Both CBD and turmeric are thought to have great benefits for inflammation and ridding the body of toxins. But how does it work? Is CBD oil good for you? Bad for you? Something in between? What are the side effects of CBD oil? Find out more about complementary medicines and the top five that people contact us about.
Whats the deal with….CBD and turmeric?
If CBD and turmeric offer potential benefits for inflammation, could it make sense to combine both?
15th August 2021
Both CBD and turmeric are thought to have great benefits for inflammation and ridding the body of toxins. They are now being combined as food, capsules, oil and coffees. But how does it work?
Turmeric is the spice that gives curries a vibrant yellow colour. It comes from the root of a plant called Curcuma longa. For centuries the compound curcumin contained in turmeric has been used in Indian medicine as an anti-oxidant. It also may have potential anti-inflammatory properties. This makes it perfect for helping to boost the similar properties that are associated with CBD.
There have been a few recent reviews and trials on turmeric for knee pain and arthritis.
A review from this year on turmeric for anti-inflammatory has revealed it may help with osteoarthritis (OA). The researchers concluded that over the ten studies examined when compared with a placebo, there appears to be a benefit of turmeric on knee OA pain and function.
In a small study from 2020 on 70 patients diagnosed with knee arthritis, it was discovered that those taking turmeric reported less knee pain.
CBD has also shown potential for soothing arthritic pain. In one study, researchers treated arthritic rats with a topical form of CBD. The rats showed a difference in inflammation levels and their condition was less developed.
It is unknown how CBD and turmeric combine. As they have main similar properties, it could be beneficial to combine both for certain conditions such as osteoarthritis.
One difficulty with taking turmeric is that it is incredibly hard to absorb due to its hydrophobic nature. This causes the molecules to stick together when they come into contact with water in the body. It is thought that adding pepper to turmeric will increase the absorption rate by 2000 percent.
Both CBD and turmeric have low bioavailability making it difficult to absorb them easily. However, they are both lipophilic which means adding fat can help them absorb better.
How to take CBD and turmeric
This is why CBD and turmeric as supplements come with an oil base. Different companies use different bases including rapeseed, hemp or flaxseed oil. Taking these compounds suspended in an oil automatically makes them more easily absorbed. The oil can be popped under the tongue for a few minutes before being swallowed.
Food and drink
Taking CBD and turmeric in food may be less effective than oil. Turmeric is often added to coffee as a latte which CBD can be dropped into. The lower level of fat in the drink, or in certain foods can make it unreliable for absorption but very tasty. Another problem is that the food has to travel through the digestive system first before any of the CBD or turmeric can be absorbed. Digestive acids and enzymes destroy some of the CBD before it can be absorbed. The small amount that gets through the intestinal wall will then be metabolised by the liver before it reaches the rest of the body.
Unfortunately, capsules are also subject to being passed through the digestive system. This could give a slower effect in comparison to the oil which is absorbed through the oral mucous membranes much faster.
What Are the Side Effects of CBD Oil?
Is CBD oil good for you? Bad for you? Something in between? What are the side effects of CBD oil?
Cannabidiol, or CBD oil, is an extract from the cannabis plant. It has boomed in the wake of the legalized marijuana movement, now that businesses can grow and sell the substance freely in several states.
Advocates market CBD oil typically as a health supplement, and they do so comprehensively. It has started showing up everywhere from web banners to smoothie shops. While it has few recreational properties, CBD oil’s boom in recent years is through the quasi-medical field. Like turmeric, ginseng and tinctures, CBD oil promises to ease a wide variety of ailments without the invasiveness of pharmaceutical drugs.
The question is… what is it really doing to you?
Does CBD Oil Work?
Cannabidiol is one of the two active ingredients in marijuana, but on its own is not enough to get you high. It can, though, help you feel better under the right circumstances.
While doctors and researchers take CBD oil’s role in medicine seriously, much of its profile has been raised by salesmen who make extravagant promises that no medicine (no less supplement) could hope to fulfill.
Some CBD oil salesmen promise that their product can cure everything from anxiety to cancer. They cram it into every product that can soak up a liquid, including gummies, shampoo, toothpastes and even pills for your cat. In the low-water mark for any “medical” supplement, you can now buy it at many juice bars and coffee shops as an additive that can somehow take your banana-strawberry smoothie to 11.
All of which is a shame, because this associates CBD oil with the bottomless deceit that is the world of medical supplements. Yet the substance has some early promise. As noted on Harvard Medical School’s website, CBD oil has some evidence linking it to treatment for epilepsy, seizures, chronic pain and arthritis.
