How CBD Works To Relieve Pain and Inflammation

Posted by Angela Lieben on Jan 20, 2021

How CBD Works To Relieve Pain and Inflammation

Essential Guide to CBD & Pain Management


CBD & Pain Management

  There’s been a lot of discussions about CBD and how it works to relieve pain and inflammation. For those who experience day-to-day mild to moderate chronic pain and inflammation, CBD is steadily gaining popularity as a natural way of treating pain. The key ingredient associated with decreasing pain and inflammation is a substance called Cannabidiol, which is found in the cannabis plant. Cannabidiol is touted as a natural and non-addictive alternative to current pain medication.

According to Cannabis and Cannabis Research, the use of CBD for pain dates back to ancient China. It is thought that CBD is essential to easing chronic pain by reducing inflammation. Research also indicated the CBD can help promote better sleep and elevate mood, especially for those experiencing pain. The researchers at Cannabis Research state that it is “important to note that CBD products should not contain THC -- the compound known for producing a “high” effect. Unlike THC, CBD is not psychoactive and non-intoxicating.

CBD & Pain Management

CBD and Pain Relief

The Institute of Medicine of The National Academies states that over 100 million Americans live with chronic pain. That is a lot of miserable people. Pain can dramatically impact your quality of life as well as increase health care costs. Chronic pain can also negatively impact productivity at work and home. Here are some of the common types of chronic pain CBD can help relieve.

  • Cancer pain
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Headaches
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Low back pain
  • Migraines
  • Multiple sclerosis pain
  • Neuropathic pain
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ)

Although over-the-counter medication can help with pain management on a temporary basis, the long-term effects can cause other issues such as liver and kidney damage. That is why people look to CBD to help with managing their pain. Some CBD advocates suggest that CBD is a viable solution to opioid addiction and overdoses.

Benefits of Using CBD for Pain

Scientists have been working diligently to find how CBD works in relieving pain. What they have found is that cannabidiol affects the body’s endocannabinoid system ( a system of cell-to-cell communication. Everyone has a cell-signaling endocannabinoid system, which contributes to the way our brains’ functions as well as the performance of memory and mood. However, the biggest thing these receptors do -- is it influences how we experience and react to pain. So when adding a topical CBD to the localized area, the brain signals the stimuli, and the cells around the painful area respond with instant relief.

CBD is both hydrophobic and lipophilic, meaning it dissolves in fats. The dissolution of CBD then helps it to be carried across the blood-brain barrier and affect your CNS endocannabinoid system.

Pain Management and CBD

CBD is a broad range of positive effects when it comes to pain. Here is a summary of how CBD works in relation to the response of your body.

CBD Helps Reduce Pain Signals by modulating pain and sensation by stimulating reuptake neurotransmitters and boosting adenosine receptors in the brain. In layman’s terms, CBD blocks pain signals from reaching the processing center of the brain.

CBD Helps Increase Immune Responses by modulating and correlating pro-inflammatory cytokines. Your T cells are then stimulated by CBD to help fight autoimmune inflammatory disorders.

CBD Helps Reduce Inflammation -- Inflammation is the cause of most pain people experience. CBD works as an antioxidant which then suppresses oxidative stress and inflammation. CBD can also reduce neuropathic pain often associated with fibromyalgia or back pain by counteracting hyperalgesia (heighten pain response).

CBD Helps Elevate Mood and Improve Sleep. Chronic or even mild pain is a known factor in creating havoc with our daily lives. Constant pain creates a domino effect and can increase anxiety, depression, fatigue, and sleeplessness. Adding CBD to your daily routine can help with relaxation and provide you with better sleep. When you sleep better, you also feel better!

Given the above reference benefits, CBD is known for easing the symptoms of the following conditions:

  • Osteoarthritis is a painful joint condition. Studies suggest that CBD can block or debilitate the GPR55 receptor, which may help with bone reabsorption.
  • Type 2 Diabetes – CBD is known to activate a receptor called, PPAR-gamma, which may improve type 2 diabetes symptoms by decreasing the risk for developing diabetes-related neuropathic pain.
  • Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis – CBD is known for reducing inflammatory and autoimmune conditions, as well as for fibromyalgia.
  • Anxiety – as noted, anxiety related to living with chronic pain, or that exists on its own, maybe eased with CBD use, whether temporarily or in the long-term.

One thing to keep in mind is that CBD is not a cure-all. What works for one may not work for others. Although known as an alternative for treating chronic pain and other ailments, CBD should be used as a complementary regimen. We recommend that you consult your healthcare provider for additional information on using CBD for certain conditions.

How to Use CBD for Pain

Scientists are still working on the different ways CBD may help to fight disease, reduce pain and its related symptoms. They are also still researching the overall functionality of CBD as an isolated compound versus a whole plant. With that being said, you may come across the following product descriptions such as CBD Isolate, Full Spectrum CBD, and Broad Spectrum CBD.

Here’s a quick cheat sheet on the varying types of CBD

  • CBD Isolate is composed of the CBD compound only and is extracted from the marijuana plant. CBD isolates can be extracted from both hemp and non-hemp species of marijuana. Remember, for it to be federally legal, it must come from the hemp species.
  • Full Spectrum CBD products maintain the full profile of the marijuana plant and in addition to CBD, containing a variety of other cannabinoids including THC, CBDa, CBG, and CBN, as well as terpenes and other compounds such as flavonoids, proteins, phenols, sterols, and esters. Full-spectrum CBD products can contain 0.3% or less THC, if they are derived from the hemp species, however, full-spectrum CBD products derived from non-hemp marijuana tend to have a wider cannabinoid and terpene profile.
  • Broad Spectrum CBD maintains the whole profile of the marijuana plant, but with the THC mostly removed.

Selecting a CBD Product to Fit Your Needs

  • When shopping for CBD here are a few things you will want to consider.
  • Consider the type of pain you are experiencing
  • How long and quick the effect of CBD after application
  • What type of CBD product appeals to you
  • Create a list of the pain you are experiencing and try to match to the appropriate CBD product.

What to Expect When Taking CBD

At this point, we all know CBD won’t get you high. However, ingest enough of it and you will experience a calming effect. Some additional “side-effects” when taking CBD may be drowsiness, nausea, feeling lethargic. Although side effects are often minimal and will go away with time, you can be confident in knowing that CBD does not have a negative effect on your mood or cognitive abilities.

Before taking CBD however, you want to make sure you take an inventory of other medications you are taking. If in doubt, please consult your doctor. Remember, using CBD for pain and or any other related symptoms is not an exact science. You may have to vary the dose to fit the perfect fit. The good news about CBD is that it is not physically addictive and there have been no reports on anyone overdosing.

When treating CBD for pain or other ailments, understand that it takes time for your body to adjust. So, a little patience is always in order. 

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