Cannabis products have been used for years to alleviate pain, and the scientific community is beginning to agree. Current research suggests that CBD oil for pain relief could be a preferable alternative to other painkillers for many painful conditions.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a common chemical compound found in cannabis sativa.
Unlike the most common cannabinoid, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD is not psychoactive and will not produce a “high.” Studies suggest the CBD can actually counter the effects of THC.
How Does CBD Oil Work?
CBD has a direct effect on the endocannabinoid system (ECS) which is responsible for regulating several physical and cognitive functions including fertility, pain reception, mood, appetite, and memory. The ECS does this through receptors that are located throughout the body predominantly in the central nervous system and brain, but also in other peripheral organs and the immune system.
CBD plays a role in the ECS by binding to the receptors CB1 and CB2 to activate or inhibit other compounds that regulate the system. One important compound the CBD affects is anandamide, a neurotransmitter which contributes to pain reception.
Therapeutic Benefits of CBD Oil for Pain Relief
Research suggests that CBD shows a lot of promise for treating a number of painful health conditions. Studies show that CBD has powerful anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties, as well as playing a role in pain inhibition.
Studies have shown that CBD has a significant impact on the way that anandamide works in the ECS to reduce pain sensation.
CBD interrupts the breakdown of anandamide by the enzyme fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH). This allows anandamide to build-up in the bloodstream and stay active in the ECS for longer. Anandamide is a known natural painkiller and functions in a similar way to endorphins or serotonin to modulate your response to pain.
CBD is cited as having strong anti-inflammatory effects on the immune system. CBD interacts with anandamide and another cannabinoid, 2-AG, which bind to the CB2 receptors to influence the white blood cells and how they react to inflammatory stimuli.
CBD has shown benefits as a neuroprotective compound that helps to encourage the growth of new neurons to potentially repair the damage done to the brain by degenerative neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis. These diseases are often accompanied by neurological pain which may be relieved using CBD.
CBD and Pain Conditions
Patients with fibromyalgia experience painful symptoms without stimulus or infection. It has been suggested that the pain they experience is due to the different way that the brain processes pain.
Due to the efficacy of CBD at promoting natural pain relief and its effect on neurological pathways, it has the potential as an alternative to opiate-based painkiller for treating chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia.
One study also showed that a cannabinoid deficiency can contribute to pain in patients with fibromyalgia and CBD oil can help correct this deficiency.
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
People suffering from irritable bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis often experience severe abdominal pain, cramps, and nausea. Studies on IBS and CBD have shown that CBD oil has the potential to alleviate many of these symptoms due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties as well as the effects that CBD has on the appetite.
Research has shown that the use of topical CBD products such as CBD cream or gel can relieve pain and inflammation of the joints and connective tissues associated with arthritis as well as muscular aches and pains. CBD has also been tested for the relief of neurologic pain due to osteoarthritis.
- Multiple Sclerosis
One study has concluded that topical CBD oil for pain relief could be effective for treating the symptoms of multiple sclerosis due to the neuroprotective properties of the compound and its effect on the inflammatory response.
- Final Thoughts
The current body of research into CBD and pain shows positive signs that CBD oil for pain relief could offer an effective alternative for people suffering from a range of chronic pain conditions.