In the last 2 years, I have began armwrestling competitively in tournaments (yes its a real thing!) across the northeastern US. In armwrestling, your tendons and ligaments take a lot more damage than your muscles, which a lot of people have a difficult time understanding. But armwrestling is largely a static exercise with your body straining at 100% maximal effort and very little movement occurring for 20 or 30 seconds, sometimes longer. And when you exert yourself like this the stress transfers from your muscles into the things holding those muscles onto your bones.

I have began hearing a lot of rhetoric about the "magic" of CBD oil for healing damaged connective tissue and/or reducing inflammation around said damaged connective tissue.

I'm wondering whether there is any substantiated medical evidence to support these claims. Any white papers or bona fide research generally-accepted results?


1 Answer 1


What you’ve heard is rooted in fact. CBD has well-known and well-characterized anti-inflammatory effects. [1,2]

It also has demonstrable chondrogenic effects:

This review discusses the role of the cannabinoid system in cartilage tissue and endeavors to establish if targeting the cannabinoid system has potential in mesenchymal stem cell based tissue-engineered cartilage repair strategies. The review discusses the potential of cannabinoids to protect against the degradation of cartilage in inflamed arthritic joints and the influence of cannabinoids on the chondrocyte precursors, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). We provide experimental evidence to show that activation of the cannabinoid system enhances the survival, migration and chondrogenic differentiation of MSCs, which are three major tenets behind the success of a cell-based tissue-engineered cartilage repair strategy. These findings highlight the potential for cannabinoids to provide a dual function by acting as anti-inflammatory agents as well as regulators of MSC biology in order to enhance tissue engineering strategies aimed at cartilage repair. [3]

Recent research has also shown that CBD decreases MMP9 (an enzyme that degrades extracellular matrix proteins in the body) expression and activity, which would also contribute to a protective effect on your connective tissue. [4]

  • Thanks @Bruce Kirkpatrick I appreciate the links. I guess my next thought is: since CBD manufacture isn't regulated in the US, how can I tell what I'm buying is good quality and not just vegetable oil?! And to qualify: I am strictly talking about legal CBD products containing none (zero; 0) THC. May 2, 2019 at 12:44
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    @hotmeatballsoup Note that almost all the research linked here is not clinical. There is very little clinical study of CBD on anything, for numerous reasons. 1) Regulatory hurdles have been a major barrier. 2) No one can have a patent on CBD. Maybe some formulation, but clinical trials are expensive. We rely on companies that want to make money on patented drugs and devices for most of the large-scale randomized controlled trials of new therapies. It's difficult to get funding together for an academic study of similar scope.
    – Bryan Krause
    May 2, 2019 at 15:31
  • Thanks @BryanKrause (+1) can I ask: if these links aren't "clinical" then what are they considered? And whats the difference between whatever that thing is and "clinical" research? Thanks again! May 2, 2019 at 16:39
  • @hotmeatballsoup They are a mixture of in vivo animal studies, sometimes called preclinical research, and in vitro studies, some which may use human cells but are still findings "in a dish." So, for example, you put some inflammatory cells in a dish, add something that tends to make them react or proliferate, and see if they react less when you have CBD in the dish, too. These are good methods for screening new drugs or figuring out how they work, but oftentimes when successful drugs in these settings are tried in people they are less effective. We simply don't know for CBD yet.
    – Bryan Krause
    May 2, 2019 at 16:44
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    Clinical research would mean you take a bunch of arm wrestlers, give some of them CBD and some of them not, and see how each group fares. Overall, though, I haven't seen any evidence that CBD is harmful; CBD users are probably risking their wallet more than their health, which is not true for all 'supplements' of which some are known to be dangerous.
    – Bryan Krause
    May 2, 2019 at 16:46

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