How to Use CBD for Pain Relief
CBD for pain relief is available since marijuana products have become legal in many states. Cannabidiol (CBD) seems to be everywhere, especially here in Colorado. CBD is found in cannabis (marijuana and hemp) plants but doesn’t cause the “high” feeling most people associate with cannabis. The “high” from marijuana is caused by tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which is different from CBD in more ways than just spelling.
The most common reason that people cite for using CBD products is pain relief. Patients experiencing chronic pain, especially conditions like arthritis, often use topical CBD oils and creams to manage their symptoms. CBD oil may reduce:
- overall discomfort related to a variety of health conditions
CBD offers an alternative treatment for people with chronic pain that rely on potentially addictive medications (we’re talking about you, opioids). While the research on CBD and its pain-relieving properties has been very promising, there is much more to learn.
Currently, the only Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved CBD product available is Epidiolex, a drug prescribed for epilepsy.
Because there are no FDA-approved, nonprescription CBD products, they aren’t regulated for purity and dosage like other drugs and supplements. Because of this, it is very important to purchase your CBD products from a reputable manufacturer. Our office has been partnered with Viva Oils, based in Arvada, Colorado, for several years.
CBD for chronic pain relief
The amazing thing about cannabinoids is that humans have their own internal endocannabinoid system (ECS). Many researchers believe that the cannabinoids we consume interact with the endocannabinoid receptors in the ECS that exists in our brain and immune system.
This response in the ECS creates the anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects that we experience. This is how CBD products may benefit people with chronic pain, such as chronic back pain.
One 2018 review assessed how well CBD works to relieve chronic pain. The review looked at studies conducted between 1975 and March 2018. These studies examined various types of pain, including:
- cancer pain
- neuropathic pain
Based on these studies, researchers concluded that CBD was effective in overall pain management and didn’t cause negative side effects.
CBD for Chronic Pain Relief
Chronic pain is defined as pain lasting longer than 6 months. Studies have found CBD to be an effective pain reliever for various chronic conditions. In clinical trials, Sativex, a spray with equal parts CBD and THC, proved significantly successful as an analgesic for cancer-related pain. The spray, also used for multiple sclerosis-related pain, is used in Canada for pain related to cancer and is currently undergoing trials for use in the U.S.
A 2019 study found Sativex to be an “effective and well-tolerated add-on treatment” for patients with severe chronic pain stemming from various ailments. The study identified three types of pain: nociceptive (affecting body tissue), neuropathic (affecting nerves) and mixed pain. Sativex helped treat all three kinds but proved especially effective against neuropathic pain.
An earlier study also found CBD to be effective in chronic pain relief for conditions like multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injury, although across a much smaller sample size.
CBD for Arthritis Pain
Arthritis is a broad term that encompasses hundreds of joint-related conditions and pains. Common symptoms include swelling, pain and stiffness in the joints and may progress over time.
Already a proven analgesic for other conditions, CBD shows promise as an anti-inflammatory substance in both animal and preclinical trials, which bodes well for arthritis treatment. However, clinical research dedicated to CBD administration for arthritis is less robust and ongoing.
The first controlled trial conducted in 2006 focused on patients with rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in the joints and other affected areas. Researchers found that, compared to a placebo, Sativex significantly improved participants’ pain during movement, pain at rest and quality of sleep. Any adverse reactions to the treatment were mild or moderate, and there were no complications with withdrawal.
CBD and Arthritis Research
In 2018 researchers tested the efficacy of topical CBD gel on participants with osteoarthritis-related knee pain over the course of 12 weeks. Participants used either 250 milligrams or 500 milligrams, split into two applications, daily. Overall, participants’ weekly pain levels didn’t improve much with CBD compared to placebo. However, when researchers evaluated the average weekly worst pain scores and Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Arthritis Index (WOMAC) physical function scores, participants who applied 250 milligrams of CBD daily experienced significant improvement over placebo participants.
Meanwhile, a small 2019 trial suggests a mix of CBD and THC may prove beneficial for people with fibromyalgia, a type of arthritis that results in whole-body pain and fatigue. The study found that, via a single inhalation, a CBD-THC solution performed better than a placebo and better than either substance on its own.
CBD for Pain Relief
Several countries have approved CBD to treat various conditions. England has approved CBD for patients with multiple sclerosis and Canada has approved it for pain related to cancer pain. Current research on CBD shows potential uses for people with arthritis and fibromyalgia. While some types of pain may not be treatable by CBD alone, it can help when paired with THC, or traditional prescription medications.
According to a recent Forbes Health survey of 2,000 U.S. adults, 60% of CBD users are using it for pain relief. What’s more, 60% of U.S. adults have not only tried CBD but also believe in its medicinal benefits.
CBD for Neuropathic (Nerve) Pain
There are many conditions and injuries that can damage nerves or the nervous system, resulting in neuropathic, or nerve related pain. Neuropathic pain can present as tingling, numbness, muscle weakness, and sharp, shooting, burning, or stabbing pain.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is one of the most common causes of neuropathic pain. This disease causes the myelin coating around the nerves to wear down. Sativex is a CBD product that is approved as an MS treatment and has shown success in clinical trials.
A 2020 study tested topical CBD oil to treat patients with peripheral neuropathy. When compared to a placebo, topical CBD significantly improved patients’ pain, burning, and cold or itchy sensations.
CBD side effects
CBD doesn’t pose significant risks for users, and most topical CBD products don’t enter the bloodstream.
However, certain side effects are possible, such as:
- changes in appetite
- unwanted weight gains due to changes in appetite
CBD may interact with:
- certain over the counter (OTC) drugs
- prescription medications
- dietary supplements
If you are taking medications or supplements that contain a “grapefruit warning”, you may not want to use CBD. Grapefruit and CBD both interfere with enzymes that are important to drug metabolism. Like other drugs and supplements, CBD could potentially increase the risk of liver toxicity.
Without the intoxicating properties of its cousin delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD) can provide many health benefits. Cannabinoids like CBD interact with receptors in the ECS, which plays an important role in signaling different bodily functions. These include everything from emotional responses to motor control and energy balance.
Discounted CBD Products for Pain
As stated before, because the FDA has not approved any nonprescription CBD products, it’s important to purchase your CBD products from a trustworthy CBD company. Our office has been partnered with Viva Oils, based in Arvada, Colorado, for several years. They produce a wide range of CBD products and provide great customer service. Use the discount code “drd” to save 10% on your orders. You can also schedule a FREE Consultation with Dr. Doran to evaluate your back pain, neck pain, or headaches.