CBD stands for cannabidiol. It’s a natural chemical found in the cannabis sativa plant, more commonly known as marijuana or hemp. The Farm Bill of 2018 removed all hemp-derived products, including CBD, from the Controlled Substances Act, which criminalizes the possession of drugs. This means that it is legal if it comes from hemp and cannot legally contain more than 0.3 percent THC (1). Pure CBD doesn’t contain THC, so it shouldn’t make you feel high,” says Dr. Ebonie M. Vázquez, MD, a psychiatrist and addiction medicine specialist at Kaiser Permanente in Southern California.
The evidence for health benefits from CBD
With more research than ever being taken to examine the benefits of CBD, there are various pain disorders that may benefit from its use. There are many forms, including oils, extracts, capsules, patches, vapes, and topical preparations for use on skin. If you’re hoping to reduce inflammation and relieve muscle and joint pain, a topical infused oil, lotion or cream – or even a bath bomb — may be the best option.
Here are just a few disorders that could benefit from CBD.
Patients who suffer with arthritis may be able to use CBD to help reduce pain. Animal studies have suggested that CBD has pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties, but these effects have not been validated in quality studies in humans (2). Anecdotally, some people with arthritis who have tried CBD, but not all, report noticeable pain relief, sleep improvement and/or anxiety reduction.
CBD has been proven as an effective treatment for those who suffer with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid. The way CBD benefits sufferers is the way it interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) by inhibiting the sensation of pain. This helps reduce any inflammation and pain. To get the best results, you need to apply CBD oil to the areas of the pain which will help reduce any swelling, joint pain or inflammation linked with arthritis (3).
Another pain disorder that CBD can be useful for is multiple sclerosis (otherwise known as MS). The immune system attacks the protective sheath that covers nerve fibers and causes communication problems between your brain and the rest of your body. Eventually, the disease can cause permanent damage or deterioration of the nerves.
The autoimmune disorder targets the brain and nerves which causes multiple issues like muscle spasms. When the spasms are at their most severe, they can be incredibly painful. At the time of diagnosis, 90% of patients will have relapsing-remitting course of disease. This form of multiple sclerosis is characterized by the onset of the neurological symptoms over a period of hours to days(4).
A 2018 research review (5) that analyzed existing studies to find indirect that CBD, along with other cannabinoids, can improve the mobility of MS patients. Because CBD oil may be able to alleviate so many symptoms of multiple sclerosis — pain, spasticity, inflammation, and fatigue — it’s reasonable to assume that it can have a positive impact on mobility in MS patients.
CBD can also be an effective treatment for those who suffer with chronic pain (6). If you ask health care providers about the most challenging condition to treat, chronic pain is mentioned frequently. For example, if you have been involved in a car accident or you are experiencing severe pain after surgery, you can may be looking for a solution to help reduce the pain.
Interestingly, 60% of U.S. adults who use CBD products do so for its potential pain-relieving effects, according to a recent Forbes Health survey of 2,000 U.S. adults conducted by OnePoll (7). Often, chronic pain is a result of your brain so with that in mind, CBD oil attaches to the brain receptors, which then alters the way your brain handles and perceives pain. CBD latches on to your CB2 receptor which is the main receptor that controls inflammation and pain. Many users have noticed instant results when using CBD oil.
Neuropathic pain can happen if your nervous system is damaged or not working correctly (8). You can feel pain from any of the various levels of the nervous system—the peripheral nerves, the spinal cord and the brain. Chronic pain, particularly neuropathic pain, is a major clinical problem that is difficult to treat.
CBD can not only treat neuropathic pain, it can also improve the function of your nerves which will help prevent neuropathy from occurring and provide a calming influence for your nerves. It attaches to the vanilloid receptor which controls pain sensation. To get the best results, you will need to orally ingest CBD oil on a day to day basis. You can also ingest the liquid through a vape pen.
Can CBD Relieve Depression and Anxiety
Most research on cannabidiol has looked at its possible benefits in anxiety disorders, but studies have also showed it to have direct antidepressant effects as well. Early evidence suggests that it may work quickly against depression, a potential advantage over traditional antidepressants (9).
CBD has a promising role as alternative therapy in the management of anxiety disorders. However, more studies with standardized approaches to dosing and clinical outcome measurements are needed to determine the appropriate dosing strategy for use and its place in therapy.
Although initial results indicate that CBD could be beneficial for a variety of pain and wellness disorders, more research still needs to be taken to further examine the advantages and disadvantages of the expected results. If you are considering try it to alleviate long term. chronic pain talk to your health care provider about adding it to your treatment plan. Take a small amount and slowly increase your dosage until you start to get symptom relief over a matter of weeks. Track your symptoms to get a sense of whether or not it is a helpful part of your treatment plan.
(6) Chronic Pain
by Andrew Ellis