How to use CBD for chronic pain
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Imagine if you felt consistent pain for over 12 weeks straight, with little to no relief — that’s what it feels like to have chronic pain.
When a person gets injured, they typically feel pain in the affected area until the injury subsides or is healed. Those with chronic pain don’t get this relief and experience consistent pain, even at rest.
Living in a constant state of pain takes a toll on a person’s confidence, and both their physical and mental health. Unfortunately, pain management continues to be a challenge for those with chronic pain who can’t seem to get relief.
The good news is that as more and more research is done, professionals are learning that CBD oil for chronic pain could be the solution to help sufferers naturally manage their pain so that they can more easily go about their daily life.
What is chronic pain?
Chronic pain is defined as any pain that lasts longer than 12 weeks.
In layman’s terms, pain is experienced when an injury or impact activates the pain sensors in an affected area. Once the injury heals, however, this sensor stops sending pain signals — that is, unless you are suffering from chronic pain.
When a person has chronic pain, these sensors never stop sending pain signals. This results in an individual living consistently in a state of pain without (or with only minimal) relief.
Who does it affect it and why?
According to Statistics Canada, 6 million Canadians currently experience chronic pain. That’s almost 20% of our population. Those who are commonly affected by chronic pain are:
Older Adults: Sometimes the pressure on muscles brought up by age can trigger arthritis, joint pain, and other types of chronic pain.
Athletes: Athletes frequently get injured upon impact and strain their muscles, both of which can lead to long term chronic pain.
People with Pre-Existing Health Concerns: Pre-existing medical conditions, especially those impacting muscles, are a common trigger of chronic pain. This is because many conditions already put pressure on parts of the body to begin with. Diseases like fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoarthritis are common underlying conditions of those who experience chronic pain.
It’s common for pre-existing conditions and diseases that already influence pain to contribute to chronic pain. Diseases or conditions that often cause chronic pain include:
- Certain types of cancer
- Multiple sclerosis
- Stomach ulcers
- Gallbladder disease
- Post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN)
Additional Causes of Chronic Pain
Although people often experience chronic pain due to physical trauma and natural body changes, there are day to day factors and habits that can contribute to (or worsen) chronic pain. These factors are common in that they put major pressure on one’s body:
- Poor posture
- Excess weight
- Wearing high heels
- Injury due to harsh impact (car accidents etc.)
Types of Chronic Pain
Chronic pain generally refers to any pain that persists longer than 3 months. Due to the different ways this pain can be triggered (injury, illness, etc.), however, types of chronic pain are defined by where the pain is experienced.
It is important to consider that some may be more challenging to manage than others, based on the pain source.
According to VeryWellHealth, the most common types of chronic pain that people experience are:
- Cancer pain
- Headaches & migraines
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Low back pain
- Multiple sclerosis pain
- Neuropathic pain
- Temporomandibular disorder
How to deal with chronic pain
Pain management is an ongoing obstacle for many who suffer from chronic pain, as a lot of current treatments can only take the edge off, or are too debilitating to use in working environments.
The American Chronic Pain Association (ACPA) identifies the main classes used to treat chronic pain as opioids, non opioids and adjuvant analgesics (i.e. antidepressants and anticonvulsants.)
Non Opioids/Over the Counter: Those with chronic pain will often take over-the-counter medication like advil that act as anti-inflammatories. That said, these medications tend to have short-lived effects and simply mask symptoms.
It’s also important to mention that people with acid reflux or GERD who also have chronic pain will only be put in more discomfort with the use of an anti-inflammatory like Advil or Ibuprofen. This leaves Tylenol as the only over-the-counter option, however it is a more mild medication that oftentimes is not sufficient.
There are also stronger over-the-counter medications like muscle relaxants (i.e. Robaxacet) that are effective, but can cause major feelings of drowsiness and inability to focus.
Opioids: Mayo Clinic defines opioids as “a broad group of pain-relieving drugs that work by interacting with opioid receptors in your cells.” In simpler terms, opioids interact with what’s called the “opioid receptors” in your brain cells. This causes reduced or dulled signals of pain which can trick your brain into not receiving pain signals, and can dull pain as a result.
Opiods are the strongest pain relievers available to those with chronic pain. Common examples of opioids prescribed for those with chronic pain include morphine, methadone and oxycodone.
The unfortunate reality is that chronic pain is often treated with strong medications that can make it difficult for those with chronic pain to continue with their day-to-day schedules.
Physiotherapy is a treatment through which a health professional guides an affected individual through different exercises that serve various purposes.
Physiotherapists guide chronic pain patients through stretches, exercises and other physical training that targets pain points to reduce stiffness and help improve movement.
While physiotherapy is effective for many, this is a pain management technique that requires consistent practice and can wear off between appointments as your body returns to its state of stiffness and tension.
Guided meditation is used as a pain management tactic less because of its physical effects, and more because of its mental effects. Considering that most pain processing happens in the brain, meditation is believed to activate the parts of the brain that can better manage pain.
