How CBD Works - How does CBD work for pain
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We’ve talked about how CBD works with so many other aspects in the body.
Let’s get into pain now.
Actually, let’s get out of pain!
That’s more than deal with diabetes, cancer, and heart disease combined!
The cost of this pain is put at roughly half a trillion dollars in medical care and economic loss!
It’s why we have such an epidemic with opioids now.
We’ll touch on that specifically later.
The war on pain has only brought more suffering.
Clearly, we need new pathways for people in pain.
It’s important to understand that not all pain is the same.
Let’s look at all aspects of CBD and pain based on research on the subject.
If you want to try CBD for your pain, you can jump right to the screened list of options here:
Otherwise, we’re going to wrap our heads around pain and how CBD might help suffering:
Lots to cover.
There are different types of pain but ultimately, they rely on the same systems.
Obviously, pain is important.
It alerts us that something is wrong (usually).
If you get stung by a bee, it hurts!
There’s an intricate system behind this simple ouch feeling!
They send the message to the spinal cord and then up to the brain where the signal is processed as pain.
It’s fine when this goes away but for many people, it doesn’t.
Let’s look at the different kinds of pain since that impacts how CBD might work.
The pain system is the same but the nature of the source of pain and how we interpret is definitely not!
We’ll broadly look at these categories:
Where we see major issues is when the pain signal gets stuck “on”.
This can be due to the underlying issue not resolving (back injury), illness (fibromyalgia), or errors in the pain nerve relay system itself.
Either way, it’s unbearable.
It’s likely you have either suffered from chronic pain or know someone close who has.
It’s that prevalent!
Neurological pain can be even more maddening.
If the machinery for signaling pain itself gets stuck on, how do you address that?
Inflammatory pain can run from a swollen ankle to generalize inflammation in the gut or body.
When that inflammation is in the brain, it can be especially disruptive.
So…we know what pain is a little better…how does CBD come into play.
We thought you would never ask!
We broke out the different kinds of pain because CBD is showing the ability to act at different levels on the signaling and cause of pain!
Let’s start small and work our way up.
First, CBD has been shown to reduce the sensation of pain itself.
A pain reliever. This is called an “analgesic” in medical parlance.
This research isn’t the easiest to read but net net…
Pain loses some of its ability to signal at full strength.
Good news if the pain is chronic.
A more detailed summary of CBD (plus other cannabinoids) and pain can be found here:
It explains the pathways by which CBD and cannabinoids affect pain.
We’re now stepping into chronic pain scenarios:
There are numerous research papers on how CBD affects the pathways of pain beneficially.
There are three other avenues that CBD affects plain:
Let’s look at each of these.
Some pain is the result of inflammation in the body.
This inflammation can affect tissue or worse yet, the nervous system itself.
Inflammation is a natural part of the body’s handling of injury.
Too much of it is where things go haywire.
One of the powerful effects of CBD is on the inflammatory pathways.
Much research points to this effect:
Inflammation is a key target of CBD in general and pain, specifically.
Some pain doesn’t come from tissue in our body (skin, bones, etc) but from the pathway itself.
The very system used to relay pain from the body to the brain gets stuck!
An ingenious look into how this works.
There’s a study where vets who lost limbs during the war have a phantom limb with excruciating pain.
As if the pain is coming from the missing limb.
The researchers tried an ingenious experiment involving mirrors and touch on the intact hand to trick the brain into believing the limb was visually present again.
This allowed a reset on the pain circuit and provided relief to the person.
Yes, it’s a strange example but it shows how powerful this system can be when it gets stuck in the “on” position!
There are some interesting attributes of CBD in terms of resetting this circuit.
First, CBD has shown promise in creating new neurons and neuronal growth via NDNF.
You can see this “bypassing” of bad circuits and even bad memories!
Speaking of bad memories…
Pain is very contextual.
A lot of it depends on the person, his/her history, physiology, and even gender.
In fact, there’s a tie between a person’s mental health (anxiety, depression, OCD, etc) and pain thresholds.
This can only have a positive effect on pain reception, threshold, and tolerance!
More to come on that front.
Painkiller usually means that it’s an analgesic.
CBD blocks the reception of pain signals and therefore reduces the perception of pain.
It can address different kinds of pain such as acute, inflammatory, chronic, and neurodegenerative.
This is particularly important now with the opioid crisis and over 100 million people in the US dealing with chronic pain.
Looking at the research links above, chronic pain is definitely a target for CBD.
More than you’ll ever want to read here:
This partially depends on the type of pain and type of CBD delivery.
Let’s tackle both.
Let’s look at the delivery since that really affects how quickly it works.
You have 4 basic ways of taking CBD:
The tincture (drops under the tongue) is the most popular.
We’ve seen remarkable effects on sunburn, acne, psoriasis. The last is amazing since that tends to be a very stubborn skin issue with more serious autoimmune roots.
