CBD For Pain Management

CBD For Pain Management

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive relative of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that has numerous health benefits including use for pain management. CBD interacts with receptors in the endocannabinoid system, which regulates everything from emotional reactions and motor control to energy balance. Scientists have been testing the usefulness of CBD as an analgesic or pain medication for the last two decades. The results are promising nevertheless. Here’s what we know so far about using CBD oil for pain relief.

The human body possesses an endocannabinoid system (ECS), which receives and interprets signals from cannabinoids. It also produces its own cannabinoids called endocannabinoids. The ECS plays a crucial role in regulating functions like sleep, immune-system responses, and pain. THC, when introduced into the body, triggers a “high” sensation by affecting the brain’s endocannabinoid receptors. This action activates the brain’s reward system, leading to the release of pleasure chemicals like dopamine.

Key Takeaways

  • CBD may elevate anandamide levels, leading to reduced pain perception and improved mood.
  • CBD shows potential for limiting inflammation in the brain and nervous system.
  • CBD, in combination with THC, has shown promise as a treatment for chronic pain conditions.
  • Sativex, a CBD-THC spray, has been effective in treating cancer-related pain and multiple sclerosis-associated pain.
  • CBD has potential anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties for arthritis and joint pain.
  • Sativex has been approved for treating neuropathic pain in multiple sclerosis patients.
  • Local application of CBD oil has shown promise for relieving peripheral neuropathy symptoms.

Will CBD Make You High?

CBD is a distinct compound from THC, and its effects are quite intricate. It does not produce a “high” or impair functioning but instead enhances the body’s utilization of its own endocannabinoid. As per a 2015 study published in Neurotherapeutics, CBD influences various receptor systems in the body and interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in conjunction with other cannabinoids.

One notable effect of CBD is its ability to elevate the body’s levels of anandamide, a compound associated with pain regulation, resulting in reduced pain perception and improved mood. Moreover, CBD may have a positive impact on inflammation in the brain and nervous system, potentially benefiting individuals dealing with pain, insomnia, and certain immune system responses.

CBD flower

CBD for Pain Relief

The FDA-approved CBD therapy is Epidiolex, intended for treating rare forms of epilepsy. Meanwhile, CBD has been approved in numerous countries for treating various diseases. For example, in the United Kingdom, it is licensed for multiple sclerosis, and in Canada, it’s used for cancer pain. Ongoing research suggests that CBD oil for pain may be helpful in medical conditions like arthritis and fibromyalgia. CBD may not be able to cure all types of pain on its own, but it can be helpful when combined with THC.

CBD compared to traditional pain relief medication

CBD for Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is described as pain that lasts for more than a few months. Studies have shown that CBD, typically in combination with THC, is a useful treatment for various chronic conditions, such as back and neck pain.

In clinical trials, Sativex, a spray containing equal parts of CBD and THC, has been found to be an effective analgesic for cancer-related pain. The spray is also used to treat pain associated with multiple sclerosis. It is approved for cancer pain treatment in Canada and is currently undergoing testing in the United States for approval and use.

Sativex has been shown to be an “effective and well-tolerated adjunctive therapy” for individuals with severe chronic pain caused by various diseases in a 2019 study. Researchers identified three types of pain: nociceptive (pain affecting bodily tissue), neuropathic (pain affecting nerves), and mixed pain. Sativex was successful in treating all three types of pain, but it was particularly effective in treating neuropathic pain.

In a previous study, CBD was found to be helpful in alleviating chronic pain in conditions such as multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injuries, albeit with a much smaller sample size.

CBD for Arthritis and Joint Pain

Arthritis is a broad term that refers to a wide range of joint-related diseases and discomforts. Swelling, pain, and stiffness in the joints are common symptoms that can develop over time.

CBD has shown potential as an anti-inflammatory agent and has already been proven as an analgesic for various diseases. However, clinical research on the use of CBD for arthritis is less extensive but ongoing.

Over 12 weeks, researchers examined the effects of topical CBD gel on subjects with knee pain caused by osteoarthritis. Participants took either 250 milligrams or 500 milligrams of CBD daily, divided into two administrations. Overall, CBD did not significantly increase participants’ weekly pain levels compared to the placebo. However, when researchers compared the average weekly worst pain and Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) physical function scores, participants taking 250 milligrams of CBD daily significantly outperformed placebo participants.

Meanwhile, a small study from 2019 suggests that combining CBD and THC may help those with fibromyalgia, a type of arthritis that causes pain and exhaustion throughout the body. According to the study, the combination of CBD-THC was better than placebo and any chemical alone in a single inhalation.

CBD for Neuropathic Pain

Neuropathic pain can be caused by various diseases and nerve or nervous system injuries. Tingling, numbness, muscle weakness, and sharp, shooting, burning, or stabbing pain are all symptoms of this type of pain.

Neuropathic pain is a typical symptom of multiple sclerosis (MS). The protective covering of nerve cells, a mixture of proteins and phospholipids, is worn away by this condition. Due to its effect in clinical studies, Sativex has already been approved as an MS treatment worldwide. For MS patients, studies suggest a daily dose of eight sprays, providing approximately 20 milligrams of CBD and 21.6 milligrams of THC. However, dosages vary among individuals, and each person must choose their appropriate dose.

A study published in 2020 considered locally applied CBD oil as a treatment for individuals with peripheral neuropathy or damage to the peripheral nervous system, which transmits information from the brain to the rest of the body. Local CBD dramatically reduced patients’ severe and sharp pain, as well as feelings of coldness and itching, compared to the placebo.

The Bottom Line

While numerous studies have indicated the potential benefits of CBD oil for pain relief, further research, particularly long-term studies involving human subjects, is required to gain a comprehensive understanding. Nevertheless, CBD oil exhibits promise as a pain treatment, with both scientific and anecdotal evidence. This evidence suggests its potential to manage chronic pain in various situations. One of the appealing aspects of CBD oil is its non-intoxicating nature. It also exhibits fewer side effects compared to many other pain medications.

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