Cannabidiol (CBD) is among the 113 cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, and unlike the psychoactive component of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), it is not psychoactive and does not create that “high” effect often associated with marijuana. The CBD is becoming increasingly popular these days, and there are all kinds of its products available in the market, one of which is CBD oil. It is created by mixing CBD extract into a carrier oil such as coconut, MCT, avocado, olive, etc. From pain relief to skin health, CBD oil is believed to be beneficial for several things due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
CBD for chronic pain relief
There is a cell-signaling system in our bodies known as the Endocannabinoid System (ECS), and according to ongoing research, CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid receptors in our immune system and brain, both of which are the core components of the ECS. These receptors are tiny proteins attached to the cells; these cells receive chemical signals from various stimuli and enable our cells to respond to those chemical signals. It is this response that helps with pain management by creating pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects, and since CBD interacts with these receptors, it would not be difficult to see why CBD oil and other CBD products may be effective for reducing or eliminating chronic pain like chronic back pain.
Frontiers in Pharmacology published a review in 2018, which assessed the effectiveness of CBD for relieving chronic pain by reviewing various studies about pain conducted between 1975 to 2018. The studies looked at three major types of pain including:
- Neuropathic pain
- Cancer pain
After reviewing the studies, researchers noted that CBD is effective for pain management and does not cause any adverse side effects.
CBD for arthritis pain relief
CBD is considered to be very effective for relieving arthritis pain. A study was conducted in 2016, which looked at the effects of CBD on arthritis pain in rats. For four days, the researchers applied different doses of CBD gel on the rats. The doses varied from 0.6 mg, 3.1 mg, 6.2mg, to 62.3 mg per day, and after four days, the researchers found out that only does CBD reduce overall pain and inflammation in rats, it also does not have any apparent side effects.
The rats receiving lower doses of CBD (0.6 and 3.1 mg) did not experience any pain relief, while the rats that received 6.2mg every day did experience reduced swelling and inflammation. The highest dose of the study, which was 62.3 mg every day, had a similar effect as 6.2 mg/day, and it did not relieve pain more than the 6.2 mg dose.
More human studies are required to be certain about the pain-relieving effects of CBD, but based on the study mentioned above, CBD has pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects, which may be effective for humans as well.
CBD for cancer pain relief
There are several human studies that look at the effects of CBD for managing cancer-related pain and the side effects of cancer treatment, such as chemotherapy. According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI) the potential benefits of CBD for cancer patients include:
- Pain relief
- Antiemetic effects
- Improved sleep
- Appetite stimulation
A study was published by the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management in 2010, which looked at the effects of a CBD+THC based oral solution on cancer-related pain. The oral spray was added to their opioid-based traditional pain management treatment, and as a result, the pain-relieving effects of the traditional treatment were increased. The Journal of Pain and Symptom Management published another study in 2013, which looked at the effects of THC and CBD based oral sprays on cancer-related pain. The study also suggests that the sprays are useful for reducing cancer-related pain when used with traditional pain management treatment.
CBD for migraine pain relief
There are not a lot of studies conducted on the effects of CBD on relieving migraine pain. The ones that do exist only review CBD+THC based products, not just CBD. But the results are still promising.
According to a study conducted in 2017 and published by the European Academy of Neurology, a combination of CBD and THC may reduce acute pain and lower the intensity of pain caused by migraines. This was a two-phase study, and in phase 1, the participants were given an oral solution containing 9% CBD and a minimum amount of THC. The participants did not experience any pain relief in phase 1 when the dosage of the spray was less than 100 mg; however, when the dose was increased to 200 mg, the acute pain reduced by more than 50%. In phase 2, the participants were given an oral solution containing 19% THC along with 9% CBD, the daily dosage of the solution was 200 mg. As a result, the frequency of migraine attacks fell by 40.4% in the participants.
The combination of the compounds used in phase 2 was more effective than a 25 mg dose of a tricyclic antidepressant named amitriptyline as it reduced the migraine frequency by 40.1%. Participants with a childhood history of migraines also experienced relief from pain caused by cluster headaches with the THC+CBD combination.
Different ways of taking CBD
There are a few different ways you can take CBD for relieving pain; a few of those methods are listed below.
CBD gels, balms, creams
Topical application of CBD gels, balms, creams on your skin directly on the problem area is perhaps the most effective and safest method of using CBD for pain relief. These gels are like normal pain relief creams; the only difference is that they are infused with CBD. You do not need any additional tools or knowledge for using this method, all you have to figure out is the dosage of CBD that you need, and you are good to go.
CBD oil is arguably the most popular CBD based product, maybe because you can use it in many different ways. You can apply it directly on your skin and use it topically; you can use it sublingually, which is putting a few drops under your tongue and then swallowing those drops after a minute or so; you can even use CBD oil to create CBD edibles. CBD tincture bottles usually come with a dropper, so you do not need to buy any additional tools for this method as well.
Like THC edibles, they are considered to be more potent than other CBD products, but unlike THC, they do not create that “high” effect. You can buy pre-made CBD edibles like CBD gummies, or you can make your own CBD infused food. If you do want to make your own CBD edibles, then you can use CBD oil for that purpose but figure out the required dosage first. These edibles may take up to 4 hours to kick in, so wait for a while after eating them to let it work its magic.
Inhaling CBD oil is the fastest method for experiencing the effects of CBD because the smoke or vapor goes directly into your bloodstream and lungs, but CBD vapes may be dangerous for your health and may be illegal in your state, so use it at your own discretion.
Side effects of CBD
Although experts suggest that CBD is safe to use, there is still a slight chance that it can cause problems. If you are topically using CBD, then you may not experience these side effects as CBD will not enter your bloodstream. The side effects of CBD include:
- Changes in appetite
- Changes in weight
CBD is considered to be an effective alternative treatment for pain, and it is considered to be safe; however, we recommend that you consult with a healthcare professional before you start using CBD oil or any other CBD products. CBD may interact with your current medication and can prevent it from working effectively. Furthermore, make sure that you buy products that are made and sold by reputable parties and that an independent lab has tested the products that you are buying. Once you cover these two points, you will be able to enjoy the benefits of CBD oil or any other CBD product you like.