Pros and Cons to Using CBD Oil for Pain Relief Management
What’s all the fuss with CBD? You see billboards, online ads, and brick-and-mortar shops popping up everywhere. While CBD does come from cannabis, it doesn’t get you high. You’ve probably noticed, people seem to love using it for stress and pain relief.
But, does CBD actually work the way people claim? Are there any downsides they’re aren’t divulging?
As it turns out, CBD can work very well at relieving pain, and that’s one of the main reasons people cite for using it. And it’s not just in people’s heads- there is science that supports it.
CBD is, in fact, a natural and reasonably well-tolerated pain remedy. It works as an analgesic in multiple ways by lessening inflammation while also easing pain perception.
CBD doesn’t just tackle the run-of-the-mill aches and pains, either. Some people also swear by it for chronic and acute pain.
Keep reading to learn about the pros and cons of using CBD for pain, how it works, and some possible ailments it can help relieve.
What are the Pros and Cons of CBD Oil for Pain Management?
Just about every good thing comes with at least a few negatives. CBD is no different. It’s not a cure-all miracle supplement by any means, but it is pretty impressive from what we can tell thus far. Here are the most significant pros and cons of using CBD oil for pain:
Pros of CBD Oil for Pain Relief
Here are the primary reasons people seem to love CBD oil for pain management:
- Anti-inflammatory: Because CBD helps the body regulate inflammation via your immune system, it can also decrease the inflammation that sometimes exacerbates existing pain.
- Antinociceptive: CBD also interacts with the nervous system in a subtle way that can calm pain perception that results from nerve signaling.
- Can work on pain from a wide variety of causes: Fighting pain by reducing both inflammation and pain perception makes CBD a promising method for managing pain from several different causes. Studies have shown CBD seems to reduce nerve pain, musculoskeletal pain, muscle soreness and spasticity, tendinitis, inflammatory joint pain, and pain from autoimmune diseases, degenerative diseases, and migraines, just to name a few.
- Legal and non-intoxicating: Though CBD comes from cannabis plants, it is not subject to some of the varying laws against marijuana in different states making CBD legal in more states than traditional cannabis. The 2018 Farm Bill federally legalized research, production, and commerce for industrial hemp (and its derivatives containing less than 0.3% THC). This opened the doors for CBD since, on its own, it is completely non-psychoactive meaning it does not cause intoxication.
- Minimal side effects: So far, there’s not nearly as much research as we’d like to confirm CBD’s purported benefits and adverse effects, but science is beginning to understand the substance fairly well and still has not revealed any severe or particularly dangerous side effects. The most common side effects include tiredness and dry mouth, but adverse effects seem to dissipate for most people once they adjust their dosage.
- Many options: You can take CBD in a variety of different ways to experience the desired results. There are traditional capsules and softgels, but also delicious edibles like gummies, oil tinctures, and topical products to suit your preference.
Cons of CBD Oil for Pain Relief
While some promising studies and several anecdotal reports tout CBD’s efficacy in treating pain, it’s still not an officially approved medical treatment in the U.S. for pain, or any other condition. There’s just one exception, a CBD-related drug used to treat rare forms of epilepsy. More clinical trials are needed to fully establish more therapeutic uses and any potential risks.
CBD being widely available for self-guided pain relief is a relatively new phenomenon. Like several other supplements, it lacks regulation so there’s not a guarantee that the product in the package is exactly what you bargained for.
So what’s so remarkable about CBD that people are willing to trust it, regardless of being an approved medical treatment? We’ll take a closer look at the relationship between CBD and pain in a moment.
Understanding CBD and CBD Oil
CBD, short for cannabidiol, is one of many cannabinoids derived from hemp plants. It’s one of the most abundant cannabinoids, which is partly why it’s been studied more in-depth than other lesser-known cannabinoids.
Producers of CBD oil do so by cultivating and drying hemp plants before using solvents, or a CO2 extraction process, to separate the CBD oil. What oil remains may go through distillation or further purification.
When you ingest CBD oil or let it absorb through the skin through topical application, your body’s endocannabinoid system begins to maintain balance by using cannabinoid receptors in the nervous system (CB1 receptors) and immune system (CB2 receptors) to process the CBD.
How CBD Oil Works on the Body Against Pain and Inflammation
In more detail, here’s how CBD oil’s anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects work within the body.
Inflammation is a function of the immune system meant to respond to injury, infection, and other illnesses. In some cases, inflammation can be excessive due to immune system dysfunction or only exacerbates existing pain.
CBD works as an immunosuppressant, calming an overreactive immune system and dialing back inflammation to ease nagging pain.
CBD’s ability to desensitize pain perception comes from its relationship with the nervous system. The nervous system is responsible for sending pain signals through the nerves and spinal cord to the brain, where it translates that signal into the sensation of pain you can feel.
Specifically, CBD uses a process called antinociception to dull pain perception by desensitizing the pain signaling of a receptor called TRPV1.
