Does CBD Oil Relieve Chronic Pain?
Updated: Sep 21, 2018
With the addictive nature of traditional pain killers and the current opioid crisis causing panic amongst citizens, many patients are looking for alternative tools for pain management. One promising medication that has caused pain relief for many is CBD. CBD is a cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant and/or hemp plant. It has no psychoactive properties, so users don’t have to worry about feeling mentally unstable after using it. Luckily, it can be separated from the THC molecules naturally found in cannabis as well, so patients can use CBD without having to also experience the effects of THC. While some people have used cannabis for centuries for its pain relieving properties, most thought that THC was the source of this benefit. However, recent studies have proven that CBD can be just as effective at treating pain without THC tagging along. So, how exactly does CBD help with chronic pain?
The Endocannabinoid System
First, we need to examine CBD itself. What exactly is it and how does it interact with our bodies? The human body naturally produces endocannabinoids that regulate processes of the central nervous system and immune system. CBD is a similar molecule and is found in the cannabis or hemp plant. It is one of the phytocannabinoids produced by the plants.
CBD interacts with nerve receptors throughout the body just as naturally occurring endocannabinoids would. When the balance of endocannabinoids is thrown off, the body can experience adverse effects, sometimes in the form of chronic illness. Since the endocannabinoid system is connected to the central nervous system, there is a broad range of negative effects one can experience, and partly why some people experience one symptom while others experience opposite symptoms. For instance, one person may develop multiple sclerosis while another person may have increased inflammation. This is also the reason why CBD is touted as a treatment option for so many various ailments. Athletes may use CBD for joint pain, while a mother uses it for her epileptic child. One patient may use CBD to help stabilize mental disorders, while another may use it to treat eczema. Some people believe that one of the reasons for widespread chronic illnesses found in today’s populations is due to the imbalance of endocannabinoids and the public’s limited access to phytocannabinoids.
How Cannabinoids Like CBD Help with Pain Management
Decades worth of research supports that CBD helps with chronic pain. However, more research is needed to conclusively make this connection. Some researchers believe that the reason why CBD works for pain management is because it interacts with receptors in the lymphoid and immune tissues to help reduce inflammation and pain. This is also the reason why it works well for people suffering from arthritis. Many patients with chronic pain worry about the safety of their current pain medications and don’t want to become addicted to painkillers as so many have over the years. Since CBD has very few side effects, this could be a major breakthrough for medicine in offering safer pain management options to patients.
Using CBD to Manage Pain
Because CBD is still largely unregulated, there are unsafe and impure forms of CBD on the market today. Some states have started regulating CBD to keep consumers safe, but not all have yet. So, it’s important for consumers to understand the source of their CBD oil, read reviews, and ask for analysis certificates to ensure authenticity and safety.
Furthermore, CBD isn’t regulated by the FDA, so there are no set standards for how many milligrams are appropriate for treating different ailments. Dosing may also depend on body type. Right now, users are experimenting with different levels to see how CBD affects them. Taking CBD in capsule form helps users portion their doses so they know exactly how much CBD they are getting with each intake. Plus, capsules are most like other dietary supplements, and the user can just include it with their daily routines.
It’s important for people to speak with their doctors before trying CBD as a pain management option. If patients are taking medications already, whether for pain or something else, CBD may interfere with these and/or cause adverse effects. Generally, CBD will have little to no negative effects on a healthy individual as long as its sourced from quality plants and extracted using safe methods. Synthetic forms of CBD may be dangerous and cause severe reactions in some users. When in doubt, always choose natural products that are grown without pesticides or GMOs.