Nowadays, cannabidiol (CBD) is everywhere you look, being added to a growing number of products. CBD is considered one of the most beneficial supplements able to help with everything starting from anxiety and stress to insomnia and various skin issues.
CBD oil is also attracting increasing attention from the medical and mainstream media regarding its role in treating conditions associated with pain.
Articles evaluate the studies that portray the potential for supplying safe relief for people experiencing chronic pain. If you are subjected to chronic pain, you may be considering CBD as a potential treatment. But what exactly is CBD, and how may you benefit from taking CBD oil for pain and chronic aches?
What Is CBD?
CBD is an abbreviation for cannabidiol, one of the active ingredients found in cannabis. This compound is obtained from the hemp plant, the cousin of the marijuana plant, and it is one of more than a hundred cannabinoids found in cannabis.
However, CBD differs from the infamous compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), located in marijuana, as it does not cause a “high” in the user.
The non-psychoactive property of CBD means that it can be taken safely with no concerns regarding addiction or unpredictable emotional mood swings. The World Health Organization reported on the safety of CBD use, writing that “In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential…To date, there is no evidence of public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.“
So, How Does CBD Work?
Cannabinoids generate effects in the body by interacting with cannabinoids receptors, which shape part of the endocannabinoids system. The human body produces two receptors, and when CBD is absorbed into the body, the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the central and peripheral nervous systems are stimulated through the CBD interactions, influencing the serotonin levels.
CB1 receptors mainly coordinate movement, pain, emotions, appetite and other activities. CB2 receptors affect inflammation and pain. Here is where THC and CBD differ once more, as THC binds to CB1 receptors. However, CBD stimulates both the receptors to lead to the body producing cannabinoids, known as endocannabinoids.
How Can CBD Help Chronic Pain?
There is growing scientific research that CBD could provide a new and safe treatment for chronic pain. Current research supports the positive effects of CBD in migraines, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, and other conditions where existing treatments are often not as successful as we would hope.
Science suggests that the commonality in these conditions, increased sensitivity to feeling pain (hyperalgesia) and a persistent state of high reactivity that lowers the threshold for pain (central sensitisation), suggest that a clinical endocannabinoid deficiency is a factor in the maintenance of pain in some people.
The role of the complex endocannabinoid system (ECS) is to observe and maintain many of our body’s vital biological systems, such as monitoring mood, appetite, pain sensitivity, sleep patterns and immune response. Its crucial function is to help restore balance to the body and to keep it in the best possible form.
The hypothesis is that the body becomes deficient and productive of pathophysiological syndromes (changes of normal physical and biochemical functions). Regular use of CBD may aid these syndromes by decreasing pain, improving sleep, and other benefits with CBD treatment and new lifestyle habits affecting the ECS.
CBD oil is becoming a popular potential treatment for fibromyalgia, a chronic disorder characterised by “widespread pain that is often accompanied by fatigue, depression, sleep disturbance, cognitive impairment, and digestive and urinary symptoms.”
The research suggesting that CBD benefits can help those who have fibromyalgia, although in its infancy, is promising. A 2019 study from Israel, evaluating medical cannabis therapy for fibromyalgia showed a pain intensity reduction. It concluded that “Medical cannabis appears to be a safe and effective alternative for the treatment of fibromyalgia symptoms.”
Currently, due to the lack of controlled trials, NHS doctors can’t prescribe medical grade CBD or medical cannabis for fibromyalgia or other chronic pain conditions. However, the encouraging results from this 2019 study indicate that CBD may alleviate some of the symptoms in fibromyalgia. There are many current large trials further looking at the role of CBD in chronic pain conditions.
How Can CBD Treat Chronic Back Pain?
Due to CBD becoming available in many forms, such as topical creams and ointments, there has been promising evidence that CBD may help for inflammation and neuropathy (dysfunction of one or more peripheral nerves). This factor may make the CBD products a wise choice for chronic back and neck pain. Unlike regular pain killers, the cannabidiol also does not need to pass through extra layers to reach the inflamed region.
Research suggests that CBD may lessen chronic back pain through:
- The reduction of inflammation;
- Helping with sleep and improving the overall state of relaxation;
- To combat anxiety, which may often be associated with long-lasting or chronic back pain.