There isn’t enough evidence to say that the oil definitely does help with these things, nor that simply cramming some in a milkshake will do the slightest bit of good, just that doctors are optimistic about their research. For more information on the medicine of CBD oil, see our article here.
What Are the Side Effects?
That’s how CBD oil might help. But can it hurt? Usually, no. It is generally not habit-forming, and most side effects are minor.
According to a report by the World Health Organization, “CBD appears to have little effect on conditioned place preference or intracranial self-stimulation… [It] exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential.”
“To date, there is no evidence of public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”
In other words, there is no evidence at the moment that CBD oil tends to be either physically or psychologically habit forming.
Dangerous Side Effects of CBD Oil
There are some known real risks to CBD oil, however. Be absolutely certain to consult a doctor before using CBD oil if any of the below apply to you.
• It can lower your blood pressure and interact with medication.
Mostly, CBD oil is benign. Its side effects might leave you feeling unwell for a little while, but they will pass. But this is a medication, even if it is marketed carelessly, and that means it can have a powerful effect on your body.
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CBD oil can act as a blood thinner and in doing so it can lower your blood pressure. For someone who has issues with blood pressure this can pose very real risks.
It can also interact with medications through “the exact same mechanism that grapefruit juice does,” according to an article on the Harvard health blog. While rarely a significant concern, on certain medications these interactions can be harmful or even deadly, according to the FDA. If you have blood pressure issues, are taking prescription drugs or have ever been warned about ingesting fruit juice, citrus or fermented products, consult your doctor before touching CBD oil.
• It can make Parkinson’s disease worse.
Some research indicates that CBD oil can exacerbate the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease. This research is ongoing, but patients should avoid the product until more definitive results come out.
Mild Side Effects of CBD Oil
Most of the side effects of CBD oil are moderate. Unless you fall into one of the specific categories above, the odds are that this is a generally benign product with limited negative consequences, according to one research paper. Most of those include:
It can cause nausea and general sickness.
Nausea and gastrointestinal issues are a pretty common side effect of CBD oil. This can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness and other symptoms associated with a digestive problem (think how you would feel after eating something that disagreed with you). In part, some people simply don’t digest CBD oil well. This is not uncommon with oils and supplements.
However, this is also often caused by the fact that this is an unregulated supplement. There are no standards for dosage and safe measurement, so it’s quite possible that you could get an amount far in excess of what your body can handle. At this point, your body will simply flush it out. Unpleasantly.
• It can cause drowsiness and light-headedness.
This side effect should come as no surprise. Doctors have long looked at cannabis as a treatment for sleep disorders, and CBD oil is no exception. Putting you to sleep is a feature, not a bug. Just don’t be surprised if your CBD latte doesn’t pack the caffeine punch you expected.
• It can cause loss of appetite and dry mouth.
Ironically, perhaps, for a cannabis product, CBD oil has been linked to loss of appetite in some people. Along with dry mouth, it can simply leave you feeling unpleasant after ingesting. As with most other side effects, this will pass in time.
Is CBD Oil Legal?
Like all things marijuana, the legal status of CBD oil is ambiguous and highly state-dependent. While many states have legalized it for production and sale, this still violates federal law. The Department of Justice has currently decided not to prosecute individuals for possession and sale of marijuana products in states where this is legal, but that’s a discretionary act.
Once again this gets complicated. When extracted from cannabis, CBD oil counts as a marijuana product. However, in some cases growers can produce CBD oil from hemp. The 2018 Agriculture Improvement Act made this form of CBD oil production legal under federal law.
Cannabis-extract CBD oil is typically legal in states that have also legalized recreational marijuana, however its status is usually complicated.
CBD oil in all forms is regulated as a medical supplement, because this is typically how it is advertised. As a result, only five states currently have no significant restrictions on its sale and consumption. Every other state has either restricted it through marijuana laws or limits the sale of CBD oil in some form, whether through food and drink regulation, medical regulation or other forms of restriction.
In short, there’s a different answer for this question for every single state. Make sure to research the laws of your state carefully, and for more information check out our article here.
The Bottom Line
Like most supplements, CBD oil rarely does what it promises. It does have some early medical potential, and doctors may prescribe it for patients at risk of seizure or with inflammatory issues. However, as an over-the-counter oil or when infused into a snack cake it probably won’t do you much good. You may see some benefits in connection with CBD oil’s anti-anxiety or sleep aid properties, but the odds are that any real improvements are largely psychosomatic.
