So many Americans live with pain every day. Many of these people turn to OTC pain killers that can produce harmful side effects or worse yet, opioids that result in thousands of deaths every year. However, there is a natural alternative for managing pain and it’s known as CBD. Find out more about how CBD works to relieve pain and whether it can be effective in reducing the reliance on opioids and other pain relief treatments.
CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of the unique compounds that exist in the cannabis plant. Many people misunderstand CBD due to its association to THC, another compound that exists in cannabis. However, unlike THC, CBD does not provide any mind altering effects. Rather, it is responsible for the many health and wellness benefits that it can provide to humans and animals. Pain relief is one of the benefits it offers.
What Kind of Pain Does CBD Treat?
Pain can come in many forms. A sudden pain or one related to a specific injury may go away in time and not need ongoing management. However, sometimes pain is ongoing. This type of pain is considered chronic pain and many need to treat it regularly to maintain levels of comfort.
If you are suffering from chronic pain, CBD may be an ideal, natural treatment. CBD can be effective in treating pain associated with several diseases, arthritis, injury flare ups and headaches that may be caused by anxiety. Read on to find out more about how it can work to treat these types of chronic pain.
Although researchers are still trying to determine how CBD works to provide health benefits in the body, it is thought that it interacts with the receptors in your brain and immune system. Receptors are tiny proteins attached to your cells that receive chemical signals from different stimuli helping your cells to respond. The CBD interaction creates anti-inflammatory and pain killing effects that can benefit those suffering with chronic pain.
Arthritis affects over 50 million Americans and is the leading cause of disability in the United States. There are two main forms of arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which the person’s immune system attacks their joints causing pain and inflammation. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease that affects bones and cartilage causing joint pain and stiffness.
There are many studies that have shown CBD to be effective in treating pain associated with arthritis. These include the following:
2011: A study showed CBD to be effective in reducing inflammatory pain in rats by affecting the way pain receptors respond to stimuli.
2014: A review of research previously done on CBD’s effects on arthritis showed that it may be effective in treating OA.
2016: A study was conducted where transdermal CBD gel was used to treat rats with arthritis. The gel was shown to significantly reduce swelling.
2017: A study was conducted where OA was induced in male Wistar rats. Research showed that the CBD reduced joint inflammation in the subjects.
Although scientists are saying that more research needs to be done regarding the effects CBD has on humans in the relief of arthritis associated pain, results are promising thus far.
Research shows that CBD may also be effective in treating headaches. CBD has been shown to lower rates of anxiety which can produce headaches. Beyond that, cannabis has been used throughout history to treat migraines before it became illegal. Now that CBD is becoming a more credible source of pain relief, researchers are studying its effectiveness in migraine relief today.
In a 2016 study, researchers saw that medical marijuana may reduce the frequency of migraine headaches, but this research was not specific to CBD oil. More research is needed to determine whether CBD could be an effective treatment as well.
Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that affects the entire body through the nerves and the brain. Those who suffer with MS can experience muscle spasms that can be a source of constant pain. One report found that short term use of the oil can reduce levels of spasticity reducing overall feelings of pain. More studies are needed to verify these results.
CBD is known for reducing cancerous tumors in certain types of cancer, but it can also be effective in managing pain related to cancer and cancer treatment as well as symptoms caused by chemotherapy.
A study conducted by the NCI tested CBD oil extracts sprayed into the mouth. The CBD oil was used in conjunction with opioids and was shown to improve pain management. However, more research is needed to produce conclusive results.
CBD can also be effective in treating chronic pain which may be associated with injuries and other conditions.
If you think CBD may be a good option for your pain management, there are a number of choices for application. Some may start by taking tinctures or gel capsules. It is always best to talk to a doctor before beginning treatment and start with a lower dosage to see how CBD will affect you.
Topical creams can be used for pain located in skin, bones muscle, ligaments, tendons and myofascial tissue. Vaporizing or dabbing CBD isolate can provide relief that is almost instant and may be effective in reducing pain from sudden flare ups.
CBD and The Opioid Crisis
Opioids are commonly used for the management of pain. Unfortunately, many people who take opioids become addicted to them. Every year, thousands of people die from opioid overdoses and prescription opioids are accountable for an estimated 40% of those deaths.
CBD is a non addictive pain killer which is being looked at as a means of reducing the opioid crisis. However, for severe forms of pain, it is often used in conjunction with opioids and not as an alternative to this treatment. In any case, it may be effective in minimizing reliance if not eliminating addiction.
Studies have been conducted to determine whether CBD could be effective in treating people who have been using opioids to treat pain and are looking to reduce use. A 2009 study found evidence that cannabis compounds could be effective to this end. However, a 2018 study conducted in Australia did not find a link between the use of cannabis compounds and a reduction in pain or a lower use of opioids. Clearly, further research is needed before anything conclusive is determined.
Although CBD is still being looked into to determine whether it will help to reduce the opioid crisis, it is a safe alternative to OTC pain killers like aspirins, NSAIDS, ibuprofen and acetaminophens which can cause damage to vital organs like the stomach, kidney and liver.
There is still a lot of research to be done regarding CBD and its effectiveness as a pain killer. However, research shows that it could be a promising alternative to OTC treatments and may even lead to a reduction in opioid addiction. If you are looking to purchase CBD for your pain management, make sure to do so from a trusted source so that you can be sure the product is safe and effective. Good luck finding the best ways to manage your pain and improve your quality of life.