Is using CBD for Pain a viable alternative?
Well, it depends on the pain!
Pain is a common problem for millions of people around the globe. Even with the advancement in drug development, it’s challenging to find effective pain-management options that don’t come along with unpleasant side effects.
Over the last couple of years, cannabidiol (CBD) has gained so much popularity as a natural health supplement for managing symptoms of many ailments, including anxiety, stress, chronic pain, inflammation, seizures, sleep issues, and skin conditions.
What causes pain?
Pain can either be acute or chronic. Pain is felt when nerves called nociceptors responsible for detecting injuries send signals along the spinal cord to the brain. People experience pain due to various reasons, including:
- Other diseases, such as fibromyalgia and multiple sclerosis
What is CBD?
CBD is an active compound that occurs naturally in the cannabis plant. Cannabidiol can be sourced from industrial hemp or marijuana plants.
Unlike other cannabinoids like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD doesn’t cause the high feeling associated with marijuana because it affects different receptors from THC.
The human body has a cell-signaling system called the endocannabinoid system (ECS) that regulates functions such as pain, sleep, mood, and immune system.
When you ingest CBD it binds with receptors in the brain to produce mind-altering effects. On the other hand, CBD interacts with receptors in the immune system. This explains why CBD is non-psychoactive.
Benefits of trying CBD for pain
Here are some of the possible benefits of CBD for pain:
The ECS has receptors that receive signals from different stimuli and respond. When these receptors receive signals, CBD creates pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties that help manage pain.
Studies on CBD for migraine pain relief are limited. However, current studies involve a combination of THC and CBD.
In another review conducted to examine endocannabinoid’s role in reducing migraine pain, researchers concluded that cannabinoids might potentially help relieve migraines. However, more research is needed to confirm these findings.
Arthritis pain may be a result of several reasons, with inflammation being the most common symptom. Arthritis can be debilitating if left untreated.
A 2016 study investigated the use of transdermal CBD in rats with arthritis. The subjects were administered CBD gel for four days in a row. Researchers found that CBD significantly reduced inflammation and pain without adverse effects.
The anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties of CBD could potentially help people with arthritis pain. However, human studies are needed to confirm this.
Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune condition that attacks the nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Numbness and muscle spasms are the most common symptoms. The pain can be so intense, and some people may find it difficult to walk.
One report found that the use of THC-CBD spray significantly reduced spasticity in people with multiple sclerosis.
Different ways to use CBD for pain
There are various forms of using CBD. Here are the most common methods:
- CBD oils or CBD tinctures are fast-acting and might be ideal for anyone who is trying to find quick relief. To take oils or tinctures, using a dropper, place the intended dose under the tongue for fast onset, or swallow for slower effects.
- CBD Pills are a convinient way of taking CBD because they contain a pre-measured amount. While CBD Pills take longer to experience the effects, it lasts for an extended period once the onset begins.
- Topical CBD products are a great choice for localized pain. Topicals are applied directly to the skin, which delivers cannabinoids directly from the source of pain. Topical CBD come in the form of creams, balms, salves, lotions, and moisturizers.
- Transdermal CBD patches are band-aid-like patches infused with CBD. Patches are placed on the skin to deliver cannabinoids into the bloodstream slowly. CBD patches are suitable for anyone who needs long-lasting effects.
What is the best CBD for pain?
The best CBD for pain varies from one person to another. Depending on the severity of the condition, either full-spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum CBD, and CBD isolate might suit your needs.
Full-spectrum CBD contains all the natural compounds a cannabis plant has to offer — terpenes, flavonoids, other cannabinoids, including THC. All these compounds work together synergistically to magnify the benefits, thus the entourage effect.
Like full-spectrum, broad-spectrum CBD contains all the natural compounds in the plant, except THC — the psychoactive compound responsible for the ‘high’ feeling. This type of CBD is ideal for anyone who wants to reap the plant’s benefits without getting high.
CBD isolate, as the name suggests, is the purest form of CBD. During extraction, all compounds are isolated, remaining with CBD.
There are no conclusive data to support the use of CBD as a treatment for pain. While several studies have suggested that CBD may potentially help ease the effects of pain, long-term studies are needed to determine the benefits and risks.
Researchers believe that CBD has a ton of potential when it comes to easing different forms of pain, including arthritis, multiple sclerosis, cancer treatments, and migraines. If you’re interested in trying CBD for pain, consult your doctor first.
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