Many people use cannabidiol (CBD) to relieve pain. Understanding CBD can help overcome the stigma associated with it. CBD oil is derived from the cannabis plant. People report using this oil for relief from pain, anxiety, depression, and sleep disorders. There is limited evidence from human studies to support the benefits of CBD oil, due to restrictions on the use of and research on cannabis.
In this article, we look at how CBD oil works and how people use it to relieve chronic pain. CBD is one of more than 100 compounds found in cannabis, called cannabinoids. Many plants contain cannabinoids, but people most commonly link these compounds to cannabis. Unlike other cannabinoids — such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — CBD does not produce a euphoric “high.” This is because CBD does not affect the same receptors as THC.The human body has an endocannabinoid system (ECS) that receives and translates signals from cannabinoids.
The ECS helps regulate functions such as sleep, immune-system responses, and pain. When THC enters the body, it produces a “high” feeling by affecting the brain’s endocannabinoid receptors. This activates the brain’s reward system, producing pleasure chemicals such as dopamine. CBD is an entirely different compound from THC, and its effects are very complex.
According to a 2015 study published in Neurotherapeutics, CBD influences many other receptor systems in our body and will influence the ECS in combination with other cannabinoids. For example, CBD can increase the body’s levels of anandamide, a compound associated with regulating pain, which can reduce pain perception and improve mood.
For more information and resources on CBD and CBD products, please visit our dedicated hub. Different varieties of cannabis plants — such as hemp and marijuana — contain different levels of chemical compounds. How people breed the plant affects the CBD levels. Most CBD oil comes from industrial hemp, which usually has a higher CBD content than marijuana.
The extract is then added to a carrier oil and called CBD oil. CBD oil comes in many different strengths, and people use it in various ways. It is best to discuss CBD oil with a doctor before using it. According to the National Centers for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), some evidence suggests that cannabis or CBD could have modest benefits for chronic pain.
A 2020 review reports that CBD could have benefits for relieving chronic pain, improving sleep, and reducing inflammation, but that these effects are condition-specific. More evidence is needed to determine the therapeutic potential of CBD and to determine safe and effective dosages for pain. Based on the current research, here are some possible benefits of CBD oil:Neuropathic pain is pain caused by damage to the nerves.
A 2017 review found that CBD helped with chronic neuropathy pain in humans. The researchers looked at 11 randomized controlled trials with 1,219 patients. However, a 2018 Cochrane review concluded that the potential benefits of cannabis-based medicine might be outweighed by its potential harms. This research looked into the effects of cannabis-derived medicines, including CBD, for chronic neuropathic pain.
More research is needed to understand the role of CBD in chronic neuropathic pain management, including the risks, benefits, and ideal dosages. A 2016 study in the European Journal of Pain used an animal model to see if CBD could help people with arthritis manage their pain. Researchers applied a topical gel containing CBD to rats with arthritis for 4 days.
People using CBD oil for arthritis may find relief from their pain, but more human studies need to be done to confirm these findings.Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune condition that affects the entire body through the nerves and brain. Muscle spasms are one of the most common symptoms of MS.
The results are modest, but many people reported a reduction in symptoms. More studies on humans are needed to verify these results. The same report studied CBD use for general chronic pain. Researchers compiled the results of multiple systematic reviews covering dozens of trials and studies. Their research concluded that there is substantial evidence that cannabis is an effective treatment for chronic pain in adults.
This research suggests that using CBD can reduce pain and inflammation. 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 over time. They noted that cannabinoids, such as CBD, could offer helpful new treatments for people with chronic pain.