CBD for Chronic Pain
Cannabidiol (CBD) has shown enormous potential as a pain reducing anti-inflammatory for a wide breadth of health conditions. While effective, opioid painkillers simply numb the pain instead of targeting the source of it, and present the risk of forming a dangerous addiction. An estimated 8 to 12 percent of patients prescribed opioids develop a usage disorder, approximately $78.5 billion USD a year is collectively lost to opiate misuse, and over 115 Americans die every day due to opioid overdose on average.
Early studies on CBD attest to its potential to relieve pain and inflammation. If you are suffering from chronic pain and are seeking out natural, healthier alternatives to alleviate your condition, here’s what you need to know about CBD oil use in treating chronic pain.
How CBD Works for Pain
With CBD becoming such a popular alternative in the wellness market, it may leave you wondering how it offers relief for chronic pain.
Many early signs are pointing toward CBD’s potential in healing chronic pain: a 2008 National Institute Of Health painted a very positive picture of CBD and cannabinoids overall. They reviewed journals and trials between the 1980s and 2007, and found that cannabinoids demonstrated no discernable risk of internal bleeding (unlike painkillers), no clinical signs of immune dysfunction, and correlation with apoptosis (cell death) in malignant cells.
Furthermore, the above review also showcased apparent CBD reduction of insomnia linked to chronic pain, and a separate 2016 N.I.H. study on arthritic rats showcased significantly reduced joint swelling in four days time.
Existing research shows that CBD helps achieve homeostasis (metabolic equilibrium) in the body’s endocannabinoid system, helping maintain blood pressure, body temperature, the nervous system (hence it’s anti-inflammatory function), and overall healthy body function. Additionally, a University of Utah sponsored study on CBD and chronic pain is slated to conclude this year that will further solidify the benefits of CBD.
How To Take CBD Oil for Pain
CBD can be administered in a variety of ways, from oral consumption, to vapor inhalation, to topical application. This makes it a flexible form of treatment that can be used for different types of pain. For chronic pain treatment, many experts recommend a combination of CBD oil and topicals for maximum effect.
CBD oil will provide a full body effect with precise dosing while topical application can provide potent, localized, fast-acting relief in a matter of minutes.
Simply massage the oil into the afflicted region gently, ensure that no other skin-products are on that region so it won’t interfere and dilute the CBD content, and time it's used carefully; bathing or intense, sweat-heavy athletic activity can also prevent the full CBD content from penetrating your skin pores. Be sure to wash your hands afterward so you don’t irritate your eyes or other sensitive areas, and you’re good to go.
CBD dosage guidelines are still somewhat ambiguous. Be patient; depending on your past experience (or lack thereof) with CBD products, some benefits may take time to build up and achieve their full effect. Currently, there is no universal, one-size-fits-all, “magic number” CBD milligram dosage, but according to a Mayo Clinic graph, anywhere between 2.5-20 MG daily for chronic pain is a good rule of thumb.
Does CBD Oil Have Side Effects or Risks?
Although CBD research is currently in its early stages, it’s clear that CBD doesn’t exhibit the same extreme, maladaptive effects as prescription opioid painkillers. One thing to keep in mind is that cannabinoids can inhibit liver enzymes, which can slow down the metabolization of other prescription medications. Depending on what you’re currently taking, you may want to speak to your primary care physician before incorporating CBD into your routine.
The possible side effects of CBD are relatively minimal and include fatigue, dry mouth, and in rare cases an upset stomach. Granted, certain additives in the CBD oil may be more responsible for some of these side effects (such as indigestion) rather than the CBD itself, which is why it’s important to only use full spectrum, organic CBD products.
The future looks bright for CBD as a treatment for chronic pain and it’s therapeutic potential looks extremely promising.