Can CBD Really Help With Pain?
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), in 2011, chronic pain affected over 100 million American adults — more than cancer, diabetes, and heart disease combined. That number slightly changed in 2016 when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) did a report on American adults and chronic pain. In their report they noted that the most common reason to seek medical attention or medication is due to chronic pain. While the number of American adults who suffer from pain has slightly changed, the universal approach to treatment remains the same: painkillers and over the counter drugs. However, in the last few years people have been seeking a more natural approach to address their pain and unwanted symptoms: hemp-derived Cannabidiol (CBD) (1,2).
In recent years, the popularity of using CBD for multiple aliments has skyrocketed, and for good reason. According to scientific research, CBD –– the second most prominent cannabinoid found in the Cannabis Sativa plant –– is a pretty potent anti-inflammatory. While this information may seem irrelevant regarding pain, scientists argue that persistent inflammation produces most, if not all, of the common and infectious diseases. To treat these conditions, scientists suggest addressing the process of inflammation first (3,4).
CBD for pain
CBD relieves pain by acting on our neurotransmitters and our endogenous cannabinoids. There are two endogenous cannabinoids that scientists are aware of: 2-Arachidonoylglycerol and Anandamide. Amazingly, these cannabinoids help balance the immune system and our mental, physical, and emotional health. Specifically speaking, anandamide (the bliss molecule) helps in managing our pain, inflammation, mood, appetite, etc. Unfortunately, anandamide is short-lived within the body. When we don’t produce enough anandamide, an imbalance can occur, throwing everything off. This is often considered an endocannabinoid deficiency (5).
When CBD enters the body it actually helps preserve anandamide, by preventing it from breaking down too quickly. This allows anandamide to stay in our system for much longer, and it then produces balance and regulation throughout the body (6).
Additionally, cannabinoids also help stimulate our endorphins. Endorphins help keep our body comfortable and free of pain. Unlike painkillers, cannabinoids like CBD help to naturally boost our internal endorphins without causing a dependency or addition. That said, CBD is not fast-acting like a painkiller, so it may take longer to see results. However, the effects of CBD for long term use are far less negative than that of opioids (7,8).
The truth is, CBD is an adaptogen. It adapts to whatever situation it's in by initiating the correct response in the body.
Unfortunately, everyone experiences pain at least once in their life, but persistent pain is often caused by an underlying condition. If you’re suffering from chronic pain and are willing to explore a natural approach, CBD may be what you’re looking for. The key is to try CBD for yourself to see if it’s the right remedy for you. Be sure to speak with your doctor if you plan on taking CBD along with other medications (9).