How Does CBD Oil Help Pain?
Pain is a part of life. As much as we all try to avoid pain, the reality remains that we do not experience growth without it. Some types of pain that are not necessary, though. I’m talking about chronic pain caused by an underlying health condition.
Over the years, the world of medicine has come up with different ways to help people manage pain, the most common of which comes in the form of pharmaceutical drugs.
While definitely the most effective in reducing pain, these drugs do not come without side effects. But what if the next time you have a migraine headache or a pain in one of your knees, instead of popping a pill, you took something more natural instead?
Something like CBD, perhaps? That is correct. CBD, or cannabidiol, is taking the medical world by storm because of its potential to help with pain management. The question, how does it work? Or, does it even work at all? Let’s find out!
A Background on CBD and Pain
CBD is short for Cannabidiol, the new shining star in the health industry today. Producers of this powerful plant compound continue to promote it as an effective fix against a myriad of health problems, ranging from mental conditions to physical pain. It’s not until recently that this product has been made legal in the United States, considering that it is sourced from a very controversial plant—industrial hemp.
CBD is a fresh product, but it’s also not new. For a decade now, many CBD-based products have already come out, mostly in the form of food and beverage. Today, you can enjoy CBD in the form of a capsule, tincture, topical cream, or even candy and coffee. CBD products for pets are also available.
Before we move on, it would be helpful for us to understand what qualifies as “pain.” Medically speaking, pain may belong to one of three categories. The first one is neuropathic pain or pain that’s caused by either nerve damage or inflammation of the nerves. Sciatica and carpal tunnel syndrome are examples of this type of pain.
And then there’s acute pain, also known as nociceptive pain. This type of pain often comes as a result of tissue damage or injury, such as when a bone is broken or when two bones rub against each other as a result of arthritis.
And finally, there’s what’s known as centralized pain, also referred to as nociplastic pain. This type of pain comes from conditions like fibromyalgia, or other overlapping pain conditions including tension headaches, migraines, and the like. In the following section, we’ll take a look at how CBD works for pain relief and what studies exist proving that CBD is indeed effective against pain.
How CBD Works
I’ve mentioned in many of my recent works how CBD affects the body, and that is via a system called the ECS or the endocannabinoid system. The ECS is the system in the body responsible for modulating the regulation of the neuroendocrine system.
The neuroendocrine system plays a role in regulating how different bodily organs function, as well as the body’s stress response. It also contributes to maintaining a healthy balance across the body’s physiological systems.
CBD is also actively involved in the regulation of various immune system functions, appetite, and pain management. Since CBD helps stimulate the ECS, it helps promote homeostasis at the same time, helping reduce pain sensation and inhibit inflammation.
For this reason, many people use CBD products to treat chronic pain. CBD oil, in particular, is a favorite of many as it is found to be effective against inflammation, pain, and discomfort associated with several health conditions.
CBD and Pain Management
There are not a lot of human studies done on CBD’s potential for pain relief, but animal studies have been promising. For instance, in 2016, a study was done to find out the effects of CBD on animal subjects suffering from arthritis. For four days in a row, researchers used CBD gels on the affected area. After the study, the researchers noted a significant reduction in inflammation and overall pain with no obvious side effects.
In a similar study in 2017, researchers looked at the effects of CBD on migraines. The study involved the use of CBD and THC. One group of participants were given a combination of the two compounds, with one compound containing 9% CBD and essentially no THC. Meanwhile, the other compound contained 19% THC. These compounds were taken orally.
During the first phase of the study, researchers found that doses kept under 100mg didn’t deliver any significant effect. Acute pain was only reduced by 55% when the researchers increased the doses to 200 mg. For the second phase of the study, researchers found that the combination of CBD and THC reduced the frequency of attacks by 40%.
CBD and THC — A Great Combination for Pain Relief!
Existing studies suggest that CBD is much more effective for pain relief when it is combined with THC. It’s not to say that CBD alone doesn’t produce any benefits. It does. However, it seems that the beneficial effects of CBD are amplified when it’s used in conjunction with THC. It seems that when taken together, CBD and THC delivers a more significant effect. THC is the component in hemp that can get you high, but with CBD, the psychoactive effects of THC seem to be inhibited.
Although CBD may work better when used in conjunction with THC, it’s important to understand that CBD affects people differently. Besides, people’s goals for using CBD are different. A person using CBD for Crohn’s disease, for instance, will require a different ideal ratio of CBD to THC than someone who might need CBD for muscle pain. In short, no one ratio or dosage that will work for everyone.
Does this mean CBD without THC won’t be as effective? By no means. There is a lot of research suggesting the CBD can deliver significant effects on its own. The great thing about CBD and THC taken together is that it delivers what is known as the “entourage effect,” which increases the medicinal utility of the two compounds. However, for people who are wary about THC, there are also what’s referred to as isolate products, which contain only CBD as the active ingredient and with zero THC.
For some conditions, applying cream directly to the source of pain makes more sense. For others, consuming CBD oil may deliver results more instantaneously. At the end of the day, the quality of CBD oil also plays a huge role. As for me, I only recommend Green Roads when it comes to CBD-based products.