CBD and pain management

Pain. It’s, well, a pain. When it becomes chronic and intense, pain can take over and get in the way of even the most everyday activities. Hence, the opioid crisis. But, there have been studies that show CBD can help manage chronic pain.

Researchers have noted that CBD seems to have a positive effect on the naturally occurring CBD receptors in our bodies.

Now opioids operate similarly but initially were used to just treat acute pain—short-term pain lasting less than six months or pain that relates to a soft-tissue injury. However, since the 1990s opioids have increasingly been prescribed for chronic pain. Long-term use of these drugs is the issue. Opioids can cause drowsiness, mental confusion, nausea, constipation, and respiratory depression. But what’s worse is that these drugs also induce euphoria, particularly when taken at a higher-than-prescribed dose or administered in ways other than intended. In other words, people become addicted, needing more and more. Without intervention, death often follows.

CBD, on the other hand, has minimal side effects that may include:

  • Nausea
  • Sleeping issues
  • Irritability

Plus, withdrawal symptoms are rarely an issue when use is stopped, but generally, involve a return to the original pain.

CBD treats pain by reducing inflammation and reacting to CB-1 and CB-2 receptors in our brains and immune systems. These receptors, tiny proteins attached to your cells, receive chemical signals from different stimuli and help your cells respond. This interaction between CBD receptors and CBD ingested or applied topically creates anti-inflammatory and painkilling effects that help with pain management.

Studies show that CBD shows promise for chronic pain associated with multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, arthritis, migraines, muscle and joint pain. It’s a long list. For a more in-depth article about how CBD manages pain, read How Cannabinoids Interact with Pain Circuits.

As always, more research is needed to put CBD in the hands of everyone who needs it, but knowledge is also power. The more we know about and understand cannabinoids and how to use them for health benefits, the more pressure will be placed on finding how it works and why.   

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