Can CBD Help Relieve Pain?

Studies have revealed that CBD, often in combination with THC, is an effective pain reliever for a variety of chronic conditions. Clinical trials have demonstrated that Sativex, a spray containing equal parts of CBD and THC, is a successful treatment for cancer-related pain. CBD is emerging as a promising pharmaceutical agent for treating pain, inflammation, seizures and anxiety without the psychoactive effects of THC. Our understanding of the role of CBD in managing pain is still evolving, and research from animal studies has shown that CBD exerts its analgesic effects through its various interactions and the modulation of the endocannabinoid, inflammatory and nociceptive (pain detection) systems. The endocannabinoid system consists of cannabinoid receptors that interact with our own natural cannabinoids.

This system is involved in the regulation of many body functions, such as metabolism and appetite, mood and anxiety, and the perception of pain. So far, there is not much evidence that CBD can provide mental relief from pain. However, the placebo effect may help some people experience less pain after taking CBD. Dr. Daniel Clauw, professor of anesthesiology, rheumatology and psychiatry at the University of Michigan and director of the Center for Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research, leads research on arthritis and fibromyalgia pain, and the effects of cannabis, particularly CBD, on pain.

Bryan believes that a combination of THC and CBD together holds the most promise for pain relief. Both CBD and THC act on the body's natural endocannabinoid system, which plays a role in many processes such as appetite, pain and memory. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has only approved the use of CBD in a prescription drug called Epidiolex, which helps reduce and in some cases stop the number of seizures in rare forms of childhood epilepsy such as Dravet and Lennox-Gastaut syndromes. Many people are turning to CBD as an alternative pain reliever, especially in light of the opioid crisis which was discussed in a commentary published in the Annals of Internal Medicine by Boehnke and Daniel Clauw M. D.

CBD can also be absorbed directly into the bloodstream by retaining liquid from an aerosol or tincture (liquid) dosed with a dropper under the tongue (sublingual) for 60 to 120 seconds. Tools for CBD products such as a pocket-sized wooden hemp grinder are also available at cannabis dispensaries. However, most human studies have investigated the role of CBD in treating cancer-related pain and treating cancer. You can get CBD pills without a prescription but the FDA has approved a prescription cannabidiol drug called Epidiolex for patients with epilepsy. There are currently no high-quality research studies that support the use of CBD only for treating pain.

Now that many forms of CBD are legal options for pain control it's easy to find the types and formulas you need. Until there is high-quality scientific evidence in humans it is difficult to make a recommendation for regular use of CBD in treating chronic pain. CBD may even improve your current pain management treatments for sciatica and other hard-to-treat conditions. Researchers understand CBD much less than THC although there is anecdotal evidence that it may ease pain in some people. If you're not sure which form of CBD is right for you experiment with a few different types to determine which one offers the most benefits.

Tasha Falsetti
Tasha Falsetti

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