Cannabidiol (CBD) oil is the second most abundant component found in the plant, Cannabis sativa.
It is used for many therapeutic purposes due to its medicinal benefits. It makes up 40% of the plant resin extract.
The plant is mostly known for its most abundant component, THC or marijuana. It has been shown that CBD and THC have properties contrary to each other.
CBD oil is known to possess properties like anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antipsychotic and anti-arthritic.
In this article, however, we will discuss on how it relieves different types of pain that is caused by various diseases. Before going into the details, let us first look into what pain is.
What causes Pain?
The feeling of pain is usually a symptom of any disease or tissue injury. Before we treat pain, we need to understand the basics like its origin, the region of pain, how severe it is, etc and treat accordingly.
The pain can be internal or external. External pain usually occurs during inflammation or any tissue injury whereas internal pain can be a symptom of an onset of a disease.
Usually, pain can be reduced by taking painkillers like aspirin. However, with prolonged use, these medications can have side effects.
They can also cause tolerance in the body and make a patient increase the dose. Therefore, it is better to switch to a natural source to relieve pain.
How does CBD work for pain?
Pain is usually caused by a tissue injury or any other internal injury. It is also associated with various disorders such as arthritis, cancer, etc. Our immune system and our brain play important roles.
While more research needs to be done on the process of pain reflief by CBD oil, it can be simply said that when we use CBD oil, it binds to the receptors* in the brain and immune cells and causes anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects, removing the feeling of pain.
*Note: Receptors are tiny proteins attached to the surface of the cells that get chemical signals, say from CBD, and help the cell respond accordingly.
Benefits of CBD oil for Pain
There are different types of pain that affect the body. Each type is a symptom and needs to be diagnosed. But, for a temporary relief, CBD oil can be used and is found to be effective for different types of pain like arthritic pain, chronic pain, pain during cancer, etc.
Let us look into these benefits in detail.
CBD oil reduces pain caused during arthritis
Arthritis is a disease that affects the joints of the body. A person having arthritis experiences excruciating pain in the knees, hips, toes and other parts of the body where bending often takes place.
Commonly found types of arthritis that affects the body are rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Almost 20% of people in the US alone are diagnosed with arthritis.
A number of animal studies have found that CBD oil can be used in relieving pain caused during arthritis.
One of the animal studies in 2016 used CBD gels of varying doses in rats with arthritis and a significant improvement in pain was found after 4 days of consecutive application.
Not only pain, but inflammation relayed to arthritis also subsided when CBD was applied topically.
CBD oil can be used to treat inflammation and pain caused during arthritis, when topically applied on the affected area.
CBD reduces Chronic Pain
The normal pain that a person experiences can be defined as chronic pain when it lasts continuously for 3-6 months. It usually occurs after injuries or infections, indicating the body that something is wrong.
Symptoms of chronic pain include throbbing, burning, stinging and stiffness. It also affects our mental health and causes frustration, depression and a general lack of energy.
Review studies have shown that CBD oil is a wonderful therapy for chronic pain.
A review in 2008 analysed several studies and concluded that CBD could be used in treating insomnia that is caused due to severe pain and also was effective in relieving pain caused due to rheumatoid arthritis, cancer pain and nerve related pains.
Another study concluded that CBD oil could be used as a potential pain reliever as well as reduces inflammation. It also said that subjects did not develop any kind of tolerance towards the oil.
Chronic pain that usually occurs after an injury can be treated by applying or ingesting CBD oil as it works as a relaxant and helps in reducing depression and anxiety caused due to the excruciating pain.
CBD can be used to control the pain caused by chemotherapy and other cancer-related pain.
The National Cancer Institute themselves have told that CBD could be used as a possible treatment for symptoms related to cancer.
A recent review study in 2017 summarised several clinical trials that used varying doses of CBD to relieve cancer-related pain and also neuropathic pain (pain affecting the nerves).
More studies are needed to be performed in this area.
Cancer can be cured with chemotherapy, which is accompanied by pain. This can be treated with CBD oil due to its ‘relaxant’ properties.
Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease (where the immune system of the body attacks itself). It causes constant muscle spasms which results in excruciating pain. It affects the nerves and the brain.
CBD is known to provide relief from the pain in MS patients. A review study wrote that 20-60% of MS patients accept cannabis as a pain reliever.
Another study reported that CBD helped in reducing muscle spasms caused during MS, when it was used orally.
Further research is required to verify the results.
MS is an autoimmune disease accompanied with muscle spasms that cause pain, which can be treated using CBD oil.
CBD works as a wonderful relaxant for sore muscles
Exercising after a long time can lead to sore muscles and pain. Many sources reveal that CBD works as a relaxant to the muscles and reduces pain and soreness.
It also has anti-inflammatory properties.
It can be used topically on the affected area. More human studies are required to clinically prove its effectiveness.
As CBD causes relaxation both to the mind and the body, it can be used as a pain reliever for people experiencing muscle soreness by working on the brain to produce a calm feeling.
One of the main advantages of CBD is that it does not cause any feeling of ‘high’, like its psychoactive counterpart THC. It is usually taken orally but differs from person to person.
Since everybody’s body is different, a right dosage can be determined only through trial and error method.
For relieving pain, 2.5-20 mg of CBD can be used orally for an average of 25 days. It can differ with the kinds of pain a person experiences.
It is always better and advisable to consult a health physician before using this oil.
Pregnant women and children under 18 years are advised not to take CBD oil for any reason, to avoid risks.
CBD oil is usually free from any side effects. Sometimes though it can cause the following problems in some patients:
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Mood changes
- Dry mouth
The main precaution that needs to be taken is that it is not legal everywhere and is not approved by the FDA yet.
Since this is the case, it is advised to consult a medical professional before taking the oil.
CBD oil, obtained from Cannabis sativa, has many therapeutic uses, one of which is relieving pain.
It can be used to treat pain caused due to arthritis, cancer, multiple sclerosis and many other diseases. It can also be used as a relaxant for chronic pain experienced by people.
It causes effects exactly opposite to that caused by marijuana, which is another more known compound obtained from the same plant.
It has few side effects and can be used orally, starting with a small dosage. However, since it is not approved by the FDA yet, it is better to consult a medical practitioner before using this oil.
In conclusion, CBD oil is one of the best natural sources to relieve pain and can be used as a painkiller.