Can CBD Help With Arthritis Pain in Seniors?

Illustration of an elder having arthritis and CBD products
Written by Nina Julia | Last updated: January 27, 2023

This article focuses on the health benefits of CBD for arthritis in seniors. We highlight CBD’s anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving, and neuroprotective properties to help you understand how you can use CBD to manage the symptoms of arthritis — especially the painful flare-ups. After reading this article, you’ll also learn how to shop for CBD products to pick the best one for your needs; and how to use them to reap the most benefits from your treatment.

Are you trying to help a senior person with arthritis? If you’ve just smiled and nodded your head, then you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we explain how CBD helps with arthritis in seniors.

CBD products have become a popular remedy for a wide range of health conditions. Among them are inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis — two autoimmune conditions that affect the elderly.

CBD can help alleviate arthritis pain, reduce inflammation, and improve joint mobility in seniors.

How does it work?

Is it safe?

How do you choose the right CBD product for arthritis?

Read on to find the answers.

CBD for Arthritis in Seniors (Highlights)

  • CBD is a potent anti-inflammatory compound with pain-relieving properties. It can help with a lot of painful conditions, from chronic pain to neuropathy, multiple sclerosis, injury pain, and arthritis.
  • CBD’s effects are mediated by the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is a complex neurochemical network working to promote and maintain homeostasis between other systems and organs in the body. It mimics the actions of the ECS’ natural endocannabinoids.
  • CBD and other cannabinoids offer remarkable antioxidative and neuroprotective properties, protecting the cells against free radicals that accumulate in the body and trigger neurodegeneration. They’re especially beneficial for seniors.
  • CBD has an excellent safety profile. Its side effects are benign and include dry mouth, dizziness, fatigue, and changes in appetite.
  • Talk to your doctor before giving a senior CBD for arthritis. CBD interacts with pharmaceutical medications and may cause unwanted side effects.
  • When buying CBD products for arthritis in seniors, choose reputable manufacturers that provide third-party lab testing results to prove their potency and purity.

Is CBD Safe for Seniors?

CBD oil with hemp leaves and an elderly woman in color clothes

Before we explore the benefits of CBD for arthritis in seniors, it’s worth knowing whether or not CBD is safe for the elderly.

Studies and reviews of the scientific literature have concluded that CBD is safe and well tolerated by humans, even in doses as high as 1,500 mg administered daily for several weeks (1).

It has been shown to help with various health conditions and is often recommended by doctors and dieticians.

According to a 2019 study conducted by the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, CBD is safe for seniors. It has a low toxicity level and comes with a similar potential for abuse to a placebo (2).

Today, many elderly patients take CBD oil to either help treat a medical condition or optimize health and promote longevity.

Benefits of CBD for Arthritis in Seniors

CBD can be a game-changer for seniors suffering from arthritis pain. Here are just a few ways CBD supplements can help with arthritis.

Helps Reduce Inflammation

Arthritis involves systemic inflammation that causes painful flare-ups in the joints. CBD activates the CB2 receptors in the endocannabinoid system (ECS), inhibiting the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines (3).

Using CBD oil for arthritis in seniors can reduce inflammation, relieving swelling, burning, and pain.

Protects Nerves Against Damage

Arthritis also damages the nerves, leading to issues with mobility and hyperalgesia (oversensitivity to pain). Studies show that CBD helps reduce not only pain but also protects nerves against damage caused by rheumatoid arthritis (4).

Mitigates Joint Pain

Aside from reducing inflammation, CBD oils have been shown to dampen pain signaling in the brain by acting on specific receptors that regulate this sensation. Although CBD won’t cure arthritis or completely get rid of pain, it can make it more manageable without having to rely on pharmaceutical painkillers (5).

Helps Improve Mobility

Another benefit of using CBD for arthritis in seniors is improved blood flow throughout the body. When the blood flows freely, you can move around with less inflammation and pain in your joints, muscles, and tissues (6).

Works as a Mood Elevator

CBD can also improve your mood by increasing the levels of anandamide — one of the major endocannabinoids produced by the ECS (7).

Anandamide controls a broad range of essential functions, including mood, memory, and emotion processing.

On top of that, CBD helps increase GABA concentrations in the brain, promoting calmness and improving focus (8).

