Cannabidiol or CBD is a naturally-occurring cannabinoid found in marijuana and hemp plants. The Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC component of the plant causes the ‘high’ associated with marijuana. CBD, on the other hand, is widely used to treat certain medical problems and does not cause the euphoric feeling associated with THC.
CBD is gaining popularity in the treatment of chronic pain and CBD oil, in particular, is used to manage a number of related symptoms including –
– overall discomfort
Research on the use and benefits of CBD is ongoing and the results are positive.
CBD is used as an alternative care for patients suffering from chronic pain who have for so long relied solely on traditional medication and pain killers which can be addictive and cause unwanted side-effects.
In 2018, Epidiolex became the first drug that contained CBD to be approved by the FDA. Today, Epidiolex is used for the treatment of epilepsy.
However, there aren’t any non-prescription CBD products approved by the FDA yet. In contrast to other traditional medicines, CBD products are not currently tested and regulated in terms of dosage and purity.
Use of CBD for Relief from Chronic Pain
The body contains an endocannabinoid system or ECS. Researchers are of the view that CBD is able to influence receptors and a base component of ECS in the immune system and brain and affect its response.
Receptors are nothing more than miniature proteins located within cells that receive chemical signals from various stimuli and help cells respond accordingly. These responses create pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects that help pain management in users.
Therefore, CBD oil can help patients suffering from chronic pain.
A study conducted a couple of years ago attempted to throw light on the workings of CBD and how it helps relieve severe pain. The study majorly dealt with three types of pain –
– neuropathic pain
– fibromyalgia, and
– cancer pain
The study found that CBD was effective in the overall management of pain without causing any adverse side effects.
CBD for Relief from Arthritis Pain
An animal study conducted in 2016 attempted to understand the effect of CBD on subjects with arthritis. Researchers found that a CBD-based gel applied to subjects for 4 consecutive days led to a noticeable reduction in inflammation and pain. No noticeable side effects were observed.
The research concluded that the application of a CBD-based gel can have pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects in humans and can potentially help patients suffering from arthritis.
That said, human studies are still ongoing.
CBD for Relief from Cancer Treatment
Some cancer patients also turn to CBD for the relief it provides. Animal-based studies have demonstrated the potential of CBD to reduce the size of cancerous tumors.
The National Cancer Institute has indicated that CBD can be a possible remedy for patients suffering from the side effects of chemotherapy –
– loss of appetite
A study in 2010 on pain related to cancer gave subjects oral sprays of a CBD and THC extract. The extract was administered along with certain other opioids. It was found that the extract provided more relief to patients than compared to opioids alone.
A similar study in 2013 confirmed the results from the 2010 research. However, attempts for further confirmation is still ongoing.
CBD for Relief from Migraine-related Pain
Research on the effects of CBD on migraine is few and far between. The few studies that have taken place have dealt with CBD taken in conjunction with THC and not in an isolated form. That said, a study from 2017 indicated that a combination of CBD and THC can decrease the intensity of pain for patients with migraine.
The 2017 study was conducted over 2 phases during which subjects were administered a combination of two chemical compounds –
– One with 9% CBD and negligible traces of THC
– The other with 19% of THC.
Phase I of the test showed that there was no pain-relieving effect when the doses were less than 100mg. However, when the dose was doubled to 200mg, the pain was reduced by more than 50%.
In the second phase of the test subjects that received a combination of CBD and THC via a daily dose of 200 mg, reported a decrease in the frequency of their migraine attacks by ~40%.
While no conclusive results present themselves at the moment, researchers and the scientific community are hopeful about the potential pain-relieving properties of CBD. CBD may be able to reduce pain and pain-related symptoms in patients without the unwanted side effects of addiction or intoxication.
CBD products that are derived from Hemp and contain less than the prescribed .3 percent of THC are legal per federal law. However, certain state laws may still deem it illegal.
CBD products that are derived from Marijuana are illegal per federal law but remain legal under laws of certain states.
It is advisable to check the appropriate state laws in case of travel. It is important to note that over-the-counter CBD products are not approved by the FDA.