Coping with pain is a daily challenge for millions of people. Not surprisingly, pain is one of the leading reasons why people visit a doctor. With people actively looking for opioid alternatives, growing medical interest in CBD has made waves—prompting researchers and doctors to answer the question on everyone’s mind: what can CBD do for pain and inflammation?
What does science say?
Preliminary studies have already examined the anti-inflammatory effects of cannabidiol (CBD). As one of over one hundred cannabinoids in hemp/cannabis plants, CBD exhibits particular promise as a non-psychoactive, therapeutic compound.
While still in its infancy, CBD research is drawing attention from lawmakers, medical organizations, and advocates far and wide—with good reason. The specific effect of CBD on the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) may explain why hemp elicits a powerful pain-relieving response.
The ECS regulates everything from pain to appetite to sleep to reproduction (and more), and it’s responsible for keeping us in homeostasis, or internal balance. Understanding how it works is an ongoing process, but so far, scientists believe that the CBD activates receptors in the ECS tied to pain perception.
An alternative to opioids
One of the biggest factors motivating people to use CBD is its low side effect profile. Compared to opioid-based pain medication, CBD may be a viable substitute, according to findings from a patient research report.
Of the people surveyed, ninety-two percent shared that they prefer using cannabis to opioids for pain, and the participants expressed strong interest in reducing their opioid use.
Opioids are known to lead to abuse and addiction, which underlines the need for a suitable alternative. Future clinical trials with CBD may provide the answer to this concerning public health issue.
CBD and pain symptoms
Pain is a subjective experience and varies based on a person’s biology, lifestyle, and family history. Some people may experience acute pain symptoms after an injury or a workout (tingling, throbbing, spasms, etc.). However, chronic pain is an unfortunate symptom of many conditions and can affect a person’s daily life.
That said, continue to follow your doctor’s guidance if you’re taking prescribed pain medication. CBD research is still in its infancy and people managing debilitating pain may consider using CBD alongside their current treatment plan.
People may find that CBD alleviates the pain associated with these conditions:
- Migraine pain: The potent anti-inflammatory effects of CBD may reduce migraine symptoms like nausea, throbbing/pulsing head pain, and lightheadedness.
- Period pain: CBD could help women cope with cramping, headaches, and lower back pain during menstruation.
- Back pain: Irritability, poor sleep, anxiety, and chronic inflammation are all associated with back pain. CBD has therapeutic properties for all of these symptoms.
- Arthritis pain: In animal studies, CBD topicals reduced joint swelling and inflammation caused by arthritis. Some people with arthritis say that CBD provides noticeable relief.
- Fibromyalgia: Chronic pain from fibromyalgia causes full-body aches, tiredness, and memory problems. Initial studies point to the benefits of cannabinoids (both THC and CBD) for fibromyalgia
- Nerve pain: Conditions that cause nerve damage, limited mobility, and muscle spasms, such as multiple sclerosis (MS), respond well to CBD.
- Cancer pain: Patients with advanced cancer may find that CBD reduces pain, nausea, and vomiting. Formulas with 1:1 CBD and THC ratios show significant promise for cancer-related pain.
Tips for managing pain with CBD
Delivery method impacts the degree of pain relief. Pain affects people both physically and emotionally, so consider these tips to get the most out of CBD:
CBD lotion, such as NYOS’, has a localized effect on joint and muscle pain. Work the topical into stiff hands or upper body muscles as you gently massage the affected area.
Other people may choose to inhale CBD. Vaporizers, joints, and CBD flower offer fast-acting relief and may assist with pain perception, easing your mind into a relaxed state.
Having anxious thoughts and feeling moody are normal responses to pain. Pain takes a toll on our mental health, causing anxiety and depression. For this, consider using CBD tinctures, edibles, or bath bombs. If pain is keeping you up at night, CBD may help you sleep better.
Before you buy CBD
The market is saturated with CBD products, making it difficult to know what to look for. Some brands mislead buyers with unethical marketing, but the FDA is beginning to address the issue.
Buyers have a responsibility to check for third-party lab results, which verify potency and safety. You can find this information on a brand’s website, usually within the product description.
To sum it up
Managing any kind of pain feels like an uphill battle when it affects your livelihood. The future of CBD research may pave roads to alternative treatments for pain and inflammation. Herbal medicine like CBD may not be a cure-all, but it’s an encouraging start.
