The potential health benefits of CBD supplementation are extensive, however one of the most effective means and reasons for supplementing with CBD oil, is pain management and the use of CBD for pain relief is becoming increasingly common.
Pain is something that affects all of us in some way, be it emotional or physical, acute or chronic, pain is something we must all endure at some stage in life.
When we experience pain we typically reach straight for over-the-counter pain management treatment or in severe cases, we get a pain relief prescription for various forms of medicine from our GP.
A lot of these medicinal aids are very effective, however chronic use can lead to some potentially serious side effects if used over a prolonged period of time (1).
CBD – or Cannabidiol – is one of 60+ cannabinoid compounds.
The body has an endocannabinoid system (ECS) which naturally produces it’s own cannabinoids, which helps to regulate everyday processes such as immune responses and pain management, however this system, like most, can be up-regulated by means of exogenous cannabinoid supplementation.
The most common form of exogenous cannabinoid intake is done recreationally using cannabis.
The cannabis plant is high in the compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which provides people with a psychoactive effect. This form of the modified plant is known as marijuana.
CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system slightly differently to THC, as it alters the way in the body utilises its own organic cannabinoids. It does this by regulating (engaging or inhibiting) the function of this wide array of compounds within the ECS.
A great example of how CBD works in regulating the ECS and consequential pain is by reducing the ECS absorption of another compound called anandamide. The higher the concentrations of anandamide within the blood, the less pain is experienced by the sufferer. Therefore one way CBD reduces pain is by maintaining higher levels of anandamide within the blood.
CBD AND CHRONIC PAIN
Common causes of chronic physical pain are often due to historic or overuse injuries, which affects vulnerable joints such as the hips/back.
Pain resonates with the individual via signals that run from the site of the injury to the brain via a cascade of chemical signals. CBD alters the receptors within both the immune system and brain.
A review by neurologist and psychopharmacology researcher Ethan Russo in 2008 (2) found that CBD is an effective means of treatment for individuals who suffer with ‘difficult to treat’ pain, with minimal indication of subsequent sides effects.
CBD AND CANCER RELIEF
Studies – to date – examining the effects of CBD on cancer tumors themselves have only yet been carried out on mice and although the results were positive, no such study has yet to be carried out using humans.
Most CBD studies relating to cancer with humans have used CBD as a pain relief aid for both the cancer treatment and cancer itself.
More human studies are still needed to fully determine the role of CBD in treating both the cancer and managing related pain.
Disclaimer: Do not alter your existing cancer treatment without consulting your medical specialist.
CBD AND ARTHRITIS
A study in 2016 (3) examining the pain relief possibilities of CBD on arthritic rats found that a CBD gel, of strength varying up to 62mg per day, had positive effects on both reducing inflammation and reducing the pain. These effects were all instigated by CBD cream without any side effects.
A review of cannabinoids – including CBD – in 2009 found that the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD are brought about by it’s ability to up-regulate the production of eicosanoids, which increase inflammatory resolution.
Physical – and sometimes psychological – pain is linked to inflammation within the body. An inflammatory response is natural when we encounter some sort of trauma, it’s the body’s natural coping system to clean and heal injury.
However if you have a chronic inflammation issue, such as osteoarthritis, this can lead to an ongoing battle with pain, this is where CBD can help with day-to-day inflammation and pain management.