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Pain can be a drain on your quality of life. Here’s how CBD may be used to alleviate pain and help manage the common causes of chronic pain.
Chronic pain is a debilitating problem for millions of people around the world. Even with significant advancements in pain medications, it can be difficult to alleviate pain effectively without the use of addictive medications.
Over the last couple of years, CBD and other cannabis extracts have shown impressive results in managing pain, without the nasty side-effects.
Here’s an in-depth guide on how CBD is used to treat chronic and acute pain. We’ll go over how it works, how much to use, and why so many people go to this once controversial plant to improve their quality of life.
The human body is wired to respond to danger through many clever mechanisms. Pain is the body’s vital response — warning the brain of damage to the body — signaling the avoidance of the cause to avoid further damage.
Unfortunately, when damage occurs, pain can persist for weeks or even months At this point, the pain signal is no longer helpful and can instead cause a serious decline in the quality of life.
In most cases of chronic pain, high doses are required for relief — for this reason, a high-potency CBD oil will offer the greatest therapeutic benefits. We’ve included a simple dosage chart in this article to help you get started.
For minor pain management from low-grade arthritis or minor traumatic injuries, a smaller dose may do the trick.
What is pain? Where does it come from?
The human body is filled with sensors designed specifically to sense damage or dysfunction — they’re called the nociceptors. Whenever nociceptors detect damage, they transmit signals to the brain that we perceive as pain.
The system warns us when we’re in danger and reminds us to be careful around injured areas of the body to allow for recovery.
In most cases, pain is a good thing. Without it, we could easily cause irreversible damage to the body without even knowing it.
The problem with pain is that sometimes the signals sent by the nociceptors are unnecessary (no real damage is occurring), excessive (signals are much higher than they need to be), or go on for too long.
It’s under these circumstances that want to block out pain so that we may go about our daily life more comfortable.
The process of pain is complex and involves the interaction of many different cells, neurotransmitters, and specialized sensors. Here’s a basic overview of how this works.
This is the cause of the pain. Special receptors in the skin and internal organs are activated whenever there’s damage in the area. They initiate the transmission of the pain signal towards the brain using the peripheral nerves.
The peripheral nervous system meets the spinal cord — the start of the central nervous system. The pain signal must pass through a region called the dorsal horn. This is the region where compounds such as endorphins and opiate medications are used to limit the intensity of the signal.
Any pain signals that make it past the dorsal horn make their way to the thalamus in the brain where it’s processed and sent to higher brain regions. It’s these higher brain regions that perceive the pain.
Acute pain comes on suddenly. This is the type of pain we experience when we cut our finger or stub our toe. Acute pain is short-lived, but it can evolve into chronic pain if it persists for longer than 6 months.
Chronic pain is a long-term pain. It can suggest an underlying dysfunction of the tissue involved and can last anywhere from 6 months to years. Chronic pain is common and can be debilitating. The longer the pain persists, the more it may become resistant to pain management techniques.
There are other ways of classifying pain, depending on the location:
CBD is an excellent pain-killer, but only if it’s taken in the right dose.
Most of the research on CBD for pain management involves high doses of the compound or a combination of CBD with other known painkillers.
There are many different causes of chronic pain — the main one being inflammation.
Inflammation is a complex chemical reaction in the human body designed to improve the recovery times of organ or tissue damage. This process is designed to eliminate infectious or harmful invaders within the body. Inflammation can sometimes reach a state of self-perpetuation. When this happens, inflammatory processes damage the tissue, which triggers more inflammation — perpetuating the cycle.
This can result in chronic pain lasting years.
A 2008 review article investigated the effects of CBD and THC on chronic pain that was unresponsive to other medications. Researchers in this study concluded that CBD was an excellent pain-management tool for chronic pain, without any adverse side-effects .
There are two main types of arthritis; osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Although both stem from different underlying causes, both result in chronic pain. It can cause anywhere from mild, sporadic pain to severe, debilitating levels of pain.
CBD reduces the pain involved with both forms of arthritis by blocking the inflammatory processes causing the problem and through analgesic effects acting in the spinal cord and brain.
For best results, it’s recommended to use CBD both internally and topically on the affected joints.
Different forms of CBD are going to offer a different set of benefits toward pain management.
CBD oils and tinctures are an excellent option for pain management. They have a relatively fast onset of effects, keep for long periods of time, and doses are easily tweaked to fit the individual needs of the user.
To take CBD oils and tinctures, simply measure out the intended dose using the supplied dropper, and place under the tongue for fast onset of effects, or swallow for a slower onset of effects.
A high potency CBD oil or tincture is recommended for most cases of pain management.
CBD capsules are another popular method of consuming CBD — they’re convenient, have a long duration of effects, and come in virtually any potency you may need.
Topical CBD products are best for pain involving the muscles, ligaments, and skin. It delivers the cannabinoids directly to the source of the pain. The main issue with topical CBD products is that they often aren’t strong enough to produce analgesic effects.
Always look for high-potency topical CBD products for treating traumatic injuries, skin conditions, or muscle/ligament/bone injuries.
Most of the research investigating the effects of CBD on pain management recommends high doses. Lower doses may offer some benefit but it isn’t always reliable.
Therefore, it’s best to use medium or high strength doses when treating pain conditions. For especially difficult to treat pain, significantly higher doses may be necessary. It’s also beneficial in these cases to use CBD alongside other pain-management techniques.
|Low Strength CBD||Medium Strength CBD||High Strength CBD|
|• Mild muscle pain |
• Psychosomatic pain
• Early-stage arthritis
|• Moderate muscle pain |
• Bone fractures
• Abdominal pain
|• Multiple sclerosis |
• Ligament injuries
• Cancer pain
• Bone pain
• Severe muscle pain
|Unit of Measure||Low Strength||Medium Strength||High Strength|
|Imperial (pounds)||1 mg every 10 lbs||3 mg every 10 lbs||6 mg every 10 lbs|
|Metric (kilograms)||1 mg every 4.5 kg||3 mg every 4.5 kg||6 mg every 4.5 kg|
Using these general guidelines, you can determine roughly what dose you can expect in order to get the level of inflammatory support you’re looking for.
It’s important to note that these are simply recommendations, and your individual dose may vary — a lot.
Therefore these guidelines are designed to simply provide a rough estimate on the dose you need to help put things into context.
After determining the strength you’re likely to need, use your weight to calculate how much CBD you may need per day (in mg).
|Weight (lbs)||Low Strength||Medium Strength||High Strength|
Although CBD is proven to be highly safe many times over, it’s important to know about the potential side-effects it may produce. Everybody is different, and what works in one person doesn’t always work the same way for another.
CBD is an excellent option for people suffering from the pain of various causes. It’s especially useful for addressing pain brought on by inflammatory processes but is also useful for general pain.
It works at virtually all stages of pain transmission; directly at the site of injury, in the dorsal horn where the opioid receptors are found, and in the brain at the opioid and vanilloid receptors in the brain.
Most of the research involving CBD for pain management suggests a dose-dependent effect — meaning that the higher the dose you take, the more it inhibits pain sensations.
For best results, it’s recommended that you combine CBD use with other pain-reducing activities or supplements.