- Aches & Pains
CBD Oil for Pain – Is It Effective?
A CDC report from 2018 suggested that up to 20% of Americans suffered from chronic pain. It is a similar story globally, where approximately 1.5 billion people have the issue. With such prevalence, it is hardly a shock to learn that CBD for pain is a growing phenomenon. The existing methods of treating pain involve the widespread usage of opioids.
These powerful painkillers attach to opioid receptors on nerve cells in the spinal cord, brain, and other parts of your body. The drugs block the pain messages sent from the body via the spinal cord to the brain. Although they effectively mask pain, this form of medication carries many risks. Opioids are also extremely addictive.
At least two million Americans misuse opioids, and over 100 die from an opioid-related dose daily. Popular opioids include codeine, fentanyl, and hydrocodone. One of the worst effects that these drugs have on your body is to restrict breathing. They kill by slowing your rate and depth of breathing.
Bizarrely, physicians continue to legally prescribe opioids, while you can only get cannabis oil for pain in certain states. What if there was an alternative that didn’t get you high? Imagine a way to combat pain without a high risk of addiction? Those who champion CBD oil for pain, believe they have found the answer. Let’s analyze the cannabinoid further, and see if it can help reduce pain.
Common Types of Pain
The pain sensation involves communication between the spinal cord, nerves, and the brain. There are several pain types, and they depend on the underlying cause. Humans feel pain in a variety of ways. Therefore, it is sometimes difficult to describe the kind of pain you feel to another person. It is also possible to experience more than one pain type simultaneously. Understanding the ‘types’ of pain may make it easier to describe the sensation to your physician.
This is short-term pain with a sudden onset. It often has a specific cause, such as tissue injury. It usually lasts for less than six months and recedes once you treat the underlying cause. You might feel an intense or sharp pain at first before it becomes less agonizing. Causes include surgery, burns, cuts, or broken bones.
This is the most common form of pain and lasts for more than six months. You experience chronic pain even after the initial injury heals. Examples of chronic pain include nerve damage, arthritis, and frequent headaches.
This is a sudden pain that manifests itself when you manage to control chronic pain with drugs. You may experience it after coughing or when you move. It also occurs when the effects of your painkillers wear off.
This type of pain often occurs in cancer patients when the disease affects a bone. Cancer can start in the bone or spread from another part of the body. It feels like a dull ache that refuses to go away.
You feel this pain when the tissues, organs, or muscles in the body are inflamed, damaged, or injured. An example is when you suffer from an enlarged liver that results in a stomach ache.
Also known as neuropathic pain, damage to the nerves cause this form of pain. It may feel like a stabbing, shooting, burning, or tingling sensation.
This happens when you feel the pain from an internal organ in a different area of the body. For example, you might feel pain in your right arm due to an enlarged liver. It possibly happens because the liver’s pain messages travel on the same nerve pathways as messages from the skin. The brain gets confused and believes the pain comes from elsewhere.
Amputees often experience phantom pain. It happens when the brain feels pain in the removed body part. It often feels like stabbing, cramping, or burning.
Medical professionals use the term ‘total pain’ to describe the different parts of your pain. It includes how it is affected by our behaviors and emotions.
How to Use CBD Oil for Pain
We will take a look at studies that investigate CBD oil for pain a little later. First, let’s discuss how you could use CBD oil for pain management. There is an endocannabinoid system (ECS) in every mammal. One of its core components is endocannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) in the immune system and brain.
These receptors are minuscule proteins attached to cells. They receive primarily chemical signals from various stimuli and aid your cells in their response. The response apparently helps create anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects. As a consequence, products such as CBD cream for pain could have benefits.
The method of consumption can have an impact on how quickly CBD takes effect. Oral consumption, such as CBD gummies for pain, is a convenient method. CBD oils or tinctures also fall into the oral mode, though you can also use them for sublingual consumption. There is likely a higher absorption rate if you use the sublingual gland beneath the tongue.
If you want fast-acting effects, vaporizing CBD is potentially your best bet. It offers higher bioavailability than oral or sublingual consumption and acts faster. Those seeking localized effects may prefer a CBD cream rubbed on a specific area. Topical application is useful if you have chronic pain in the shoulder, for example.
