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.