CBD & Chronic Pain
About one in five adults in the US suffers from chronic pain. That’s around 20.4% of our population who suffer from daily pain that has limited the activities in their everyday life.
You’ve heard about the opioid epidemic. Every single day at least 130 people in the US die from an opioid overdose and yet, doctors are still prescribing these highly addictive pain killers. CBD may just be the answer.
Fortunately, studies are showing very promising results with CBD for tackling chronic pain. Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive phytocannabinoid that was discovered in 1937 in the hemp derived cannabis plant and accounts for up to 40% of the plant’s extract. Thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp and CBD are now legal in all 50 states. Therapeutic hemp is differentiated from cannabis plants by its low levels of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the principal psychoactive constituent in cannabis that gets you high.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is naturally occurring in our bodies, everyone has an endocannabinoid system (ECS). The endocannabinoid system is composed of endocannabinoids which are neurotransmitters that bind to cannabinoid receptors in our central nervous system and enzymes that break them down. CB1 receptors are mostly associated with cognitive actions such as mood, thinking, memory and appetite. On the other hand, CB2 receptors are found in the immune system and are more responsible for pain and inflammation. CBD doesn’t attach to the CB2 receptors, it encourages the body to make more of its own cannabinoids, possibly creating a positive effect on pain and inflammation.
Debilitating pain is usually accompanied by stiffness, loss of range of motion, and frequently, depression and anxiety. Medications and treatment programs treat the symptoms but often come with a whole host of side effects. Patients are looking for more natural treatment options and are turning to CBD with great results. Studies have shown that CBD may help patients with chronic pain associated with arthritis, joint neuropathy, multiple sclerosis, pain associated with cancer and chemotherapy treatments and fibromyalgia. It may also help with the anxiety and depression that often go hand in hand with chronic pain. As always, we encourage you to speak with your doctor before starting a CBD regimen.
In a 2016 study, researchers used CBD in rats with arthritis. The rats received a topical CBD gel of either 0.6, 3.1, 6.2 or 62.3 mg daily for four days in a row. Pain scores were not improved by the lower doses but researchers found that rats who received 6.2 mg per day showed marked signs of improvement. The substantially larger dose (62.3 mg) did not result in less pain. More human trials are needed but these results are very promising!
Our pets suffer a lot of the same conditions that we do. CBD is safe for pets and may provide the same benefits and pain relief that it does for us. Check with your veterinarian about dosage and possible side effects.
Journal of Pain and Symptom Management
Rheumatoid Arthritis Support Network