The Promise of CBD and Chronic Pain

CBD is an oft misunderstood cannabinoid compound. In this writeup, we’re going to dive deep into the scientific and historical literature to help demystify this ancient remedy and highlight the contemporary usages and effects of this hemp plant byproduct.

UNDERSTANDING THE NUANCES OF CBD

CBD is the colloquial name for cannabis-based compound cannabidiol. Cannabidiol is one of over 100 compounds found within the plant extracts of hemp where it composes the plurality of any given extraction.

Some people confuse CBD for THC, also known as tetrahydrocannabinol, but they couldn’t be more wrong. Unlike THC, CBD does not have any intoxicating, psychoactive effects, which are most commonly associated with marijuana and cannabis. Since CBD does not affect the same receptors as THC, it has completely different effects on the body.  

What many people do not know is that the human body has an endocannabinoid system, ECS, that helps regulate health functions and synthesizes naturally occurring cannabinoids called endocannabinoids. This system helps regulation through binding cannabinoids receptor proteins expressed throughout the central and peripheral nervous systems.

Things The ECS Regulates

  • Appetite
  • Pain-Sensation
  • Memory
  • Fertility
  • Pregnancy
  • Mood

THC as a compound specifically affects certain central nervous system’s endocannabinoid receptors resulting in a dopamine release that is correlated with pleasure chemicals. On the other hand, CBD both inhibits and activates other compounds found in endocannabinoid receptors.

For example, CBD prevents the body from absorbing a compound known as anandamide. This compound is associated with regulating pain receptors. Increased levels of anandamide affect pain-sensation receptors resulting in bodily effects that help to ease and even eliminate pain

This is mostly associated with different cultivation techniques that isolate parts of the plant. Where THC is predominately found in the flowering buds of a cannabis plant, CBD is cultivated from industrial hemp.

Industrial hemp is the legal counterpart to cannabis plants that are bred for the potency of their extracts like CBD and its many benefits.Industrial hemp products typically contain less than one percent of THC; the general threshold is no more than .3 percent., making CBD completely legal. They are bred to be used in topical salves and oils as well as other products.  

INDUSTRIAL HEMP USES

  • Cooking Additive
  • Dermal Oils
  • Salves
  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Confections
  • Fabric
  • Paper
  • Carpeting
  • Insulation
  • Skin Care
  • Ointments

People who create CBD oils out of CBD extractions from industrial hemp have a variety of methods to separate this active ingredient, which also relates to the strength of the CBD. Makers seek to offer natural remedies based on the studied effects of CBD. Now, let’s dive into the science behind CBD to better understand what it does as an ointment and medicinal product.

THE FACTS OF CBD AND CHRONIC PAIN

Pain, especially when it is chronic, can severely impair the quality of life for people who live with it daily and some pharmacological treatments are ineffective in treating sufferers. This is where CBD comes in.

Research published in the journal Current Neuropharmacology, found that cannabinoids like CBD have mechanisms that retard pain sensations. This, the researchers said, allow for unique ways to treat pain in patients. Particularly, pain that has been discovered to be unresponsive to other pharmacologic treatments available on the current market such as neuropathic and inflammatory chronic pains.

They also found CBD extracts may allow patients to perform daily activities more easily that were previously out of the realm of possibility for them due to the chronic pain they experienced. One noted drawback of studying cannabinoids like CBD is the wrongful association with marijuana and illicit drugs.

Researchers say this makes it hard, but the potential benefits far outweigh the drawbacks. One test even studied all scientific examples of CBD and other cannabis extracts to offer a holistic view of its effects. The results were very promising.

In this 2015 review of available data published in the Journal of Oral & Facial Pain and Headache, researcher Darrel Boychuk led a systematic deep-dive into the effects of CBD on chronic pain related to neuropathy. Researchers zeroed in on 13 studies that examined the effects of CBD and other cannabinoids on chronic pain published across evidence-based medicine reviews in America and Canada.

The data, which was performed across research subjects from rats to humans, states that CBD acts as an effective numbing agent that reduces discomfort to the point of analgesia or the temporary inability to feel pain. It was overwhelming. Even chronic, nonmalignant neuropathic pain that was refractory to other treatment procedures was successfully suppressed by CBD and other cannabis extracts.

