In the past few years, people have become more aware of the healing potential of CBD (cannabidiol). Most people use CBD to relieve conditions such as pain and anxiety. However, many are becoming curious regarding its ability to help other problems such as Raynaud’s disease.
In this article, we explain how CBD oil could help Raynaud’s and how to use it for maximum effect. Here’s all you need to know about Raynaud’s disease and CBD.
What Is Raynaud’s Disease?
Raynaud’s disease, also known as Raynaud’s phenomenon or Raynaud’s syndrome, is a common circulatory disorder. The National Institutes of Health states that it affects as many as 3–5% of adults worldwide.
People with Raynaud’s disease experience tightening of the blood vessels, known as vasospasms. This happens in episodes and is often a reaction to cold temperatures, anxiety, or stress.
Although these episodes are short-lived, they can be extremely uncomfortable for the sufferer. They could also be a sign of a more serious underlying disease.
Raynaud’s Disease Symptoms
The most common symptom of Raynaud’s is fingers or toes that change color in response to cold or stress. First, they turn white and then blue in extreme cases. This color change is a result of the blood vessels narrowing and restricting blood flow to the extremities.
As the blood vessels relax and the circulation returns to normal, the fingers or toes may turn red. Pain, throbbing, or tingling often accompany this Raynaud’s symptom.
Although Raynaud’s disease most often affects the fingers and toes, it can also impact the nose, ears, lips, nipples, and knees. Other symptoms of Raynaud’s include:
- Pins and needles
- Difficulty moving the affected part
In very severe cases, an episode of Raynaud’s phenomenon could lead to skin sores and even tissue death. For this reason, proper management of the condition is critical.
What Causes Raynaud’s Disease?
There are two different types of Raynaud’s disease; primary and secondary Raynaud’s. Primary Raynaud’s occurs on its own and experts are still unsure exactly why it affects some people.
Secondary Raynaud’s is a result of another disorder. Some of the conditions that have an association with Raynaud’s disease include:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Sjogren’s syndrome
- Blood vessel disorders
Certain medications could also cause Raynaud’s disease, and smoking aggravates the problem. It is more likely to affect women, and there appears to be a genetic factor. Primary Raynaud’s tends to affect people aged 15–25, while secondary Raynaud’s is more common in people over 30.
People living in cold climates or frequently using vibrating machinery also have an increased risk of developing Raynaud’s.
Raynaud’s Disease Treatment
The most common Raynaud’s disease treatments are medications that dilate (widen) the blood vessels. These include drugs like nifedipine and sildenafil. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary. However, surgery carries many risks and is usually a last resort when other treatments have failed.
In addition to these Raynaud’s treatments, patients can manage their symptoms in the following ways:
- Keeping warm, especially the hands and feet
- Soaking hands or feet in warm water at the first signs of an episode
- Exercising regularly to improve circulation
- Using stress management techniques such as mindfulness, meditation, or yoga
- Eating a healthy diet
- Reducing caffeine intake
- Stopping smoking
Now that CBD is becoming popular, many people have begun to wonder whether it could also help with Raynaud’s disease. Let’s take a closer look.
Can CBD Oil Help Raynaud’s Disease?
There is little existing research on CBD oil and Raynaud’s disease. However, there is some evidence that it could help to relax the blood vessels and improve circulation.
In 2017, Khalid A. Jadoon and colleagues published a study in the journal JCI Insight. It was a double-blind, randomized crossover trial, aiming to determine CBD’s effects on blood pressure. It involved ten healthy, male volunteers who were between 19 and 29 years old.
The researchers gave the participants either a single, 600mg dose of CBD or a placebo. Two hours later, the subjects undertook a series of stressful activities. The research team measured the effects of mental stress, exercise-induced stress, and cold-induced stress on the subjects’ blood pressure.
The results indicated that CBD reduced both resting blood pressure and the blood pressure response to stress. The effects were most evident in the cold-induced stress test, which may be of particular interest to Raynaud’s patients.