Still, if it works for you there’s probably no harm in it either. Unless you fall into one of the specific categories listed above, CBD oil’s side effects are generally mild and of limited duration. Like with all medical changes, alert your doctor if you begin taking it regularly, but otherwise it will probably do neither harm nor good.
Complementary treatments and arthritis – from turmeric to cannabis oil
People use complementary medicine for many different reasons, including:
- wanting to use more natural treatments
- their symptoms aren’t fully controlled by conventional medicine.
Read more about complementary therapies which can help to ease the symptoms of arthritis, from yoga to meditation.
Are they right for me?
As with all complementary treatments, different things work for different people and it isn’t possible to predict which might be the most useful or effective.
There are some key points to consider if you’re thinking about using any complementary treatments.
- What are you hoping to achieve? Pain relief? More energy? Better sleep? Reduction in medication?
- What are the financial costs?
- Is there any evidence for their effectiveness?
Are complementary medicines safe?
Complementary medicines are relatively safe, although you should always talk to your doctor before you start any new treatment.
In specific cases they may not be recommended, for example, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or they may interact with certain medication.
A starter for five
Here we share a spotlight on the most popular complementary medicines that people call our helpline about.
It’s thought that turmeric can possibly reduce inflammation, which could help people with arthritis.
People with knee osteoarthritis who took part in a research trial reported improvements to their pain levels after taking turmeric. The evidence is limited however, as it is from just one trial. What evidence there is suggested that people only had minor side-effects after taking turmeric.
Turmeric can be bought from health food shops, pharmacies and supermarkets in the form of powder.
Glucosamine sulphate and glucosamine hydrochloride are nutritional supplements. Animal studies have found that glucosamine can both delay the breakdown of and repair damaged cartilage.
The results for the use of glucosamine for osteoarthritis are mixed and the size of the effect is modest. There’s some evidence that more recent trials and those using higher-quality methods are less likely to show a benefit.
Capsaicin is taken from chilli peppers. It works mainly by reducing Substance P, a pain transmitter in your nerves. Results from randomised controlled trials assessing its role in treating osteoarthritis suggest that it can be effective in reducing pain and tenderness in affected joints, and it has no major safety problems. Evidence for its effectiveness for fibromyalgia is related to a single trial.
Other names: Axsain®, Zacin®, chilli, pepper gel, cayenne
Capsaicin is licensed in the UK for osteoarthritis and you can get it on prescription in the form of gels, creams and plasters.
There are no major safety concerns in applying capsaicin gel/cream. A review of capsaicin applied to the skin to treat chronic pain (not specifically related to osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or fibromyalgia) concluded that around one third of people experience a reaction around the area where the treatment is applied. It’s important to keep capsaicin away from your eyes, mouth and open wounds because it will cause irritation. There have been no reported drug interactions.
Fish oils are rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids, which have strong anti-inflammatory properties. Fish liver oil is also a rich source of vitamin A (a strong antioxidant) and vitamin D (which is important for maintaining healthy joints).
Evidence suggests that fish body oil can improve the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Unconfirmed evidence also suggests a combination of fish body and liver oils might also be useful in the long term, particularly in reducing the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). There isn’t enough evidence for the use of fish liver oil for osteoarthritis.
Omega-3 fatty acids also play a role in lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels in your blood, so they can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke in people with inflammatory arthritis.
In the UK, dietary guidelines recommend eating two portions of fish a week, including one oily. Fish oil is considered to be well tolerated at this dose.
At the correct doses, side-effects are usually minor and uncommon.
Cannabis oil (CBD)
CBD is type of cannabinoid – a natural substance extracted from the cannabis plant and often mixed with an oil (such as coconut or hemp) to create CBD oil. It does not contain the psychoactive compound called tetrahydrocannabidiol (THC) which is associated with the feeling of being ‘high’.
Research in cannabinoids over the years suggests that they can be effective in treating certain types of chronic pain such as pain from nerve injury, but there is currently not enough evidence to support using cannabinoids in reducing musculoskeletal pain. We welcome further research to better understand its impact and are intently following developments internationally.
CBD oil can be legally bought as a food supplement in the UK from heath food shops and some pharmacies. However, CBD products are not licensed as a medicine for use in arthritis by MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Authority) or approved by NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) or the SMC (Scottish Medicines consortium).
We know anecdotally from some people with arthritis, that CBD has reduced their symptoms. If you’re considering using CBD to manage the pain of your arthritis, it’s important to remember it cannot replace your current medicines, and it may interact with them, so please do not stop/start taking anything without speaking to a healthcare professional.
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