How Does Cannabis Help With Pain?
Cannabidiol, commonly referred to as CBD, is a new and relatively understudied treatment for pain, including back pain. Studies suggest it may help relieve inflammation, which is often a factor in chronic back pain.
CBD is available in many forms; topical creams and gels have shown promising results for inflammation and neuropathy, which may make them a good option for back and neck pain.
The reality is that pain will affect everyone at some point in their life. It is comforting to know that there is a natural remedy—one derived from cannabis— that can help. The use of a natural remedy is especially important for those suffering from neuropathic pain and chronic pain, or pain that lasts for more than a few months. Chronic pain affects more than 3 million people in the United States every year – and the worst part? It can’t be cured.
However, it can be treated effectively with cannabis and hemp. It’s no secret that THC is effective against pain, but recent research shows the potential of CBD for pain, especially chronic discomfort. Some studies show CBD to be more effective against pain than opioids like hydrocodone and oxycontin.
The irony is that in the United States, the most common medical treatments are nerve blocks, steroids, and narcotics (opioids) – many of which carry a significant risk of side effects and addiction. On top of these side effects, many of these medications have little to no effect against chronic pain.
Even over the counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Aspirin and ibuprofen can be dangerous when used regularly. These “safe” medications end up hospitalizing over 100,000 people each year and killing approximately 15,000. Fortunately, narcotics and NSAIDs are not your only option for pain relief.
In addition to physical therapy and self-care, you can incorporate CBD into your treatment regimen for natural, plant-based pain relief. CBD is fundamentally different than most prescribed painkillers, as it’s not addictive, non-toxic, and has very minimal (if any) side effects.
Whether the chronic pain is in your back, neck, hands, feet, or elsewhere – CBD can help. Research and anecdotal evidence shows that CBD for pain can help manage discomfort in a similar manner to the most common analgesics, by binding with neuroreceptors to block signals that communicate pain to the brain. This helps to reduce pain perception while easing the inflammation and overactivity that often sit at the root of persistent pain.
In order to understand CBD for pain management, we turn to a series of medical studies that have been conducted over the past ten years. These studies evaluated CBD’s medical efficacy in treating those who suffer from various types of pain. We will address the results below.
What Studies Support the Use of CBD for Pain?
Specific studies regarding the use and pharmacokinetics of cannabinoids for pain management date back over a decade. To date, multiple research efforts have taken aim at explaining the way that cannabidiol works to help provide pain relief. This broad range of studies explores the use of CBD for pain in different forms—on its own, when combined with THC, and in the form of cannabinoid-based pharmaceuticals.
In general, research suggests that cannabidiol could be useful for managing pain due to a variety of conditions, including neuropathic pain, like pain related to multiple sclerosis. Studies also suggest that CBD may be a suitable therapeutic option for pain caused by inflammation, like pain due to arthritis or muscle injury. Research even suggests that cannabinoid-based therapy may be suitable for managing intractable cancer-related pain.
Research related to the use of CBD for pain is still only at its start, but researchers have outlined a clear interest in the anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties of CBD, as well as in its use for managing pain related to a variety of neurological and physical conditions. These studies suggest that a variety of different dosing methods, ranging from oral doses to transdermal application, may be appropriate for managing pain related to one or more of these conditions.
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