“Ouch! Who put that there? It hurts!” That is what happens when you step on a Lego piece. While you say that and feel the highly unpleasant sensations in your foot, an intricate process occurs in your body. More accurately, nerve endings send electrical signals to your brain. This in turn releases painkillers called endorphins. The brain also generates processes, varying from instant and physical to long and emotional. That’s fine if the pain lasts just a minute while searching for a kid who scattered the toys on the floor. However, suffering from chronic or inflammatory pain may affect one’s overall wellbeing.
Pain affects more than your body. It’s psychologically stressful and can lead to anger and frustration. Both pain and stress may become a vicious cycle: pain increases stress levels, while increased stress levels make the pain worse. It is distracting and makes it difficult to concentrate.
Depending on your health condition, you may take opioid, non-opioid or anti-inflammatory medications. You may also relieve symptoms like inflammation, general pain, and discomfort with natural painkillers, such as cannabidiol.
Let’s see what the benefits of CBD products are and how it may alleviate your pain.
What makes CBD an effective painkiller?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the natural cannabis plant compounds. Unlike other cannabis compounds, CBD has many therapeutic benefits and doesn’t provoke any psychoactive effect. CBD is able to activate the receptors of the endocannabinoid system, the delicate network of cannabinoid receptors that keeps the homeostasis of all physiological functions. CBD activates and increases the activity of CB2 receptors spread in the body organs, on white blood cells, in the tonsils and the spleen. These body parts are responsible for the cardiovascular, immune, and muscular systems. This interaction helps to reduce pain signals when they come to the brain.
CBD represents an alternative method to treat people who want to take medications without any addiction and strong side effects. CBD may be helpful in treating different types of pain.
Some studies suggest that cannabis is an effective treatment for chronic pain in adults. When consumed, CBD interacts with ECS receptors to create a response to different stimuli, such as damages. This response helps to cause an anti-inflammatory effect and leads to pain relief. Due to this finding, scientists conclude that it is a beneficiary approach to chronic pain management. Some studies suggest that the use of CBD affects pain perception.
When the cells are damaged, they send signals to the inflammatory and immune cells. These cells release proteins and chemicals and activate the nerve endings by transmitting messages to the brain and spinal cord. These processes cause the sensation of pain.
There are two ways to relieve such pain: reduce inflammation or block pain transmission. Fortunately, CBD may be helpful in both cases.
Due to its potent anti-inflammatory properties, the cannabidiol may block the inflammatory mediators and increase the anti-inflammatory activity of the immune system cells.
Moreover, CBD may activate serotonin receptors which lower anxiety and stress. A good mood deflects the attention from pain and helps to reduce the pain intensity.
Neuropathic pain can occur for various reasons. It may be due to hard traumas which damage nerves. Such types of pain can be a symptom of multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, or diabetes. Cell destruction as a result of chemotherapy can also cause neuropathic pain.
Neuropathic pain is more challenging to treat than inflammation pain as it can’t be relieved by non-steroid anti-inflammatory medications. However, CBD may reduce neuropathic pain. Sciatic nerve compression can result in Ischias. Patients with ischias suffer from severe lumbar pain. CBD consumption activates cannabinoid receptors and relieves the pain.
Cannabidiol may also help to reduce pain caused by chemotherapy with the help of serotonin receptors activation. Moreover, it doesn’t affect the chemotherapeutic medications. For that reason, oncological patients can use can use CBD in preventative treatment.
Central pain is a neurological condition that includes constant, moderate to severe pain due to damage to the central nervous system. It may appear as the result of a trauma or due to uncertain reasons. Due to unclear origin, central pain may be difficult to treat. Fibromyalgia, chronic pain in bones and muscles, is a type of central pain. Transmitters and processes in the brain are damaged, and the sensation of pain occurs. Some studies have shown the effectiveness of CBD in treating central pain.
CBD benefits for specific diseases
CBD can be useful in the following health conditions:
An epileptic fit is a sudden attack of epilepsy, including loss of consciousness with or without convulsions. Cannabidiol has been found to decrease the number of epileptic fits by half. Some CBD-based medications are used for childhood epilepsy treatment.
This type of inflammation affects nerve cells of the brain and spinal cord. Patients suffer from severe pain due to muscle spasms. Regular consumption of CBD may help to reduce the spasms and relieve the pain.
It is a severe headache affecting one or both sides of the head, which can last up to 72 hours and has an unclear origin. It may be accompanied by a so-called aura, which causes vision changes or tingling in your hands or face. Some studies have shown that CBD could relieve headache by improving the level of serotonin in the brain. Some studies also imply that the combination of both CBD and THC can help in acute pain and migraine reduction.
Some scientists hypothesize that CBD could have the potential to help people manage pain caused by arthritis. Studies on animals have shown that CBD consumption may significantly reduce the inflammation, swelling, and overall pain in the joints. Nevertheless, further studies on humans are needed to claim the theory to be true.
