Ever since CBD became the go-to remedy for almost every ailment you could think of, CBD users have become more careful before buying. Understandably so, as some cannabis producers are desperately trying to get their piece of the pie, recommending CBD products, especially CBD oil, as a solution for ailments that have not been explored by science. But, through all of the hype, there is one thing that has stayed consistent—the effectiveness of CBD for pain relief.
MEDICAL DISCLAIMER: This article is not intended to be used as medical advice. Always talk to your physician before starting any new supplements like CBD.
If you’ve been skeptical about using CBD for pain, there is new and emerging evidence to change your mind.
Recently, a team of scientists at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre conducted a study that pretty much confirmed what we already knew. The research found that in an effective dosage, cannabidiol (CBD) is a safe remedy for pain relief, without the ‘high’.
With the emerging scientific evidence, these are the most burning questions CBD chronic pain users have:
- Will CBD mask the pain?
- What is the right product for chronic pain and how to find it?
- How to dose CBD to alleviate chronic pain?
Let’s take a look.
What Is CBD?
CBD is one of the best-known compounds naturally found in cannabis.
Prior to the ‘CBD hype,’ THC was the most popular compound in marijuana.
THC is known as the active compound of cannabis that gets the user ‘high.’
Unlike THC, cannabidiol is not psychotropic, which means it won’t change your state of mind after using it, aka won’t get you high.
CBD shows proven anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. It comes in various types of products that serve as a healthy alternative for back pain, chronic arthritis pain, neuropathic pain caused by MS, cancer pain and much more.
CBD from Hemp vs. CBD from Marijuana
CBD is naturally found in both industrial hemp and marijuana, which are plant variates of the same cannabis species, Cannabis sativa.
However, there tends to be confusion about whether hemp-derived CBD is the same as CBD from marijuana.
The question is mostly asked because the amount of THC present in each plant is not the same, as hemp contains less than 0.3% THC and marijuana substantially more.
The answer is simple; there is no difference between CBD from hemp and CBD from marijuana. The chemical structure of the compound is the same.
CBD Extraction Methods
CBD is most commonly used in the form of oil. CBD hemp oil is made by extracting cannabidiol from the hemp plant, and after extraction, it usually gets diluted with a carrier oil, such as coconut oil or hemp seed oil.
Although the quality of the CBD hemp oil depends on the extraction process, one of the most important things to check in a manufacturer before buying from them is whether or not the oil has been extracted from organically cultivated hemp. Otherwise, there is no point in using a “contaminated remedy” for your pain that is full of pesticides and other chemicals.
The three most common CBD extraction methods are:CO2 Extraction – known as the safest extraction method, the CO2 extraction method is considered as one of the best because it is used to produce a pure and potent product.
- Ethanol Extraction – the ethanol extraction method is used to create high-quality oil that can be used for vape pens. A downside of this extraction method is that it destroys the plant, which means the user won’t be getting the same health effects.
- Olive Oil extraction – CBD oil extraction is possible by using olive oil.
How CBD Works for Chronic Pain Relief
Does CBD mask the pain?
This is one of the most burning questions asked by CBD users.
As a chronic pain sufferer, you know it is tough to find a safe, natural, and effective pain reliever, especially since modern medicine pushes most people into opioid and NSAID use.
Marijuana has been used to treat pain and flatulence since ancient times. Galen, the ancient Greek doctor who impacted Western medicine, used marijuana to treat pain.
But, does CBD masks the underlying issue that causes the pain in the first place?
Before answering that question, let’s take a look at how CBD works in the body.
It all starts with the two cannabinoid receptors naturally found in our bodies—cannabinoid receptors type 1 (CB1) and cannabinoid receptors type 2 (CB2).
These receptors are part of the endocannabinoid system and are located in the brain (mostly CB1 receptors) and throughout the body (CB2 receptors).
The role of the receptors is to receive chemical signals from different stimuli and get the cell to respond. The receptors play an important role in regulating pain and inflammation by managing our immune system.
Although CBD doesn’t directly bind to CB1 receptors, it can influence some CB2 receptors, which are involved in any type of human disease, including a pain-related one.
The exact mechanisms of how CBD affects the body to relieve pain are unknown. Research suggests that CBD also activates non-cannabinoid receptors, such as the glycine receptors that play a role in the perception of pain.
This potential link between CBD and receptors in the brain and immune system is believed to create the anti-inflammatory and pain-killing effects in the cell, which help alleviate chronic pain.
Many types of chronic pain are caused by inflammation and CBD is known to reduce inflammation in the body.
Inflammation can lead to various conditions such as degenerative disc disease—degeneration of the spine that occurs in joints, discs, and bones as a result of aging. Inflammation can also cause arthritis, back pain, muscle pain, and spasms.
Studies show that CBD has anti-inflammatory properties. Therefore, in inflammatory arthritis, CBD could help users to not only reduce pain but reduce inflammation as well. This means that CBD doesn’t mask the underlying issue, but addresses it.
A study performed on rats with intervertebral disc degeneration, that was induced by scientists, showed that CBD “could be useful in the treatment of intervertebral disc degeneration.” The authors of the study concluded that CBD significantly attenuated the effects of the induced disc injury.
Another study published in the European Journal of Pain showed the anti-inflammatory effects of CBD in animals. The study examined the effects of CBD in arthritis, and the results showed that when applied directly on animal skin, CBD could help lower inflammation and pain due to arthritis.
