– A close look at how cannabidiol impacts pain, the types of pain it can affect, and the best ways to consume it for effective pain management.
We’re all endowed with a system within our bodies that regulates our homeostatic functions. Such functions include:
- Stress response
- Muscular growth
- Neuronal operations
- And more
The system that regulates those functions is known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Interestingly, this system also dictates how we handle our pain. Even more interestingly, there are a variety of plants that produce chemicals that mimic the chemicals produced by our ECS.
Perhaps the most well known of those plants is Cannabis. Cannabis plants are loaded with a wide variety of chemicals that can interact with our ECS. The most prominent of those chemicals are THC and CBD.
Let’s take a look at how CBD, a non-psychoactive compound, aids our bodies in pain management.
For starters, there are different types of pain that humans deal with, such as:
- Nerve pain
- Muscle pain
- Tendon and ligament pain
- Joint pain
- Emotional pain
- Spiritual pain
- And more
CBD can have an impact on all of these types of pain, but let’s look closely at the research and what it says regarding how CBD impacts our pain management marijuana medical studies.
Clinical Research Regarding CBD as a Tool for Pain Management
Perhaps one of the most important papers produced on CBD and pain management was written by Dr. Ethan Russo. The 2008 paper that appeared in Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management looked at how cannabinoids like CBD impact difficult to treat pain. Difficult to treat pain often stems from things like:
- Multiple sclerosis
- Nerve damage
- And more
These types of pain are often difficult to treat with opioids and other, more traditional therapeutic methods.
In Dr. Russo’s article, he examined a number of studies that looked at how cannabinoids impacted pain. For example, he pointed out that Sativex and Cannador have been widely researched and are both quite heavy in CBD.
Dr. Russo mentioned how a pair of studies noted that Sativex, when compared with other THC-dominant drugs, showed the best symptom control of pain and that patients showed ‘significant improvement’ when using Sativex.
When he looked at a Phase II double-blind crossover study of intractable chronic pain related to multiple sclerosis, again, Sativex, with its heavy-CBD profile, “produced best results for pain.” These types of results repeated themselves over and over again, according to his research.
For example, “in a controlled double-blind RCT of central neuropathic pain, 66 MS subjects showed mean Numerical Rating Scale (NRS) analgesia favoring Sativex over placebo.” In other words, CBD-heavy Sativex reliably shows off its ability to stave off difficult to treat pain.
In another study, a Phase III clinical trial, “Sativex produced highly statistically significant improvements in pain levels.”
Sadly, many people suffer from cancers that give them pain that is unresponsive to opiates. In a study that looked at this type of pain, Dr. Russo pointed out that “Sativex produced highly statistically significant improvements in analgesia” and that “the presence of CBD in the Sativex preparation was crucial to attain significant pain relief.”
Aside from Dr. Russo’s paper, a 2006 paper that was published in Current Neuropharmacology talked about how CB2 receptors—with which CBD interacts—”have novel pain control actions” and that “CB2 receptor agonists have the potential to treat pain.”
The researchers even noted that endocannabinoid receptors are upregulated in the presence of pain. Specifically, they suggested that “one response of the body to chronic pain is to increase the number of these receptors.” As a result, an influx of CBD to the newly upregulated CB2 receptors may be partly responsible for CBD’s efficacy in combatting pain.
The paper even pointed out that cannabinoids like CBD are comparable in treating pain to opioids. The researchers stated that “the results to date suggest that cannabinoid receptor agonists are analgesic substances per se whose potency is similar to that of opioids like codeine.”
When examining not only the efficacy but the safety concerns that some people express about the use of cannabinoids to treat pain, a 2017 study in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research went in depth.
The researchers concluded that the “CBD safety profile is already established in a plethora of ways.” Their research noted that CBD is well-tolerated by the human body and that it is indeed effective in combatting pain for a number of ailments.
CBD is an Effective Pain Management Tool
While many may say that cannabinoid medicine is still controversial, the evidence behind its efficacy is nearly indisputable.
Not only does CBD treat pain, but it’s also effective against the pain that is often difficult to treat with other compounds, like opioids. CBD helps fight against cancer-related pain, MS and other neuropathic pain, and pain that can’t be easily treated by opiates.
Since our bodies produce more receptors for CBD as we experience greater levels of pain, it’s clear that our bodies are yearning for this important compound.
Have you used CBD to treat pain? Let us know how it works for you in the comments!