CBD for Pain
Effects of CBD
CBD is one of more than 120 compounds called cannabinoids.
Many plants contain cannabinoids, but people most commonly associate them to cannabis.
Unlike other cannabinoids — such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — CBD does not produce a euphoric “high” or psychoactive effect. This is because CBD does not affect the same receptors as THC.
The human body has an endocannabinoid system (ECS) that receives and translates signals from cannabinoids. It produces some cannabinoids of its own, which are called endocannabinoids. The ECS helps to regulate functions such as sleep, immune-system responses, pain and more.
When THC enters the body, it produces a “high” feeling by affecting the brain’s endocannabinoid receptors. This activates the brain’s reward system, producing pleasure chemicals such as dopamine.
A study in the European Journal of Pain used an animal model to see if CBD could help people with arthritis manage their pain. Researchers applied a topical gel containing CBD to rats with arthritis for 4 days.
Their research noted a significant drop in inflammation and signs of pain, without any additional side effects.
People using CBD oil for arthritis may find relief from their pain, but more human studies need to be done to confirm these findings.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease that affects the entire body through the nerves and brain.
Muscle spasms are one of the most common symptoms of MS. These spasms can be so great they cause constant pain in some people.
One report found that short-term use of CBD oil could reduce the levels of spasticity a person feels. The results are modest, but many people reported a reduction in symptoms. More studies on humans are needed to verify these results.
The same report studied CBD use for general chronic pain. Researchers compiled the results of multiple systematic reviews covering dozens of trials and studies. Their research concluded that there is substantial evidence that cannabis is an effective treatment for chronic pain in adults.
A separate study in the Journal of Experimental Medicine supports these results. This research suggests that using CBD can reduce pain and inflammation.
The researchers also found that subjects were not likely to build up a tolerance to the effects of CBD, so they would not need to increase their dose continually.
They noted that cannabinoids, such as CBD, could offer helpful new treatments for people with chronic pain.
Other uses of CBD
CBD currently has a range of applications and promising possibilities.
- smoking cessation and drug withdrawal
- treating seizures and epilepsy
- anxiety treatment
- reducing some of the effects of Alzheimer’s, as shown by initial research
- antipsychotic effects on people with schizophrenia
- future applications in combating acne, type 1 diabetes, and cancer
Although more research is required to confirm some uses of CBD oil, it is shaping up as a potentially promising and versatile treatment.
In June 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved one form of CBD as a treatment for people with two rare and specific kinds of epilepsy, namely Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) or Dravet syndrome (DS).
While many studies have suggested CBD oil is helpful for pain, more research is necessary, especially in long-term studies with human subjects.
However, CBD oil does show a lot of potential for pain relief. Anecdotal evidence suggests that it can be used to help manage chronic pain in many cases.
CBD oil is especially promising due to its lack of intoxicating effects and a possible lower potential for side effects than many other pain medications.
People should discuss CBD oil with their doctor if they are considering using it for the first time.