There is a lot of stigma attached to cannabidiol. It is necessary to understand cannabidiol and its uses to overcome this stigma. While an increasing number of people are using cannabidiol, many experience side effects. Let us take a look at how cannabidiol works and the way it can be used to help provide relief from chronic pain.
Pain is the body’s natural reaction to injuries or any internal disturbance. When the body is in the state of wellness, the pain goes away. However, for some people, the pain continues even when the root cause is not there. It becomes chronic pain when it lasts for approximately 6 months.
Causes and Types of Chronic Pain
It is not precisely known why pain becomes chronic. It is, however, associated with the following conditions:
- Joint problems
- Back pain
- Repeated stress injuries which occur because of the same movement and strain on the same body part
- Lyme disease
- Nerve damage
- Irritable bowel syndrome
The root cause of chronic pain can also be mental. While some people feel pain because of an underlying cause, there are others who feel the pain in a different way. There is a problem with their nerves that makes them feel the pain differently.
Many medical practitioners believe that chronic pain is something that the individual learns. The individual repeats specific responses even after the pain has decreased or is no longer there. Chronic pain can occur among people of any age, though it is common among women.
Can Chronic Pain be Treated Successfully?
Traditionally, chronic pain can be treated with oral medications. Apart from these, CBD has also become a legal treatment for or many illnesses. CBD has been successfully used in treating chronic pain.
Although the root cause of chronic pain is not known, it has been observed that CBD can suppress the activity of the pain cells and their function.
An interesting study regarding chronic pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis and CBD that has been published by Blake et al., in 2006 observes that patients using CBD show remarkable improvements in the treatment of pain and sleep quality as compared to patients who were given placebo. It was noted that CBD medication had a good impact on joint inflammation.
Does CBD Work for Pain?
Studies conducted on animals have shown that pain relief is one of the most significant benefits of CBD. It not only has pain-relieving properties, but it is also an anti-inflammatory. People suffering from chronic pain have noted that there is a noticeable relief from pain and reduction in anxiety and improvement in sleep.
Effects of CBD Oil
Of the more than 120 organic compounds occurring in the cannabis or hemp plant, CBD is just one. It is a very beneficial compound and is different from its counterpart Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which produces a euphoric effect. THC, unlike CBD, is a psychoactive compound.
The human body has an inbuilt endocannabinoid system (ECS) that receives signals from cannabinoids and translates them. It produces its own cannabinoids. The ECS helps regulate a lot of body functions such as pain, appetite, sleep and many more.
Benefits of CBD Oil
Medical science is still evaluating the benefits of CBD oil. However, there is documentary evidence that proves that cannabidiol affects the body’s endocannabinoid system. It has been observed that topical usage of CBD helps slow down joint pain development. It has also been observed that using CBD significantly reduces joint swelling.
According to a report that was published in the Cochrane Database Of Systematic Reviews in the year 2018, CBD medicines can help treat chronic neuropathic pain, which is triggered when the somatosensory system is damaged.
Is CBD Safe to Use?
Research on the effect of CBD in treating chronic pain is underway. However, according to people who have used CBD, it has greatly helped them provide relief from pain. It has also been observed that CBD is completely safe to use and that there have been no safety concerns when CBD is taken moderately. However, it is best to consult your doctor before you start using cannabis since it can interact with corticosteroids used for the treatment of pain and arthritis.
Are you the right candidate for CBD?
It is not clear who can benefit from the use of CBD oil, the dosage that should be taken and in which form. It is also not clear as to who will and will not benefit from the use of CBD oil. However, there is a universal agreement on the following points: –
- CBD oil should not be used as a substitute for regular treatment. It should be only used for pain relief.
- People suffering from chronic pain and under medication should consult a doctor before they start using CBD. They can work with their physician who reviews what works and what does not work. They can also talk to their doctor to consider other options, trial runs, and what they should look out for.
- When you are using CBD oil for the first time, keep a journal to track doses and symptoms.
- Always use good quality CBD products. They may be expensive but cheap quality CBD products are just a waste of money. You should take care of the safety factor first, before considering the expense.
Side Effects of CBD Oil
Not much research has been done on the side effects of CBD oil. Also, there is limited regulation on many CBD products. There is an inconsistency in the purity and content of CBD products; in fact, the quantity of CBD in a lot of products vary. The quantity of THC may also vary.
Although CBD is the non-psychoactive compound in cannabis, it has been found that there are side effects when the dosages are varied. The side effects also depend on the method of administration and the use of CBD with THC. Side effects include mood swings, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, disorientation, low blood pressure, dry mouth and drowsiness to name a few.
