A staggering 50 million Americans deal with long-term (“chronic”) pain. Of these people, 20 million have high-impact chronic pain. That’s the kind of pain that already interferes with their work, life, and other activities.
So, it’s no wonder that chronic pain could be costing the US at least $635 billion each year. That’s for the direct costs (e.g., treatment) and indirect expenses (e.g., loss of productivity). However, it doesn’t account for the suffering felt by those who always battle it out with pain.
How exactly does CBD oil help ease pain, though? How does it work, and what types of conditions can it help with?
We’ve rounded up the most critical facts you need to know, so be sure to read on!
How CBD Oil for Pain Works
Many of the studies on CBD show that it is analgesic and anti-inflammatory. These are the two key reasons for the use of CBD oil for arthritis and other inflammatory conditions.
Moreover, cannabidiol has analgesic properties delivered “without the high.” This is one of CBD’s benefits that drives people toÂ chooseÂ itÂ over pain-relieving drugs.
Pain Relief Through Analgesia
Analgesics are substances that reduce pain without causing a loss of consciousness. They are agents used to relieve pain, be it acute or chronic pain.
In the US, some of the most common analgesics are pharmaceutical drugs. These include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and acetaminophen. There are also the more potent ones, which include narcotics like morphine.
As helpful as these medications are, many of them come with a high risk of abuse. That’s because a lot of them use opioids, which are addictive substances. Yes, we’re talking about the same class of drugs that claim 128 lives in the US every day due to overdose.
With that said, it’s no wonder that many are turning to cannabidiol, which comes from plants. Indeed, pain-relief is one of the main reasons people buy CBD oil products. One of the biggest reasons for its use is itsÂ analgesic properties.
As a pain-reliever, CBD oil extracts can help ease both acute and chronic pain symptoms. Be it neuropathic, back, or muscle pain, CBD seems to help reduce their severity and frequency.
Reduced Pain Through Inhibiting Inflammation
Many people use anti-inflammatory drugs, like NSAIDs, to find relief from pain. Being anti-inflammatory means that something can reduce swelling or “inflammation.” Inflammation, in turn, can cause pain, especially if the swelling hits the nerves.
Granted, NSAIDs are “non-habit forming,” which means that they have a lower risk of abuse. However, it’s also because of this thatÂ a lot of people turn to them for pain. The US alone sells over 30 billion over-the-counter NSAIDs every year.
NSAIDs are still drugs, so they always carry the risk of adverse effects. They have shown to raise the odds of intestinal disorders, peptic ulcers, and even strokes. That’s why the long-term use of anti-inflammatory drugs isn’t a good idea.
This is where cannabidiol, as a plant-based product, once again comes into play. Studies have found CBD to exhibit anti-inflammatory properties. By reducing swelling, it can also help prevent pain, or at least lessen its intensity.
The Anti-Pain Mechanism of Cannabidiol
Scientists are still studying how exactly CBD relieves pain and swelling. Current literature, however, suggests that it does so by affecting certain bodily processes. These include how the body produces, regulates, and reacts to pain.
Nerve Pathway Interactions
Researchers say that CBD combats pain by interacting with nerve pathways. Cannabidiol appears to disrupt how these pathways send and receive pain signals. By interfering with these signals, CBD seems to dampen the intensity of pain.
Effects On Anandamide
CBD also seems to affect how the body absorbs anandamide. This is a fatty acid neurotransmitter associated with pain regulation. Cannabidiol has shown to stop the process of anandamide absorption.
By preventing the body from absorbing anandamide, more of it stays in the bloodstream. This, in turn, may then lead to a decreased pain intensity.
There’s also a theory that some people have an endocannabinoid deficiency. Scientists say that this can occur if the endocannabinoid system lacks certain endocannabinoids. If this happens, the body will have a hard time achieving homeostasis.
The endocannabinoid system, after all, is integral in many physiological processes. The ECS, for instance, has regulatory effects on sleep, appetite, mood, and stress, to name a few. It also helps keep the body’s immune system functioning correctly.
