When you suffer from chronic pain, regular medication is often used to keep this pain manageable as much as possible. Regular painkillers usually do a good job, but they can have side effects. Lately, CBD is getting more attention as a possible painkiller. The advantage is that is doesn’t have many side effects and that it’s a natural remedy. Below, you can read more about the complaints you can treat with CBD and whether it’s just as effective as regular medication.
The way CBD affects the body
CBD is a compound that is naturally found in the cannabis plant. It’s a cannabinoid, just like THC is, but it doesn’t cause a high. What makes CBD special, is that it works with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system helps the body maintain its balance and to function optimally. This is how it works.
In your body, all cells have a cell wall, covered in receptors. A receptor is a certain kind of protein, which only reacts to a certain kind of molecule. When this molecule is situated near a cell, it binds to the protein and from there it can have an effect on the cell. It may instruct it to take action. In fact, it’s similar to a lock and a key: the cell is the lock and only one key will fit, that one special kind of molecule.
CBD is one such molecule, that has an effect on the ECS. When CBD binds to the receptors, it can have an influence on the stimuli that enter the cell. This principle also applies to pain stimuli, in that case CBD can cause the cell to be less receptive to them. This way CBD can have an analgesic effect.
Using CBD with chronic pain
CBD can be used to treat different kinds of pain:
- Pain from inflammation
- Pain and suffering from disease
- Back pain
- Menstrual pain
- Nerve pain (neuralgia)
- Pain and other complaints form (treating) cancer
It doesn’t really matter how you take CBD. It’s possible to use CBD oil, but tablets, capsules or CBD in food or beverages are also fine. CBD can offer pain relief and be a good alternative for, for example, opioid based painkillers. In addition, these painkillers are addictive, so CBD can be worth a try.
Using CBD with arthritis
In 2016, research was done to find out how CBD affects arthritis. This research was done on rats. CBD gel was applied on affected areas, during four days. The rats got dosages of 0.6, 3.1, 6.2 of 62.3 mg per day. Researchers noted less swelling of the joints and overall less pain. There were no side effects.
The researchers noted that the rats that got the two lowest dosages, didn’t have any pain relief. However, the 6.2 mg dosage a day was sufficient to diminish both pain and swelling. The highest dosage of 62.3 mg was in fact unnecessary, because this didn’t lead to a reduction in pain. More research is needed to find out what the effect of CBD is on humans, but it seems that CBD has an anti-inflammatory and analgesic effect. Read here more about CBD and Arthritis in our former blog post.
Using CBD with cancer
In case of cancer, CBD is a viable option. A great number of complaints that occur because of this disease or the treatments you need, can be alleviated with CBD. Research done on mice, seems to indicate that CBD can even help shrink tumors. But that hasn’t been researched on humans. It’s mostly used to offer pain relief.
The National Cancer Institute advises to use CBD for complaints caused by the side effects of chemotherapy, like:
- Lack of appetite
It’s possible to use CBD next to normal painkillers (always consult your physician before doing this). Using this combination has more effect, compared to when you would only use painkillers. In case of cancer, often a combination of CBD and THC is used, not only CBD.
Using CBD with migraine
The American Migraine Foundation indicates that more research is needed to find out more about using CBD in case of migraine. There’s not enough data about the effects of CBD on this painful disorder. It can be a viable option to alleviate the muscle- and joint pain, that often go together with migraines. It can also be useful in treating neck pain and prevent nausea and vomiting.
Dr. Kevin Weber (a neurologist at Ohio State University), said that in the future, CBD might be used more often to treat migraines. He states that there hasn’t been done enough research yet, into the effectiveness of CBD. However, there is more data available on using CBD with THC. This combination gives good results with migraine.
The benefits of using CBD for pain relief
Unfortunately, we don’t know enough about the effects of treating pain with CBD and if it’s effective with different kinds of pain. More research is needed. If you don’t suffer from chronic pain, but get the occasional headache or feel miserable because of the flu, you certainly could give CBD a try. Its analgesic effects have been sufficiently proven.
Of course, chemical painkillers work well, but they also have a lot of drawbacks:
- Side effects: these range from mild to serious. For example: physical complaints, like nausea, blurred vision or dizzy spells. But also mental complaints, like problems concentrating or fatigue.
- Risk of addiction.
- Stress on and damaging of the liver, stomach and other organs.
Even though more research is needed to find out more about the effects of CBD on chronic pain, it can be worth it to give it a try. The advantage of CBD is that the body sees it as a familiar substance. In other words, it doesn’t see it as a foreign compound. It also works well with the body. Furthermore, it has hardly any side effects; it only might have an effect on your appetite. Just be careful when you use medication. We advise you to first consult your physician, before you start using CBD.