The authors of the study suggested that CBD could work to reverse the vasoconstriction that cold and stress both induce. So, how might CBD work for Raynaud’s specifically?
How Does CBD Work for Raynaud’s?
CBD is one of the numerous active compounds in cannabis. It belongs to a class of chemicals known as cannabinoids, a group that includes the infamous, psychoactive THC as well as many others. However, unlike THC, CBD does not cause intoxication. Instead, it has a range of beneficial effects on the body.
It exerts these effects by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system is present in the majority of our cells and plays a role in maintaining homeostasis. The definition of homeostasis is a state of internal balance, in spite of a constantly changing external environment. Maintaining homeostasis includes regulating blood pressure.
If the blood pressure becomes too low, the blood vessels constrict (narrow) and increase it. Similarly, if it becomes too high, they dilate (widen) and decrease it. One of the chemicals responsible for this reaction is called anandamide. It reduces blood pressure by binding to receptors in the blood vessels and causing them to relax.
Anandamide belongs to a class of chemicals called endocannabinoids. Scientists named these compounds endocannabinoids as they have a molecular structure much like the cannabinoids in cannabis.
This similar structure is the reason that cannabinoids have such a profound impact on the human body. They can bind with receptors in the ECS, just like anandamide can. However, it seems that CBD may affect the blood vessels in other ways too.
Research into the cardiovascular effects of CBD suggests that it has several possible mechanisms of action. These include reacting with several receptors outside of the ECS and releasing nitric oxide, a chemical that relaxes the blood vessels.
More research is undoubtedly needed to confirm whether CBD could help Raynaud’s disease. However, its ability to reduce cold-induced stress and relax the blood vessels suggests it could offer some hope.
How to Use CBD for Raynaud’s Phenomenon
Most people consider CBD to be safe, with minimal risk of side effects. However, to derive the maximum benefit, it is essential to choose the right delivery method.
However, smoking can aggravate Raynaud’s phenomenon and is not the best option for people with this condition. It may be much safer to use CBD oil, edibles, vapes, or topical CBD products instead.
Furthermore, each of these methods has its advantages and disadvantages to consider.
CBD oil is one of the best-loved ways of taking CBD. It allows you to adjust your dosage easily and ensures a high absorption rate. However, using an oil can be inconvenient as you must drop it under the tongue and hold for up to 90 seconds before swallowing. Moreover, many people dislike the taste of CBD and much prefer other methods.
Edibles are one such method. They taste much better than CBD oil and are far more convenient to use. However, they must pass through the digestive system, which means much of their potency gets lost along the way. They can also take a while to start working, making them less helpful in acute situations.
If you are after fast relief, a CBD vape could be the way to go. It is one of the quickest and most effective ways to use CBD. However, vaping is not for everyone, and the long-term effects on lung health are still unclear.
Finally, topicals are an excellent option for localized problems. They allow you to apply CBD directly to the skin, meaning that it quickly gets to where you need it most. However, if you use topicals, you will not gain any of the systemic benefits of CBD.
Everyone’s body is unique, and what works for one may offer zero benefits to another. The best way to find the most suitable CBD product for you is to try a few and see which you prefer.
Whatever you opt for, be sure to choose a reputable brand that provides third-party lab reports for its products. This way, you ensure your CBD contains everything it should and no hidden contaminants. They show that a company is confident about its quality and has nothing to hide.
Can CBD Help Raynaud’s? Final Thoughts
Although there is limited clinical evidence supporting the use of CBD for Raynaud’s disease, some people may find it beneficial. It could help to reduce stress and anxiety while relaxing the blood vessels to improve circulation.
Always consult your physician before using CBD oil for Raynaud’s or any other medical condition. Additionally, choose a reputable brand and follow the dosage instructions carefully. Doing this will ensure you derive the most benefit from your CBD while reducing the risk of side effects.
If you have used CBD for Raynaud’s disease, we would love to hear from you. Tell us about your experience down in the comments section below.