Humanity has been using CBD to treat various types of pain for thousands of years. Research is promising, but still at an early stage.
The medical community and consumers have been interested in the use of CBD for pain relief because it can offer a more natural alternative to medications, such as opioids, that can be addictive and cause unpleasant side effects.
The endocannabinoid system helps regulate and balance almost every function of our bodies. From nerve function to emotions, and even the digestive system. It has two types of cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are in the brain, and central nervous system and influence our emotions, mood, appetite, movement, and pain. CB2 receptors exist primarily in the immune system, but also in peripheral organs and tissues of the muscular and cardiovascular systems.
Our body naturally produces endocannabinoid compounds that help maintain balance. But when we experience some kind of injury, disease or other deficiency of endocannabinoids, the phytocannabinoids compounds found in CBD come to the rescue. But CBD doesn’t interact directly with CB1 and CB2 receptors by replacing the naturally occurring endocannabinoid compounds. It helps stimulate the receptors and get the body to respond, recognize, and use more of its natural cannabinoids and neurotransmitters. And this is why CBD doesn’t get you high.
So, when the receptors receive signals and help the cells respond, they generate anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects. But the effects of CBD depend on the type of pain you are experiencing.
CBD and Nociceptive Pain
Nociceptive pain comes from physical injury and damaged tissue and the immune system can influence it. CBD works by recruiting CB2 receptors in the immune system. In order to stop the outset of inflammation after damage, it blocks the inflammatory signals sent to the brain. It also switches macrophage repair cells from inciting inflammation to reducing it. CBD can alleviate nociceptive pain by diminishing the pain signals sent to the brain through neurotransmitters and CB1 receptors. With fewer pain signals reaching the brain, the body doesn’t feel as much of it. CBD can help relieve the pain from arthritis, IBS, chronic pain and inflammation, and any other kind of nociceptive pain.
CBD and Neuropathic Pain
Neuropathic pain comes from the nervous system. It’s more difficult to treat because it isn’t necessarily localized to an easily targetable area. CBD can help with neuropathic pain by limiting the expression of certain pain and inflammation that increase when treating neuropathic conditions (e.g. multiple sclerosis, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, HIV, shingles). This, paired with its increased activation of serotonin receptors is a recipe for success.
Based on studies, The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has pointed out that CBD is a possible option for reducing chemotherapy side effects, such as pain, vomiting, lack of appetite, and nausea.
CBD and Central Pain
Central pain is a more generalized category. it’s the pain that comes from dysfunction in the nervous system, where the cause may be unknown (e.g. fibromyalgia). As a category with many varied types of pain, CBD’s effects on central pain the least studied at this point. However, a 2018 study did find significant positive effects of using cannabis products in patients with fibromyalgia.
Even though there are not many studies about CBD and pain on humans, the results are very promising. Scientists want to know more about the properties of CBD that offer pain relief without the intoxication and drug-addiction.
We love CBD and we wanted to share that love and its amazing properties with you, but as we’ve mentioned before, CBD isn’t a panacea.
If you are interested in trying CBD for pain, talk to your doctor, learn the cause of pain, and they should be able to help you determine the right starting dosage for you.