And last but not least, CBD makes serotonin more available to the body. When more serotonin circulates in the bloodstream, you feel elevated and are less prone to anxiety and depression (9).

Improves Sleep Quality

CBD can help improve sleep quality on three levels.

First, it can help you fall asleep faster by reducing pain, inflammation, and anxiety caused by arthritis.

Second, low doses make you feel more awake and improve productivity, stimulating the healthy production of melatonin in the brain (10). Melatonin is the natural sleep hormone that increases in the evening and decreases as the morning draws near. Modern lifestyle leads to melatonin disturbances and deficiencies, taking a toll on sleep quality.

Not to mention that taking a high dose before sleep can reduce your blood pressure, slow down your breath, and help you enter the first stage of sleep faster (11).

How CBD Works

There different bottles of CBD and some hemp leaves on a yellow surface

When it comes to treating arthritis pain, CBD produces its effects through the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS controls how we learn and maintain information, how we process pain and emotions, how we sleep and eat, and our immune function.

CBD prevents your natural endocannabinoids from being broken down without inducing the high associated with THC.

Some studies suggest that CBD reduces inflammation by activating the CB2 receptors in the ECS. These receptors are mostly found in the immune system, which explains why CBD is such a popular remedy for inflammatory conditions.

Potential Side Effects of Using CBD for Arthritis Relief

While the long-term effects of CBD are still being researched, the compound is considered safe for humans and animals.

The side effects of CBD are mild and non-life-threatening, including drowsiness, dry mouth, fatigue, changes in appetite, and occasional diarrhea.

The dry mouth effect is common for all cannabinoids because they interact with the salivary glands, inhibiting saliva production.

Drowsiness and fatigue are caused by high doses of CBD. They can reduce blood pressure to the point where you may feel sleepy and dizzy.

Appetite fluctuation happens when your hormones are out of balance. For some users, CBD may suppress appetite, while others feel hungry after they take CBD oil.

CBD also compromises the liver’s ability to metabolize drugs by inhibiting the CYP450 enzymes that break down active ingredients in medications.

Talk to your doctor before you try CBD oil for arthritis in seniors, especially if they take other medications. A consultation with a qualified health professional will help you avoid the risk of potential CBD-drug interactions and their side effects.

How to Find the Best CBD Product for Arthritis

If you want to make a well-informed decision on your next purchase, you need to do rigorous research to find the highest-quality CBD oil products for arthritis.

Here’s what you should take into account:

Hemp Source

Hemp plants are dynamic bioaccumulators; they absorb every substance from their environment, including nutrients and toxins.

Hemp can pull out dangerous compounds from the soil — that’s why it was grown in Chornobyl to clean the soil from nuclear pollutants.

However, when you grow hemp in a contaminated environment, it will transfer these toxins to the flower, and they will pass it to a CBD extract.

The best CBD oils for arthritis in seniors are made from organic hemp that grows in clean soil and without dangerous plant growth regulators.


The potency of CBD is expressed in two figures:

  • The amount of CBD per bottle
  • Milligrams of CBD per serving

The more milligrams in a single portion, the better for your budget. For example, if you need 50 mg of CBD in your routine, a 600 mg bottle will last you for less than two weeks because it packs 20 mg/mL.

However, when you choose a 3000 mg bottle, it comes with 100 mg/mL. While you need to spend more money for such CBD oil, it will last you for 2 months with that dosage.

Certifications (CoA)

Certificates of Analysis (CoAs) help to ensure that the manufacturer is honest about the potency and purity of its products.

Reputable companies publish these lab reports on their websites or send them to customers via email on request.

The CoA should refer to the current product batch. Some CBD brands cheat by using outdated certificates for new formulas to fool the customers into believing that they’re buying lab-tested CBD oils.

If a company doesn’t publish CoAs, it’s not worth your money and trust.


You need to carefully read the ingredient list to ensure there are no fillers or artificial ingredients in the formula.

Whenever you see artificial flavorings, colorings, or stabilizers in your CBD oil, it’s an instant red flag.

CBD oil should contain just two ingredients: a CBD extract and carrier oil. Natural flavors or sweeteners are also accepted, but anything beyond that is redundant.

