How CBD Works for Pain Relief
Pain is one of the most basic natural elements experienced by humans and animals; it’s our bodies’ way of telling us when something is wrong or when we’re at risk of physical harm.
However, pain can often be, well, a pain. Some individuals face chronic pain, which can occur every day, and some experience needless pain caused by a bodily anomaly such as epilepsy or an autoimmune disease.
In modern times, pain has been treated with pharmaceutical medications such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen. For someone who only experiences the occasional headache, taking a Tylenol is no issue. However, those who suffer from crippling, chronic pain often require much stronger painkillers that contain addictive opiates and opioids.
Luckily, we may have found relief from intense and/or recurring pain in the form of a natural, safe product: cannabidiol, better known as CBD.
How Does CBD Help with Pain?
Did you know that we humans have our own receptors for CBD? This is called the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is designed to receive and process endocannabinoids: a series of 120 chemical compounds derived from plants, though we most often connect them the cannabis plant. CBD and one of its counterparts, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are just two members of this variety of cannabinoids, and while THC can get you high, CBD may help you heal.
CBD and THC work in different ways; THC triggers a flood of the reward chemical known as dopamine in the ECS in order to achieve a high. CDB, on the other hand, will give off no psychoactive effects like THC does, but it can do multiple things through the ECS, and different strains of CBD can perform uniquely.
The interaction of CBD with our bodies can be highly complex, but some of the ways in which it behaves in our nervous systems may hold key to reducing pain in the body.
One especially important aspect is that CBD appears to keep a component known as anandamide, which helps the body cope with pain, from being fully metabolized.
CBD encourages the anandamide to spread throughout the body, which can reduce the feeling of pain throughout our bodies. Moreover, it may even reduce the neurotransmitter known as glutamate, which relays the feeling of pain, in the brain and spinal cord.
According to the clinical trials conducted in this study, CBD also works against pain (even severe chronic pain) by strengthening the receptors in our nervous systems which help us process and regulate inflammatory and neuropathic pain.
Basically, taking CBD doesn’t turn off pain receptors, it helps fortify your nervous system against it, making pain and bodily discomfort more bearable.
CBD for Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis are highly associated with severe inflammation. Since CBD has evidence of anti-inflammatory properties, it may help alleviate arthritic pain. Research such as this 2016 study demonstrated that demonstrated significantly reduced pain and inflammation, that’s normally characteristic of arthritis, via transdermal application. Just as with muscle aches, CBD is most effective for relieving arthritic pain via transdermal application.
CBD for Joint and Muscle Pain
Athletes who endure constant strenuous activity need a treatment that they can regularly rely on to ease joint and muscle pain. And yet, jocks and superjocks alike recognize that drugs, like ibuprofen and acetaminophen, aren’t advisable as a consistent source of pain relief due to the tolerance that might build over time.
While CBD for athletes has been barely researched, the evidence regarding arthritis and osteoporosis indicate that it could similarly alleviate inflammation in those who frequently undergo high-impact movements like running and jumping. Athletes seeking a natural, non habit-forming pain remedy should implement a topical CBD-infused cream into a regimen that already includes a cool-down period, stretching and alternating between heat and cold.
CBD for Headaches and Migraines
The inflammation that can be reduced by CBD may not be limited to joints and muscles; it could even be used for headache pain and migraines. However, CBD for migraine and headache relief hasn’t been researched as much as the same effects coming from cannabis. That being said, there is still evidence that CBD can help with headaches; hopefully future research will come up with more conclusive results.
Contact Your Physician
If you believe that CBD is a viable alternative for your pain-related needs, always talk to your doctor before using it.
Since CBD is not yet full legal on the federal level, it can be difficult to determine the best option by yourself. On top of that, some individuals have underlying conditions which may not be suitable for certain CBD products; for example, those using blood thinners will want to steer clear, since CBD can raise levels of the natural blood thinner in your body known as coumadin. In other instances, those with respiratory problems should not use CBD by vaping.
Your physician can help you determine the safest product for your needs as well as the correct dosage. That being said, if you wish to use CBD for a less serious ailment, and cannot obtain a doctor’s recommendation, make sure to keep yourself as informed as possible, listen to reputable sources on CBD oil for pain, and start with the lowest dosage possible.