As state and federal marijuana laws continue to thaw, we are seeing an overwhelming increase in the number of CBD brands and more money is being pumped into research to see what else we could be using this stuff for. One of the largest markets for companies selling CBD today is people with pain. According to the CDC, over 50 million Americans live with chronic pain, and for these people, getting through the day requires a combination of pharmaceuticals – some of which are additive.
Add to this the fact that chronic pain is the reason most people use cannabis; so if you have a painful condition that needs a long-term treatment plan, CBD can be an appealing option, at least because of the wild health claims about its potential as a pain reliever.
Why people use CBD
According to a report published by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, close to a third of Americans live with some form of chronic pain. In addition to reducing the quality of life, chronic pain has also been linked to a rise in healthcare costs for a significant part of the population. According to the CDC, the main types of main are:
- Back pain
- Low back pain
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Neuropathic pain
- Multiple Sclerosis
Over-the-counter medications are used to treat chronic pain but a lot of people seek out alternative treatments with herbs, nutritional supplements, and of course, CBD. For most of these people, the continued use of pills has led to unclean side effects that interfere with quality of life, and this is an area that has been researched extensively.
How does CBD prevent pain?
There is a lot about CBD that mainstream science still hasn’t figured out, however, there is evidence that cannabinoids present in the body interact with cannabidiol, an extract of cannabis plants, and continued use can reduce pain sensitivity to a large extent. The endocannabinoid system is a complex function of the brain and nerves and it influences some of the most basic biological functions like sleep, mood, appetite, and pain.
As of the moment, much of the research around CBD comes from animal research, but presumably, there are ongoing studies involving people, but we’re a few years out before conclusive results are published. Topical application of CBD may be reliable in the treatment of joints and muscles, and it provides relief with minimal systemic interference.
There was a study published in the European journal of Pain back in 2016 that showed how a simple CBD gel minimized pain and inflammation in rats with arthritis. Granted, this kind of research doesn’t warrant a medical conclusion involving humans, but many people see CBD as a healthier option for managing pain because it is naturally extracted.
Another study published in Pediatric Dermatology, researchers found three instances where children with a severe skin condition that causes blisters experienced a significant reduction in pain after using CBD as a topical product (meaning sprays, lotions, oils, creams, salves, etc.). The children received CBD treatments from their parents, and a majority reported an improvement in pain management, a reduction in blisters, faster healing, and overall improved wellbeing.
Only a few clinical trials have fully explored this area of study, however, countless reports such as this one can from the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews have come out in support of using CBD in its various forms to reduce the impact of pain, and to improve quality of life. It’s also worth saying that medical science hasn’t found any evidence indicating any dangers of using CBD for pain, anxiety, mood, or any other condition.
Safety and side effects of CBD
Although no severe side effects have been reported from using CBD, some people have reported experiencing the following symptoms. Bear in mind these are highly unlikely because most people report only slight drowsiness from taking too much cannabidiol. Here are the main possible side effects:
- Changes in appetite
- Changes in mood
- Dry mouth
It is also worth mentioning that you can’t overdose on CBD, and for the CBD to be toxic you’d have to ingest a ton of that stuff over a short period (upwards of 20,000 mg) and we both know you’re not about to do that. For most CBD products the recommended daily dose is 60 mg, but some people take more.