Cannabidiol or CBD Oil has seen a sharp spike in its popularity. Chronic pain patients look up to it as a natural way to find pain relief. Cannabidiol is one of the many compounds found in marijuana or hemp plants. Research confirms that CBD is effective in:
among other medical conditions.
A report published by the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research notes that the use of cannabis for pain dates back to 2900 B.C. Ancient Chinese text called ‘Shennon Ben Chao Jing’ recommends the use of cannabis as a treatment for several medical conditions, including:
problems related to the female reproductive tract.
It seems that the Chinese used to mix cannabis with wine and use it as anesthesia to perform a surgery. Chinese preferred cannabis seeds as they contain very low levels of THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol). THC has several therapeutic substances but it gets you ‘high’.
Cannabis has several other cannabinoids that have different effects on the body. Cannabidiol or CBD is one of them. CBD is non-psychoactive and hence, is considered safe to use. World Health Organization (WHO) report confirmed that ‘evidence from well-controlled human experimental research indicates that CBD is not associated with abuse potential‘.
Chronic pain patients often suffer from these two conditions. Users who recommend CBD oil for pain highlight its effectiveness in treating inflammation and insomnia. They also say that the use of oil has reduced their dependence on opiates. How to use cbd oil for pain?
Animal-based research shows that CBD helps in controlling the pain management role of the ECS.
How To Use CBD Oil For Pain Management?
CBD oil taken in oral form has poor bioavailability. It means that 60% of cannabidiol gets digest before it reaches the bloodstream. It also takes 4-6 hours for oral CBD products to show their effects. The benefit of using oral products is that they are more effective for a longer duration of time.
Topical CBD products are said to most effective in treating localized pain areas. It means that when CBD oil or lotion is rubbed on to the area which is in pain, the cannabidiol in the product interacts with the CBD receptors in the skin and provides relief. In the case where you apply CBD oil on the skin, it hardly ever reaches the bloodstream. It only interacts with the localized cannabinoid receptors at the cutaneous and the sub-cutaneous levels.
A 2016 study found that the topical application of CBD gels helped in reducing the swelling of joints in rats with arthritis. The study pointed out that cannabidiol can attenuate pain and inflammation without any side effects. The oral consumption of CBD oil has poor bioavailability. The transdermal absorption of CBD gel significantly:
reduced joint swelling,
improved posture of limbs (that gets affected due to spontaneous pain),
prevented immune cell infiltration, and
depending on the dosage reduced the thickening of the synovial membrane.
The synovial membrane is the connective tissue lining the inner surface of a synovial joint. It secretes a fluid that serves as a lubricant for the joint. Neck, elbows, knees, fingers, toes, and wrists are some of the jovial joints in the human body.
A 2017 study further revealed that the topical application of CBD oils in rats with arthritis can prevent the development of joint pain.
The effective dose of CBD in this study was pegged between 6.2 mg per day to 62 mg per day. It is recommended that if you are using the CBD for pain management for the first time, you might go for the lower spectrum of the CBD dosage first.
You can wait for 2-3 hours before applying some more CBD oil. Increase the CBD oil dosage over a few days until you achieve the desired results.
The good thing is that CBD rarely has side-effects. And the ones it has been mild. So, you may apply the CBD oil on the area of pain without the fear of an overdose.
Scientific Evidence Of CBD’s Positive Effects In Pain Relief
A 2018 study published in Pediatric Dermatology reported three cases of children suffering from epidermolysis bullosa. This is a rare and painful skin condition in which blisters are formed. Parents of the three children applied topical CBD products (oil, cream, and spray) at home. They reported that the use of CBD products led to:
pain relief, and
faster wound healing.
One of them was able to wean off opioid-based oral pain medication completely. No adverse effects were reported. Scientists believed that CBD displayed anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects in these cases.
Another study published in 2018 focused on cannabis-based medicines in adults suffering from chronic neuropathic pain. It is believed that one in 10 people in the U.S. suffers from neuropathic pain. This type of pain is caused by:
a lesion, or
of the somatosensory nervous system.
Nociceptive pain results from how nociceptors respond to tissue injuries. Neuropathic pain is caused by the damage of nociceptor (or nerve) cells. Often, people with diabetes and multiple sclerosis (MS) suffer from neuropathy ailments.
Neuropathic pain is difficult to treat and shows minimal response to opioids.
