Millions of Americans struggle with pain every day. When we consider the staggering number of 50 million afflicted, it would only be fair to call it an epidemic. Naturally, there are some latent, hidden epidemics that follow the first one. With pain came the opioid epidemic that has ravaged many families and communities during the last decade.
Remembering all that, the arrival of CBD – and all its benefits- really set it apart. Unlike other substances, where you had to pay the price of addiction and not being able to function properly day by day, it was like a miracle. It’s non-addictive and doesn’t cloud your judgment in the least. The steadily rising popularity of CBD is easy to understand.
Most people don’t know this, but the cannabis plant has been used as a pain reliever since ancient times. The list includes various great leaders and rules. One of the most notable examples is the late Queen Victoria, one of the most important figures in British history. She allegedly suffered from cripplingly painful menstrual cramps. And her physician Russell Reynolds suggested that she started to use cannabis. Following the success he had with treating the queen with this wonderful herb, he started to consider cannabis as one of the most important medicines available to humans. Other, more ancient people, like the Babylonians and Assyrians, also testify to its greatness.
But this wonderful plant has suffered immensely during the last century. The war on drugs on one side and the quest for super cannabis that will get you as high as possible on the other, have created for it a very sinister reputation. Rich CBD strains of cannabis were so out of fashion that they almost went extinct.
The cannabis sort of CBD has been discovered and properly classified in the 1940s. But as with everything new, it takes decades for scientists to figure out how to maximize that discovery. CBD isn’t new, but our knowledge of all its benefits is.
That isn’t to say that our knowledge is complete. There is still a lot we can learn about CBD and pain. But based on everything we know now, which went from personal testament to clinical trials in a few years, have shown that there is significant promise in pain regulation with the help of CBD. Or in the words of those who have conducted these studies,”CBD is a new agent that successfully fights and conquers chronic pain.”
How does CBD fight and lower pain?
The cannabis plant has a lot of chemicals inside itself, some rate the number to be close to a 100. Those chemicals are called cannabinoids. Each and every one of hose chemicals comes with is own properties. The two most known and studied chemicals are CBD and THC.
Our body has receptors all throughout our nervous system that can and do interact with every possible cannabinoid chemical. Those receptors are called endocannabinoid receptors and are part of the body’s overall endocannabinoid system.
You have probably heard that cannabis gets you high. Well, that isn’t totally true. What gets you high is THC (along with some other health benefits). Once THC binds with the CB1 receptor in your body you get the feeling of being high.
Based on the scientific research so far conducted, CBD doesn’t connect well with the endocannabinoid receptors in our bodies. What it does, is to influence our body in a slightly indirect way. But, that doesn’t mean it isn’t effective. On the contrary, it has many benefits and can treat many medical conditions. The biggest difference between CBD and THC is that CBD doesn’t get you high.
CBD helps relieve pain in a number of ways. It has been proven that it can bind with various pain-related neuroreceptors. One such case is when it very successfully binds with the TRPV-1 receptors in our bodies. Once it binds with this receptor -also called the vanilloid receptor- your perception of pain shifts greatly. There are also other pain-related neurotransmitters like serotonin which are influenced by your intake of CBD.
But the pain comes in all possible forms and we will now dig in deeper to understand just how CBD deals with every kind of pain possible inside our fragile bodies.
How CBD Can Help Athletes Deal with Pain
There is a lot of hard work, and pain included, in the life of an average athlete. The ware and tear on the body increased throughout the years and what was once just a smarting sensation has developed into intense pain that really hinders your performance. This leads many athletes to start using over the counter pain relievers. Sadly, those could have some serious side effects. They also stop being as effective after some time as your tolerance grows.
The use of CBD in the lives of athletes has been growing steadily. But that isn’t just a fad of fashion. There are two great reasons for the growing use of CBD. The first is that a few studies have shown that it has anti-inflammatory properties. One study, done in 2009, has shown that CBD suppressed chronic pain to a great degree by dealing with receptors directly in the spine.
The second reason is CBD’s analgesic properties. it not only lowers the inflammation in your body, but it also helps it relieve pain. That is why athletes started to use CBD after grueling workouts or draining, important games. And the use of CBD is set to grow ever since the World Anti-Doping Agency has removed CBD from its list of banned substances
How CBD Helps with Headaches
Headaches are probably the leading cause, nation-wide, of chronic pain. They vary greatly, from migraines to tension headaches. But all that variety is extremely unpleasant and in some cases, it can make life paralyzing painful. To the degree that your everyday life becomes almost impossible.
We all get headaches from time to time. Usually, they come and go quickly. But there is a percentage of the population who gets them all the time, and who has to figure out what the best way of treatment for those chronic headaches is. If you don’t treat them properly you only risk your health and wellbeing. If you underdose your meds, the pain is still there. On the other hand, if you use too much, you can develop other symptoms. CBD could be a gamechanger.