CBD Oil for Chronic Pain
Cannabidiol (CBD) oil, one of the over one hundred chemical compounds found in cannabis, is being used more and more often as a natural way to help manage pain. CBD oil is most commonly used to help manage pain when the pain is experienced in the joints (arthritis) or in the back.
Why to use CBD oil for chronic pain
Unlike some other prescribed pain medication, CBD oil can help users manage their pain while still enabling them to proceed with daily tasks like driving and working. CBD oils have anti-inflammatory properties to reduce pain symptoms and can help to make it easier to sleep when combating chronic pain.
When used safely, CBD oil allows users to reap the physical benefits that can actually help them to function better and think more clearly without the pressure of constant pain.
How does it work within your body?
How CBD works in your bodies is still being studied by professionals. That said, current research has led professionals to believe that CBD oil is able to relieve pain due to how it interacts with the body’s Endocannabinoid system (ECS).
According to Healthline, It is believed that the components of CBD oil are able to interact with the brain and immune system’s endocannabinoid receptors; the proteins attach to your cells that receive chemical signals and help your cells to respond to different stimulants.
Some researchers believe that it is this interaction between CBD oil and the ECS that causes the anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving impacts that are associated with this natural product.
CBD oil for chronic pain is believed to be effective for specific strains. This is mostly due to a lack of research surrounding CBD and various types of chronic pain. Findings from a recent 2018 survey reveal that, of the 62% of people who use CBD to treat a medical condition, most use CBD for arthritis, joint pain and chronic pain.
CBD oil for arthritis & joint pain
Back in 2016, a study was done on rats to identify the correlation between CBD and arthritis pain relief. For four consecutive days, researchers put CBD gel on rats with joint inflammation and observed them. After the study was concluded, researchers observed reduced levels of inflammation in the rat’s joints and no other side effects to make note of.
Although more research needs to be done on the effectiveness of CBD as a source of pain management for those suffering from arthritis or joint pain, researchers have been led to believe that the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD can help relieve joint and muscle pain, symptoms that are often associated with arthritis.
CBD oil for migraines
The effects of CBD oil on migraines have been interpreted based on studies on how individuals interact with a combination of CBD and THC.
Findings from a 2017 study indicate that those with migraines experience less intense and acute pain with the use of CBD and THC together. That said, reputable studies are not yet available on how CBD alone can impact migraines.
CBD oil for Cancer pain:
Minimal research has been done to CBD’s ability to reduce cancer symptoms, although some research on mice has been completed that suggests the compound could reduce the size of cancerous tumours. More research has been done surrounding CBD’s ability to help cancer patients manage pain associated with both their cancer and related treatments. In fact, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) has actually linked CBD with the reduction of side effects associated with chemotherapy, which include pain, vomiting and reduced appetite.
Although opioids are typically prescribed for this pain management, findings of a 2010 study on pain related to cancer revealed that the use of THC-CBD extract in combination with opioids was more effective in managing pain than the effects of opioids when used on their own.
Even though more research needs to be done in this field, it’s worth mentioning that more recent studies have also revealed similar findings.
How to Use CBD Oil for Pain
It is important to consult a health professional before using CBD oil to help manage the pain associated with chronic pain.
This is because there are certain prescription medications that may alter an individual’s experience with CBD oil. CBD may also interact with prescription medications and dietary supplements.
CBD oil is not suggested for those who are taking sedative medications like benzodiazepines, phenobarbital, fentanyl or morphine, or those using medication that interacts with the liver like including chlorzoxazone, theophylline, clozapine, and progesterone.
As of right now, the FDA has only approved a purified form of CBD to treat specific types of epilepsy. Beyonce this, the FDA has not regulated CBD for chronic pain. As a result, there are no specific dosages suggested for using CBD to relieve chronic pain.
That said, the Arthritis Foundation consulted with medical experts who suggested that when considering CBD for arthritis, it is important to know how much of a product to take, and the amount of CBD present in each dose. The consulted medical experts suggest starting small with a low dose of a few milligrams of CBD taken sublingually and then increasing the dose as needed.
You can use the resolveCBD dosage chart to help you determine the right dose for you based on your weight and desired strength.
Best CBD for pain
The best CBD oil products for pain management are full spectrum cbd oils as they, quite literally, contain the full spectrum of cannabinoids and terpenes that work together to achieve pain relieving effects.
When looking for the best cbd product for you, it’s important to consider some personal factors. The reality is that what’s best for you and your chronic pain may not be the same for someone else’s.
When you Invest in a full spectrum CBD, consider the suggested dosage, extraction processes and contents to help you find the best one for you that will contain the right level of CBD to relieve your pain.
These oils contain different combinations of compounds and it’s a slow but steady process of trying out different products that will help you find the right one.
resolveCBD products and educational content are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment of any ailment. As individual needs vary, always check with a licensed professional regarding medical treatment.