CBD For Pain

With the legalization of marijuana and hemp in several states over the past few years, many people are interested in CBD oil.

Can it act as an alternative pain reliever for those in chronic pain? Can it improve the opioid epidemic? Regardless of which side of the marijuana legalization debate you fall on, it is undeniable that CBD shows promise.

If effective, it could improve the lives of those with cancer, back pain, and neurological conditions without a psychogenic high. So, is it effective and what do we know about CBD and CBD oil?

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What is CBD and How Can It Affect Pain?

The legalization of marijuana for both recreational and medical use in many states has greatly increased interest in CBD and THC for managing pain. Marijuana has long been praised for its pain-relieving effects, specifically for people with cancer.

With an opioid epidemic on our hands, we also have to ask if CBD oil is a natural and safe alternative to opioids? Can we manage pain without addiction safely and effectively with CBD?

CBD and Your Body

CBD or cannabidiol is a chemical derived from cannabis plants, primarily from industrial hemp, not marijuana. Unlike THC or tetrahydrocannabinol, which is found in marijuana, it does not produce a “high.” However, both compounds share some interesting qualities.

CBD and THC both interact with your body’s endocannabinoid system, a system that sends signals to your receptors in cells throughout your body. Your body produces its own cannabidiols naturally using this system, which can alter how we perceive pain and reduce or increase inflammation.

The cannabidiols communicate and regulate the cells in your body using the receptors CB1 and CB2.

While THC affects CB1 receptors, CBD only affects CB2 receptors. CB1 receptors are responsible for the “high” sensation of THC. CBD, on the other hand, doesn’t affect those receptors and therefore doesn’t cause the same psychogenic effect. That means it is possible to experience pain relief without getting high.

Is CBD Safe?

While long-term studies are still needed to determine its safety and effectiveness, CBD shows promise as a potential remedy for chronic pain management. If found safe in long-term studies, CBD could become a major player in improving pain for a number of health conditions such as back pain, arthritis, and fibromyalgia.

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This could be a game-changer for those who suffer from chronic pain and those who treat it.

CBD Oil

First off, it is important to note that CBD and CBD oil ARE not regulated by the FDA. That makes it important to purchase CBD products from reputable sources.

Since the strength of the oil is not regulated, there may be a huge difference in quality and safety from one product to the next.

How CBD Oil is Used

CBD oil had been used to successfully treat a number of medical problems in both children and adults and goes beyond treating pain. It is has been used to effectively treat the following medical conditions in medical studies:

  • Anxiety and depression
  • Seizures
  • Neurological disorders
  • Pain
  • Acne
  • Cancer

CBD oil can be applied topically as a gel or ointment, placed in capsules to be taken orally, or be used in an oral spray. This is all dependent upon what ailment the oil is being used to treat.

CBD Could Relieve Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is one of the most difficult problems for healthcare practitioners to treat today. With the current opioid epidemic and the addictive properties of many pain relievers, it can be challenging to find a medication that relieves pain without being addictive.

That’s why CBD is so intriguing. It doesn’t affect the endocannabinoid system like THC. Instead, it helps it to use the body’s own cannabinoids more effectively, without a high, meaning it shouldn’t interfere with a patient’s daily activities.

It Increases Anandamide

One way CBD can improve chronic pain is by altering the amount of anandamide that is absorbed. Anandamide is a fatty acid that regulates pain when it is in the bloodstream. However, once absorbed, it doesn’t have the same pain-relieving effect.

In a recent study, it was found that CBD can cause anandamide to not absorb into cells as quickly. This means that there is more in the bloodstream to fight pain.

Decreases Inflammation

Another way that CBD fights pain is that it reduces inflammation. Inflammation presses on nerves and joints, causing pain. This happens in people with arthritis, neuropathy, and fibromyalgia.

Some studies indicate that CBD reduces inflammation. By reducing the inflammation on nerves and joints, it alleviates pain for many conditions, including Multiple Sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Many cases of chronic pain are caused by inflammation, so that makes CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties very important. It could one day replace or supplement drugs such as NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) or corticosteroids without the side effects these drugs carry.

CBD Oil Side Effects and Precautions

Like any medication or homeopathic treatment, all drugs come with some risk of side effects. However, due to the lack of long term studies, not much is known about the side effects of CBD oil.

There is some data that indicates possible side effects and which people should take precautions or avoid CBD oil.

Side Effects and Drug Interactions

Since CBD oil is not regulated by the FDA and falls into a gray area law-wise, it makes it difficult to know all of the side effects that may exist. A recent epilepsy study found the following side effects:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Upper respiratory tract infection
  • Decreased appetite
  • Convulsion
  • Lethargy
  • Sleepiness

Keep in mind that these side effects were in epileptic patients already prone to some of these symptoms. These are also only the most common side effects.

Since there is a lack of studies into the side effects of CBD oil if you choose to take CBD oil for any condition, know that there is a risk of side effects that are not listed above. While it’s generally considered safe, there could be serious side effects or drug interactions.

Precautions You Should Take

Most studies have indicated that for most people, CBD oil is safe. However, there is no way to know which brands and products are safe for use since the FDA does not monitor or regulate them.

It is important that you purchase your CBD oil from trusted sources and not through unknown internet sources or on the black market. CBD, like many other drugs, can be tainted, contaminated, or laced. In addition, since there is no specific strength, one oil may be stronger or weaker than recommended for your condition.

In addition, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, people on daily medications, as well as infants and young children should avoid CBD oil. They are more likely to have issues from contaminates or drug interactions and it is best to avoid CBD unless you know it is safe.

What We Know Now

With the opioid epidemic, there has been more interest in the effectiveness of CBD, specifically CBD oils. As a result, there are many clinical trials taking place at this that will help us understand this compound better.

It will take years to know the long-term results of current clinical trials. Preliminary data may indicate some potential problems, but it could be years or decades before we have concrete answers.

The FDA Is Open to CBD Oil

With that being said, it is important to note that a CBD oil-based medication was approved by the FDA for the treatment of Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome and Dravet Syndrome, two difficult to treat versions of epilepsy.

It has also been tested on dogs to determine whether it relieves pain and has been found to successfully improve mobility and generally increase the physical activity of dogs who have osteoarthritis. This indicates that it may be a good option for humans with the same condition.

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If the indications are correct, this means that we may be able to change chronic pain management forever and end opioid dependency for those in chronic pain. The endocannabinoid system is a powerful tool. Once we learn more about it, it could change medicine forever.

Using chemicals, like cannabinoids that naturally occur in our bodies to regulate how our bodies function is a great step to improving the quality of life for millions of people. While we don’t know as much as we would like, the research indicates promise for many conditions, including chronic pain.

CBD Shows Great Promise

Although the jury is still out on the effectiveness and safety of CBD oil, it has shown great promise in the few clinical studies that have been conducted.

Within the next couple of years, we will know much more about this awesome compound and whether it is the answer to chronic pain.