Should CBD oil be part of your pain management arsenal?
In this blog, I dig into the current research around the use of CBD products and pain management. Currently, there is much excitement around the use of CBD oil in the management of conditions associated with chronic pain. It is certainly good to know that there is an extra tool in the toolbox, especially one that’s been used for thousands of years, and that people know to be relatively safe. However, safe and effective are two different things. When it comes to treating pain, does CBD actually work, and how well?
It helps to think of pain as coming in three different flavours. The first, is neuropathic pain – defined as damage to a nerve (For example, Sciatica). Then there is acute or nociceptive pain. This typically occurs as a result of an injury or damage to tissue/bone (for example, Arthritis, where bone rubs on bone). Lastly, we have centralized pain, or nociplastic pain, and this is pain that is typically associated with conditions that have a chronic pain overlap such as Migraines or Fibromyalgia.
CBD is a promiscuous molecule; and there are many ways that it encourages pain relief. Studies have shown that CBD interacts with serotonin receptors, which play roles in pain, depression and anxiety.
Additionally, the body’s endocannabinoid system has two cannabinoid receptors: CB1 and CB2.
The majority of CB1 receptors are located in the brain and are associated with cognitive actions related to co-ordination, mood, thinking, memory and appetite. The CB2 receptors, on the other hand, can be found in the immune system, making them more responsible for the bodies response to pain and inflammation. THC attaches preferentially to the CB1 receptors, which explains why smoking or ingesting marijuana, affects users in a psychoactive, or negative manner. CBD oil however, impacts the CB2 receptors. Unlike CB1, CB2 does not attach to the CB2 receptor, but rather, entices the body to make more of its own cannabinoids, which then has a positive effect on the bodies pain and inflammation responses.
As an added bonus, CBD oil may address comorbid conditions related to chronic pain including anxiety and sleep disorders. This is a topic we will tackle further on in this series.
CBD can also be used topically, and researchers found that the application of CBD significantly reduced joint swelling in arthritis, as well as preventing the development of nerve damage and associated pain in the joints. Patients have reported better mobility and often the ability to decrease the amount of anti-inflammatories they require.
An important consideration for patients to explore using topical CBD for joint pain, is the formula or makeup of the product. Some CBD oils are diluted in carrier oils that are not very compatible with the skin, whereas other plant derived oils can enhance skin penetration (Jojoba for example). Also, eucalyptus, rosemary and citrus oils have been shown to increase the skin penetration of other medications, so topical CBD products that contain these ingredients could yield better results.
Oil science’s CBD oil is made by mixing CBD extract with MCT oil. A carrier like MCT oil is required because CBD is fat soluble. This means, that it dissolves in fat, instead of water, and allows the body to store it in fat tissue. By consuming CBD along with the fat, it increases the bioavailability of CBD oil.
To summarise, there’s another option available to you when it comes to managing your pain. Whether you’re looking to manage your pain topically or you think it’s best dealt with from the inside out, get in touch with us so we can see if there’s a way to help you.