Pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide. Fortunately, there are tons of pain relief medications out there. These range from analgesic drugs to opioids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAIDs).
When suffering from a medical condition that primarily presents in pain, many people would readily turn to over-the-counter (OTC) medications. But while conventional pain treatments are somewhat effective, these drugs can leave you nursing a range of adverse effects. That explains the growing interest in alternative pain medications like CBD.
Read on for everything you need to know about CBD, including how to use the compound for pain management.
What Is CBD?
CBD is an abbreviation for cannabidiol. It refers to a non-psychoactive chemical occurring naturally in the cannabis plant, widely used to treat several common ailments.
Cannabidiol contains powerful analgesic properties. That makes it an excellent treatment option for pain. Various studies have shown that CBD for sleep can help attenuate nociceptive and neuropathic pain.
Nociceptive pain is acute from direct physical injury to tissues, muscles, or bones. Common causes include strenuous workouts and high-impact accidents. On the other hand, neuropathic pain results from injury or damage to nerves. This pain is usually a symptom of certain underlying diseases, including osteoarthritis, cancer, endometriosis, fibromyalgia, and multiple sclerosis (MS).
What CBD Products Are Available For Pain?
Cannabidiol products come in many formulations. The most popular ones are CBD oil and CBD tincture.
Besides CBD oil and CBD tinctures, you can also find cannabidiol in edible goods like gummies, topicals like creams, vape products like e-juices, and smokable blends.
All the various CBD formulations can help with pain management. However, the products differ in their onset time and duration of effects.
NOTE: The term ‘CBD oil’ can also refer to any cannabidiol-infused product, irrespective of its formulation.
How Does CBD Oil Treat Pain?
Cannabidiol treats pain by affecting the performance of the endocannabinoid system. The exact manner in which the compound exerts its analgesic effects remains unknown. However, studies have shown that CBD oil can desensitize the vanilloid receptor, an endocannabinoid receptor widely responsible for transmitting pain signals from various body parts to the brain.
Research has also established that CBD oil might stimulate anandamide signaling. Anandamide is an endogenous cannabinoid involved in various biological functions, including pain management.
CBD doesn’t increase anandamide levels in the bloodstream. Instead, it enhances sensitivity to this endocannabinoid by suppressing its inhibitors, such as fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH).
What Forms Of Pain Can CBD Oil Treat?
As already indicated, cannabidiol is effective against nociceptive and neuropathic pain. Previous research has demonstrated the efficacy of CBD oil against various chronic conditions that present pain as their primary symptom.
A 2016 study examined the analgesic effects of CBD topicals on arthritic rats. At the end of the experiment, researchers noted a considerable reduction in pain for rats that received CBD compared to the placebo group.
Earlier research examined the potential of CBD for alleviating cancer pain. After receiving oral sprays of a product formulated with CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the test subjects registered an impressive reduction in pain severity.
Migraine is another common form of chronic pain you can mitigate using cannabidiol oil. Like cancer pain, most studies investigating the efficacy of CBD oil against migraines use CBD in combination with THC. THC is another popular cannabis-derived compound, best known for its psychoactive properties.
Cannabidiol oil may also help with endometriosis pain. Previous research has shown that cannabis extracts, including CBD, may attenuate endometriosis pain and several comorbid symptoms.
Last, you can administer cannabidiol oil for multiple sclerosis pain (MS). According to this study, CBD oil might improve mobility among multiple sclerosis patients by relieving the associated pain. Besides, the compound may treat other common MS symptoms, such as spasticity, inflammation, depression, and fatigue.
How Do I Use CBD Oil for Pain Management?
Determine the form of pain you’re suffering from
The type of pain you’re suffering from will greatly influence the cannabidiol products you can use.
For instance, CBD topicals are most effective for localized pain. All other formulations would be suitable for systemic pain.
Beware of THC
We’ve already alluded to tetrahydrocannabinol’s psychoactive properties. If you’re new to this compound, it’s best to consume it sparingly or avoid it altogether. The last thing you want is to become stoned while trying to manage your pain.
Cannabis supplements high in tetrahydrocannabinol are typically marked ‘full-spectrum.’ Avoid these products and consider isolates or broad-spectrum instead.
Isolates contain cannabidiol as the main cannabis compound, while broad-spectrum products contain cannabis plus many other non-psychoactive marijuana-derived chemicals, such as cannabigerol (CBG) and cannabichromene (CBC).
Mind your doses
Ideally, the amount of cannabidiol oil to take will depend on the severity of the pain. Higher doses are effective for searing pain, while lower doses work best for mild aches.
However, CBD has no standard dosage. The conventional wisdom is to start low and work your way up gradually.
Note that CBD oil might trigger a range of adverse effects if overdosed. These include dry mouth, nausea, drowsiness, and sleeplessness. Besides, CBD oil has proven counterproductive if consumed in excess.
Cannabidiol is unquestionably effective against various forms of pain. However, the efficacy of CBD oil mainly comes down to how you consume the compound. As a parting shot, check your local cannabis laws to ensure you can legally access and use CBD products.