CBD Oil for Pain Management: Effects and Uses
Chronic pain can be a huge obstacle in living a healthy, active life. Getting out of bed and walking around the block can be excruciating, and “overdoing it” can only result in more intense symptoms.
Treatment methods for pain, while effective for many, can have downsides for others. Intoxicating medications or surgeries may not be worth the vicious side effects and recovery time. After trying everything under the sun, it’s easy to feel hopeless.
CBD oil has been touted as one of the best new ways to treat chronic pain. It’s also one of the hottest products in the health and wellness market. But can it help your chronic pain management?
The answer may depend on the type of chronic pain you experience and what else you are doing to treat chronic pain. In general, CBD oil can help to reduce symptoms of chronic pain, inflammation, and mental health conditions. But that doesn’t mean you should throw out all of your medications and only use CBD oil for treatment.
Learn more about CBD oil for pain management, how to use it, and how it can help you live a more fulfilling, pain-free life.
What is CBD?
CBD is a cannabinoid and active ingredient in cannabis.
Cannabis is a genus of plants that includes both hemp and marijuana. CBD can be found in both plants. Manufacturers extract CBD using a solvent and mix it with a “carrier oil” to produce the CBD oil that you can buy at retailers.
Is CBD Oil Legal?
Canada’s recent legalization of recreational marijuana has brought cannabis and its ingredients into the spotlight. But ingesting CBD oil for pain management is not the same as smoking marijuana.
Will CBD Get You High?
CBD won’t get you high. It’s just one of the active ingredients that make up the cannabis plant. If you want to get stoned, you’ll need to buy products with THC in them.
CBD does have an impact on the brain and body, but in a non-intoxicating way. You can ingest a dropper of CBD oil before getting behind the wheel of a car and still be safe to drive. The effects that you will feel are likely to include pain relief and stress relief.
Different Types of Pain Treated With CBD Oil
Pain comes in many forms. The pain experienced by patients with arthritis is a different experience than patients who are going through chemotherapy. Luckily, CBD oil can help people who experience a wide variety of chronic pain symptoms.
CBD oil can help to treat pain from:
- Cancer treatments
- Headaches and migraine
- Neuropathic pain
- Joint pain
The best way to administer CBD oil to treat pain may vary from patient to patient.
CBD Oil for Arthritis Pain
Over six million Canadians suffer from arthritis. Arthritis is the most common chronic health condition throughout the country – but not everyone’s arthritis looks or feels the same. For some, arthritis consists of chronic pain. For others, arthritis severely limits their range of motion.
There are over 100 different types of arthritis. Many types of arthritis is an autoimmune inflammatory disease, but osteoarthritis begins in the tissues and the bones. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis throughout Canada.
CBD oil can help to treat the symptoms of both osteoarthritis and different types of inflammatory arthritis. Studies on cannabis and arthritis show that continued CBD use could result in:
- Less pain
- Less inflammation
- Better sleep
How CBD Oil Helps to Manage Pain
Don’t write off CBD oil as just another fad in the health and wellness industry. Science has shown that not only does CBD oil help to reduce pain, but it can also treat other conditions that influence pain. Through its work with the endocannabinoid system, CBD attacks pain at all sides to help you live a more comfortable life.
Pain Relief Within the Endocannabinoid System
Cannabis has done more for modern science than you might have realized. As researchers were looking at the effects of cannabinoids on the body, they discovered that humans produce their own cannabinoids. Natural cannabinoids are different than THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids in the cannabis plant.
Our natural cannabinoids are a crucial piece of the endocannabinoid system. This system runs throughout the entire body, including the nervous system and the immune system.
The endocannabinoid system has a lot of jobs. It regulates a long list of functions from appetite to mood to treating pain. Studies have shown that the endocannabinoid system plays a role in processing and treating acute pain.
CBD is a cannabinoid that works with the endocannabinoid system to function. Studies have shown that when CBD enters the body’s endocannabinoid system, it can help to relieve pain throughout the entire body. Researchers still have a lot of questions to answer when it comes to how CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system, but both from observations and anecdotal evidence, we know that CBD can help patients to treat and manage pain.
Pain is commonly linked to inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis or IBD. Inflammation is not always a bad thing, but when it gets out of control, people may experience pain.
Inflammation can help to protect the body. If the body detects that foreign bacteria or a virus is threatening its health, it will send out an inflammatory response. In that response, white blood cells attack the threat and help the body heal. If you have fallen and scraped your knee, inflammation has helped to prevent the injury from becoming a full-on infection.
Unfortunately, inflammatory responses may be sent out unnecessarily. When this happens, the white blood cells start to attack the body in a way that causes more harm than good. People with autoimmune diseases are often subject to this internal attack.
Pain is a common sign of inflammation, along with redness, heat, swelling, and loss of function.
