CBD: Advancements and Analgesic Properties

To the layperson, CBD may just seem like the next fad taking its turn in the spotlight of the health and wellness market. But this therapeutic supplement is living up to the hype—and it’s expanding beyond general health and wellness to treat specific medical conditions, including acute and chronic pain.

To the layperson, CBD may just seem like the next fad taking its turn in the spotlight of the health and wellness market. But this therapeutic supplement is living up to the hype—and it’s expanding beyond general health and wellness to treat specific medical conditions, including acute and chronic pain.

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) has been growing in popularity, and for good reason. The non-intoxicating extract of hemp and cannabis plants, touted for its therapeutic qualities that help treat and prevent a number of physical and psychological conditions, saw landmark progress in 2018. In June, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a form of it (Epidiolex) to treat two severe forms of pediatric epilepsy in patients two years old and up. And in December, CBD containing less than .3% THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, the cannabis derivative known to produce a “high” when consumed) was removed from the Controlled Substances Act, making it legal in all 50 states, for all ages.

Isolated as just one of over 100 chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant, CBD is a natural supplement that comes in the form of tinctures, oils, sublingual sprays, capsules, gummies and more. Science continues to back up anecdotal evidence: this natural substance can help people in a multitude of ways. Research and FDA approvals of CBD to treat specific ailments continue as the industry transitions out of its infancy, outgrowing its association with marijuana and establishing a reputation of its own. Studies of CBD are being conducted to prove its beneficial effects on conditions ranging from anxiety and cognitive disorders to mobility issues and pain, to name just a few.

CBD as an Analgesic

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), muscle relaxants, opioids, the list goes on. There are a number of over-the-counter and prescription drugs designed to treat pain, both chronic and acute. And many of them achieve the desired result. But any patient struggling with pain management could tell you about the unwanted side effects of these synthetic drugs. Nausea, constipation, brain fog, fatigue and opioid addiction are some of the risks to which one is exposed when treating pain with common pain medications. In some cases, pain medications simply may not work.

CBD, a supplement produced from organic ingredients, has proven to help patients manage pain, without sacrificing—but rather, boosting—other aspects of their health at the same time. Now, I know you might be thinking, “I’ve tried the holistic approach.” Many do try to combat pain naturally before turning to pharmaceutical drugs. But keep reading, because CBD is not your average natural remedy.

Cannabinoids, a term that encompasses all of the chemical compounds found in the marijuana plant, are similar to chemicals the body produces that are involved with cognitive function (specifically, memory), movement, appetite and pain. The human body is home to an endocannabinoid system (ECS), which provides receptors where its own endocannabinoids can bind. This system helps regulate functions such as sleep, immune response and pain.

CBD alters the way the body uses its own endocannabinoids. It blocks certain endocannabinoids responsible for intensifying pain and activates those that help regulate pain, such as anandamide. CBD also reduces inflammation in the brain and nervous system by interacting with the body’s brain receptors, which helps streamline your body’s immune response and amplify its ability to treat its own injuries.

Acute Pain Relief

Because of the way CBD works with the brain and ECS, consumers use it to help manage acute pain, typically defined as pain that lasts less than six months. This type of pain is usually associated with recovery from surgery, dental work, childbirth, burns, cuts, broken bones, muscle cramping and the like.

For example, if an individual is recovering from back surgery or a knee replacement, CBD provides a double-pronged approach: it alleviates pain by making that individual’s ECS more efficient in its use of endocannabinoids, which regulate pain. Further, CBD’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects help the body recover from the injury rather than just provide a temporary “bandaid” solution.

Chronic Pain Relief

Chronic pain is typically associated with a long-term or permanent health condition and is characterized by pain lasting longer than six months. Individuals suffering from chronic pain may have arthritis, nerve damage, multiple sclerosis, cancer, or an unknown source of a general chronic pain.

Because your body does not build up a tolerance to or dependence on CBD, and it works in a consistent way, many consumers have found that it helps alleviate chronic pain. A study in the European Journal of Pain used animal models suffering from arthritis and applied a topical CBD gel to the problem areas. Signs of pain decreased, and studies continue to prove CBD’s pain relieving effect on humans.

Similarly, individuals with multiple sclerosis report that CBD has reduced muscle spasms and pain associated with the condition. Another study highlights CBD’s antiemetic and pain-relieving effects in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.

Because of its analgesic properties, CBD is proving to provide pain relief for a diverse array of symptoms and illnesses. Although CBD has been used for thousands of years to treat pain and mobility issues, scientific studies have recently begun substantiating its effectiveness.

Opioid Replacement

The current opioid crisis in the U.S. is growing at an alarming rate, and the FDA reports that many illicit opioid users started with prescription opioids, which are commonly abused. Any opioid use poses a serious threat of addiction, which already affects millions of Americans.

Since there are no psychoactive, or “mind-altering,” effects of using CBD, it’s safe for individuals who want to avoid taking opioids. CBD is non-addictive and therefore a healthy alternative to opioids for those who have grown a dependence on them, fear that they will, have experienced negative side effects, or simply don’t want to use opioids to manage their pain.

In fact, CBD has actually been used as a tool in addiction treatment to help individuals overcome opioid addiction by alleviating the discomfort that comes with physical withdrawal and post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS), which can occur for up to two years after an addict quits using opioids, other drugs, or alcohol.

By |2019-03-28T02:21:32+00:00March 22nd, 2019|Uncategorized|Comments Off on CBD: Advancements and Analgesic Properties

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