CBD has gotten a lot of attention lately as more science corroborates patient reports. The cannabinoid is known for its ability to reduce inflammation and decrease seizures. For some, controlling inflammation is the biggest factor in reducing pain. In this guide, we’ll answer the question – is CBD an effective option for pain management?
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is the most dominant cannabinoid in hemp and the second most dominant cannabinoid in cannabis. It is not intoxicating – meaning that it does not produce a high. It interacts with certain cannabinoid receptors throughout the body to help promote balance (homeostasis).
CBD is not legal in all U.S. states. Some states have specific laws banning its possession, use and sale. It is important to view your state’s regulations prior to making a purchase.
Several scientific studies have been completed that indicate the power of CBD for reducing inflammation. The cannabinoid can interact with cannabinoid receptors throughout the body that aid the endocannabinoid system in proper regulation. CBD can indirectly interact with some receptors but directly with others.
The central and peripheral nervous systems play a role in pain signaling. Inflammation can be caused by a number of factors from natural age progression, an autoimmune disease, residual effects of surgery or an injury. Pharmaceutical options for inflammation reduction can have negative effects on the body with long-term use.
CBD works with the body and with the endocannabinoid system to regulate inflammatory response. This helps to reduce inflammation. The reduction of inflammation reduces stress on joints, muscles and nerves. The result of reduced stress and inflammation is often less pain.
Adopting a CBD regimen may help someone with chronic inflammatory issues – such as IBD, IBS, arthritis and other disorders, to experience less pain less frequently.
How CBD Works in the Body
The human body is already designed to accept cannabinoids. The endocannabinoid system exists in all mammals and acts as a pathway for cannabinoids to interact with receptors and neurotransmitters throughout it. CBD does not directly bind to CB1 and CB2 receptors, but it does interact with them indirectly.
The indirect interaction allows CBD to be a more versatile cannabinoid. The CB1 and CB2 receptors in the body are designed to accept cannabinoids, including CBD. The interaction allowed permits the body to “fix itself” by sending proper signals, calming actions and transmitting the right messages to the central and peripheral nervous systems.
CBD can somewhat be considered an agonist for the serotonin receptor, which may be a reason that CBD is also known to help improve mood.
It can help the body trigger itself to create more endocannabinoids itself by inhibiting FAAH. The body produces its own endocannabinoids anyway, but a sufficient amount isn’t always available or able to be produced.
CBD for Pain Management
People around the world are trading in their prescriptions for harmful narcotics for natural alternatives – cannabis and hemp. The side effects of pharmaceuticals can cause side effects that may lead to more pharmaceuticals being added to your regimen. Some side effects are unpleasant and hinder a person’s ability to function.
One of the leading causes of chronic pain is inflammation. When you are able to reduce inflammation, less pain or no pain may be the result. This is especially important for those with inflammatory-centric diseases like Crohn’s disease and arthritis.
The endocannabinoid system is responsible for regulating pain. When it is unable to produce enough endocannabinoids itself, the body is not able to respond appropriately to pain signals. This may mean that a deficient body may receive more frequent sensations of pain.
It is important to understand that there are different types of pain. Some pain is generated in the nerves. When nerves are surged with electricity or overreact, this can cause spasms, burning/stinging pain and weakness of some areas of the body. CBD is able to work efficiently to calm nerve response so that they react appropriately and calm their over-activity.
Pain can also generate in the bones from a deterioration of cartilage, tissue and muscle. While injections may help put a buffer between the bones, there is still friction and pain. CBD may help reduce the sensation or experience of pain to make mobility a little easier.
Neurogenic pain starts in the nervous system. Disruption of signals may cause spasms, mood shifts and other symptoms that can make normal daily activities impossible. CBD can work with receptors within the nervous system to calm those reactions and actions to help return the body to normal function.
CBD May Not be enough for Everyone
It is important to understand that CBD alone may be enough for some chronic pain disorders, but it may not be enough for everyone. When CBD is combined with plant-based terpenes in a formula that is specifically designed for a symptom, it often has higher efficacy. Terpenes have accepted therapeutic benefits and are likely already ingested daily in the foods you eat. The amounts in food, however, are very small so it may not be enough.
For some, seeking formulas of CBD plus terpenes is more beneficial and produces better results.
There are also instances where some types of pain may require the combination of CBD and THC. The concentration of CBD, however, should be much higher than THC to prevent intoxicating effects. When CBD and THC are combined together, or are derived from a high-CBD, low-THC cannabis strain, the entourage effect is achieved better. The entourage effect refers to whole plant medicine, or all cannabinoids and compounds of the plant working together synergistically in the body.
It is ideal to speak with a cannabis industry consultant and your treating physician to discuss the potential for CBD in your pain management plan. Many around the world have reduced or stopped use of pharmaceuticals once a proper CBD regimen has been established. It can take a bit of time to determine your ideal dose. It is important to understand that your ideal dose may change from day to day depending on the severity of your pain – and it is okay to slightly increase your dose when your pain levels are little higher.