.org/10.1093/rheumatology/kei183
- Federica Pellati, Vittoria Borgonetti, Virginia Brighenti, Marco Biagi, Stefania Benvenuti, Lorenzo Corsi, “Cannabis sativa L. and Nonpsychoactive Cannabinoids: Their Chemistry and Role against Oxidative Stress, Inflammation, and Cancer”, BioMed Research International, vol. 2018, Article ID 1691428, 15 pages, 2018. https://doi.org/10.1155/2018/1691428
- van de Donk T, Niesters M, Kowal MA, Olofsen E, Dahan A, van Velzen M. An experimental randomized study on the analgesic effects of pharmaceutical-grade cannabis in chronic pain patients with fibromyalgia. Pain. 2019 Apr;160(4):860-869. doi: 10.1097/j.pain.0000000000001464. PMID: 30585986; PMCID: PMC6430597.
- Johnson JR, Burnell-Nugent M, Lossignol D, Ganae-Motan ED, Potts R, Fallon MT. 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. J Pain Symptom Manage. 2010;39(2):167-179. doi:10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2009.06.008