A report published last year in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews reviewed 16 studies exploring the effects of cannabis-based medicines in cases of chronic neuropathic pain. It found that the cannabis medications helped with:
reducing the intensity of pain,
providing pain relief,
overcoming sleep difficulties, and
busting stress and anxiety.
The scientists also noted that cannabis products may have side-effects such as:
mental confusion, and
Researchers warned that oral CBD capsules, inhaled cannabis products, and CBD sprays containing THC are more likely to trigger side-effects.
What Are The Side-Effects Of CBD Oil?
Research on CBD’s side-effects is extremely limited. CBD market is largely unregulated. It means that the content and purity of different CBD products vary from manufacturer-to-manufacturer.
CBD products may have varying amounts of CBD and THC components. Their formulations differ. Hence, their side-effects may vary according to:
whether they contain THC,
their recommended dosage,
the routes of administration,
their type etc.
CBD products can be categorized into two main types:
CBD isolate (which contains pure cannabidiol), and
Full-spectrum CBD oil (which contains several other cannabinoids and components found in hemp extracts.
Some of the rare side-effects of CBD are:
changes in mood and appetite,
diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting,
dry mouth, drowsiness, and dizziness,
anxiety, low blood pressure, and mental confusion.
Some patient reviews expressed concern that high doses of cannabidiol oil may make tremors worse in people with Parkinson’s disease.
CBD also exhibits some drug-to-drug interaction properties. It means that it interacts with:
medications processed by the liver, such as:
sedatives, such as:
So, if you are on medication, consult your doctor before using CBD oil.
Topical CBD oils may contain several chemicals that can serve as ‘irritants’ to people with allergies.
It is to be noted that CBD oil is not a substitute for standard medical care. It should only be used as an adjunctive treatment (in addition to standard therapy) for your condition. Chronic conditions (like arthritis) need to be managed properly or they may lead to permanent joint damage and disability.
Where Can You Buy CBD Oil?
The 2018 Farm Bill legalizes the hemp-derived CBD oil. CBD hemp oils do not contain more than 0.3% THC and are safe to use. 33 U.S. states have legalized the use of marijuana for medical purposes. 14 other states allow the use of CBD-rich products with a limit on THC content. These include:
The District of Columbia, the Northern Mariana Islands, and Guam have also legalized the use of recreational marijuana.
CBD oils are easily available for sale in all these states. You may need a doctor’s prescription to buy medical marijuana legally. In some of these states, you can only buy CBD oils or other CBD products from licensed medical dispensaries.
In places like Nebraska and South Dakota, the legality of CBD oil is still not clear.
Many companies sell CBD oil online these days. Since the formulations of different companies differ, one has to be careful with the use of CBD oils for pain. It is important to enquire about:
Which product suits you best?
How to use the CBD product for pain management?
What’s the recommended dosage of the CBD oil you should take for your condition and how frequently you can take it?
What’s the refund policy of the company?
Many online CBD companies offer a full refund within 30-90 days of shipping of the product if:
You receive the wrong product or damaged product packaging, and
Your CBD product does not deliver the effects promised by the company.
WTHemp offers CBD derived from the highest-quality American-grown hemp. The company claims that its products have 97% bioavailability. Vaping CBD oil or putting a few oil drops under the tongue (sublingual consumption of CBD oil) are the best ways to see quick effects of CBD oil.
If you choose to use CBD oil for pain relief, you might want to combine inhaling or subliminally consuming CBD oil with topical application of the oil in the area which is in pain.
What Does The Future Hold?
The FDA has approved the first CBD medication to treat two rare forms of childhood epilepsy. This medicine is called Epidiolex. Many countries approve the use of Sativex in treating:
severe pain from advanced cancer, and
muscle spasms and stiffness related to multiple sclerosis.
Sativex contains THC and CBD in 1:1 ratio. The clinical trials on the product are underway in the U.S. If the trials yield positive results, it may get legalized as a pain relief medication in the U.S. too.
In May 2019, the American Academy of Pain Medicine had urged the federal agencies to reschedule cannabinoids to Schedule II substances in May 2019. This will facilitate the research on cannabinoids for:
substance toxicity, and
safety for pain treatment.
As the science catches up with public use of cannabidiol, the future of CBD oils seems bright. Proper regulation of the market will ensure that the users can be sure that they are safe to use. It will give a boost to the production and consumption of CBD oil in the health and wellness enthusiasts.