With the legalization of medical marijuana in all but thirteen U.S. states, it’s clear that physicians, lawmakers, and citizens are becoming more and more interested in the cannabis plant as a form of medical treatment. And one part of the cannabis plant that’s getting a lot of attention is CBD.
CBD has already been proven to reduce seizures, and there is currently one CBD medication on the market that physicians can legally prescribe to epileptic patients. But many researchers, physicians, and scientists are exploring how it might also aid in pain management.
From what it is to how it works to the potential side effects, here’s a look at the role of CBD products in pain management.
What Exactly Is CBD?
CBD is cannabidiol, which is one of the many compounds found in cannabis. But unlike consuming marijuana, cannabidiol alone won’t get you “high.”
The euphoric effect that cannabis creates comes from THC. When CBD is derived from hemp plants that have less than 0.3% of THC, it cannot produce a euphoric feeling or impair your function. What it can do is help to relieve inflammation, reduce anxiety and stress, and alter how your body reacts to pain.
CBD is not addictive, which is one of the key reasons why so many physicians, patients, and researchers are exploring it as an alternative to the highly addictive opioids that have traditionally been prescribed for pain.
How CBD Helps With Pain Management
So how exactly does CBD help reduce and manage pain?
It’s all about how it interacts with your brain.
There are receptors and neurotransmitters in the brain and immune system known as the endocannabinoid system. When you use CBD, it binds to those receptors in a way that changes how the body reacts to things like pain, stress, and inflammation. To learn more about how CBD interacts with the body, checkout this article from HIBEGONE.
Millions of people suffer from medical conditions that cause sustained pain, such as arthritis, migraines, and MS. Currently, there is data and evidence to support that CBD can be helpful in people with some of these conditions, but the FDA has not yet approved CBD products for pain management.
However, now that CBD products are legal in most U.S. states, many people are turning to it as an alternative form of treatment.
Different Ways to Use CBD for Pain Management
There are a variety of different CBD products on the market that may be able to aid in pain management. CBD oil is one of the most commonly used, but there are a variety of other options, including:
These products are readily available for purchase throughout the U.S. and online, but most of them are not regulated by the FDA. Keep this in mind when testing and trying CBD, particularly if you take medications. This publication from National Institutes of Health dives deep into how CBD interacts with other prescribed medications, over the counter medications, and other substances, including alcohol.
The long-term effects of CBD use are not yet known, so patients considering ingesting or using topical forms should take precautions and consult with their physician first.
Does CBD Have Side Effects?
Some people do experience side effects. Before taking any new product for pain relief, speak with your physician to better understand its potential effects, benefits, and dangers.
CBD users have reported side effects that include:
- Reduced appetite
However, the side effects and addictive quality of traditional opioids for pain management are also dangerous. It’s worth weighing the pros and cons of each and having a conversation with your physician to determine which is the better option for you.
CBD for Pain Management: The Research Is Ongoing
There is already evidence to support the idea that CBD can alleviate pain, but research is ongoing and the results of recent studies are promising.
Currently, researchers are studying CBD as an effective treatment option for:
- Neuropathic pain
- Arthritis pain
- Chronic pain
- Multiple sclerosis
To date, the only form of CBD to gain FDA approval as medication is the drug Epidiolex, which is prescribed to certain patients suffering with epilepsy. However, with an increasing number of states legalizing medical marijuana, it may just be a matter of time before CBD products are given the same approval.
The potential benefits of CBD in pain management are promising, but more research must be done to determine what the long-term effects may be.
Millions of Americans have used or are currently using CBD products to alleviate pain as well as reduce stress and help them sleep. As we learn more about it and discover all of its benefits, it’s likely that number will continue to increase.