Can CBD Help My Pain?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is the non-intoxicating cannabinoid that is particularly common in cannabis, and specifically hemp strains. Early studies and anecdotal results have shown that CBD has powerful anti-inflammatory and pain management properties that are only beginning to be understood. Cases of dramatic improvement of quality of life show significant promise for cannabis derived CBD as a new therapeutic drug that could improve function and quality of life for countless Americans across the country, and research is only just getting started.
Altering Pain Perception
CBD has a direct effect on pain perception in the brain through what’s commonly known as the “vanilloid receptor”, or the TRPV1 receptor. Named for the initial discovery in fruit flies to light response, these transient receptor potential (TRP) channels are a group of proteins that have a response to the eugenol, which is commonly found in vanilla beans – hence the V. Specifically, the TRPV1 receptor has shown promise in altering the perception of pain in the human brain.
In addition to lowering the perception of pain, CBD has been shown to significantly reduce inflammation throughout the body. Treating this cause of pain can lead to longer term success with pain management than simply lowering the perception of pain, but how does it work?
Cannabidiol can serve as a re-uptake inhibitor for adenosine, a powerful molecule that comprises the base of ATP and ADP, two common energy molecules in natural biology. Within the human body, adenosine is an agonist (activator) of the A2A receptor, which has shown to be responsible for regulating inflammation within the body. By delaying the natural reuptake of adenosine in the body, CBD contributes to reducing overall inflammation through increasing the amount of adenosine available to the receptors.
CBD vs. opioids
CBD is commonly used by patients who have treated their pain with opioids as a less toxic and less intoxicating treatment, but they don’t work in the same way.
Opioids physically bind to pain receptors in the brain and spinal cord, blocking pain signals that are intended to get to the brain. Additionally, opioids have an intoxicating effect that can leave users inebriated and suffering from other painful side effects such as constipation.
CBD does not block pain signals to the brain, but as stated above will reduce the perception of pain and the amount of inflammation throughout the body that can often be the root cause of the symptoms.
Pain Management Program
Just like a plumber would bring more than one tool to the job, CBD is only a single tool in the pain management tool box. As it serves to treat the human endocannabinoid system, many patients often report less effective pain management results when using CBD isolate vs. full spectrum oil. Including other cannabinoids such as THC and terpenes such as caryophyllene-oxide can further enhance the properties of CBD that help successfully manage pain symptoms.
Many other pain management programs have been proven to be highly successful, and as with any medical condition you should consult your physician before making alterations to your own pain management program. Many patients find that the addition of mindfulness, meditation, improved nutrition, weight loss and more can dramatically improve their results.
Finally, CBD is not a magic bullet. The effects of taking CBD may take several days to be noticeable, and are often most noticed when supplementation is suddenly stopped. Therapeutic doses have not been clearly established with CBD at this time, so we suggest starting low and slow and increasing your dosage until you notice an improvement in your symptoms.
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