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CBD and Chronic Pain

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According to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1 in 5 Americans live with chronic pain. Millions of people rely on pain medications to go about their daily lives, but synthetic painkillers, whether over-the-counter or prescription, can have many unwanted side effects and lead to dependence. There may be a better, more natural way to manage this pain. CBD oil (Cannabidiol) is a non-psychoactive compound derived from the cannabis plant. Recent studies have shown that CBD is showing a lot of promise for those dealing with arthritis, fibromyalgia, injury related pain, and other types of chronic pain.

For thousands of years, natural remedies such as turmeric, arnica, capsaicin, magnesium and essential oils such as peppermint and lavender have been used as alternatives in pain management. CBD has also had a long history for treatment of pain but it is only recently being acknowledged. Studies have been done to support the theory that CBD can help with certain types of pain conditions, and a separate study in the Journal of Experimental Medicine also supports these theories. This research suggests that using CBD can reduce pain and inflammation. In addition, researchers found that subjects were not likely to build up a tolerance to the effects of CBD, so there would be no need to increase their dose continually. The researchers observed that cannabinoids, such as CBD, could offer helpful new treatments for people with chronic pain.

So how does CBD work?

The human body has something called an endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS helps to keep the body in balance and regulate functions such as sleep, immune-system responses, and pain. It produces some cannabinoids of its own, which are called endocannabinoids. Recent science has found that the ECS does not just respond to the endocannabinoids produced in the body, but also responds to external cannabinoids like the phytocannabinoid CBD. CBD acts as a modulator in the body by interacting with receptors in the ECS. By stimulating the endocannabinoid system, CBD promotes balance and can help reduce pain sensation and decrease inflammation.

There are a variety of ways to use CBD for pain management.

For isolated pain, such as a sore shoulder or knee, topical balms, creams, patches and roll-ons are good to use. These topical products will act locally to reduce pain and inflammation. For the more generalized chronic pain of arthritis or fibromyalgia, there are tinctures and drops that go under the tongue for quick and efficient relief. Sublingual (under the tongue) products are fast acting due to the almost immediate absorption into the bloodstream through the capillaries and tissues under the tongue. There are also edibles and capsules you can take orally. These products work well but take a little longer to work because they need to be metabolized by the liver.

It’s always important to start out with low dose and increase the dose in even increments slowly until you reach your desired effect. You can try a dose for a couple days and then increase as needed. Keep in mind that everyone is unique, so your dosage may be completely different than the dosage for someone else.

Most people tolerate CBD oil well, but there may be some possible side effects such as fatigue, changes in appetite or digestive issues. In addition, using CBD oil with other medications may make those medications more or less effective.
On a final note, CBD is also getting a big push from the medical field. A well known podiatrist, Dr. Robert Kornfeld, wrote an article entitled, How CBD Oil Can Heal Chronic Pain: A Doctor’s Observations. In this article he is quoted as saying, “As a doctor dedicated to using natural medicines to heal my patients, CBD oil is the best investment my patients are making in their return to better health.”

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