Does CBD Work for Pain Management?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a major cannabinoid, a chemical compound found naturally in cannabis (hemp and marijuana) plants. CBD is not responsible for the “high” sensation associated with cannabis. The intoxicating effect is caused by tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a different cannabinoid.
People who rely on medications such as opioids to manage their chronic pain can use CBD as an alternative. Unlike opioids, CBD is not habit-forming and does not cause severe side effects. So far, the research into using CBD for pain management has been promising. Nevertheless, more research is needed to verify its efficacy and to fully understand how it works in the human body.
Read on to learn more about the possible benefits of CBD use for pain management.
CBD and chronic pain relief
Every human body is equipped with a neurotransmission system called the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
Experts believe that CBD interacts with receptors in the ECS located in the brain and immune system.
These interactions cause analgesic (pain relieving) and anti-inflammatory effects that can help with pain management. This is good news for people who have chronic pain such as back pain, tension headaches and migraines, pelvic pain, fibromyalgia, arthritis, neuropathic pain, psychogenic pain, and idiopathic pain.
A review which looked at studies conducted between 1975 and 2018 found that CBD was an effective relief from overall pain and did not cause negative side effects. The studies observed different kinds of pain, such as:
- Cancer pain
- Neuropathic pain
CBD and arthritis pain relief
A study conducted in 2016 found that CBD had anti-inflammatory and pain relieving effects in rats with arthritis. The rats received a transdermal gel containing CBD, which is absorbed through the skin and was noted by the study’s authors to be more effective than orally administered CBD because CBD topical applications avoid first pass metabolism, where much of the drug is metabolized by the gastrointestinal system before being circulated in the bloodstream.
The study also found that rats given very low doses of CBD did not improve the rats’ pain and swelling. There was reduced inflammation and overall pain relief in the rats’ effected joints when given a medium dose. When given very high doses, there were similar results as when given a medium dose. There were no obvious side effects.
More human studies are needed, but the pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects of CBD, in particular topical CBD products, could potentially help people with arthritis.
CBD and cancer-related pain relief
A study conducted with mice has shown that CBD can cause significant reduction in size of cancerous tumors. Most human studies have looked at the way CBD can be used to manage pain caused by cancer and cancer treatments.
The National Cancer Institute has stated that CBD is a possible treatment option for reducing a number of side effects associated with chemotherapy, including:
- Poor sleep
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of appetite
A study on patients with intractable cancer-related pain showed that subjects who were administered oral sprays with THC-CBD extract used in conjunction with opioids had more pain relief than subjects who used opioids alone.
A follow-on study reaffirmed the findings, showing that patients who received the oral spray had effective pain relief with no major side effects and no need to increase the dose over time.
CBD and migraine headache pain relief
Recent studies on CBD and migraine headaches are limited to using CBD combined with THC. More research is needed to look at the effects of CBD alone on migraine headaches.
The results from one of these studies indicate that CBD with THC can be used to decrease acute pain and cause less intense pain for people suffering with migraine headaches. This treatment was slightly more effective than a dose of amitriptyline, an antidepressant used in preventing migraines.
The study also showed that participants who had cluster headaches also had relief with the combination of CBD and THC if they had a childhood history of migraine headaches.
CBD side effects
CBD is generally well tolerated and is considered safe; however, it may cause adverse reactions in some people.
The most commonly experienced side effects in studies include:
- Changes in appetite and weight
CBD has drug interactions with some medications. Speak to your medical practitioner about CBD safety prior to starting any treatment.
One mice study showed that CBD-rich cannabis extracts may possibly cause acute liver toxicity. However, some the mice in the study were ministered extremely large doses of the extract.
Summary Although CBD is generally considered safe, it may cause adverse side effects like tiredness and diarrhea in some people. It may also interact with certain medications.
How to buy CBD
CBD is now a popular remedy for conditions such as chronic pain, arthritis, cancer pain, and headaches. Although CBD is considered generally safe, it is important to know that your CBD is contaminant-free from the source soil and from any byproducts in production.
Many hemp farmers in the United States use proper growing methods which reduce the risk of contamination. Look for CBD grown by these farmers or at a farm you can trust. Also, many extraction methods leave behind solvent residues that can cause health issues when inhaled or ingested. Clean extraction methods, such as CO2, minimize the risk for byproducts remaining in CBD.
Be sure to check your CBD product’s certificate of analysis (COA) from a reputable third-party laboratory which will verify the product’s CBD concentration a well and shows results from contaminant tests.
For pain relief, Wellness Garden Medicinals offers an all-natural CBD topical salve which contains a concentration of 500mg of CBD in addition 11 essential oils and herbal extracts selected for their potent analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and skin conditioning properties
For best results, use the topical salve in combination with an MCT oil-based sublingual tincture, available in three concentrations in either natural mint or natural lemon flavors.