An increasingly popular and safe alternative to painkillers is CBD. For knee replacement, taking it before the surgery isn’t a good idea. But using it afterward can help provide pain relief.
With that said, you must consult with your doctor first before taking it, as it may interact with certain medications.
Now, we’ll discuss what CBD can do before and after knee replacement surgery. Also, some things to consider before taking it. Here’s a list of the topics covered, click any of them to navigate through the content:
- Before surgery
- After surgery
- How does CBD work
- Side effects of CBD vs other painkillers
- Pros & cons of CBD
CBD before knee replacement surgery
Taking cannabidiol (CBD) for knee pain can be extremely helpful, but it may be dangerous to consume it just before surgery. (1, 2)
This has to do with some side effects that may complicate the procedure. See, the two main issues that make CBD unsafe to use before surgery are:
One study found that CBD can make the blood thinner, which is something we don’t want during surgery. This is because it increases the risk of bleeding out. (3)
Any surgical procedure has a risk of blood loss. But when it comes to knee replacement surgery, this risk is multiplied. (4)
That, added to the blood-thinning effects of CBD, can seriously increase your risk of bleeding out during the procedure.
2) Interactions with anesthesia
CBD can affect how your anesthetic medications work.
You may need higher doses for them to provide the same effects. This increase can cause other non-surgical complications and can delay your recovery time. (5, 6, 7)
That’s why it’s best to avoid using CBD before any major surgery, like knee replacement. Instead, try other natural alternatives for pain management, like home remedies.
Pro tip: Openly discuss your pain relief options with your doctor, more so when the day of the surgery approaches.
CBD after knee replacement surgery
CBD may be beneficial to manage some post-surgical problems, such as (8, 9):
- Post-surgical pain management.
- Difficulty sleeping.
This means that CBD can be a solid adjunctive treatment during the post-operative period.
Not only due to its pain-relieving, properties, but its lack of addiction potential. This is key, as it’s one of the most concerning problems of common pain medications. (10, 11)
The form of CBD is also extremely important. Topical (transdermal) cannabidiol reduces inflammation, according to studies. But, it may not be enough for patients recovering from a total knee replacement. (12)
For them, it may be best to try taking it orally or sublingually.
How does CBD work for pain relief?
The exact mechanism behind why it works isn’t fully understood. (13, 14)
From what’s known, CBD works by inhibiting the pain signal, as well as reducing inflammation. Researchers believe these effects happen because of how it interacts with the endocannabinoid system. (15)
The endocannabinoid system is a complex network involved in pain sensation.
It consists of various nerve cells and pathways that play a vital role in transmitting pain. This system also works with specific chemicals our body makes, known as endocannabinoids. (15, 16)
Now, CBD is chemically similar to our body’s endocannabinoids. That’s why it can interact with the endocannabinoid system. (16)
This interaction is believed to ultimately provide relief in joint diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and knee osteoarthritis. (17)
But, CBD doesn’t only relieve joint pain. It can also help in other conditions, such as (14):
- Chronic pain management.
- Anxiety and depression.
Side effects of CBD vs other painkillers
There are several medications for knee pain available. And, although they are effective for pain, their side effects are a worrying aspect.
NSAIDs and opioids are common drugs used to relieve pain, but they can have the following side effects (11, 18, 19):
- Stomach pain.
- Gastric ulcers.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Urinary retention.
- Impaired thinking skills.
- Breathing problems.
CBD doesn’t have nearly as many side effects, though.
That’s why healthcare research is looking into it as a safer pain management option. However, like every other drug, it does have some side effects. The most common include (20, 21):
- Fatigue, somnolence.
But some patients should refrain from taking it, as they may suffer other side effects.
So please, be cautious of using CBD if you are (21, 22):
- Planning surgery soon.
- Under any type of prescription medication.
- Self-prescribing with over-the-counter drugs.
- Under an antitubercular regimen.
- Have allergies to CBD or sesame oil.
- Have a history of drug or alcohol addiction.
- Have a history of mood disorders.
Keep reading: Is CBD safe for treating knee pain?
Dosage of CBD for knee replacement pain
As of now, there isn’t a recommended dose for CBD. Multiple studies have found varying amounts to be effective for different conditions. (21, 22)
They all agree that the quantity depends on several factors, such as:
- The condition for which it’s being used.
For most people, finding the right dosage is a trial and error process. The safest practice is to start with low doses first and gradually increase them weekly.
Pros and cons of using CBD
Some of the pros of CBD include (19, 23, 24):
- It’s safe for most people, with minimal side effects in healthy patients.
- Can help manage pain in various conditions.
- It’s safer than NSAIDs and opioids.
- May help tackle addiction problems caused by opioids.
While some of the cons of CBD include (23, 25, 26):
- More research is still needed to understand the role of CBD in knee replacement surgery.
- It’s not properly regulated, meaning oral and topical CBD products may vary in quality and safety.
- It has side effects that can be exacerbated in certain patients.
- The FDA does not support CBD use for conditions other than epilepsy.
- It shouldn’t be combined with other medications.
Make sure to consider all of this before deciding whether to take CBD or not.
Is CBD oil good for knee replacement pain?
Yes, as long as your doctor approves. Just make sure to leave it under the tongue for a few minutes for faster effects.
Can you take CBD for pain after knee replacement?
Yes, but after discussing it with your doctor first to make sure it won’t interact negatively with other medications.
Conclusion: Is CBD beneficial for pain before and after knee replacement?
CBD can beneficial for the management of post-surgical knee pain. This is because of its pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties.
But it’s not wise to take it before the procedure, due to the increased risk of adverse events.
With that said, taking this supplement won’t be the only way you recover from your surgery. Going to physical therapy, sleeping well, and following your doctor’s recommendations will provide more relief than taking one supplement.
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