Potential Uses of CBD and CBD Oil to Treat Painful Diseases
For some, pain has a clear source. But for others, it’s hard to pinpoint without a professional pain evaluation from a doctor. Below are some of the most common conditions responsible for pain.
Because you now have an understanding of the two main mechanisms CBD oil uses to help reduce pain, you’ll better understand why and how CBD can be useful in managing pain from the following conditions:
Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the two most common forms of arthritis. As osteoarthritis progresses, the cartilage shielding the ends of bones breaks down, causing damage and inflammatory pain in the joints, especially in the spine, hands, hips, and knees.
Though an autoimmune form of arthritis, Rheumatoid arthritis also comes with noticeable inflammatory joint pain.
There is evidence for CBD’s potential in controlling arthritis inflammation and pain.
Back pain can originate from arthritis, scoliosis, herniated discs, injuries, and more. Because back pain makes it so uncomfortable to move or stay in most positions for extended periods of time, it can be difficult to function when back pain gets unbearable.
Many medical conditions cause chronic pain, be it arthritis, fibromyalgia, neuropathy, migraines, etc. Fortunately, CBD is versatile enough to help minimize chronic pain stemming from these conditions and more.
Eye pain can also happen for various reasons. Two common sources of eye pain are seasonal allergies and glaucoma.
Allergies occur when the immune system overreacts to something, inflaming the skin, sinuses, airways, and digestive system. By helping the body modulate immune responses and inflammation, there’s a chance CBD could be useful to this end, though there’s not much research on this specific relief use.
On the other hand, glaucoma involves nerve damage to the eyes resulting from abnormal pressure of the fluid in the eyes. There are indications that CBD can reduce inflammation and protect the nerves from this type of damage.
Whether foot pain is a normal response to standing and/or walking all day, or conditions like neuroma, neuropathy, tendonitis, or arthritis, CBD could provide relief.
High uric acid levels from poor diet, high weight, diabetes, high blood pressure, or kidney or heart disease can cause urate crystal buildup and pain in the joints, called gout.
Through anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects, CBD might reduce gout pain.
Wearing the wrong shoes, standing all day, and Achilles tendinitis can all lead to significant heel pain. So, CBD’s effects on inflammation and tendinitis are good news for individuals with heel pain.
The back, breast, and/or abdominal pain most women get during menstruation is closely linked to inflammation. Additionally, there could be nervous system cannabinoid receptors in the uterus. That means that CBD is a viable candidate for managing abdominal pain and other menstrual pains via antinociception and anti-inflammatory activity.
Neuropathic pain happens when damaged nerves send faulty pain messages throughout the nervous system to the brain. CBD might work with neuropathic pain and peripheral neuropathy by calming down the malfunctioning pain perception and offering neuroprotection.
Shingles is an infectious disease characterized by an incredibly painful, itchy, tingly rash and blisters. The sensations of itching, burning, and severe pain are from the virus spreading outward from the roots of the nerves. The properties of CBD that may help with shingles pain include neuroprotection and antinociception.
Tooth and gum pain can arise from bacterial infections, gum disease, teeth grinding, and/or physical trauma to a tooth. CBD can help lessen the pain and any related inflammation while offering the added health benefit of antimicrobial activity to sustain a healthy balance of bacteria in the mouth to prevent future pain and damage.
FAQs About CBD Oil for Pain Management
Is CBD oil an effective painkiller?
Yes, CBD oil may effectively relieve pain.
Can CBD make joint pain worse?
No, CBD is unlikely to worsen joint pain. Though it’s uncommon, some do people experience painful adverse reactions to cannabinoids such as CBD.
How long does it take CBD to take effect for pain?
The onset of CBD for pain relief can take anywhere from 20 minutes to one hour depending on the person, dosage, method of intake, and the concentration, such as full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or isolate.
Is CBD oil safe for seniors?
At any age, it’s best to ask a doctor before trying CBD oil to make sure it’s safe for you individually and prevent drug interactions with current medications.
Can CBD oil make you gain weight?
CBD can change your appetite, but if you eat healthy foods in sensible portions throughout the day, you can avoid gaining weight while taking CBD.
What does CBD feel like when taken?
Many people experience relaxation, improved sleep, and pain relief from taking CBD.
Do you need to take CBD every day for it to work?
No. CBD can work without taking it every day, but people with persistent pain may have better results maintaining a daily dosage.
What are the pros and cons for using CBD oil over medicinal marijuana?
CBD’s effects may be less potent than medicinal marijuana, but the benefit is the lack of psychoactive effects and major side effects.
Have you ever considered trying CBD for pain?
While we don’t yet have the level of clinical trials needed to get CBD approved as the versatile treatment it might someday be, the signs are very encouraging thus far. Due to its anti-inflammatory, antinociceptive, and neuroprotective characteristics, CBD has the potential to help manage pain from a long list of conditions.
The possible health benefits of CBD’s interaction with the immune and nervous systems have wide implications for treating pain.
Talk to a doctor, consider getting a pain evaluation for acute pain, and think about trying a high-quality, lab-tested CBD products.