When CBD enters the endocannabinoid system, it helps to reduce inflammation by interacting with different neurotransmitters throughout the immune system. By reducing inflammation, CBD can help to reduce pain throughout the body.
CBD is a popular choice among people who suffer from autoimmune diseases like fibromyalgia or Guillain-Barre syndrome.
Sleep and pain affect each other in a cycle. If you suffer from chronic pain, you are likely to get less sleep. As your body sleeps, it produces cytokines, which helps to mediate inflammation and immunity. While researchers are still trying to discover the connections between missing sleep and increased pain, it’s hard to argue that less sleep is the solution to anything.
What we do know is that insomnia and sleeping troubles can be treated with CBD. Multiple studies show that CBD and cannabis can help to reduce trouble sleeping. The explanation for why CBD helps with sleep is still largely to be discovered, but the endocannabinoid system is at play here, too. The endocannabinoid system is responsible for many different functions in the body, including the regulation of circadian rhythms. The body’s circadian rhythms play a big role in regulating the sleep-wake cycle.
Pain is not the only factor that impacts sleep. Mental health can also play a big role in the body’s ability to get a good night’s rest. Mental health can also affect your physical health in big ways. Some of the most common signs of anxiety and depression include physical aches in pains, changes in sleeping and eating patterns, and decreased energy levels.
One of the most popular reasons why people grab CBD oil is to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.
Multiple studies have shown that CBD oil can help to reduce a wide variety of mental health conditions, including:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Anxiety-induced insomnia
- Social anxiety disorder
Aches and pains caused by chronic stress may start to melt away after using CBD oil.
How to Use CBD Oil For Pain Management
CBD oil can be ingested in many different ways. While some patients feel more comfortable mixing their CBD oil in with a smoothie, others prefer to take it directly under the tongue. Know the different ways that you can apply or ingest CBD oil before you buy CBD products.
Patients looking for CBD oil online are likely to find a selection of different droppers that they can purchase. It is safe and healthy to ingest CBD simply by putting a dropper under your tongue or mixing it into a drink.
Each of these droppers contains around 20mg CBD, but brands put their own spin on the product. Check the ingredients of each bottle of CBD oil before you purchase. While some contain solely CBD blended with a carrier oil (coconut, MCT, grapeseed, etc.,) others contain additional ingredients. These ingredients may be essential oils or terpenes that provide complementary benefits.
CBD oil can be easily mixed into beverages and foods for a tasty way to ingest CBD. CBD edibles are also available online or in health food stores as a way to get CBD without the slippery taste of plain CBD oil. Some CBD users also mix their CBD oil into baked goods for scrumptious treats that help reduce pain while satisfying their sweet tooth.
CBD vape pens can also deliver CBD oil without physically tasting the oil itself. Look for CBD vape cartridges or reusable carts that are compatible with oil. Vape pens can help you get the CBD dosage you need without having to excuse yourself and pour a whole dropper down your throat. It’s a discreet way to mix CBD with vapor, tobacco, marijuana, or whatever you would like to put in your pen.
Another way to treat joint pain is by applying CBD directly onto the body. Topical creams like balms and lotions can help to target specific pain points. CBD topicals also come in a wide variety of products with additional ingredients. Some have peppermint and menthol for a cooling sensation, while others may have spices to encourage circulation throughout the body.
As you shop, know that some products may also contain THC. If you do not want to get high from your CBD oil products or have to take drug tests, be extra cautious about buying CBD oil. You can receive all of the benefits of CBD without THC.
How To Dose CBD Oil for Pain Management
CBD oil is a safe product. Studies have shown that patients can use up to 100mg each day without experiencing serious side effects. (Mild side effects like dizziness or nausea may occur.)
Each CBD oil dropper contains about 20mg. Edibles may contain as little as 5mg CBD. 100mg just isn’t necessary for all patients, even when dispersed throughout the day.
Start by assessing your symptoms first. If you are just trying out CBD oil for mild symptoms or pain, take 20mg each day and see how you feel. It’s not uncommon for people with more severe pain to take up to 50mg CBD each day. These doses can be dispersed throughout the day. Play around with taking CBD in the morning vs. night, all at once vs. in multiple doses, and using different kinds of CBD products to treat your symptoms. Like with any treatment, you might not find the perfect solution right away.
Talk to a Healthcare Professional About Pain Management
Chronic pain is not just caused solely by a lack of sleep, inflammation, or another factor. Often, these factors affect each other. There is no one solution to pain management. While CBD has reduced symptoms of pain in many study participants, it may not be for everyone.
Talk to a doctor about your pain symptoms and whether CBD is right for you. They may recommend topicals over oil, or have another recommendation which may aid CBD in helping you reduce pain. For some, CBD oil is all they need to reduce pain and live a healthy, active life. For others, prescription medication or surgery may be more effective. Consider CBD for pain management, but keep an open mind and consult with a professional.