CBD has become increasingly popular as a substance that potentially helps combat anything from chronic pain to stress and anxiety. As a result, the variety of products available to consumers has widened.
It may be difficult or confusing to weed through the thousands of available CBD products to find those that hold the most quality. Never fear, the guide below explores what to consider when narrowing down these many options—and what to avoid.
What to look for in quality CBD
When browsing for a CBD product, keep these four factors in mind.
Produced using naturally grown hemp
CBD products that contain naturally grown hemp comes from certified farmers whose soil is tested regularly for toxic substances, fungus, pesticides, bacteria, metals, or any other foreign matter. Clean soil is especially vital to quality CBD products because hemp is a “hyperaccumulator plant,” meaning it readily absorbs whatever substances are in the soil it grows in.
Reasonable price point
As we’ll explain a little bit later on, a price that seems too good to be true typically means the product is bolstered using filler. Products that are miraculously cheaper than their competitors’ prices, unfortunately, are most likely filled with carrier oils or other substances that water down the potency of the CBD.
Product label is transparent about the amount of CBD
This one’s pretty straightforward: reputable brands will list the amount of CBD in their products right on the label. Look for the total number of milligrams in the bottle or the overall concentration. To be considered effective, CBD oils should contain 250–1000mg per 10ml bottle.
Made from whole-plant extracts, rather than CBD isolates
Though the idea of an isolate sounds perfect, isolated products are often made from cheap materials and lack the other cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes that work in partnership with CBD. When these elements are used in conjunction with each other, they become more effective. This effect is often known as The Entourage Effect, explained below. Therefore, CBD oils made from whole-plant extracts, also called full-spectrum oils, are generally considered to be of higher quality than those made from CBD isolates.
For those who cannot consume THC, broad-spectrum oils are the go-to. Broad-spectrum CBD contains a range of naturally occurring compounds from the cannabis plant, but typically no tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
The Entourage Effect
When planning to consume CBD in any form, it’s important to consider the Entourage Effect. This phenomenon states that all compounds contained within the cannabis plant work better together rather than alone. That is, these compounds produce more of their desired effect when consumed in combination with each other. Therefore, CBD works best in combination with other cannabinoids and terpenes found in the hemp plant, including THC, CBN, limonene, pinene, and others.
This effect should play a major role in the search for a high-quality CBD product. To experience optimal health benefits, users should avoid CBD isolates, which leave out these other cannabinoids and terpenes. Instead, consumers should look for products that are full-spectrum or, if THC cannot be consumed, broad-spectrum products.
CBD filler to look out for
Filler ingredients are ingredients that are found in a product that don’t actually need to be there. They don’t contribute anything positive to the formula, and more often than not, they exist primarily to fill out a product’s formula.
Though there are countless filler products used across the wide spectrum of CBD products out there in the world, some common ones include vitamin E, diacetyl, DXM, the active ingredient in cough syrup, and 5F-ABD, a compound whose side effects include dizziness, fainting, headaches, nausea, and irritability–symptoms that most CBD users are actively trying to counteract.
Other filler ingredients include carrier oils that water down the potency of a CBD product. Though these are mostly harmless, they do lower the efficiency and effectiveness of the CBD one is consuming.
Furthermore, pure hemp extract is expensive to produce. As a way to save money, a company might water down the formula with a filler ingredient, allowing them to use less hemp extract while still providing a good product volume. Filler ingredients are cheap to produce, and so by using them, companies can put out a larger amount of product without paying the heavy price associated with pure hemp extract.
Some good examples of filler-free CBD come from NYOS. For example, NYOS Tinctures have two ingredients: Certified Extra- Virgin Olive Oil and Phytocannabinoid Hemp Extract. This brand is also incredibly transparent about the actual mg of CBD per dose. For example, NYOS Tinctures have 33.33mg of hemp extract equaling 30g pure CBD. That is extremely high quality.
To sum it up
Not all CBD products are created equally. When browsing the many options available, take into consideration how the hemp is grown and processed. Make sure to read each label carefully to avoid fillers and to make sure that the brand is transparent about the product’s concentration. Keeping these tips in mind will help you to narrow down the market and find a quality product that works best for your needs!
