CBD is undeniably ubiquitous nowadays, with celebrity endorsements and major companies having turned a little-known drug into a popular consumer product. Consumer demand for Cannabidiol (or CBD for short) is mostly because of new promising medical research. In turn, worrying research indicating an unhealthy reliance on traditional over-the-counter painkillers is pushing many towards CBD as a natural alternative. Despite its popularity however, it can be incredibly difficult to find reliable and authoritative information that you can count on when it comes to your health and CBD.
Over-the-counter pain relievers are immensely popular in no small part because most find them to be affordable and accessible. As the name implies, these are drugs like Advil or Bengay which can be purchased at your local pharmacy without needing a prescription from a medical expert. Some of these over the counter pain relievers hit harder than others, and certain classes of individuals, especially senior citizens, need to exercise particular caution when taking them for pain or anti-inflammatory purposes.
According to the AARP, for instance, senior citizens can suffer serious side effects when they rely too heavily upon over-the-counter pain medication. Ibuprofen and naproxen won’t lead you to develop a serious addiction in the way that opiate based painkillers will, but they can still have detrimental effects on users who consume them improperly or too frequently. For example, Acetaminophen is the active ingredient in Tylenol and thus relied upon by thousands, yet it results in about 50 percent of acute liver failures in the United States.
Roughly 50,000 emergency room visits are caused every year by the ingestion of Acetaminophen, yet Tylenol and other over-the-counter pain medications remain easily accessible to many. One of the reasons these drugs can be so harmful is the popular conception that they’re harmless; given that you don’t need a prescription to purchase them and can scoop up nearly as many as you want – The need for pain and inflammation management nevertheless drives them to buy; according to Harvard Health Publishing, about 15 percent of the US population takes an NSAID regularly to deal with their inflammation.
Because of an overwhelming dependency upon traditional over-the-counter painkillers, medical experts and consumers alike are turning to new alternatives to manage their pain and inflammation.
CBD is one of the primary cannabinoids found in cannabis plants. Cannabis plants like marijuana and industrial hemp can thus produce CBD, which has become increasingly popular over the past few years when it became obvious that it could be used to treat a variety of medical conditions. CBD is not the same thing as THC. Whereas THC, a controlled substance, is infamous because it makes users feel “high,” CBD has no psychoactive effects. It’s important to understand that according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, CBD is not mind-altering and will not produce a high like recreational marijuana does.
Cannabis plants produce many different cannabinoids, but CBD and THC are by far and away the most popular and well-known, not to mention the most commercially viable. Whereas recreational marijuana remains widely outlawed in the United States, CBD is widely permitted in most areas – even CVS Health, one of the nation’s largest chains, now sells CBD products its stores. According to the New York Post, CVS is joined by other retailers like Barneys New York and Neiman Marcus in offering CBD products in various forms. The investment firm Cowen & Co. predicted that CBD retail sales could hit a staggering $16 billion by 2025 proving it is more than a mere fad.
Primarily because it stands as a viable alternative to over-the-counter pain medication for many patients, CBD is seeing a surge. The FDA recently approved its first ever drug comprised from an active ingredient derived from marijuana in order to treat seizures, for instance, and other conditions can also be treated with CBD products. CBD comes in many forms; including tinctures, tonics, lotions, oils, and edible treats, yet a Harvard Health Letter accurately notes that most people choose to take it by mouth in the form of drops or gummies.
CBD does come with some mild drawbacks. Studies have shown that taken in large quantities, CBD can cause nausea and can interact with existing medication. Taken properly, however, and especially through topical solutions, CBD does not present any serious issues to consumers.
It’s not just the elderly or those suffering from serious disorders like epilepsy or PTSD who rely on CBD, professional athletes are beginning to embrace it, too. Former New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowsi has partnered with CBD retailer, CBDMedic remarking that CBD products would have greatly helped his recovery and perhaps prolonged his career. Between celebrity endorsements and a rising demand for alternatives to over-the-counter painkillers, CBD products stand ready to act as a safe, natural and particularly effective alternative to traditional pain killers.