What is CBD?
CBD (cannabidiol) is a phyto cannabinoid which is extracted from the hemp plant. Unlike THC, the compound in cannabis that creates the euphoric high feeling, CBD creates no psychoactive effects and very little to no side effects. It is extracted from the hemp plant through a process of distillation which yields pure CBD in its most basic form. It is then mixed with oil so it can be consumed or put into salves and lotions for topical use. In recent years, researchers have increased their efforts in their quest to understand this mysterious remedy and the results have been outstanding.
CBD for Chronic Pain
Chronic pain syndromes can be among the most difficult to treat. Pain is subjective from person to person, and not every day is as severe as the day before or as days to come. Sometimes, the exact cause of the pain may not be known, or it can be a symptom of another disease. Whatever the case, science is now backing up the claim that CBD can help treat chronic pain in new and effective ways. Currently, opioids (such as hydrocodone and oxycodone) are one of the top ways to manage chronic pain of all types. If you are a chronic pain sufferer you know that not all pain is created equal, and this one-size fits all attitude may not be effective for all people. Furthermore, opioids are highly addictive and need to have their dosage increased over time to provide the same analgesic effects as before. CBD is shown to be non-addictive and, once an effective dose is established, dosage does not need to be increased due to tolerance.
What does CBD do? Researchers have found that CBD binds to receptors in the brain, greatly reducing the amount of firing of certain neurons. These neurons are part of the reason why we experience chronic pain long after an injury is healed, or an illness is resolved. If the neurons cannot send their signals (which is what happens when CBD is introduced), they cannot relay the message that we are feeling pain. This is especially helpful for difficult to treat pain such as diabetic neuropathy or postherpetic neuralgia. As aforementioned, CBD on its own does not produce a euphoric high or many side effects, enabling its users to reclaim some of their life that has been burdened by their pain.
What Conditions Does It Treat?
"Chronic pain" is an all-encompassing phrase that refers to any pain lasting at least 12 weeks. CBD is helpful with many specific issues such as:
- rheumatoid arthritis
- migraine headaches
- diabetic neuropathy
- postherpetic neuralgia
- peripheral neuropathy
- chronic back pain
- painful spasms due to Parkinson's Disease
- muscle spasms due to seizures
More uses and conditions are being discovered regularly and this list is ever-expanding.
On top of its ability to inhibit pain neurons in the brain from firing, it is also proving to be a powerful topical anti-inflammatory. This is good news for anyone who is allergic to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medications such as ibuprofen. Topical application is most often done in the form of salves or lotions. Topical application greatly reduces the systemic effects that come from ingesting CBD, but topical can be all some people need to help manage their arthritic joints. Oral ingestion is the most effective way to treat most pain symptoms. Even stubborn pain, such as the nerve pain associated with diabetic or peripheral neuropathy, has proven to be susceptible to the analgesic effects of CBD. If you are experiencing a flare of pain or have particularly difficult to treat pain, combining both oral and topical application may be your best course of action.
In conclusion, the reasons to opt for CBD for your chronic pain are nearly endless. As mentioned, the biggest incentives for giving it a try are:
- It effectively treats chronic pain, even that which has been difficult to treat by conventional methods.
- It does not produce a euphoric high or brain fog.
- It has not been shown to have side-effects.
- It is non-addictive.
- It does not cause tolerance.
- It reduces inflammation without the use of NSAID medications.
CBD is the wonder drug of the future. Even in its infancy, the research around CBD is proving it as an effective way to treat chronic pain and help give individuals their lives back. Best of all, CBD is easy to acquire and can be purchased over the counter in most states. What are you waiting for? You have nothing to lose in your battle with chronic pain and your quest for relief.