Cannabis plants (hemp and marijuana) contain powerful chemicals. These chemicals are referred to as cannabinoids. Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the important ones. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD does not get its users high, the property that is usually associated with cannabis.
People who suffer from chronic pain often rely on prescribed drugs to relieve it. However, many sufferers choose to use CBD as a pain killer without any fears of the hallucinogenic effect that THC can cause. CBD also has many other benefits, including the fact that it is nowhere near as addictive as some of the pharmaceutical drugs used to deal with pain.
This article looks at some vital things you need to know about CBD as a pain killer and the use of cannabidiol for medicinal benefits.
How does CBD work?
CBD is among the many chemical compounds found in cannabis plants. Although many other plants also contain cannabinoids, most people only associate CBD with cannabis plants.
The human body has a system known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS) which is responsible for receiving and translating signals from cannabinoids. The ECS produces its own cannabinoids known as endocannabinoids. The system also plays a crucial role in regulating sleep, pain, and immune-system responses.
When different cannabinoids enter the human body, they induce different feelings by interacting with endocannabinoid receptors in the brain. When a person uses THC, the cannabinoid produces a euphoric sensation after affecting specific ECS receptors. However, CBD does not create a high feeling because it impacts different receptors from those affected by THC.
The effects of CBD on the ECS are complex and have no real impact on or impair the user’s ability to function. Instead, CBD influences the user’s body to use its endocannabinoids more effectively.
What are the uses of CBD for pain relief?
Currently, no pain killer which uses CBD as its active compound has been approved in the US. However, the Food and Drug Authority (FDA) has approved one CBD-based treatment, Epidiolex, for treating some rare forms of Epilepsy.
Away from the US, several countries have given CBD the green light to be used to treat different conditions. Canada, for example, has approved CBD as a treatment for cancer pain, and the UK has allowed its use for treating multiple sclerosis.
Some ongoing studies suggest that CBD as a pain killer could alleviate several medical conditions. These conditions include fibromyalgia and arthritis, for which varying CBD doses are applicable. However, CBD may not be effective alone for some pain and it has to be paired with THC or other conventional medicinal options.
What are the applications of CBD for chronic pain?
Any pain that persists for an extended duration running into several months, is called chronic pain. According to some studies, using CBD, usually with THC, can be an effective pain killer for treating different chronic conditions.
Based on findings from a 2019 study, Sativex, a spray containing equal parts CBD and THC, emerged as an effective add-on treatment for patients experiencing severe pain due to various ailments. What’s more, the patients showed good tolerance to the treatment.
Although Sativex proved more effective in dealing with pain affecting nerves (neuropathic pain), it can also help with pain affecting body tissue (nociceptive) and mixed pain. In addition, an earlier study found CBD effective in chronic pain related to conditions such as spinal cord injury and multiple sclerosis.
How is CBD used to relieve migraine pain?
CBD has also been proven to help as a pain killer for migraine headaches. So, what are migraines? They are severe headaches that occur due to a specific trigger and sometimes without any triggers. They are incredibly debilitating. The headache may persist for several hours or even an entire day. The symptoms of migraines include severe headaches, nausea, sensitivity to light, and dizziness.
Studies on the use of cannabidiol to manage migraines are limited. The study findings also considered how CBD works when paired with THC but not when used in isolation. From a 2017 study, using CBD and THC together can result in less intense and less acute pain for those suffering from migraines.
Medicinal cannabis and CBD oil help with migraines because these treatments have anti-inflammatory properties. They also help to reduce anxiety, tension, and migraine-associated pain significantly. Also, by reducing anxiety and tension, CBD reduces their frequency.
How can CBD help with endometriosis pain?
Endometriosis results when cells that typically grow in the womb (uterus) start to grow in other areas of the abdomen, including the intestines. Its most common symptom is severe period pain leaving those women suffering from it unable to carry on with their everyday routines. If the pain occurs monthly for 1-2 weeks, it becomes overly disruptive and makes it hard to enjoy a quality life.
The good news is that women with endometriosis can rely on medicinal cannabis and CBD oils to relieve the intense and disruptive pain. The combination of CBD and THC, or CBD oil, can significantly improve the pain and inflammation associated with endometriosis. This is a great painkiller option for women in NZ, where 1 in 10 women is likely to be affected by endometriosis.
Can CBD oil help with cancer-related pain?
Cancer treatment lists pain as one of its most challenging side effects. The pain can adversely affect the patient’s quality of life and about 65% of people with cancer experience chronic pain. Fortunately, CBD is a good pain killer for cancer sufferers. Using a combination of CBD and THC can relieve the pain in a significant way.
Moreover, THC helps to reduce cancer-associated weight loss and improve appetite. Also, due to CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties, it reduces chronic inflammation, which leads to increased cancer risks if not dealt with.
CBD is an excellent pain killer and can help with various types of pain, including migraines, endometriosis, cancer-related pain, arthritic pain, and others. However, you must consult your doctor before using any form of medicinal cannabis. A qualified physician should assess each case individually and advise how CBD can help.
In addition, you should only buy CBD products for use as painkillers or other medicinal purposes from reputable suppliers only to avoid poor quality or contaminated products.