CBD oil shows positive effects on arthritis pain in humans. According to a 2017 study published in the journal Pain, CBD could prevent osteoarthritis and joint neuropathy. This means that CBD has its mechanisms of preventing inflammatory and neuropathic pain, which are two of the most difficult types of chronic pains to treat.
The potential effectiveness of CBD in alleviating pain is also seen in patients with cancer or diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS). Some people suffer from these conditions and don’t respond to traditional therapy. According to a study, patients with MS, spinal cord injury and limb amputation were given a sublingual spray of THC and CBD, and the patients felt “pain relief by both THC and CBD significantly superior to placebo.”
Although further research is needed, CBD shows promising results in alleviating chronic pain.
Possible Side-Effects of CBD
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “CBD appears to be a safe drug with no addictive effects.” That being said, side-effects can happen, depending on the person’s sensitivity to the substance. Most common side-effects are:
- Mild nausea
- Feeling mellow or anxious
- Sleeping problems
The only thing you should be careful about is taking CBD together with other medications. Cannabidiol can interact with other drugs, including NSAIDs, which are commonly prescribed for pain. Therefore, talk to your physician regarding CBD drug interactions concerns to help you find a solution.
How to Choose the Right CBD Product for Pain Management
Before we talk about dosage, it is important to first choose the right CBD product for your condition.
There are three types of CBD products:
- Ingestibles. CBD oil in the form of tinctures, CBD drops, capsules, sprays, as well as CBD edibles such as gummies, brownies, cookies, etc.
- Smokables. Wax, crystalline isolates, CBD-rich vape cartridges
- Topicals. Transdermal patches with CBD, CBD-infused balms, lotions, soaps, and bath bombs.
Depending on the type of pain you are experiencing, you can try various CBD products.
When it comes to chronic pain, so far, most studies used CBD oil drops, administered orally or sublingually.
Capsules and pills are also commonly used for chronic pain caused by fibromyalgia, arthritis, osteoarthritis, and other pain caused by inflammatory processes. Consider creams and lotions for localized arthritis pain.
The route of administration, or the way you take your CBD, matters. The reason behind this is bioavailability or the degree to which the substance is absorbed into your body, which is directly connected to the effectiveness of CBD.
- Oral consumption. Oral consumption doesn’t promise the most effective bioavailability rates, which range between 4% and 20%, so it is recommended for pain that requires small concentrations of CBD.
- Sublingual consumption. The sublingual gland located under the tongue makes sure CBD oil enters directly into the bloodstream. The bioavailability of sublingual administration of tinctures and sprays goes up to 35%, making this route second most efficient.
- Vaporized consumption. With high bioavailability rates, up to 46%, inhalation is an effective way to treat chronic pain. Take advantage of the most effective method for consuming CBD and try vaping CBD hemp flowers. It is a safe, natural way of getting CBD and other cannabinoids absorbed directly to your bloodstream, and you will notice the effects shortly after the first take. It is important to note that CBD hemp flowers are giving you the benefit of full-spectrum CBD, as the flower is rich in other cannabinoids (an inexistent or insignificant amount of THC that won’t get you high), as well as terpenoids and flavonoids.
Click here to learn more about CBD rich hemp flower and its benefits.
CBD Oil for Pain Management—Dosage, Cost, Quality
Determining the right dosage is the biggest challenge of CBD users with chronic pain and other ailments.
Things You Need to Know Before Taking CBD for Pain Management
- You cannot overdose on CBD. Even if you take a higher dose, you are not going to feel any serious side-effects. There hasn’t been reported a case of marijuana overdose, either.
- You cannot get addicted to CBD. Unlike alcohol, heroin, cocaine and prescription pills, CBD cannot get you addicted. You can start using CBD and stop at any time and won’t have any withdrawal symptoms. Also, some studies have shown the potential benefits of CBD in people with drug addiction and potential withdrawal symptoms.
- Start low and increase gradually. Finding the optimal dose of CBD is a matter of trial and error. Therefore, it is recommended to take smaller doses, as little as 2.5mg CBD per day, and increase gradually. Tracking your progress is important. If you notice that you have spent days taking the same dose without any improvements, try to increase the dose and see if that works better.
- High doses of CBD are not necessarily more effective than lower doses. Studies have repeatedly noticed the effectiveness of CBD in low to moderate doses, as opposed to high doses. It is interesting how a little dose of 2.5 mg CBD combined with a low percentage of THC can have potent therapeutic effects.
- Full spectrum CBD oil that contains small amounts of THC has more therapeutic properties than pure CBD oil.
- Only use CBD hemp oil from a reputable brand. It is important to only select products that are made using organically cultivated hemp and are subtracted using the CO2 method.
- Quality over quantity. Always go with products that have a percentage of CBD mg per dose, instead of the percentage of CBD oil per bottle. This will also help you manage the dose easily.
That being said, there is not one universal dosage for CBD for chronic pain. So, start with the lowest recommended dose of 2.5 mg of CBD, twice a day, increase and take notice.
High CBD Hemp Strains to Consider
This is a CBD-dominant strain that has the strongest stalk and unique flavor profile.
With CBD, chronic pain sufferers are getting another chance to live a somewhat normal life. If you’ve found this article helpful, please share it with anyone you know is struggling with pain and will find it helpful, thank you!