Studies on mice showed that CBD is able to shrink cancerous tumours. However, there was no such research on humans. Most studies that involved experiments on humans with cancer considered pain management properties of CBD and whether or not it is effective in pain relief. The National Cancer Institute has claimed that CBD may reduce chemotherapy side effects such as nausea, fatigue, appetite loss, and pain.
CBD Oil for Pain
CBD Oil is the most popular CBD product for pain management. It is produced by extracting CBD from the cannabis plant, then diluting it with a carrier oil like coconut, grape seed or hemp seed oil. Oils take longer to cause an effect than CBD vapes and topicals. CBD oils take almost the same time to bring relief as CBD edibles because the oil ends are metabolised through the same pathways as edibles. To use the oil, you should place it under the tongue and hold for 30-90 seconds for better absorption.
The main sources of CBD Oil:
This is the purest type of CBD as it doesn’t contain any other compounds. CBD Isolate doesn’t cause psychoactive effects and is considered to be safe. However, when buying a CBD Isolate, it’s important to check the purity. Most isolates are in the 99.9+% range of purity with no detectable traces of THC. There are also lower purity options, such as 99.5%. THC traces may be detected on a drug test. CBD Isolate has no flavour. It is the best option for first-time users, individuals who are sensitive to other cannabinoids such as THC, or for those who undergo drug tests. CBD Isolate is recommended to those who need to take high doses of CBD.
Besides cannabidiol, CBD oil contains terpenes, flavonoids and other cannabinoids. Full-spectrum CBD may contain THC, a psychoactive compound which may cause side-effects and be detected on a drug test. As it includes a full spectrum of plant compounds, it may produce an intense aroma and flavour. Full-spectrum CBD is a good option in case you need a more potent effect or have more severe conditions that other CBD types could not alleviate.
It is the same CBD type as Full-Spectrum, but contains no THC. Broad Spectrum CBD has all the benefits of the cannabis plant and provides “entourage effect” with no psychoactive side effects. This type is the best choice for individuals who are unsure about THC usage, are sensitive to THC, or those who live in the areas where THC usage is forbidden.
The best-quality CBD oil is made of the whole cannabis plant because it retains all the useful elements such as terpenes and flavonoids, which increase the benefits of cannabidiol. In some countries, full-spectrum CBD oil is illegal due to THC content. However, in the UK, the consumption of full-spectrum CBD oil is allowed if it doesn’t have more than 0.2% THC.
The right dose of CBD oil to relieve pain depends on various factors:
- The unique body features, such as age, weight, diet;
- CBD and other medications tolerance;
- Health condition and pain severity;
- CBD concentration;
- CBD product.
To choose the most appropriate CBD dosage, you should:
- Consult your physician, especially if you have a severe medical condition or take other medications;
- Check the product label and follow the recommendations;
- Calculate the dosage depending on body weight.
It is recommended to start with lower doses and increase the amounts gradually. You may begin below the prescribed or calculated amount and increase the serving size every few days.
When you reach the predefined CBD dosage, you can keep on increasing the dose or stop and enjoy it. This is the best way to follow up on the body’s reaction to CBD and decide on the dosage that works best for your health.
Potential side effects
CBD products are generally well-tolerated. However, as with any product, it may cause side effects, such as:
- dry mouth
- low blood pressure
- appetite loss
- weight loss or weight gain
According to the World Health Organisation, the intake of CBD products, even in large quantities, is considered safe and non-toxic. Side effects that can occur due to consumption of high CBD dose are mild and disappear fast. So far, no cases of CBD overdose have been reported.
In 2011, scientists studying the application of CBD in humans confirmed that even regular consumption of large CBD doses, up to 1,500 mg CBD per day, was well-tolerated.
However, you should be extra cautious and consult with a doctor on CBD consumption if you take other medications or supplements. It may lead to the profound effect of either product when consumed simultaneously or cause unexpected further side effects.
How to choose the best CBD product?
It is highly recommended to take extra care in selecting a CBD product. The CBD market is undergoing quick growth, which attracts a lot of companies. As with any market, not all of them have the consumers’ best interest in mind when manufacturing the products. Some products may have a poor list of ingredients.
When searching for CBD products of high quality, you should inquire about certificates from the manufacturer. They act as a confirmation that you are getting legal CBD products and that they won’t harm your health.
Manufacturers should have a particular document, called the Certificate of Analysis (COA), which is usually found on the company’s website or upon client request. The Certificate lists the components and the amount of each ingredient, its legality and absence of harmful ingredients or THC. It confirms the non-psychoactive effect of a CBD product.
Only accredited laboratories may provide test results of CBD products to ensure that the analysis is independent and accurate. A certificate acts as an actual confirmation of the high quality and natural origin of the product. You can check the certificate results of a product you are interested in on the website or inquire through a manufacturer.
Choose products wisely and do your research in advance to get the most out of your experience with CBD.