THC Amount

Three hemp leaves on a plate on white surface

CBD extracts come in three main types:

  • Full-spectrum CBD
  • Broad-spectrum CBD
  • CBD isolate

Full-spectrum CBD is a whole-plant extract that offers a full range of therapeutic compounds, including cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and trace amounts of THC.

Broad-spectrum CBD is very close to full-spectrum CBD — but it comes with no THC. The psychoactive cannabinoid is removed after the initial extraction.

CBD isolate is just pure CBD that has been separated from the other molecules. It also has zero THC and boasts the highest concentration of CBD per serving.

Related: Best CBD Creams for Arthritis Pain

Which CBD Type Is the Best for Seniors With Arthritis?

Full-spectrum CBD oils are the most effective for reducing pain and inflammation because they evoke the entourage effect.

This biological phenomenon causes all cannabis compounds to enter a unique synergy that enhances their therapeutic qualities while mitigating their side effects.

For example, CBD mitigates the psychedelic effects of THC, and the trace amount of THC in full-spectrum CBD oil potentiates the anti-inflammatory, pain-killing, and neuroprotective effects of CBD.

CBD for Arthritis in Seniors: FAQ

Learn more about using CBD for arthritis in seniors. Here we answer the most frequently asked questions.

What are the benefits of CBD for the elderly?

CBD offers a plethora of health benefits, but when it comes to seniors, the most prominent are:

  • Reduced oxidative stress
  • Improved stress response
  • Enhanced immune function
  • Reduced inflammation
  • Neuroprotection
  • Formation of new nerve connections in the brain (neurogenesis)
  • Apoptosis (programmed cancer cell death)
  • Improved sleep quality

Does CBD help with severe arthritis?

The effectiveness of CBD for arthritis in seniors depends on the potency of CBD and the presence of other ingredients in your product. The more anti-inflammatory and antioxidative compounds in the formula, the better for arthritis pain.

Can CBD help with degenerative arthritis?

CBD helps with different forms of arthritis, including osteoarthritis (OA) and degenerative arthritis (DA). It comes with natural anti-inflammatory properties, improves sleep and mood, reduces pain, and curbs inflammation throughout the body.

How much CBD should you give a senior?

The recommended dose depends on the severity and type of symptoms. You should start with 2-5 mg of CBD per 10 pounds of your weight. Try this dosage for about a week or two before gradually increasing your dosage by another 5 mg and taking it twice daily.

The best CBD dosage for arthritis in seniors also depends on their age, metabolism, gender, and underlying health conditions. Consult your doctor about what dose is best for you.

Does CBD interact with medications?

Yes, CBD may interact with many drugs and medications because it compromises the liver’s ability to metabolize them.

CBD-drug interactions may either decrease or increase the drug concentration in your bloodstream. The latter type of interaction may cause drug toxicity and lead to second-hand side effects.

That’s why you should always talk to your doctor before you try CBD for arthritis.

Is CBD legal?

Yes. CBD is legal at the federal level and in all 50 states. The 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the list of controlled substances, legalizing it across the country.

Hemp-derived supplements, such as CBD oil, also became legal. You can buy CBD oil without a prescription as long as it contains no more than 0.3% THC on a dry-weight basis.

Is CBD regulated?

The CBD market remains unregulated. The FDA doesn’t recognize them as health supplements or medications. The only FDA-approved CBD product is Epidiolex, which doctors prescribe for treatment-resistant epilepsy in children.

Currently, the FDA is struggling to regulate CBD products that present false claims regarding the prevention, treatment, and curing of serious diseases with non-medical CBD oils.

Final Verdict: Should You Use CBD for Arthritis in Seniors?

CBD can be helpful in managing the symptoms of arthritis and relieving systemic inflammation that causes joint pain and mobility problems.

However, you shouldn’t treat CBD as a substitute for disease-modifying treatments or lifestyle changes recommended by a doctor.

CBD is just a tool — a versatile one, but still a tool. Like any therapeutic compound — natural or synthetic — it has its limitations.

Seniors seeking relief from chronic joint pain caused by arthritis should consult a doctor before starting their supplementation. A doctor will provide a proper diagnosis and recommend the right CBD products that may suit your medical needs.


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Nina created following the birth of her second child. She was a science and math teacher for 6 years prior to becoming a parent — teaching in schools in White Plains, New York and later in Paterson, New Jersey.