The many purported health benefits of CBD have become increasingly discussed and accepted in recent years. The popularity of CBD products has skyrocketed, and millions of people around the world are now using CBD to treat a variety of ailments.
One of the most common uses of CBD is as a natural painkiller. Advocates of CBD claim that it is a safe alternative to other prescription painkillers (such as opioids) that carry more side-effects and a much greater risk of addiction or overdose. But just how effective is CBD as a painkiller, and does it match up to other pain relief treatments available?
What is CBD?
CBD is short for cannabidiol, which is a chemical found in cannabis plants. Cannabis is comprised of two main cannabinoid chemicals: THC and CBD. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) causes the feeling of intoxication (or high) from ingesting cannabis, whereas CBD is responsible for most of the medicinal benefits like reduction in pain or anxiety. Unlike cannabis, CBD does not get you “high,” it simply allows you to experience these benefits without any intoxication or effect on your functioning!
CBD comes in various forms, from capsules to oils to e-liquid for vaporizers.
CBD and Pain Relief
CBD products are commonly used by sufferers of chronic pain to reduce symptoms of pain, discomfort, and inflammation associated with a number of health conditions.
Although the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has only approved one CBD product (Epidiolex, an epilepsy treatment), scientific research is highly promising, if not yet fully conclusive. There is, however, a huge amount of anecdotal evidence supporting the pain-relieving effects of CBD.
Studies taking place
Researchers believe that CBD affects endocannabinoid receptors in both the brain and the immune system, stimulating these receptors to create pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects.
Studies have suggested that CBD is effective in reducing pain associated with cancer, neurological conditions, and fibromyalgia, without causing negative side-effects. Similar studies have suggested beneficial effects for arthritis, migraines, and cluster headaches, but more research is needed to determine a proven link.
A 2010 study found an extract containing a combination of CBD and THC to be more effective at reducing cancer-related pain than opioid medications, as well as having a significantly lower risk of addiction. However, more research is needed to determine the efficacy of CBD on its own.
Many chemotherapy patients have reported that CBD reduces chemotherapy side-effects such as pain and nausea, as well as stimulating the appetite.
The main health benefits of CBD are believed to be related to the management of pain symptoms rather than the treatment of conditions or injuries themselves. Although CBD can relieve the pain from damage to the body, injuries need to be treated by a medical professional. If you have damaged your shoulder playing sports, CBD is not there to cure any injuries you have. Rather, if you want to prevent shoulder replacement surgery, for instance, CBD should be used to help manage your pain while you try out the alternative options, such as physical therapy or stem cells.
Side-effects of CBD
The side-effects of CBD are typically much less troublesome than those of other painkillers, although some people have reported an increase in fatigue and changes in appetite and weight. CBD can also potentially interact with other medications and supplements.
There is currently no conclusive scientific data on CBD’s painkilling properties, although researchers believe that it is very likely to provide relief to sufferers of pain. When deciding whether to try CBD, it is best to consult a medical professional first, to consult your local state laws, and to make sure that your CBD is from a reputable brand!