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CBD for Pain Relief

by | Aug 4, 2020 | Pain Relief | 0 comments

Pain and the History of Pain Relief

Pain and pain relief have been tied to each other for centuries. In the 1600s, doctors gave their patients opium for pain. In the 1900s, morphine was the pain reliever of choice. Today, opioids are usually prescribed for pain [1]. Obviously there have been many bumps along the way, with dangerous missteps and confusing conclusions about what works and what doesn’t. 

Our bodies do their best to deal with pain when it’s introduced by using the endocannabinoid system (ECS), a process that regulates the human body, including mood, appetite, and pain levels. In short, this system is made up of molecules that are produced as needed, receptors that bind the molecules, and enzymes that break down the molecules once they are no longer needed. Combined together, these processes contribute to your internal homeostasis, or the stability of your internal environment. If something — say pain — is introduced to that environment, your endocannabinoid system will activate and help move your body back to its preferred condition. This helps speed up recovery and maintain homeostasis, and is the goal of pain management programs. 

From chronic back pain to temporary pain from a sports injury, finding relief is important to a person’s overall well-being and happiness. New steps have been made to introduce a more humane and natural way to manage pain with CBD products. With so many years of dangerous pain management behind us, the introduction of a natural remedy that actually works is a welcome one. 

What is CBD and How Does it Relate to Pain?

Cannabis is a plant with a long history of medicinal value going back thousands of years. Cannabidiol (CBD) is a chemical compound found in the flower of the marijuana plant, however unlike THC, it doesn’t have intoxicating effects. In recent years the medical and scientific communities have been interested in the therapeutic effects of CBD and finding new ways it can be used to help patients. CBD is quickly becoming a preferred treatment for pain management.

Because CBD doesn’t bind to the ECS receptors, it is believed it keeps the endocannabinoids from being broken down, which allows them to have more of an effect on the body. Experts are still researching how exactly CBD interacts with the ECS system, but the current research does suggest that CBD has a beneficial impact on pain [2].

CBD for Chronic Pain

Arthritis Pain

In the United States alone, 23% of adults suffer from arthritis [3], a painful inflammation of the joints. It can affect just one joint or several, causing debilitating pain to its victims. It is most commonly seen in people over the age of 65, but has been known to develop in people of any age range [4]

Researchers have been studying the benefits of CBD on arthritis pain and the results are very positive. Their studies have indicated that CBD may help reduce inflammatory pain by changing the way pain receptors react to stimuli [5]. It may also work to reduce joint inflammation and protect the nerves [6]

While there are other treatments for arthritis pain available, many of them have less than desirable side effects. CBD offers a reliable option for pain management without the risk of dangerous side effects. 

Back Pain

We’ve all had it. Whether it be a stiff back after a day of strenuous activity, or chronic back pain after an injury or years of hard work. Our backs hurt. In fact, lower back pain is the leading cause of disability around the world [7]. Some back pain can be resolved by rest alone, but often recovery requires treatment. 

Hot and cold packs can be effective for back pain, however depending on the severity of the pain, stronger pain management may be required. This can be a dangerous world to wander into. We all want to manage our pain, but many don’t want to risk unnecessarily dangerous drugs. This is where CBD can help. 

Instead of taking prescription opioids for back pain, many are turning to CBD. CBD has no dangerous side effects, is not habit forming, and has been shown to be an helpful option for managing inflammatory back pain [8]. Using CBD along with stronger medications may actually help a person reduce their need for the more potent pills. What does that really mean? It means combining CBD with stronger pain medication may help cut down on dependency and the more harmful side effects that go along with it [9]. You should always check with your doctor before combining CBD with any medications. They can help you determine correct dosages and treatment plans. 

Neuropathic Pain

Chronic neuropathic pain comes from damaged nerves, which is different than the tissue pain described above. Research has shown that CBD may be a treatment option for both types of pain, with many people swearing by CBD as a treatment for their neuropathic pain including nerve trauma and widespread nerve damage [10]

Neuropathic pain is one of the most difficult to treat, yet research studies have revealed that cannabis and CBD can be beneficial to those patients who have not responded well to pharmaceutical treatments [11]

Cancer Pain

While there are some studies about how CBD can help shrink cancerous tumors [12], most cancer patients turn to CBD for help managing the pain related to cancer and its treatment. Chemotherapy can cause vomiting, lack of appetite, and pain — side effects CBD may be helpful in reducing [13].

Like other types of treatment for pain, studies have found that CBD can be used alone or in combination with opioids to heighten their usefulness and reduce the required dosage needed to get the benefits [14].

CBD for Other Types of Pain

Sports Injury

It’s important to stay active, we all know this, but what happens when you injure yourself during those activities? It usually involves rest and healing, but it could also involve powerful medications that have the potential to derail your entire training program, or cause dependency on that drug. CBD is an alternative treatment for pain without dependency or training interference. 

Just as CBD may be effective at reducing chronic pain, it may also be effective in easing musculoskeletal pain from exercise [15]. While many people turn to anti-inflammatory drugs like Ibuprofen after a sports injury, those drugs can have negative side effects after prolonged use, such as renal damage and increased risk of heart attack and stroke [16]

Sore Muscles

Besides its anti-inflammatory benefits, it is believed CBD’s analgesic effect makes it useful for help with sore or tired muscles. With the added benefit of pain relief, CBD can go a long way to help relax and ease the discomfort of those sore overworked muscles [17]

If you’re an athlete and enjoy high-intensity workouts, you may want to try CBD before and after a workout. Some believe this helps ease muscles into and out of anaerobic mode. Combined with proper stretching and massage, some people notice a discernible difference in recovery [18].

Skin Conditions

Psoriasis and eczema are both autoimmune conditions that are painful and sometimes embarrassing. While incurable, there are plenty of treatments available to those who suffer. Skin conditions are often prescribed strong topical creams or steroids. Unfortunately steroids have severe side effects, including hemorrhages, scars, and prematurely aged skin [19]. Because of its anti-inflammatory benefits and natural pain relief, CBD has become more and more popular as an option for people who suffer from these skin conditions [20]

Most people think of acne as a cosmetic issue, but it can actually be a very painful condition that needs more than just a coverup treatment. Research has found that CBD may help reduce the formation of sebum in sebaceous tissue, therefore reducing the likelihood of acne or the severity of an outbreak [21]

Is CBD Right for You

You know your body better than anyone and you know what is right for it. As a relatively new treatment, CBD has been making strides towards the top of alternative treatments for a number of common ailments. It may offer relief to people who had previously given up hope or those who have histories or aversions to the often chaotic world of prescription drugs. 

You have options when it comes to CBD and how you take it, but one of the most fast acting solutions is to smoke it. If you’re looking for immediate relief in an easy to use format, feel free to check out our smokable CBD options. CBD may be able to help you and your pain, but you should always check with your doctor before adding it to your treatment plan.