Today, CBD oil is experiencing a surge in popularity as the natural and effective supplement, with a promise to aid in treating a variety of conditions including anxiety, insomnia and pain. It is also versatile in use and available in all manner of forms, from tinctures and lotions to CBD infused edibles and vapes.
As many people are looking for a safe pain reliever, some patients are turning to CBD as a natural alternative to alleviate common conditions such as arthritis and back pain. What’s more, CBD is considered a generally safe remedy with minimal side effects and low risk and zero addiction profile. So, let’s find out whether CBD can be used as a potentially useful supplement for people with chronic pain.
But First…What Is CBD?
Cannabidiol, which stands for CBD, is one of more than 100 active and naturally occurring compounds in the cannabis plant. Unlike another well-known cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), intake of CBD won’t cause the psychological effects typical of being “high” or experiencing euphoria. However, CBD is believed to act on the body’s cell-signalling endocannabinoid system, which plays a role in many critical processes including sleep, appetite, pain, immune response and memory.
CBD For Chronic Pain: Does It Work?
Since CBD is thought to work together with our ECS, it can act as an antioxidant, analgesic or pain reliever to help in reducing inflammation and providing pain relief.
One 2018 review looked at studies from 1975 to March 2018 and assessed how CBD helps in reducing various types of pain, including neuropathic pain, cancer pain and fibromyalgia. According to these studies, CBD can be effective in overall pain management without negative side effects.
Chronic Pain Sufferers’ CBD Success Stories
So you’ve read all the science behind how and why CBD is able to work with the human body’s natural systems to improve health and wellbeing and most importantly, reduce pain. Now let’s look at some examples of chronic pain patients who have experienced significant reductions in pain/improvements in quality of life using CBD.
After living with fibromyalgia for 20 years, Janet Wood found that she was spending most of her life in bed as a result of pain and other symptoms caused by the condition. After using CBD oil for seven months, she said: “I have a better life now, not cured, but a better quality of life”.
Kendra Cochran suffered from nerve pain in her hand after slicing through her right medial nerve. She was able to return to work after taking CBD and called it “A Godsend” that “helps a lot with the pain”.
Matthew Martinez helped his wife find pain relief with CBD. He couldn’t see her suffer any longer, from chronic back pain, sciatica, carpal tunnel and knee pain. He tells how for his wife, with CBD “like magic the pain relief was almost instantaneous”.
Even doctors, such as chiropractor Rubina Tahir, have noted improvements in her patients who have fibromyalgia and disc herniation.
CBD: The Alternative Option
The so-called “opioid epidemic” often referred to in the US, has not really been as heavily documented in the UK. Opiates are, however, controlled drugs and doctors are becoming less inclined to prescribe them in the treatment of chronic pain, because of the side effects and high chance of dependency.
In fact, the new draft NICE guidelines, set out in August 2020, claim that “commonly used drug treatments for chronic primary pain have little or no evidence that they work and shouldn’t be prescribed”. They are, instead, suggesting group exercise programmes, psychological therapy and acupuncture as new means to treat chronic pain. Whilst these guidelines are still under review, it is likely to lead to far fewer chronic pain patients receiving painkiller medications to treat their condition.
CBD products are an excellent alternative for those patients who wish to reduce the side effects caused by long-term use of Opiates, NSAIDs and other medications. They also may be the lifeline needed to improve the quality of life and reduce the suffering of a wide range of chronic pain patients both in the UK and around the globe.
Possible Side Effects Of CBD
For most users, cannabidiol is considered a well-tolerated product, but in some cases, consumers might experience minor side effects such as fatigue, diarrhoea, changes in appetite, weight gain or weight loss.
Also, CBD might interact with various medications and can make them more or less effective. This includes certain dietary supplements, prescription medications and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. Thus, it is highly advised to visit a doctor or healthcare provider before using any products infused with CBD oil.
We Are Going To Take It, But How?
The next choice on your checklist is how you are planning to take CBD. Some people have found the topical application of CBD products, such as balms and lotions, have helped for muscle-related pain and inflammatory conditions such as arthritis. Orally, you could go for CBD capsules or pills, which generally have no taste, so are easy to swallow. If you can tolerate the taste, it’s worth seriously considering taking an oil or spray. The lining of the mouth (mucosal lining) is one of the most optimal places for absorption to occur in the human body. You may have noticed that some vitamins are also ingested this way. Using an inhalation device or vaporiser also allows for rapid absorption, but is less suited to those with breathing difficulties.
Despite CBD being found to be safe even when taken in high doses (300-600 mg), it’s still advisable to start with a low dose and increase it in small increments. There are many various factors that affect when you will notice first positive effects, including your body weight, metabolism, chosen method of intake, consumed concentration of CBD and current health condition. This method allows you to see how you feel as you go along and find the right dose to suit your body needs.