Hearing that CBD helps with anxiety, pain, and sleep is one thing, but knowing how it works is another conversation entirely. Within the last three years, this breakthrough cannabis compound has taken the health and wellness industry by storm. The regrettable truth, however, is that misinformation about CBD often leads buyers on a dizzying tailspin to try and decode geekspeak and ill-formed industry findings.
In less than four minutes, we’ll explain how CBD works in simple terms so you walk away feeling more informed and empowered. This short lesson in CBD science has all the information you need to start talking about CBD like a professional.
CBD: understanding how CBD works with our bodies
By now, you’ve probably heard that CBD helps with processes such as sleep, pain, and anxiety, to name a few. Cannabidiol oil (CBD) is one of more than 100 cannabinoids found in the Cannabis sativa/hemp plant. The compound itself is non-psychoactive, meaning you won’t feel “high” after consuming CBD as you would with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
In the body, CBD has a therapeutic influence on various neurotransmitters, but more on that later. For now, know that CBD either activates or inhibits these chemical messengers to produce a relaxing effect.
How CBD affects the Endocannabinoid System
One of the most important concepts to understand about CBD is that it works with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a sprawling network of receptors, enzymes, and endocannabinoids found in the nervous system. In simpler terms, the ECS is responsible for regulating everything from sleep, appetite, mood, pain, stress, memory, reproduction, and more. Its function is to restore internal balance, otherwise known as homeostasis.
To explain how CBD affects the ECS, let’s consider an example using CBD gummies from NYOS. When you eat CBD, it must first be metabolized in the liver before interacting with the ECS. From there, CBD travels back through the bloodstream to the brain, where it influences neurotransmitters and sparks a sedative, relaxing response.
Scientists understand that the ECS consists of two types of receptors: CB1 and CB2. The current understanding follows that THC binds to CB1 receptors while CBD blocks both CB1 and CB2 receptors.
If any of that went over your head, just know that CBD works indirectly with the ECS to create an overall sense of calm and happiness. So, when you eat CBD gummies, you boost the production of neurotransmitters in the brain, ones that are responsible for the feel-good effects of CBD.
CBD and other neurotransmitters
Here’s a general overview of the primary neurotransmitters that interact with CBD in the brain and immune system:
- Adenosine: While it’s still not exactly clear how CBD inhibits adenosine uptake, initial research in animal subjects suggests that this neurotransmitter is tied to the anti-inflammatory effects of CBD.
- Dopamine: Dopamine plays a role in our emotional responses, which could explain why CBD triggers increased feelings of relaxation. Preliminary findings also point to the agonist effect of CBD on dopamine expression, similar to the way antipsychotic medications for schizophrenia interfere with the neurotransmitter.
- TRPV1: CBD activates TRPV1 receptors to mediate body temperature, pain, and inflammation.
- Serotonin: Serotonin is involved with pain response, depression, anxiety, and sleep. There’s evidence to suggest that CBD’s low binding affinity to serotonin is the reason why CBD can enhance our mood.
Potential benefits of CBD
The information outlined above gives you a better idea about the way CBD works with neurotransmitters. Although there’s much to be discovered and explained about why CBD blocks chemical signaling in the nervous system, researchers know that CBD elicits several therapeutic effects:
- Promotes restful sleep: People may enjoy using CBD before bedtime as a sleep aid.
- Reduces seizures: CBD could be a more effective therapy compared to conventional antiepileptic medications. In the UK, Epidiolex is a CBD-formulated medication used to treat patients with Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome and Dravet Syndrome.
- Calms and restores balance: Of the benefits associated with CBD, anxiety seems to be the most commonly cited reason why people use it. Especially for people managing general anxiety disorders (GAD), CBD could help lower excessive worrying.
- Relieves inflammation: Anecdotal evidence from people managing arthritis pain supports the use of CBD for inflammation. The throbbing, shooting, and pulsing symptoms of arthritis might be subdued with a CBD roll-on.
Potential side effects of CBD
Those who are taking blood thinners and prescribed medications that cause drowsiness should err on the side of caution when using CBD. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding may decide to not use CBD. That said, the side effect profile of CBD is much lower than other medications and is generally safe, apart from these potential side effects:
- Changes in appetite
- Dry mouth
To sum it up
Based on the current status of CBD research, it’s safe to assume that scientists will continue to press further into the magnificent and fascinating effects of CBD on the human mind and body. Only time will tell, but hopefully, by now, you have a newfound respect for how CBD works.