In addition to all this, when you are using medicines for diseases, you should consult your physician before you start using CBD oil. This is because CBD oil can interact with medicines. They may also interact with sedatives and cause side effects.
Most of the manufacturers warn that CBD oil should never be used as a substitute for regular treatment.
What Type of CBD Product Should You Consider Buying?
As an increasing number of US states have legalized the use of marijuana, CBD oil is also becoming readily available. It is sold in the form of capsules, tinctures, creams and sublingual sprays. Please ensure that the use of CBD is legal in your state before you buy it.
Given below are the different types of CBD based products and their method of use: –
Oral – This is CBD which has to be swallowed in the form of liquid food or capsule and is absorbed through the stomach. Orally ingested CBD is slow in being digested. The dosage is also a little tricky because of the delay in effect. This is because of the effect of the acids in the stomach, your meals and other factors.
After establishing an effective dose, you can start taking capsules every day. Many experts do not recommend CBD edibles such as cookies and gummies because of unreliable dosing.
It can also be used sublingually or in the form of a spray. It is held beneath the tongue for 30 to 60 seconds. The taste may be unpleasant, but the effect is faster than capsules, i.e. within 15 to 30 minutes.
Topical – Topical application in the form of balms and lotions is another way to use CBD. It can be applied over painful joints. The effect of CBD, which is applied topically, is unknown. However, a lot of people use CBD lotions topically for relief from chronic pain.
Vaping – This is another method of using CBD. In this method, CBD is inhaled via a vaping pen. This method is not recommended for people with chronic pain as the inhalation of vaping oils and by-products can have unknown side effects. To determine the safety of vaping, the Centre for Disease Control And Prevention is still researching vaping.
There are no established guidelines to use CBD, but most manufacturers recommend moderate use of CBD oil. None of the manufacturers has specified how much is moderate and what would be over dosage. However, the experts in Arthritis Foundation have the following recommendations for people suffering from chronic pain:-
- CBD oil is mixed with a carrier oil when it is in liquid form. Therefore, there are two types of liquids, and you should know the quantity of both the liquids in the product. You should know the total dosage and the quantity of CBD in each dose.
- The experts recommend starting with a low dosage, which should be just a few milligrams and use it sublingually twice a day. It is better to use low dosage rather than have one big dose. Increase the quantity gradually over several weeks and if you find relief, then continue with the dosage. This will help maintain a consistent level of CBD in the bloodstream.
- If after several weeks of use, you do not find any relief from pain, then CBD will not be the right product for you. Consult a physician and, if it is legal to use marijuana in your state, then your doctor will prescribe a very low dose of THC to be taken with CBD. You should know that using THC, even in small doses, may possibly get you high. When using the combination for the first time, ensure that you are home so that if there are any effects creating balance or motor issues, you can sleep them away.
How Should You Shop for CBD?
Be cautious when you are shopping for CBD. CBD products are mostly unregulated in the United States. The biggest issue with the products is the strength which can be less or more than what is mentioned on the label. Also, quality control can be a big issue as can be the presence of THC, which is undeclared.
The following points should serve as a guideline when you are shopping for CBD:-
- Look for organically grown CBD products which are also manufactured in the US.
- Ensure that the manufacturer follows guidelines laid down by the FDA for dietary supplements/pharmaceuticals. The manufacturer has to follow this voluntarily since CBD products do not come under federal regulations.
- Most manufacturers test the batches of CBD products and provide a certificate of analysis (CoA) from a third-party lab that follows standardized methods of testing. These methods of testing are approved by the US Pharmacopoeia, American Herbal Pharmacopoeia, and Association of Official Agricultural Chemists.
- If a manufacturer claims that the products are beneficial for diseases, then it is best to avoid them because all such claims are marketing gimmicks.
- Finally, consult your doctor and do not believe the marketing salesmen who make tall claims. Your doctor is the best source of information. Also, monitor the symptoms and effects of the CBD product regularly.
The market is saturated with CBD products. It is not necessary that you get what you are paying for and so you need to be super cautious when you are buying CBD products for chronic pain. You need a product in which the CBD oil has been extracted by the method of CO2 extraction and contains the minimum prescribed level of THC, which is less than 0.3 %.
Left untreated, chronic pain can nearly cripple you. In the present scenario, most of the medications used for treating chronic pain are ineffective. The medicines that work are expensive. CBD oil, on the other hand, is an affordable solution with minimal side effects. You can give it a try, provided that you follow the guidelines given while shopping for a right product.