When it comes to relieving pain, cannabidiol or CBD oil is slowly gaining popularity. Despite the negative connotation associated with the marijuana plant from which the compound is taken from, this has not prohibited people from trying it out. However, the real question remains: Is CBD oil for pain really useful?
What is CBD Oil?
As stated, CBD oil is extracted from cannabis. It is just one out of the hundred cannabinoids present in the plant. Compared to THC, also a cannabinoid, CBD does not lead to the feeling of “high.” Many users claim that CBD oil is useful for relieving chronic pain, reducing inflammation, and producing an overall comfortable feeling.
How It Works
In recent studies done, researchers state that cannabis compounds interact with two receptors in the brain. While THC attaches to CB1 receptors, CBD attaches to CB2 receptors. CBD activates the receptors in CB2 which, in turn, relieves pain.
An additional study also suggest that CBD engages glycerin receptors. These are parts of the central nervous system (CNS) that are sometimes disabled by inflammatory factors. With the aid of CBD, the glycerin receptors in the spinal cord and brain are reactivated and lead to pain relief.
Benefits of CBD Oil
More study is needed to verify the claimed benefits of CBD oil. Nonetheless, here is how CBD oil aids one’s health and well-being.
1. Relaxes Muscles
Movement is smooth and pain-free when the muscles are relaxed, which is essential for individuals suffering from chronic pain. For people who suffer from pain that is caused by muscle exertion, CBD oil taken before and after working out may help. Moreover, for individuals suffering from the condition called ankylosing spondylitis, studies claim that CBD oil slows the progression of arthritis and enables freedom of movement without pain.
2. Decreases Hypersensitivity to Pain
Extensive and chronic pain is due to a dysfunction in the CNS, which is typical of the condition known as fibromyalgia. Research also suggests that a shortage in the endocannabinoid system lowers one’s pain threshold, causes sleep disorders and changes one’s mood. CBD oil helps decrease the hypersensitivity to pain and improves one’s sleep quality as well.
3. Improves Sleep Quality
Some individuals find it hard to get more than six hours of sleep a day, especially if they suffer from chronic pain. This type of pain keeps one’s nerves in a fight-or-flight state; thus, making it tough to fall and stay asleep. However, studies state that CBD oil contains neuroprotective compounds that not only stimulate rest but improve one’s quality of sleep as well.
4. Relieves Anxiety
Anti-anxiety medications such as Xanax or Benzos generates feelings of calm and peace. However, the components of the drugs may be addictive. This is where CBD oil comes into the picture. Research suggests that CBD oil aids in calming down one’s nerves, especially for individuals suffering from social anxiety. Plus, it does not carry the addictive components that come with prescription medications.
5. Relieves Inflammation
Inflammation is also one reason for pain. Swelling in the tissues leads to damage over time and the intense pain associated with it. Research claims that CBD helps reduce inflammation and prevent it as well.
Other benefits where research is needed to confirm the claims include reducing the risk for epilepsy and seizures; combating cancer, type 1 diabetes, and acne; and reducing the effect of Alzheimer’s.
CBD Oil for Pain
Recent studies on CBD oil state that it is useful in relieving pain, specifically for chronic pain, arthritic pain, and pain felt after cancer treatment.
1. Chronic Pain
Studies state that the receptors in the brain interact with CBD oil. The receptors receive the chemical signals and respond to it by creating an anti-inflammatory as well as a painkilling effect. This, in turn, helps in managing chronic pain.
Based on a review done in 2008, CBD helps relieve chronic pain felt by individuals diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. The review studied data collected from the year 1980 to the year 2007, which proved that CBD helped treat chronic pain as well as insomnia – without side effects usually caused by prescription medications.
2. Arthritic Pain
In 2016, a study was done on the effect of CBD on rats suffering from arthritis. CBD in gel form was applied to the rats for four consecutive days. The researchers noted a reduction in inflammation and pain. Thus, CBD may be promising as pain relief for people who have arthritis. However, further study is needed on the effect of CBD on humans.
3. Pain Associated with Cancer Treatment
Studies show that CBD oil helps manage the pain associated with cancer treatment and cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute, CBD could be a possible selection when it comes to pain relief after chemotherapy. Further research is needed to back this study.
4. Multiple Sclerosis Pain
Multiple sclerosis is one of the many autoimmune diseases that affect the body, particularly the brain and the nerves. A common symptom associated with MS is muscle spasms which can be a source of constant and intense pain for individuals diagnosed with the disease. The latest studies claim that CBD oil can help reduce the muscle spasms caused by MS. Nonetheless, more research is needed to verify the effect of the compound.
While it may be an efficient pain reliever for some, the use of CBD oil does not come without adverse reactions. Some of the common adverse reactions associated with the use of the compound include the following.
- Issues with Sleep
Nonetheless, the symptoms of withdrawal from the compound are rare after one discontinues use. The symptoms are also rarer in comparison to the symptoms of withdrawal caused by prescription medications, such as opioids.
CBD oil for pain may be sufficient for long-time users, but further research is needed to verify its effectiveness. Moreover, before trying out this alternative compound for pain relief, it is best to seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional. The compound may interact with medications one is currently taking, which may complicate one’s condition further.