CBD Oil for Chronic Pain
The prohibition of marijuana has hindered attempts to study CBD for chronic pain. However, the 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the list of controlled substances. It is now federally legal to grow industrial hemp in the United States. While the bill didn’t legalize CBD explicitly, it has opened the market up. We hope it leads to an increase in the quantity and quality of CBD chronic pain studies.
A study by Vuckovic S., published in Frontiers in Pharmacology in 2018, looked into the effect of cannabinoids on pain. The researchers reviewed a lengthy list of studies. They concluded that cannabinoids are a “promising new therapeutic strategy for pain treatment.” Interestingly, the review suggested that vaporized or smoked cannabis is effective in reducing neuropathic pain.
There are details of a clinical trial into the mechanisms of CBD for chronic pain. You can read more on the U.S. National Library of Medicine website. The University of Utah has 52 volunteers and plans to compare the effects of CBD on chronic pain with that of a placebo. The study started in January 2020. We won’t know more until after they complete the investigation in December 2021.
Back in February 2008, Ethan Russo had a study published in Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management. He looked at cannabinoids in the management of ‘difficult to treat’ pain. At the time, he concluded that cannabinoids such as THC and CBD have therapeutic potential. In the intervening years, Russo consistently stated his belief in cannabinoids and the ‘entourage effect’ in particular.
CBD Oil for Arthritis Pain
There is some evidence that CBD for arthritis shows some promise. Researchers believe that cannabidiol affects receptors in the brain and the immune system. If they are correct, CBD could reduce inflammation and pain. As you may know, arthritis is a condition where one or more of the joints are inflamed. In theory, there is a link between CBD oil and arthritis symptom reduction.
Bruni et al. had a study published in Molecules in October 2018. It looked at different cannabinoid delivery systems for pain and inflammation treatment. The researchers pointed out that there were now over 1,000 articles published on cannabinoids and endocannabinoids annually. It seems as if low doses of intranasal cannabinoid sprays could have a positive effect on pain and inflammation.
CBD for Migraine pain
At least 12% of Americans have a migraine, and up to four million have chronic migraines. Attacks of this type of headache can last 4-72 hours. A 2017 study presented to the Third Congress of the European Academy of Neurology outlined the results of CBD use on patients with migraine.
It was a two-phase study. The first phase involved giving 48 people a combination of two compounds. One contained 19% THC; the other had 9% CBD and minimal THC. It was only when patients received doses of 200mg daily that they felt an effect. The cannabinoids reduced acute pain by 55%.
Phase II focused on 79 patients with cluster headaches and migraines. They received either 25mg of an antidepressant or 200mg of the THC-CBD combination daily. The treatment period was three months, and there was a four-week follow-up period. Overall, the cannabinoids reduced migraine attacks by over 40%. They also reduced pain ‘intensity’ by 43%. The THC-CBD was less effective on people with cluster headaches.
CBD Dosage for Pain
As far as CBD oil dosage goes, begin with a small amount at first to see how you react. Gradually increase until you feel a satisfactory effect. This is your ‘minimum therapeutic dose.’ The CBD oil for pain dosage depends on several factors such as your weight, body chemistry, and the condition you are treating.
A 235-pound person with chronic pain likely needs more CBD than a 165-pound individual with moderate pain. The ‘right’ CBD oil dosage for pain also depends on the quality of the product you use. You can begin with as little as 2.5mg of CBD daily.
CBD Oil for Pain
While there is a link between the endocannabinoid system and CBD, the compound doesn’t have a direct impact on the ECS or its receptors. Instead, it helps inhibit or activate other compounds in the ECS. A prime example is that CBD prevents the body from absorbing anandamide, the ‘bliss’ molecule.
Those who take CBD oil for pain often ask: “How long does it take CBD oil to work.?” Again, the answer is ‘it depends.’ Aside from physical factors, how you use cannabidiol matters. Consumed sublingually, you may find that CBD affects within 20 minutes. It can take up to an hour to ‘feel’ any benefits of an edible. If you vaporize your CBD, however, you may experience something in a matter of minutes.
Final Thoughts on CBD Oil for Pain
There is a lot to think about when considering CBD oil for pain management. Perhaps the most critical point is whether you want to vape, smoke, or eat CBD, or use the sublingual gland. It is also crucial to only buy from a brand that offers third-party lab reports. That way, you know that the CBD oil for pain you buy is probably legitimate.
Begin with a small dose of 2.5-5mg and see what happens. Increase gradually until you are happy with the results.