Did you know that instead of popping an aspirin the next time you have those annoying migraines you could take CBD instead?
CBD, short for cannabidiol is one of the 120+ chemical compounds existing naturally in the cannabis plant. Don’t worry, CBD won’t make you high since the main culprit for that is another psychoactive compound in the cannabis plant named THC.
According to research, CBD may help people suffering from chronic pain either by reducing pain, inflammation or the discomfort associated with various health conditions. Some people still rely on the over the counter pain killers such as opioids. However, it is vital to note that some of these drugs are not only ineffective but may also be habit-forming or cause severe side effects.
Although preliminary findings have indicated that CBD may benefit the human body in several ways, just like any other drug/product, the effectiveness of CBD as a natural pain reliever will depend on several factors such as the quality as well as the consumption method.
In this post, we will explain how CBD works in the human body as well as some of the best ways to use it to treat pain.
How CBD Treats Pain By Interacting With the Endocannabinoid System
The human body is made up of a cell-signaling system known as the endocannabinoid system or the ECS.
It is believed that CBD achieves its pain-relieving effects by interacting with the CB1 receptors (mainly located in nerve cells in the brain, but are also located in some peripheral tissues and organs such as the white blood cells, spleen, endocrine gland, etc.) and CB2 receptors (mainly found in white blood cells, in the spleen, and in the tonsils). Unlike THC, which acts by binding directly to these receptors, CBD works by inhibiting the absorption of anandamide.
Anandamide is a natural cannabinoid molecule that’s associated with feelings of happiness and well-being. This molecule is also responsible for pain regulation. By inhibiting its absorption, CBD enhances/boosts anandamide signaling, thus increasing its levels in the bloodstream. This is how CBD manages to control pain in the human body.
Further research has also shown that Cannabidiol impacts alpha-3 glycine receptors as well. This helps not only reduce chronic pain but also suppress inflammation as a result of dysfunctional glycine receptors. These receptors are a vital target for pain processing in the spine. CBD can also treat pain by activating other receptors such as the vanilloid receptor TRPV1. This receptor controls functions such as pain perception as well as inflammation.
How To Use CBD for Pain
Now that we know that CBD can aid with pain, how do you consume it? There are many ways of consuming CBD. Some of them are outlined below:
1. CBD Pain Cream
The top on our list is reserved for CBD cream. We are all familiar with muscle or joint pains either due to an underlying medical condition or because of intense exercises. Well, CBD cream can help provide relief.
CBD creams are made by infusing high-quality olive or coconut oils with high-quality hemp plant extracts. These oils are used to extract the active compound of Cannabidiol before being blended with other therapeutic herbs such as lemongrass and arnica essential oils to create an ointment for pain relief.
According to a 2016 study, topical CBD application can help manage pain and inflammation as a result of chronic health conditions such as arthritis. In fact, the American Academy of Dermatology has suggested the use of topical CBD products such as CBD cream to treat eczema, acne, and psoriasis. One of the best things about CBD cream is that it’s applied to the affected area only as opposed to oral consumption.
When looking for the best CBD cream, ensure to look at the ingredients used as there have been cases of misinformation or false claims. Don’t take anyone’s word for the truth, confirm that what is on the label is on the certificates of analysis as well.
- CBD Oil
Another way of using CBD for pain is by consuming the oil itself. There is either CBD oil isolate or full-spectrum CBD oil. CBD isolate can be described as the purest form of CBD. On the other hand, full-spectrum CBD has more cannabinoids along with CBD, as well as some essential oils and terpenes.
While a full-spectrum CBD oil will benefit you more (entourage effect) you will want to know its source (some may contain traces of THC). You can either vaporize CBD oil or use a dropper to place the oil under your tongue and then swallow it after 15-30 seconds. If you dislike the taste of raw CBD oil in your mouth, you can infuse it in beverages and foods.
- CBD Capsules
Yes, CBD capsules or pills exist. CBD-infused capsules are growing in popularity because of their discrete nature as well as ease in dosing. To anyone else, your CBD capsules are just any other pills, and so if you want to keep your CBD use under ‘wraps’, then this is the way to go.
CBD capsules also make it very easy to dose CBD since you know the exact amount of CBD in each pill. It’s also easy to incorporate CBD capsules into your lifestyle since they will just be an addition to your pills/supplements collection.
- CBD Pain Patch
You are probably familiar with birth control and nicotine patches. CBD pain patch is the other transdermal patch available on the market today. A CBD pain patch is made by infusing an adhesive patch (similar to a badge) with CBD oil.
So theoretically speaking, CBD pain patches work by delivering a slow release of CBD through the skin and into blood capillaries. The best thing about transdermal CBD delivery is that it bypasses the lungs, stomach, and liver. This means that the compound is not filtered or broken down – meaning you get 100% of the medicinal value of CBD.
It is true that CBD will help treat different types of chronic pain. However, use it responsibly as it is a drug like any other drug (with possible side effects).
There are many ways of consuming CBD. None is superior to the other as they all have their pros and cons. For instance, while CBD edibles have long-lasting effects, they take a longer time to kick in. On the other hand, CBD vapes will yield instant results, but its effects will dissipate sooner.
Always go for products from certified sources, and talk with your doctor before turning to CBD for any health condition.