Lately, the conversation around cannibidiol — more popularly referred to as CBD — has grown exponentially. CBD is being used to treat insomnia, as a stress reliever, and even in pet care. However, along the way, some people have taken issue with the fact that there are no official guidelines outlining how to use CBD safely.

Well, CBD enthusiasts, rejoice: On Tuesday, the Arthritis Foundation released the first-ever set of guidelines from a major patient advocacy group on how to safely use CBD for pain.

The Arthritis Foundation’s stance

“As the largest organization representing the voice and needs of people with arthritis, the Arthritis Foundation has always welcomed new treatment options because no single drug, supplement or therapy works for everyone,” the foundation wrote. “We believe patients should be empowered to find safe management strategies that are appropriate for them.”

The Arthritis Foundation noted that though there’s a clear lack of scientific evidence proving CBD’s effectiveness in treating pain, that they are “on record urging the FDA to expedite the study and regulation of these products.” This being said, the foundation took it upon themselves to consult with experts in order to develop their guidelines for adults who use or are interested in using CBD for pain management.

The guidelines

The Arthritis Foundation wanted to make it clear that they weren’t suggesting that patients abandon traditional arthritis medications in lieu of CBD for pain management. “The guidelines are not saying, ‘you should try this,'” Kevin Boehnke, a research investigator who works in anesthesiology at the University of Michigan and who helped develop and write the guidelines for the Arthritis Foundation told Today. “They’re saying, ‘if you want to try, here’s how you should do it.'”

“Start with just a few milligrams of CBD in sublingual form twice a day. If relief is inadequate after one week, increase the dose by that same amount.”
–Arthritis Foundation

So how should you do it? According to the Arthritis Foundation, make sure you start low and slow. “Start with just a few milligrams of CBD in sublingual form twice a day,” the guidelines read. “If relief is inadequate after one week, increase the dose by that same amount. If needed, go up in small increments over several weeks. If you find relief, continue taking that dose twice daily to maintain a stable level of CBD in the blood.”

And if that method of CBD alone doesn’t work, the foundation suggests talking to your doctor about adding very low-dose THC to the mix — that is, if it’s legal where you live. If time passes and you’re still not finding relief, CBD might not be right for you.

Disclaimers are in place

The Arthritis Foundation’s guidelines note that it’s important to talk to your doctor to see if CBD would interact negatively with any drugs you’re already on, and that “if you experience any unwanted side effects when using a CBD product, [to] immediately discontinue use and inform your doctor.”

Further, the foundation notes that CBD should not be vaped, especially due to the recent investigations involving vaping related hospitalizations and deaths due to contaminants in vapor oils and chemical byproducts.

Without contaminant, though, CBD may be an advantageous option for those with arthritis.