CBD is gaining popularity over the counter medication for alleviating knee pain. It has been proven to ease inflammation and chronic pain. In this post, you’ll see how you can use CBD for pain and make the most of its healing properties.
WHAT IS CBD?
CBD is one of many cannabinoids found in the hemp plant. Most products on the market are actually hemp extracts containing a broad spectrum of ingredients, such as vitamin E, coconut, chlorophyll, terpenes and somewhere in the area of 50 to over 100 other cannabinoids, including CBD.
By definition, CBD is short for cannabidiol, a compound that is extracted from the hemp plant. Note: Some CBD oil products may contain very low levels of THC, the compound in cannabis that produces a “high” – but having it doesn’t mean you’re getting high.
Does CBD for Pain Work?
The answer to that question cannot be known for certain, but there are reasons to believe the answer is yes. CBD is just one component of the cannabis plant, which has a 5,000-year history of medical use, in particular for pain. Scientists and entrepreneurs have developed ways to extract CBD from cannabis and hemp. It can be used safely, without concerns about the intoxicating side effects that are associated with CBD’s molecular cannabis cousin, THC. This has led to a phenomenal situation in which people are now using CBD for a multitude of ailments. Search the web and you will find hundreds of anecdotal accounts of successful CBD use. Better yet, scientists are intrigued with this “new” medicine, and research is accelerating at a fantastic clip, with hundreds of scientific articles on CBD published every month.
What Types of Pain can CBD Deal With?
Cancer comes in many forms, and CBD’s role in the treatment of cancer depends on many variables. Entire books have been and will be written on this topic. Patients should also be aware that research has shown cannabinoids have antitumor properties in animal studies and there have been many anecdotal accounts of cured cancers after using cannabinoids. A recent survey found that only 15 percent of cancer patients received information on cannabis from their care team. Cancer patients are looking to CBD for symptom relief, and many of them are turning to the Internet for answers. For a trusted and in-depth discussion of cannabinoids and cancer therapy, please visit Project CBD online.
Cancer and the treatment associated with it can produce many symptoms. CBD may be useful in treating the side effects related to chemotherapy such as nausea and vomiting, appetite loss, insomnia, anxiety, depression, fatigue, and peripheral neuropathy. Additionally, cancer patients may experience pain from the cancer itself or from the treatment, and CBD has shown promise in reducing opioid use when administered simultaneously.
Chronic pain usually begins with an initial injury—examples include a pulled muscle or sprain, a broken bone, and a car accident with resulting injury—that leads to inflammation and nerve damage. Even after the initial injury heals, the pain lingers. If it lingers beyond 12 weeks, it is considered to be chronic pain.
CBD’s ability to reduce inflammation and serve as a neuroprotectant makes it very appropriate for pain relief. A 2016 study conducted in Michigan, a medical cannabis state, found that 64 percent of medical cannabis users reported reduced opioid use. And there was more.
Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy/General Neuropathy Pain
Neuropathic pain accompanies many ailments but may be more common among individuals with diabetes or those who have received certain chemotherapy agents or from excessive alcohol intake.
CBD is showing promise in chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy. In one animal study, researchers found that administering CBD 30 minutes prior to Paclitaxel significantly reduced and, in some mice, prevented chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy without compromising the antitumor effects of the chemotherapy.
Fibromyalgia (FM) is characterized by widespread pain, a heightened pain response to pressure, extreme fatigue, sleep problems, and some cognitive issues, primarily with memory. Its cause is unknown, but there is speculation that both environmental and genetic factors may be at play.
There is substantial interest in the use of CBD for treatment of FM, but the studies to date have been disappointing with respect to the use of only CBD in treating FM.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) irritation
The benefit of cannabinoids in treating these disorders has been reported anecdotally for years, but now those reports are gaining support from a recent study in England that involved CBD and an endocannabinoid called palmitoylethanolamide (PEA). The researchers in this study concluded that CBD with PEA reduced the permeability of the intestines, allowing the bowels to process foods into the body while blocking harmful bacteria and other substances. This conclusion is of great importance, as it is this permeability that goes haywire in Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis.
How to Use CBD for Pain?
CBD does not cure diseases, but it can treat the symptoms, many of which are the same as symptoms from other diseases that benefit from CBD treatment. Joint pain in particular is a potential candidate for CBD. The anti-inflammatory properties of CBD make it a natural to treat this symptom as well as for treatment of swollen lymph nodes. Headaches can also respond to CBD therapy.
Regardless of which drugs you may use to treat your condition—CBD or others—there are numerous factors that influence proper dosing, including age, weight, sex, medication history, route of administration, and genetics. Your doctor takes these factors into consideration when writing your prescriptions, but now that you have decided to use CBD, you need to be aware of these factors as well.
Age: A critical factor in dosing is age. All drugs are metabolized, and our metabolism changes as we age. So, a 70-year-old may react differently to a medication than a 40-year-old. Children will obviously use lower doses because of their size and age, but elderly patients may also be candidates for lower dosing because they metabolize more slowly than an average adult.
Weight: It may seem obvious that an extremely thin person will require less of a drug than someone who is obese, but you may never have thought about this in relation to your own drug use. Normally your doctor and/or pharmacist factors in the body weight of a patient when preparing prescriptions. Often you will see this expressed as “milligram per kilogram,” so the prescription may read something like “5 mg/kg.” To figure a dose in this way, you need the patient’s weight in kilograms . Once you have ascertained the patient’s kilogram weight, multiply the prescribed dose (in our example, 5 mg) by the kilogram weight. Dosing in this way can be extremely effective and is particularly useful when dosing cannabinoids.
Safety and Side Effects
Clearly a drug that can treat so many diseases and illnesses must have profound effects on the human body. Thankfully most of those effects are targeted at the illness being treated, but if you are contemplating CBD use or are already using it, you need to be aware that CBD, as with any medication or pharmaceutical, can have some side effects, particularly at high doses. Cannabis clinicians always advise patients to “start low and go slow.” Common side effects include drowsiness, lethargy, change in mood, dry mouth, diarrhea, appetite changes, and dizziness.
Where to Buy the Best CBD Products for Pain?
Perhaps the most amazing thing about shopping for CBD is that you can do so from the comfort of your home. Most CBD product manufacturers provide online shopping at their websites.
What about Amazon? Well, search for “CBD oil” at Amazon and you might be overwhelmed by the choices. However, these products are actually hemp oil, not CBD extract. In fact, Amazon prohibits sale of any products with cannabidiol (CBD) but does not prohibit searches using the term “CBD.” This should give you a good idea of how the market has blurred the lines between hemp oil and CBD.
Finally, if you live in a state with a medical cannabis law (or full legalization), you can visit a dispensary to look for and acquire products, although depending upon the state, you may need a doctor’s recommendation to enter the dispensary.