There aren’t many studies that look at how CBD deals with headaches. But those that we have are showing a lot of promise. One study, conducted in 2017, looked at how CBD, nabilone and ibuprofen deal with headaches, migraines, and rebound headaches. And the best results came from a cannabis-nabilone fusion.
Another study, published in 2016 looked at how medicinal marijuana affected migraines. They found that it has very positive results, especially towards its interaction with serotonin.
As you probably noticed, none of these studies looked at CBD in isolation. That is a major issue with CBD research. ANd, if we are being completely honest, the studies that have look at CBD in isolation and its treatments of headaches are not conclusive. THey haven’t proven that CBD helps with headaches. But all those studies are in reality scare and in their infancy.
The studies also don’t answer the question of what the ideal dose of CBA for a certain type and intensity of headache is.
But the studies on cannabinoids, in general, leave a lot of promise. And with time, as the number of studies on CBD increases, we should have conclusive evidence on how CBD affects headaches, as well as other types of chronic pain.
CBD and Joint Pain
Joints are the connective tissue in our body that allow our bodies to move and they absorb all kinds of stress. But like anything in the body, with age, they are more and more spent, injury-prone and wasted. This leads to joint pain. The latest numbers from the CDC are staggering, almost every fourth adult in the USA is suffering from some form of arthritis.
Joint pain can be a nuisance, but it can also make part of your body almost unusable from the sheer volume of pain. The worse the pain gets, the stronger your medication will be. And those strong meds could lead you towards the path of opioids.
To counter all those serious side-effects that those strong medications include, there has been a large, new wave of CBD studies about joint pain. Some of them have been quite promising. For example:
A study on mice with arthritis in 2000 concluded that CBD has anti-arthritic properties.
A study in 2017 saw an effect of CBD on osteoarthritis
A study that used CBD gel on mice in 2016 found that it reduces inflammation and pain without inflammation
A study in 2017 has shown that medicinal marijuana helps with chronic pain and it reduces the addiction of many patients for other pain medications.
There is still much to discover between joint pain and CBD. But, the first results are overwhelmingly positive. Those positive results will lead to serious clinical studies. Once they are concluded we will know everything there is about the great effects CBD has on our joints. Also, clinical research will give us the answer to what the best way to take CBD is.
Nerve Pain and CBD
The most difficult type of pain to treat is nerve pain. It includes a wide variety of symptoms, from stabbing pain to tingling and an annoying burning sensation. The types of pain aren’t the only thing that varies, the origins and conditions of nerve pain can also be different. For example:
A serious injury
Lyme disease and other viroids
Lupus and similar autoimmune diseases
The consensus about cannabis as a highly successful treatment for all kinds of neuropathy is growing. For example, a study done in 2015 has concluded that there is a benefit from cannabis treatment for almost every kind of neuropathic pain.
But the majority of those studies didn’t look at CBD in isolation. In most cases they looked at FDA approved drugs like Sativex. And those drugs have both THC and CBD. Again, as with the studies done on joint pain and CBD, there are only a few studies that looked at CBD in isolation and how it deals with nerve pain. The two most important ones are:
In a study conducted in the year 2012, the results have shown that CBD is a good choice to combat neuropathic issues
in 2017 there was a research paper that looked at all CBD related research and it concluded that CBD has many benefits when treating patients with neuropathy.
Of course, these are just the first stages of CBD research on nerve pain. Hopefully, once a lot more studies are done, we will know everything that is to know about CBD and its effects on nerve pain.
Other Potential Uses
As we have seen, one of the biggest issues we are currently facing is that there aren’t many studies that look at CBD in isolation. The majority look at both CBD and THC together. But the number of CBD isolate trials is starting to grow, and that can give us hope that we can soon find all the answers we seek about the positive health benefits of CBD.
We aren’t saying that THC is harmful. It got its bad rep exclusively because it can get you high. And because of that people overlook all its positive benefits. Some of those benefits include helping you deal with nausea, or it is, just like CBD, a great tool for ridding your body from inflammation.
But the studies that have been done have shown that the best way to use CBD, if you are struggling with pain is to use CBD in its oil form.
THC and the high you get from it can really be a hindrance if you need to deal with some serious stuff, like work or other obligations. IT can also harm people with bipolar or panic disorders because it can increase their symptoms.
But, you are in luck. There are already a lot of CBD oil products that don’t include THC. Just look for products made from CBD Isolate or a CBD of a Broad Spectrum.
What to do Next?
You have done your homework, did all the research on CBD and are eager to try it? Here are a few tips on how you should proceed:
Discuss all potential CBD treatments with your doctor. This is the most important step if you are already on pain medication.
Dig deeper into CBD companies. Only buy stuff from companies that have been tested by third-party labs.
Dose carefully. You have to find the dose that fits you, so take your time and build up the dosage slowly.
Find which type of CBD works best for you.