CBD or Cannabidiol is an oil derived from the hemp plant, or Cannibis sativa. It has been the subject of a lot of excitement recently related to its role in the treatment of various medical conditions. While the oil also comes from the same plant as marijuana, CBD contains none of the psychoactive ingredients of marijuana, such as THC. This means CBD does not make you feel high, or trigger positive drug tests. Our bodies contain natural cannabinoids, and nerve cells use them to transmit certain information. The products of the hemp plant have been used throughout human history for medical purposes, but only recently has CBD for chronic pain been studied by researchers.
What is CBD?
Your nerve cells contain receptors for certain chemicals that your body produces to send messages. These endogenous cannabinoids (meaning: produced in your own body) have been found to influence conditions such as – inflammation, the immune system, psychological conditions like anxiety, and migraines. CBD mimics these chemicals produced by your body. The current scientific research is focused on how affecting this cannabinoid system can treat various illnesses, including chronic pain.
What science says about CBD for chronic pain
Most of the published research centers on medical marijuana compounds, or those which contain significant amounts of CBD and THC. However, this study found, in rats, that inflammation related to osteoarthritis was reduced with CBD. Another study in 2008, although looking at a medication with CBD and THC, found a reduction in pain associated with cancer and multiple sclerosis. The FDA has actually approved a CBD medication called Epidiolex for certain seizure disorders.
A lot of my patients asked about CBD for chronic pain, so I started looking into it to offer better advice. I found a reputable company that makes topical sports creams that contain CBD. In true scientific fashion, I tried it on myself, since I had some chronic elbow pain. I was using Ben-Gay on it regularly, so I tried the cream with the same ingredient as Ben-Gay. The results? I definitely noticed a better pain reduction with the CBD added cream. I felt the tingling and heat that you usually get with the camphor in the Ben-Gay, but with the CBD added, the pain actually went away for a time. All topical pain relievers wear off after a few hours. But in my opinion, the CBD had more of a pain reducing effect than my regular sports cream.
I also ordered some samples and had some of my patients with arthritis and other hard to treat areas of chronic pain try it. While not everyone felt it helped, most people agreed that it reduced the pain enough to forget about it for a few hours. With chronic pain, this can mean getting to sleep or enjoying activities that are normally impossible.
How to Buy CBD
The research has not caught up to the anecdotal accounts of CBD’s effectiveness for chronic pain. However, it appears to be free of side effects and safe. I could not find any reports of adverse effects while I was reading about it. There are reports of it helping anxiety, epilepsy and inflammatory conditions, but I think an oral preparation would be more effective for these types of conditions. Try to find a reputable seller with good reviews that publishes the analyzed content of their product. Check with your medical doctor to see if there are any drug interactions with medications you are taking.
For chronic painful conditions, I think a topical CBD makes the most sense. You can apply it only to the painful area, and I think that reduces the chance of unwanted systemic effects. The company I use is CBD Clinic, and they have different types of creams – Lidocaine, Camphor, and Menthol – with different strengths of CBD added. If you have questions, or would like to try some for yourself, contact us, and we can work to get you feeling better soon.