CBD for Ankylosing Spondylitis: What Are the Benefits?

When conventional treatments do not adequately manage symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis (AS), some people may try cannabidiol (CBD) as another option. There are no studies on CBD treatment for ankylosing spondylitis, so research cannot support its use. Yet, there are studies on CBD for pain and other uses.

This article will cover the benefits of CBD, its limitations, and its risks. It will also discuss other ways to relieve ankylosing spondylitis inflammation.

CBD oil

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Benefits of CBD for AS

CBD is the second most prevalent ingredient in cannabis. It comes from the hemp plant or is made in a laboratory. It does not cause a "high" and has not been shown to cause abuse or dependence.

To date, no studies have been published to show the benefit of CBD for ankylosing spondylitis. Any benefits of CBD for ankylosing spondylitis are inferred from the successful treatment of other conditions.

The primary perceived benefit of CBD is pain relief. A 2020 study examined CBD as a potential chronic pain reliever. The results were promising, yet the study mentioned that there were no approved pharmaceutical products with only CBD.

Safety and Risks

CBD is generally considered safe. However, it has side effects and risks that should be weighed before taking it. Some of the side effects include nausea, irritability, and fatigue. CBD can act as a blood thinner and cause increased liver enzymes on blood tests.

The primary concern about over-the-counter (OTC) CBD is that it is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA which is also true of all supplements. This makes it impossible to know if the product's ingredients are accurate. Also, since CBD has not been well studied, there are no known therapeutic doses for ankylosing spondylitis.

Prescription CBD, like Epidiolex (cannabidiol), is regulated by the FDA as treatment for seizures. This is different than OTC CBD.

Other Ways to Ease AS Inflammation

Ankylosing spondylitis is a chronic condition that can cause significant pain and inflammation. To help ease inflammation, a healthcare provider can prescribe one of several different medications for the condition.

Other ways to ease inflammation include:

  • Exercise: Movement is a key part of ankylosing spondylitis management. Gentle movements like yoga and swimming can reduce stiffness and swelling.
  • OTC medications: Medications like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are the first-line therapy in treating ankylosing spondylitis.
  • Stress management: Keeping stress levels down can help manage pain and flare-ups.
  • Transcutaneous electrical stimulation (TENS) therapy: A TENS unit can interrupt the pain signal and reduce pain caused by ankylosing spondylitis, making it easier to move and keep up with daily activities.


OTC CBD is a complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) that has made its way into the mainstream. Though it is widely advertised and talked about, no research supports its use for ankylosing spondylitis.

Research does support prescription CBD for other conditions like seizures.

A Word From Verywell

CBD is classified as a supplement and is not monitored by the FDA. If you would like to try CBD for your ankylosing spondylitis symptoms talk to your healthcare provider first. CBD can interact with certain medications. Be aware of any unintended side effects and report them to your healthcare provider.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What drugs are prescribed for ankylosing spondylitis pain?

    There are many drugs prescribed for ankylosing spondylitis pain. The first line of therapy is NSAIDs. These medications work at relieving pain and reducing inflammation.

  • Can you reverse ankylosing spondylitis naturally?

    There is currently no cure for ankylosing spondylitis, and it cannot be reversed naturally. However, staying active, eating healthy, and taking prescribed medications can slow down its progression and work to minimize symptoms.

  • What are common ankylosing spondylitis triggers?

    No one is quite sure what causes ankylosing spondylitis to trigger. It could be an infection, stress,

5 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Harvard Health. Cannabidiol (CBD): what we know and what we don't.

  2. Boyaji S, Merkow J, Elman RNM, Kaye AD, Yong RJ, Urman RD. The role of cannabidiol (CBD) in chronic pain management: an assessment of current evidenceCurr Pain Headache Rep. 2020;24(2):4. doi:10.1007/s11916-020-0835-4

  3. John Hopkins. Ankylosing spondylitis.

  4. Spondylitis Association of America. Complementary treatments.

  5. Barnett R, Ng S, Sengupta R. Understanding flare in axial spondyloarthritis: novel insights from daily self-reported flare experienceRheumatology Advances in Practice. 2021;5(3):rkab082. doi:10.1093/rap/rkab082

By Patty Weasler, RN, BSN
Patty is a registered nurse with over a decade of experience in pediatric critical care. Her passion is writing health and wellness content that anyone can understand and use.