You can see the best values by type of CBD here:
These are the more commonly reported side effects:
Everyone’s chemistry is different.
That’s why we recommend starting with a lower test dose and work your way up.
Get lots of great guidance on the best CBD dosage here.
We need much more research on this question.
THCa (the non-psychoactive version of THC), CBN, and others are showing strong pain relief ability alongside CBD.
THC has it’s issues though, in terms of addiction, legality, failing drug tests, and depression/anxiety rebound effects.
We have a whole article on full-spectrum CBD versus isolate.
We still need more research on this front!
THC is generally thought to have strong effects on both pain and sleep.
Especially for topical applications like a balm.
Check out the CBD comparison here for full spectrum lists.
Ibuprofen is a common NSAID sold over the counter.
You probably know someone like this!
The FDA just issued a warning regarding Ibuprofen and Stroke and Heart Attack.
It’s now on the label.
Other side effects:
The real danger for long term, heavy use of Ibuprofen is poor liver function or even liver failure.
Ibuprofen was designed for the one-off, acute pain situation.
A headache. Bruised ankle. Etc!
Not day after day of chronic use.
In this situation, the safety profile of CBD versus Ibuprofen is much better!
See NSAIDs below, of which Ibuprofen is one, for more detail on the risks!
We mentioned the over the counter NSAID, Ibuprofen.
There’s a whole class of prescription NSAID medications that are routinely prescribed for pain:
Celebrex is the big one.
Take a look at the side effects of Celebrex.
These are the “Common” ones:
Millions of Americans are taking NSAID’s long term at high doses.
CBD is definitely a candidate for replacement.
It has a much stronger safety profile.
It works both as an analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and neuropathic regenerator.
It uses our own body’s system to manage pain thresholds and inflammation.
Throw in the many other positive benefits for CBD, and it’s definitely a preferred approach.
This is where we’re most excited.
The opioid crisis has ripped through the US and millions of families have been devastated by a drug that’s not even very effective for chronic pain!
If you have surgery, okay.
Chronic back pain? The risks are too high.
CBD benefits (not just pain):
Check out CBD and addiction here.
Where can we get reviews of CBD for pain?
We’ll be adding a whole page of responses by category shortly.
Make sure to send us your story on CBD and pain (will be published anonymously).
Let’s help each other find the best relief from pain!
There isn’t a good review site yet for CBD since it’s so new but we’re building up reviews as we speak.
Give us yours here!
For topical pain needs, there are two ways to go:
Both will have varying levels of CBD in them.
The difference is the other ingredients present.
The creams are more general skin health as opposed to addressing real pain.
Here’s what to focus on CBD creams and balms:
You can review CBD creams and balms category here:
One of the most common sources of pain for millions of Americans is the back!
Whether you “threw” it out or have a chronic injury from a fall (or something more foolish in your youth), it can really hurt quality of life.
Right now, there are three options: opioids, NSAIDs, or cannabinoids (of which CBD is one).
We listed many (but definitely not all) of the research showing CBD’s promise for chronic pain.
PLEASE try this approach first!
The risks of opioid addiction and NSAID’s related issues are too great for truly chronic back pain!
We recommend the tincture for long term chronic back pain treatment due to cost.
For spot treatments, the balm or vape gives faster help.
If you’re really in a bad way, try both to get the endocannabinoid system to rev up on all fronts!
With CBD, it’s important to start slow and test how you respond to it.
Everyone’s body is different.
Pain is different for each person!
Here’s a basic guide for chronic pain dosage:
We have a whole article on CBD dosages here.
A beginners strategy for chronic pain:
Try that first but there is new research on even higher doses from there.
This is usually for more severe issues but we’re not going to tell you how YOUR pain is.
Test. Test. Test.
Find the right level for you and monitor.
Here are the four main ways to take CBD for pain:
Some basic tips:
A combination of the balm for spot relief and the tincture for longer-term help may be best.
What do we look for in a CBD oil for pain:
You can compare the CBD brands here based on all these criteria!
We screened the major CBD brands and options available.
We’ll constantly add to this list as things change (and they’re changing daily).
You can see all the brands and products here:
Please leave us feedback on your experience with a brand of CBD or results!
We need to help others get relief from pain.
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“I feel like my body is oddly more flexible in the gym if that makes sense. I do notice that I sleep deeper.”
“CBD is the only way I get through the night. It’s been a life-saver for me. Thank you for the research!”
SEE Statement at bottom regarding FDA notification and legal statement on claims
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“I had no idea how important the lab results were with CBD. I won’t touch it without first seeing what’s in there now.”
“I was spending sooo much energy fighting off negative thoughts before CBD. I have so much more energy now.”
“Thank you so much for your marvelous work. I’ve told all my family members to check out the how it works page. Simple enough for even me to understand!”