How CBD Can Help To Reduce Pain?

The scientific evidence on CBD as a treatment for pain is growing, to complement the wealth of anecdotal stories that this cannabis compound works. To understand what CBD is and does in the context of the rest of the cannabis plant is essential, as misinformation over the years has built a stigma around the herb and made many people hesitant to medicate with it.  

However, cannabidiol (CBD) is a perfectly safe substance that’s non-addictive and non-psychotropic – CBD doesn’t produce the hallucinogenic effects that THC does as it doesn’t bind directly with the necessary receptors in the brain.  

Let’s look more closely into why CBD, and specifically CBD oil, is an effective treatment for people suffering from chronic pain.  

Understanding CBD 

CBD is part of a group of compounds known as cannabinoids, of which there are more than 100 in the cannabis plant. CBD is the most important non-psychoactive compound in cannabis and has a regulatory effect on the body’s endocannabinoid system.  

Research into CBD has picked up dramatically in recent years and has become a favorite alternative medicine for millions. In late 2017, the World Health Organization gave a statement on CBD, stating that it had no potential for abuse.  

The discovery of the endocannabinoid system in the early 1990s is one of the most crucial in the history of human biology. We are now aware that the body has receptors which influence the body’s mental and physical responses, including pain perception, immune system response, appetite and mood. 

While THC connects with CB1 receptors, in place of an endocannabinoid called anandamide, CBD has a more subtle and complex impact on the system. A recent study featured in the peer-reviewed medical journal Neurotherapeutics, CBD’s direct effects on the endocannabinoid system are minimal – instead, the cannabinoid either promotes or stifles other compounds. For example, CBD helps to slow the breakdown of anandamide, a natural anti-depressant that is thought to also have an influence on pain, by inhibiting the fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) enzyme.  

CBD is also teeming with anti-inflammatory properties, which are beneficial for patients who suffer from inflammatory pain, such as that caused by arthritis.   

How CBD oil can help  

No two strains of cannabis have the same cannabinoid profile, meaning that the effects can vary and make for somewhat inconsistent medicating – even if you’re using the same strain all the time, there could still be some variation.  

In the early days of medical cannabis, little attention was paid to CBD. However, nowadays there’s a whole industry dedicated just to this compound. CBD products are usually made from the industrial hemp plant, a strain of cannabis sativa with a greater amount of CBD than THC. Of late, growers have started to cultivate strains with higher and higher concentrations of CBD (similar to how recreational growers have bred strains with ever-increasing levels of THC).  

These plants are then used for making extracts, often via a process known as supercritical CO2 extraction. This method produces the cleanest extract possible. Since the hemp plant is a bio-accumulator, and therefore picks ups metals and toxins while growing, a high-quality extraction process is critical. The extract is then mixed into a carrier oil, which often contains vitamins and essential fatty acids such as omega-3 for extra therapeutic impact. CBD e-liquid comes in various potencies to cater for patients who need an efficient way to medicate with small, medium and large doses.  

CBD oil for pain management  

Cannabis – and therefore CBD – has been used by civilizations for millennia. It features in ancient texts for Chinese herbal medicine and Ayurvedic medicine, which is practiced in India, and was often prescribed as a treatment for pain. However, due to the long-time prohibition of cannabis in most countries, the plant and its compounds medical benefits were lost to mainstream history until recently.  

In the next section, we’ll look at the advantages of CBD for chronic pain, arthritis pain (inflammatory) and multiple sclerosis pain (neuropathic).  

Chronic pain 

According to the study in Neurotherapeutics, there is “substantial evidence” that cannabis and CBD works as a treatment for chronic pain. The review looked at data from a variety of studies, giving it much more validity than an isolated piece of research.  

Another great bonus with CBD is that patients do not usually have to increase their dose over time, as the body doesn’t build a tolerance to CBD, according to a study in the Journal of Experimental Medicine. This contrasts with opioid painkillers, which are not only addictive, but often leave patients needing stronger and stronger drugs over time to continue experiencing significant pain relief. CBD vape oil is incredibly efficient, and can ease pain within minutes of being administered. 

Arthritis pain 

CBD is an effective remedy for arthritis pain and seems to be even better when applied topically. This is because when CBD oil is rubbed into the skin, it interacts with the cannabinoid receptors in this system, instead of travelling all over the body. Essentially, the CBD is only operating in the area it’s needed.  

Studies have shown that CBD helps to reduce inflammation as well as pain perception and comes with no notable side effects. We still need more research into cannabis as an arthritis treatment, with some studies suggesting that THC also has extraordinarily potent anti-inflammatory effects.  

Multiple sclerosis pain  

Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that causes neuropathic pain, which manifests from the effects it has on the nervous system and the brain. The worst multiple sclerosis pain tends to come from muscle spasms, the worst of which can leave people with a consistent, severe pain, which has historically been tough to treat.  

However, research shows that CBD is an antispasmodic compound that helps to ease pain by reducing spasticity. The extent of this pain relief is still up for some debate, with limited studies, however many patients are finding that it helps. Cannabis therapy (both CBD and THC) is offered to multiple sclerosis patients in several countries, in the form of a sublingual spray, which is applied directly under the tongue in accurate doses. 


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