CBD: Does It Really Work for Managing Chronic Pain?
It's hard to deny that the research surrounding the cannabis plant’s potential to treat different medical ailments is seeing more traction now than it ever has before. With the recent de-stigmatization of the hemp plant and the legalization of its use for medical reasons, it's understandable that more and more people are lining up for a potential relief they can’t get from anywhere else.
The National Institute of Health (NIH) estimates that over 25 million Americans are living every single day with some form of chronic pain. That's over 11 percent of all adults! The types of chronic pain can vary as much as the people who experience them, but many are a result of the aging process. For example, joints will wear down over time, and many times this can be avoided by maintaining good posture and avoiding traumatic injuries. What happens though if the cause of the chronic pain is from a disease such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, or fibromyalgia? It can sometimes be impossible to avoid these diseases, and even harder to find ways to manage them in everyday life.
Ways To Manage Chronic Pain
Classic methods of managing these types of issues have been primarily through prescription medication. Opioids are classes of drugs that block pain signals from their source at either the base of the spine or at the entrance of the skull. Because these pain signals get blocked, the amount of pain perceived reduces dramatically. Depending on the type of opioid used, the effect may be mild or extreme. Other types of pain relief management include meditation, yoga, exercise, physical therapy, and even things as exotic as acupuncture!
Every method has its benefits and its drawbacks. For example, the use of opioids is extremely effective. However, there has been a growing epidemic in the United States of abusing prescription painkillers for the sake of getting high. This has resulted in many unfortunate deaths. On the other hand, mindfulness techniques such as yoga and meditation have the benefit of not introducing foreign substances into the body. However, these methods are also far less effective in easing the pain. In fact, for some, they may be impossible depending on the nature of the pain; try telling someone with rheumatoid arthritis to do yoga every day!
With no clear alternative in sight, it can be disparaging for those affected by chronic pain and for their loved ones. Isn't there something that can work? Well, with the growing popularity of CBD and the medicinal properties of the cannabis plant, this question can be answered for many people!
When people think of cannabis, many assume it is solely used for the recreational use of achieving a high from smoking it. What these people may not necessarily realize is that there are many derivatives of the plant that are very apt for the purposes of relieving chronic pain. Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the active compounds in marijuana, as is Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the compound that makes you feel high - but many people use the plant for the effects actually granted by CBD, the non-psychoactive compound in cannabis. Using CBD does not make you feel “high”; in fact, many users report that it has the opposite effect, granting calmness and ease of focus.
Epilepsy, psychosis, and of course chronic pain, are three things on a long list of things that CBD is used for now in a purely medical application. In order to have a compound used by the medical community, extensive testing is required. Generally speaking, funding the studies that are required to prove a drug's safety and effectiveness can cause hundreds of millions of dollars. A consequence of this, however, is that a much higher percentage of medications that are approved work to the extent in which they were advertised.
What Does The Research Say About CBD?
CBD pain relief studies have shown definitive results supporting the use of CBD oil for chronic pain relief. One study conducted by researchers Wei Xiong, Tanxing Cui, et al has shown that CBD oils are actually able to suppress inflammatory responses, otherwise known as swelling that can cause pain for extended periods of time. The paper, published by the Rockefeller University Press, is written to describe the mechanism of this. Without getting too technical on the details, CBD administered either through injection or via topical oils target certain receptors in cells. By binding to these molecules, it prevents other molecules from binding in something called "competitive inhibition". This has the effect of reducing swelling, and ultimately, reducing pain as well. For those ambitious or curious enough to read for themselves, the article can be found here:
In general, there is still much debate about exactly how much CBD oil should be used to achieve a certain desired effect. How many mg of CBD is for pain relief and how many mg is in excess still has yet to be determined. CBD pain relief oils will work differently for one person than they will for another because each person has a unique biochemical environment in their cells.The general reactions occur the same in everyone, but as they say, no two people are exactly alike! Personal mileage may vary, but the studies have certainly shown the potential for CBD.
If someone is looking for a way to avoid taking opioids for pain relief, but they are still looking for something more effective than simply yoga and meditation, then CBD oils may be right for them. They are a promising new treatment method that has been sweeping the nation. Research continues to be conducted on them, and more exciting results are found each and every day. In the end, all of this research will only have the effect of expanding the already long list of uses that CBD have in the medical industry.
Don't believe it? Then feel free to ask around and look at testimonials, as people in every corner of America are already using CBD for chronic pain relief! Don't continue on in pain, and don't let a loved one continue in pain when there are new and all-natural options within your grasp.