The researchers also found that subjects were not likely to build up a tolerance to the effects of CBD, so they would not need to increase their dose continually.

While additional high-quality studies are noted to be of importance by the researchers, the general conclusion is that CBD and other cannabis-based extracts could result in a whole new sector of medical care for sufferers of chronic pain from arthritis, multiple sclerosis and other neuropathic discomforts.

OTHER CBD BENEFITS

Aside from potentially relieving chronic pain, CBD has many other medicinal and therapeutic benefits.

CBD may have the potential to help those who experience insomnia and other parasomnias that inhibit restfulness through eliminating anxiety.. CBD oils and other dermal ointments like salves work best in due to their ease of access. Combining CBD oils with other sleeping agents like Melatonin or Valerian can even cause excessive sleepiness for those with severe insomnia.

Speaking of CBD oils, in June 2018 the Food and Drug Administration officially authorized the use of marijuana derived CBD oils in treating patients with epileptic seizures. Specifically, it was authorized as a treatment for people with Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome and Dravet Syndrome which cause frequent and uncontrollable seizures in children.

In multiple clinical trials, the CBD oils were shown to reduce and, in some cases, completely eliminate the frequency of these epileptic seizures. One testimonial comes from Billy Caldwell, a 12-year-old boy, who used to experience up to 100 seizures in one day. After using CBD oil as a treatment his parents noted his seizures stopped completely.

A 2013 preliminary study published in the scientific journal Addictive Behaviors even found that CBD could be beneficial in reducing addition behaviors. The researchers conducted a double-blind study with placebos and CBD on smokers who wished to stop. They found that smokers who took the CBD reduced their intake by 40 percent over the course of one week.

Other known potential and studied benefits of CBD products:

  • Reducing the effects of schizophrenia on sufferers
  • Reducing Alzheimer’s effects on the elderly
  • Reducing type 1 diabetes’ inflammation effects 

According to all researchers, more research is needed to confirm the effects of CBD and it’s derivations; however, the preliminary research has all showed positive results.  

DOSAGES

Dosages for CBD are currently open to interpretation as there hasn’t been any studies that researched the effects of excessive amounts of CBD. It’s generally recommended that people follow the instructions on the items they buy. Most CBD products like oils and waters have a specific amount within them that follows the doses studied.

All studies so far have looked at between 10mg to 600mg and higher of CBD, so these are the recommended levels. Generally, a person should start with a smaller dosage and gradually increase until they experience the desired effects of the CBD.

POTENTIAL SIDE EFFECTS

CBD is a rare compound that rarely shows negative side effects. Most research has shown respondents exhibiting no side effects from the application of CBD oils and extracts. It is generally considered to be a well-tolerated supplement.

On the rare occasion that side effects do show up, they’re tolerable. Here are the potential side effects to CBD oils and other extracts:

  • Fatigue
  • Tiredness
  • Diarrhea
  • Changes in appetite

It is important to note, according to a review published in the Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research journal, more research is required to examine the prolonged and consistent effect of CBD usage as well as how it relates to other hormones. As of now, the compound is considered a uniquely and rarely non-consequential product.  

CONCLUSION

The conclusion seems simple, CBD is a safe product that may offer many benefits to the health and well-being of those who use it. From medical professionals to herbalists, the powers of CBD are being better understood every day.

Currently, aside from dosages available at clinics, there are products across all 50 states that offer CBD contents. They can be purchased at head shops, health food stores or even online.

As aforementioned, more research needs to be done to more fully understand the effects of CBD, particularly the long-term effects, but the research that is presently available is more than promising. Though not medically concluded, young children suffering from epileptic seizures and elderly adults with Alzheimer’s-related inflammation have found relief by supplementing with CBD.

It’s unclear what the future availability of CBD will be, but if the recent FDA ruling of rescinding restrictions is one indication then it’s more than promising. As additional clinical trials continue to show the wonders of CBD oil, the government bureaucrats will have no choice but to allow its proliferation.  

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