It is estimated that there are over 50 million people worldwide suffering from chronic pain. Twenty-five million more at any given time are dealing with pain resulting from surgery, injury, or accidents. In the not-so-distant past, if you were in pain, you would pay a visit to your physician who would prescribe any number or opiate-based medications for relief.
Unfortunately, this overprescribing of pain medication led to a debilitating epidemic whose repercussions have been devastating. Doctors have become less and less willing to prescribe pain medications due to liability issues. The National Chronic Pain Outreach Association reports that there are only 4000 doctors who will provide their patients with narcotic pain meds, yet there are over seven million people who have untreated pain. These figures are heartbreaking when you consider the amount of suffering many are going through.
It is no secret that pharmaceutical options for pain carry with them some serious adverse side effects and risks. Addiction is just one of these risks. Whether patients are no longer able to obtain medicines to provide relief or whether they want off the prescription merry-go-round, CBD may offer an alternative that is worth exploring.
Cannabinoids For Pain Relief
People have been using cannabis for centuries. Shamans and healers have recommended it since antiquity for all sorts of maladies, and most cannabis users will attest to the fact that it works remarkably well for chronic pain. Its effectiveness is a primary reason so many are turning to medical marijuana programs around the country for pain management.
In 2017 The National Academies of Science reported that those with chronic pain who are treated with cannabis or cannabinoids were more apt to experience a significant reduction in their symptoms.
The problem with medical marijuana, however, is that it contains THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). THC is the compound responsible for the high that people experience when they use cannabis. Many individuals use it frequently with no apparent issues. But for those who—for one reason or another—don’t want the psychoactive effects it produces; CBD is an ideal alternative. By interacting indirectly with serotonin and pain receptors in the body, users can take advantage of the healing effects of cannabis without the accompanying mind-altering effects.
How Does CBD Work For Pain?
The body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a recently discovered system existing in the bodies of all mammals. It regulates temperature, appetite, mood, sleep, and many other essential functions. It also controls inflammation and pain perception. The ECS consists of a vast network of receptors that interact with the body’s own cannabinoids, called endocannabinoids.
Researchers speculate that if the ECS is not functioning correctly, chronic pain, inflammation, and other health issues may occur. There are several reasons why this could happen. Genetics, lifestyle, and environment may all play a role in maintaining a healthy ECS.
A phytocannabinoid like CBD may help when the body’s own cannabinoids are not enough. By mimicking their actions and interacting with the endocannabinoid system, CBD can help return the body to homeostasis.
Much like prescription opiates, CBD blocks pain pathways in the central nervous system. However, it uses a different neurochemical set of signals to accomplish this. Because CBD and opioids work on different parts of the brain, they can be used simultaneously (under the supervision of a doctor) and may provide a way to begin titrating off of prescriptions.
Many patients have found that they don’t build a tolerance as quickly and need less pain medicine when they use CBD. This is excellent news for those who want to stop narcotic pain meds but need to do it slowly.
The other way that CBD helps with pain is through its anti-inflammatory actions. Study after study has confirmed that CBD is a potent anti-inflammatory. Inflammation is the body’s natural response to injury or illness and is at the root of many diseases. By reducing this response, CBD may decrease inflammation and the associated discomfort that goes along with it. Arthritis, peripheral neuropathic pain, and gastritis are prime examples of painful conditions that CBD has been shown to help with.
Which CBD Product Is Best for Pain?
There are many hemp-based products on the market that are effective in helping reduce pain and inflammation. The most popular choice is CBD oil. Also called tinctures, drops, or extracts, it is typically taken sublingually by placing it under the tongue for 15-90 seconds before swallowing. This allows it to absorb into the mucosal membranes in your mouth and increases its bioavailability.
For those who don’t like the taste of CBD oil, other products include capsules, CBD pain patches, edibles like gummies, and vape products. Another useful category of hemp products is topicals. CBD salves, lotions, balms, gels, and creams can be massaged into the skin at the site of the pain. Many people have found CBD topical preparations to be a terrific way to get fast relief from tight and sore muscles and joints. Keeping a container on hand is an excellent way to stock your first-aid kit.
Choosing the Right CBD Product
There are thousands of choices among CBD products, which can be confusing to consumers. Not all of these products are the same, and they vary widely in quality, potency, and purity. The hemp industry is mostly unregulated, and there are no clear standards for labeling and dosing. This means it is up to the consumer to do the footwork when it comes to finding a safe CBD product that works.
Unbiased review sites like CBD Best Review offer an ideal way for buyers who are interested in CBD to take a look at some of the best options and find the right product for them. Brands and products on this site have been thoroughly researched to ensure they are pure, high-quality, and contain exactly what is on the label.
They even have an onsite tool where you can answer a few simple questions and be presented with a list of options, narrowed down to your specific condition or needs.
Side Effects and Safety
The World Health Organization has recognized CBD as safe for human (and animal) consumption, and no adverse public health effects have been seen. However, some prescriptions can interact with cannabidiol by increasing or decreasing their potency. If you are taking prescription medication, it is vital to have a conversation with your health care provider before taking CBD internally.
Among those who use do use it, mild side effects like gastrointestinal upset, drowsiness, dry mouth, dizziness, and lack of appetite have been reported. The safety profile of cannabinoids, in general, is very good. To date, not one overdose has ever been reported.
Unlike narcotic pain medications, there is no risk of dependency associated with CBD. However, there are many risks associated with opiates, including liver, kidney, and stomach damage as well as the potential for a deadly overdose. In the face of these life-threatening effects, CBD is a clear winner when it comes to alternative remedies for pain.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.