Using CBD for Chronic Pain Management
Much has been said about the potential of cannabidiol (CBD) for chronic pain management, but more has to be done in order to conclusively prove its efficacy. CBD is known to have painkilling and anti-inflammatory effects, but science has yet to find out exactly how much of it is locked within this non-psychoactive cannabinoid.
Let’s take a look at how CBD can help with different kinds of pain and why more needs to be done in order to truly prove that CBD tinctures and gummies are a go-to alternative to opioids and other forms of painkillers.
CBD for Chronic Pain Relief
The human body has a cell-signaling system that we now know as the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which interacts with phytocannabinoids that’s consumed, such as CBD. Researchers think that CBD interacts with the core component of the ECS, which are the endocannabinoid receptors in your brain and immune system.
These receptors are basically tiny proteins that are attached to your cells that receive chemical signals from different stimuli and help your cells respond to them. This response then creates anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects if it’s triggered with the appropriate chemical compound, thus aiding with pain management.
This is how CBD has become a boon for chronic pain management. A review published in 2018 assessed how well CBD works for relief of chronic pain, with studies conducted from 1975 to 2018. It concluded that CBD can help with relief of various types of pain, including neuropathic pain, cancer pain, migraines, rheumatoid arthritis, and so on.
The best thing about using CBD for chronic pain management is that it causes no major negative side effects. That makes it a great alternative for other more addictive painkillers like opioids, which has since caused a health crisis in the United States since the 2000s.
CBD for Arthritis Pain Relief
We need to take a look at arthritis differently since it afflicts so many people, especially rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis is the degradation of joints, while rheumatism is chronic inflammation of the joints. Together, they make life unbearable for people who don’t have any way to manage the pain, and that’s where CBD can come in.
A 2016 study looked at how CBD helps rats with arthritis. Researchers applied CBD gel on rats for four days in a row, either with 0.6, 3.1, 6.2, or 62.3 mg per day. They noticed reduced inflammation and overall pain in the affected joints with no obvious side effects.
The rats who received low doses of 0.6 or 3.1 mg didn’t show improvement in their pain scores, while the ones that got at least 6.2 mg per day showed that it was a high enough dose for reducing pain and swelling.
Meanwhile, the rats that got 62.3 mg per day had similar results to those that received 6.2 mg per day, which meant that larger doses didn’t necessarily result in less pain.
Therefore, it can be concluded CBD does have analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects that can help with arthritis, albeit with diminishing returns with larger doses. With that said, more studies conducted on humans will be needed to get more conclusive results.
CBD for Cancer Treatment Relief
Some people with cancer have been taking CBD throughout their treatment, and it has shown some tremendous results. Not only has it shown to be pretty good at relieving pain and inflammation, but it has actually led to shrinking of cancerous tumors.
Not only has this result been reported in anecdotal evidence, but also in studies. Research on mice has shown that it could indeed help shrink tumors. However, most human studies focus more on CBD’s role in pain management during cancer treatment.
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has referred to CBD as a potential option for reducing side effects of chemotherapy, including pain, vomiting, and lack of appetite. A 2010 study on cancer-related pain had subjects receive oral sprays containing THC-CBD extract in conjunction with conventional opioids.
Results showed that using the extract provided better pain relief than with just taking the opioids alone. Meanwhile, a 2013 study on THC and THC-CBD oral sprays got similar findings. While more human studies are necessary to get more conclusive results, the findings so far are quite encouraging.
CBD for Migraine Pain Relief
There aren’t a lot of studies on CBD and how it can relieve migraine headaches. Most of them look at CBD paired with THC and not just CBD alone.
A 2017 study did show that CBD and THC can lead to less acute pain and reduced intensity of migraines. This two-phase study had participants take a daily dose of THC-CBD combination, with the first containing 9% CBD and almost no THC, while the second had 19% THC.
The first phase saw no effect on pain with doses under 100mg, and 55% less pain with doses increased to 200mg. Then, the second phase saw participants who take 200mg CBD-THC combination have a 40.4% reduction in frequency of migraine attacks.
The CBD-THC combination was slightly more effective than 25mg of amitriptyline, a tricyclic antidepressant that reduced migraine attacks by 40.1% among the participants. Meanwhile, the CBD-THC combination was also found to relieve participants with cluster headaches, but only if they had a childhood history of migraines.
CBD for Neuropathic Pain
Neuropathic pain is caused by damage to the nerves. Some of the conditions that cause neuropathic pain include multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, spinal injuries like herniated discs, and infections like shingles. CBD has been seen to have a neuroprotective effect.
A 2017 review concluded that CBD can help people with chronic neuropathy pain by looking at 11 randomized controlled trials with 1,219 patients.
However, a 2018 Chochrane review stated that while there are indeed potential benefits to cannabis-based medicine, the potential harm brought by them may offset that. It looked at 16 studies and 1,750 participants to reach that conclusion.
As you can see, there’s still no definitive answer as to whether CBD can indeed help relieve neuropathic pain safely, but the potential has been recognized. More studies will be needed to properly find out the benefits, risks, and proper dosages.
While conclusive evidence for the efficacy of CBD in pain management is yet to be found, researchers do agree that there’s a ton of potential in CBD with its anti-inflammatory effects. It has been offering relief for many people with chronic pain all over the world without causing intoxication and dependence.
With that said, you still have to consult your doctor about incorporating CBD into your chronic pain management regime. You have to determine the right starting dose and make sure that it won’t interact with your other pain medication.