So, if the endocannabinoid system becomes deficient, the body will become “out-of-balance.” One way that this may become more evident is the appearance of pain conditions. Without a fully-functional ECS, you may feel more frequent or severe bouts of pain.
As such, supplementing with CBD products may help offset ECS deficiency. By supplying the body with enough cannabidiol, it may help restore homeostasis.
CBD Oil for Arthritis
Arthritis causes the joints to swell, become tender, and in most cases, feel stiff and painful. Osteoarthritis (OA) is among the most common types of arthritis in the US. OA is often associated with age, and it does worsen as one gets older.
OA causes the cartilage to break down. The cartilage is the hard but slippery tissue found at the end of the bones, by the joints.
The thing is, it’s the cartilage that protects the ends of the bones as they move. It serves as a lubricated surface that allows for the least impact on the bones and nerves.
So, when the cartilage breaks down, pain, stiffness, swelling, and immobility follows. In many cases, these symptoms are more evident after rigorous activity. They also tend to worsen during the icy winter season.
Great news, then, as CBD’s analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects can relieve arthritic pain. In one study, transdermal (topical) CBD reduced arthritis-caused inflammation and pain. Moreover, the researchers found that cannabidiol didn’t have adverse side effects. You can also look for a CBD Pain Relief Cream.
CBD Oil for Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation. In people with RA, their immune system launches an “erroneous” attack on healthy cells. This causes pain in the parts of the body mistakenly attacked by the immune system.
As with other types of arthritis, RA is also more common in the joints. In an RA-affected joint, the lining swells, further causing joint tissue damage. The damage itself can be chronic, and can also lead to joint deformity.
CBD, with its innate anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects, can help ease RA signs. Also, compared to vitamin C and E, CBD has greater antioxidant activity. While it won’t cure autoimmune diseases, it may help boost your overall immune system.
CBD Oil for Inflammation
Aside from OA and RA, CBD can also be helpful for other inflammatory maladies. For instance, it appears to help reduce the severity of acne. This seems to be a result of CBD’s anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial activities.
Scientists also found that CBD may help with pancreatic inflammation and diabetes. They found that CBD reduced swelling in the pancreas and also delayed the onset of diabetes. They also discovered that CBD treatment could reduce immune-cell activity.
CBD for Fibromyalgia Pain
Fibromyalgia is a debilitating pain condition that causes widespread body pain. The pain can be so severe that those with this disorder also often develop mood and sleep problems. The constant battle with pain also renders them tired or fatigued for long periods.
In some cases, fibromyalgia may also induce memory problems. Referred to as “fibro fog,” these are cognitive issues that appear with fibromyalgia. The symptoms vary, but most experience confusion, impaired thinking, or forgetfulness.
Fibromyalgia also seems to invoke allodynia, which is a heightened sensitivity to pain. It amplifies the pain that one feels, even if it isn’t that painful to others who don’t have the condition.
One study looked at the effects of THC- and CBD-rich strains on people with fibromyalgia. At the beginning of the study, 52.5% of the patients had a high level of pain. After six months, this dropped to a considerable 7.9%.
Overall, the majority of the participants reported a significant reduction in their pain. What’s more, 73.4% of patients said they slept better, and 13.2% even said that their sleep issues went away! Depression-related symptoms also improved in 80.8% of the fibromyalgia patients.
Another study suggested that CBD has a diminishing effect on brain cells known as “glia.” These are cells that contribute to central sensitization. Central sensitization, in turn, is a significant component of fibromyalgia.
In this way, high-quality CBD oil products may help provide relief from fibromyalgia.
CBD Offers a More Natural Way To Help Ease Pain
As you can see, CBD oil for pain can bring relief from highly unpleasant sensations. It can also help your joints become mobile once again. Moreover, it can help improve other inflammatory conditions that you may already have.
Best of all, CBD products, like oils, tinctures, and creams, are hemp-based treatments. That makes them a more natural alternative to pharmaceuticals.