As the laws on cannabidiol become more favorable, more people are turning to this substance to relieve pain. There is a lot that the medical community knows about using the substance, but there is still a lot left to be learned. Let’s clear up some of the confusion about cannabidiol to determine whether or not it can help with the pain.
Are Cannabidiol and Marijuana the Same Thing?
CBD stands for cannabidiol. It is one of the two most powerful active ingredients in marijuana. Although CBD is a primary component in medical marijuana, it is a derivative of the hemp plant. Hemp is a biological cousin of marijuana.
CBD is a component of marijuana. The plant has hundreds of different components. On its own, CBD does not cause a person to get high. The World Health Organization has commented that CBD does not create in humans the side effects indicative of dependence or abuse. When used in its purest form, these regulatory organizations have found no evidence of a public health problem connected to CBD use.
What Constitutes Pain?
Before discussing the effects of CBD on pain, it’s good to understand the way that experts classify pain. Many experts divide pain into three categories. First, there is neuropathic pain. This is the pain that a person experiences when their nerves are inflamed or damaged. An example of this could be sciatica or carpal tunnel syndrome.
Second, there is acute pain. This is pain that’s caused by an injury or by tissue damage – think of cutting yourself or breaking a bone.
Third, there is centralized pain. This could include things like fibromyalgia or other chronic overlapping conditions that cause pain. It includes migraines and tension headaches. This type of pain can be challenging to identify because its pathology is not something that can be seen on an x-ray or an MRI.
It’s good to understand different categorizations of pain because some types of pain do not always respond to medication in the same way. This is why it can be difficult to make overall generalizations on how effective CBD is on pain.
Another issue is that, although there is ample anecdotal evidence, there are not many high-quality studies focusing on how CBD can affect pain. This is because, until December 2018, CBD was a Schedule 1 substance. This made it difficult to study its effect on humans.
There have been many studies showing that CBD produces anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects. Although there have been a number of studies showing medical marijuana’s effect on pain, many of these focus on the use of CBD along with THC.
Is It Legal to Use Cannabidiol for Pain?
You can obtain CBD in the majority of the 50 states. However, the legal status of this substance varies from state to state. The federal government sees CBD in the same class as marijuana. The government’s stance on CBD is in a state of flux, so it can be confusing. One legal issue is whether CBD is a derivative of marijuana or a derivative of hemp. It is expected that, in the near future, the federal government and states will layout uniform guidelines for CBD use.
Does CBD Help Relieve Pain?
Mankind has used CBD for thousands of years to help with pain. However, it is only recently that the medical community has started to study the benefits of using this substance.
Studies performed in Europe on rats with arthritis showed that using a topical gel that contained CBD eased the inflammation and signs of pain without producing additional side effects. There is anecdotal evidence from many people who use CBD oil for their arthritis pain, who say that they have found relief.
A study done by the Journal of Experimental Medicine supported evidence showing that CBD can reduce pain and inflammation. Interestingly, the study showed that people were unlikely to build up a tolerance to the effects of CBD. This means that people can receive pain relief without needing to increase their dosage continually.
Multiple studies have been done showing the potential of CBD to provide pain relief for cancer sufferers. CBD has been shown to reduce some of the side effects of chemotherapy, including:
- Loss of appetite
In some studies, patients with cancer-related pain received oral sprays that contained a combination of THC and CBD to use in conjunction with opioids. According to the study, the opioids were more effective when they were used in conjunction with the THC and CBD spray.
What Type of CBD Products Should You Consider?
CBD-based products can be applied to the skin, inhaled, or taken orally.
- Capsules that are taken orally are absorbed through the digestive tract. This is a slower process. Getting the right dosage can be tricky. However, once a proper dosage is established, capsules can work for daily use.
- Topical products, such as balms and lotions, have been shown to be beneficial. Whether or not they deliver CBD below the skin is unknown.
- Inhalation via vaporizing or vapor may produce positive results. However, inhaling the vapors of oils exposes a person to potentially dangerous byproducts and carries unknown risks.
Side Effects of CBD
CBD does not trigger serious side effects for users. Topical CBD products usually do not enter the bloodstream. Some people could experience side effects, such as:
- Weight fluctuations
- Changes in appetite
What Is the Future of CBD As a Pain Relief Treatment?
As the DEA reschedules CBD and as the FDA approves CBD-based medication, more research will likely be done on the effects of CBD and pain. And there are likely going to be more prescription drugs on the market that will complement non-prescription treatments, including CBD oil that is available online.
There are currently cannabis-based pharmaceuticals that have a mixture of THC and CBD that have been approved in a number of countries for treating multiple sclerosis-related pain, stiffness, and pain from cancer. This is positive news that will likely lead to better CBD products in the future.