CBD’s reputation for easing pain is one of the most attractive aspects of this supplement and this benefit is responsible for its boom in popularity. The thing is, all people experience pain throughout the course of our lives, and unfortunately, some of us feel its presence daily. Whether a person is recovering from hard exercise, healing from a recent surgery, or dealing with chronic pain due to injury or illness, it inevitably touches all of our lives. Traditional pain management drugs, such as opioids, can do damage to their users health via their addictive chemical properties, dangerous side effects, and withdrawal symptoms, making CBD supplementation an even more intriguing alternative.
Understandably, THC (psychoactive) often gets more coverage as the famous pain-reducing cannabinoid, but research is showing that CBD (non-psychoactive) is a powerful contender for the title. Cannabis and cannabis products containing high levels of THC have been used to great effect by people suffering from cancer to relieve their symptoms of treatments like chemotherapy. In fact, there is currently a drug (that has been approved in Europe and Canada) that features a 1:1 ratio of CBD to THC. While both the CBD and THC cannabinoids work well in conjunction with each other, CBD has been studied revealing that it has some strong pain-relieving properties of its own.
So how does CBD mitigate pain?
The cannabinoid CBD interacts with a group of receptors called Vanilloid Receptors. These receptors act to mediate pain sensitivity, inflammation level, and even control the body’s internal temperature. Specifically, CBD activates the Vanilloid Type 1 Receptor which plays a role in inflammatory pain. Similarly, Capsaicin – the spicy component of chili peppers – also works with this receptor – which is why it has been used as a natural pain reliever throughout human history and up to today.
Additionally, CBD has the ability to naturally inhibit glutamate release in the body (as well as other inflammatory agents), making it a neuroprotective compound. This means that it can diminish the prickling, tingling, and burning sensations of neuropathic pain.
CBD effectively acts to combat an array of similar inflammatory agents in our bodies that can cause or worsen pain. The anti-inflammatory mechanism of cannabidiol is truly fascinating and totally unique to the cannabis plant. Most anti-inflammatory drugs inhibit two types of receptors: COX-1 and COX-2. When these receptors are inhibited, side effects ranging from stomach ulcers to heart attacks are possible. In fact, studies have shown that cannabinoids (specifically CBD and THC) are twenty times more potent than a commonly used anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen.
As mentioned earlier, CBD’s popularity is in part due to a consumer/patient revolt against the rise in opioid use and the resulting societal and personal impact of its side effects, risks and addictiveness. CBD holds significant potential as an alternative to opioids, making it a highly attractive medical research topic. Research has already shown that unlike opioids, users are not likely to build a tolerance for CBD, meaning there would not be a need to continually increase their dosage. While many new studies are currently being conducted, the results that have been published thus far are extremely promising.
What types of pain can CBD help to alleviate?
Any time you start a new supplement, CBD supplements included, it’s important to discuss your plans with a doctor or pharmacist. This will allow you to ask any questions you may have and can prevent negative interactions with prescription medications you may already be taking.
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