Many people have found that CBD oil is an effective treatment for chronic pain. Cannabidiol, or CBD, may be made into oil that reduces inflammation, pain, and the overall discomfort from pain. CBD is a type of phytocannabinoid, a natural chemical compound found in the cannabis plant (which includes marijuana and hemp plants).
Unlike THC, CBD does not have any psychoactivity and does not make you ‘high.’ Instead, CBD promotes anti-anxiety effects, in addition to being very relaxing for many patients. Scientists are still studying the effect on pain and other conditions, but CBD is already an alternative for chronic pain patients who don’t want to rely on more dangerous medications like opioids.
Much of the scientific evidence that demonstrates the multitude of CBD oil effects comes from experiments completed in animals, which is one reason why the US Food and Drug Administration has not approved it (aside from the legal issues). The FDA requires clinical studies in humans, and until CBD oil is legal in in every state, this isn’t likely to happen.
Of course, many states have made CBD oil legal, and scientists and advocates believe federal legalization isn’t far behind. Many clinical trials are ongoing in countries where it is permitted and in Europe and Israel.
How CBD works for pain?
To learn more about the potential benefits of CBD oil for pain, keep reading. You may feel comfortable talking with your physician about CBD oil for your pain and ask her if she believes it is an option for your condition.
The Endocannabinoid System
To understand how CBD works, it is instructive to learn what molecules like CBD do inside your body to exert its biological effects. Extensive research demonstrates that the human body has many cell-membrane bound receptors, which are huge molecules spanning cell membranes, although some receptors are found inside cells.
Receptors have exterior loops that ‘grab on’ to the very molecules your body needs and cause a conformational change in the receptor that then induces a complex chain of so-called signaling reactions inside the cell with the resulting relief of symptoms. This largest class of receptors called the G protein-coupled receptor superfamily includes many pharmaceutically leveraged receptors, as well as the endocannabinoid receptors.
Although cannabis has been used for thousands of years, the biological receptors in the human body have only recently been discovered. That is why the relatively recently discovered cannabinoid receptors (compared to the cannabinoids, which were found many years before the receptors) have been named ‘endocannabinoid receptors’ as your body also manufactures its molecules that bind to the cannabinoid receptors. The ‘endo’ in the name means “within.’
The endocannabinoid system is involved in a variety of physiological processes including appetite, pain-sensation, memory, and mood. The molecules that your body makes in response to various kinds of stress are called endocannabinoids and have also been studied extensively.
Researchers found and identified the CB1 receptor primarily in the nervous system, connective tissues, glands, and organs while CB2 receptors are predominantly found in the immune system and its associated structures. Many tissues contain both CB1 and CB2 receptors, each linked to a different action.
Current research is finding that other receptors in the human body also bind cannabinoids. In general and for the purposed of this article, we can think of THC as primarily binding to the CB1 receptor, and CBD binding principally to the CB2 receptor.
How is CBD being used for Pain?
CBD has anti-inflammatory, anti-convulsant, anti-oxidant, neuroprotective, anti-psychotic, and immunomodulatory effects. Exactly how this will play out in the treatment of specific human diseases is being studied around the world.
CBD Oil for Chronic Pain Relief
It has been demonstrated repeatedly in animal studies that CBD may give relief to chronic pain sufferers. CBD oil, a more concentrated formulation of CBD, is already being used by many patients to relieve their chronic pain. It remains to be seen whether CBD oil will be useful for all kinds of pain.
Ongoing and future clinical trials and human experiences will determine what specific diseases CBD oil may efficiently treat. Each condition has its own ‘pathophysiology’, meaning the body’s processes associated with the disease. That is one reason why treatments are slow to be recognized by the medical community. In the meantime, the evidence for relief of chronic pain is steadily accumulating.
CBD Oil for Arthritis Pain Relief
Researchers have shown compelling evidence of the participation of the endocannabinoid system in the pathophysiology of osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease associated with cartilage degradation. The widespread distribution of cannabinoid receptors, together with the role of the endocannabinoid system in pain and inflammation all suggest that CBD should be an effective treatment for osteoarthritis.
We know that CBD reduces pain and inflammation. Future studies will reveal precisely what pathological conditions CBD can treat. Also, many patients find relief due to the antianxiety effects of CBD.
CBD Oil for Multiple Sclerosis
50-70% of multiple sclerosis patients experience debilitating pain. Preclinical (animal) evidence shows that cannabidiol or CBD can produce beneficial effects in multiple sclerosis patients. Human clinical trials will ultimately reveal the dosing regimen and therapeutic efficacy (efficacy means the ability to provide the desired effect) for CBD oil.
CBD is neuroprotective because of its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and the wide distribution of its receptors in the brain. This was poorly understood until the recently discovered additional receptor targets of CBD in the brain and elsewhere in the body.
CBD has also been shown to reduce the secretion of inflammatory molecules related to multiple sclerosis, thus marking it as a potential new treatment for some of the debilitating symptoms of multiple sclerosis. Daily dosing is required to reach a state of ‘balance’ in the endocannabinoid system, leading to relief of pain.
CBD Oil for Sports Injuries
CBD is undoubtedly useful for pain and inflammation. CBD also has a high safety index and is well tolerated. It would seem that a combination of CBD oil and perhaps a salve would be most optimal for sports injuries. Evidence is accumulating that a one-time dose of CDB oil is not sufficient for relief.
Many patients report that daily dosing is required for therapeutic effects. This may not be entirely true for the relief of sports injuries, as some athletes are already using CBD oil as a post-workout ‘tonic.’ The anti-anxiety potential of CBD oil is probably an effect that is felt every time one does with CBD oil, but the relief of more complicated symptoms may require daily dosing over weeks.
CBD Side Effects
People are so wild about CBD because of its very low toxicity and lack of severe side effects. Doses up to over a gram and one-half have been given to experimental animals with no side effects observed. This makes CBD ideal for treating children and adults who do not want to take THC or who have not found relief from an existing pharmaceutical.
CBD has none of the side effects that conventional anti-inflammatories or pain relievers possess (ulcers, heart attacks, and strokes). Also, CBD’s effects are not at all like those of a conventional pain reliever – every day dosing is recommended for relief of symptoms from widely different origins. This is because there are more endocannabinoid receptors in the brain than there are for all of the neurotransmitters put together.
CBD has a broader scope of therapeutic benefits than any other cannabinoid and is effective even in small doses. The safety profile and the fact that there are so many endocannabinoid receptors in the body make CBD a potentially useful therapeutic for many diseases and disorders. The discovery of the endocannabinoid system has probably been one of the most critical findings in modern times.
Before scientists knew about the endocannabinoid system, cannabis and even hemp were viewed poorly by the government and the public. That has changed significantly with the global scientific focus on cannabis, THC, and CBD. Patients advocating for their loved ones have also changed the perception of medical marijuana, and this is likely to continue and expand, as ever more conditions are found to benefit from CBD oil and other cannabis products.