Educating yourself and others about the healing powers of CBD is the first step to seeing more mainstream conversations about plant medicine unfold. Go forth, heal, and get empowered by your CBD!
Interest in CBD for sleep has garnered a lot of public attention over the past few years. Back when cannabis wasn’t a part of mainstream conversation, people puffed quietly and carefully. Whether it was too taboo to mention or a matter of the law, discussions about cannabis had a hush-hush air about them.
Now, CBD is everywhere: in gas station check-out lines, infused in food and beauty items, and available online at the click of a button. Those with first-hand CBD experience claim it works for sleep, but what does the science say?
What is CBD oil?
To the eye, CBD oil doesn’t look like much. It’s a gold-green liquid that comes from a plant, leaving one to wonder about the hype. But diving deeper into the science, we learn that CBD is one of more than 100 cannabinoids (compounds) found in both cannabis and hemp plants.
Short for cannabidiol oil, CBD is the second most abundant cannabinoid after THC. The main reason why CBD is so popular has to do with its non-psychoactive effects. Unlike THC, which makes you “high,” CBD is mildly sedative and generally induces subtle feelings of relaxation.
People use CBD for different reasons, in general, for anxiety, sleep, and pain. Additional scientific evidence points to its antiepileptic effects, especially for children living with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome or Dravet syndrome. In 2018, the FDA approved Epidiolex, the first CBD-derived prescription medication available on the market for childhood epilepsy. The breakthrough came as a win for cannabis professionals eager to prove the medicinal benefits of CBD.
Derived from hemp or cannabis (the difference between the two being THC content), CBD is federally legal so long as it contains THC equal to or less than 0.3%. In a nutshell, CBD has the go-ahead from the federal government, although states ultimately make their own rules about CBD distribution.
Does CBD oil for sleep work?
Now on to the big question: how does CBD work? CBD links up with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). In plain language, the ECS is responsible for regulating processes such as sleep, memory, reproduction, appetite, pain, mood, and so much more.
CBD is a phytocannabinoid (Phyto – being short for plant). Our bodies naturally produce endocannabinoids (endo- being short for body). To put two and two together, the body’s nervous system produces compounds that behave and bind to receptors, bearing a striking similarity to the way CBD regulates pain and induces sleep.
Scientists know that CBD has an indirect influence on the ECS. Although they’re unable to elaborate in greater detail, knowing that the two are interrelated explains why CBD could make you feel sleepy.
The science behind CBD and sleep
That said, there’s still the issue of funding for clinical trials over a long-term period to access the effect of CBD on sleep quality. That’s why when we talk about CBD, we’re careful to include conditionals such as “may” and “could.”
CBD may help you fall asleep easier. CBD could lower cortisol levels (stress hormones) that cause people with insomnia to stay awake. What’s more, CBD has the potential to help you stay asleep, a major setback for people with irregular REM cycles who repeatedly wake up during the night.
If sleeplessness is keeping you from completing daytime tasks, CBD is a low-risk option for poor sleepers. The side effects are relatively minimal, including dry mouth and additional drowsiness the next morning.
In the scientific community, CBD research is gaining traction as a safe, non-intoxicating supplement with impressive therapeutic qualities.
When to take CBD oil for sleep
How quickly CBD takes effects depends on several factors, such as delivery method, age, weight, and dosage. Generally, you can expect to feel sleepy an hour or two after taking CBD.
The great thing about CBD is that there’s no shortage of options. CBD flower, edibles, topicals, and capsules are among the many forms of delivery methods to choose from. Some are more bioavailable than others, referring to how quickly CBD absorbs into the bloodstream and begins to take effect.
Specifically for sleep, a CBD tincture, such as NYOS’, is more bioavailable since it’s administered under the tongue. This bypasses digestion in the liver, which often causes CBD to lose its efficiency. Taken as a tincture, CBD absorbs directly into the bloodstream through tissues in the tongue.
Finding the best dose to help you sleep takes time and experimentation, but 10-25mg is a safe place to start. Gradually increase the dosage as you become more comfortable with the effects.
To sum it up
The research on CBD and sleep suggests that plant-based nighttime supplements have a place in the bedroom. As more people catch on to the benefits of CBD, plant medicine has the potential to replace over-the-counter sleep aids and help millions get the shut-eye they need to live successful, happy lives.