Cannabis is getting impactful in herbal and alternative treatments, and significant clinical research is being done on its abilities to manage chronic pain. Before we dive into the types of chronic pain its offering relief to, we must look into the mystical properties that are making it a famous pain-relieving agent.
Cannabis is a wild plant that can be grown indoors as well as outdoors and is popular for housing more than 400 chemical compounds. These chemical compounds also include 100 cannabinoids with distinctive neuroprotective properties.
People also call them neuroactive cannabinoids for their pain-relieving, anti-seizure, anti-anxiety and anti-inflammatory actions.
Out of those 100 cannabinoids, the two most popular ones are always in the news. One is THC, and the other is CBD. THC is a psychoactive compound. It means that it will cause a high upon consumption, whereas CBD is a non-psychoactive compound. It means that it still offers therapeutic properties without causing intoxication.
Both cannabinoids (CBD and THC) have chronic pain-management capabilities because of their ability to react with the human body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS).
CBD Pain Management and The Entourage Effect
The ability of CBD to combine with the human body’s endocannabinoid system and deliver a therapeutic effect to the body is called the entourage effect. When hundreds of botanical compounds of Cannabis enter a human body, they offer unique benefits related to chronic pain management.
The human body’s ECS system is the biological system where the entourage effect occurs.
There are two types of Endocannabinoid (ECS) Receptors:
CB1 Receptors: These are found in the central nervous system
CB2 Receptors: These are found in the peripheral nervous system.
The neuroactive cannabinoids present in Cannabis binds with these CB1 and CB2 receptors and help treat nervous system disorders and chronic pain conditions by offering calming effect to the nervous system.
CBD and THC are the main compounds of Cannabis with their individual and combined significance. This means that CBD or THC can alone help to treat chronic pain, and the efficacy can be amplified with their combined effect.
Since the research is limited, it is preliminary to give a definitive answer on CBD and its treatment for pain management.
So far, the research studies state that Cannabis has been effective in managing the following pain conditions:
A 2016 study stated the use of Cannabis in managing arthritis pain in rats. Increased dosages of CBD recorded the reduction in pain and swelling in rats with arthritis without any side effects.
Although the research on CBD and its neuropathic pain management is limited, some studies state that its therapeutic properties have helped patients to experience reduced nerve pain with the single use of CBD gummies and tinctures.
The evidences are limited, but the emerging data suggest that CBD can be helpful in treating Fibromyalgia Pain and can ease its symptoms. CBD offers a reduction in chronic pain like Fibromyalgia by detecting and correcting the deficiency of endocannabinoids in the body.
The interaction of CBD with CB2 receptors in the human brain can relieve pain and reduce inflammation in affected areas.
The use of CBD disconnects the nerve pathways that send the pain signals from the brain to the body and thus reduces the chronic pain sensations.
One 2016 study suggests that a lack of endocannabinoids may be the root of chronic pain syndromes, including migraine, seizures and anxiety attacks. CBD not only reacts with the ECS system but compensates for the ECS receptors, where deficient in the body. Hence, smartly detecting the pain signal through cannabinoids relieves the chronic pain in the body.
Ever since CBD has made its name in the pain management domain, people have tried it in different forms as a pain killer for different conditions. One unique CBD administration method is transdermal patches for back pain.
Research states that CBD improves spine health by
- Reducing inflammation.
- Easing muscle spasm.
- Providing therapeutic effect to the spine through cannabinoids.
Cancer treatments followed by chemotherapy causes vomiting, pain, and loss of appetite to the patients. After research, the National Cancer Institute has mentioned that the use of CBD can aid to reduce these symptoms and can reduce chronic pain. Some lab test studies on mice have shown that the use of CBD can shrink cancerous tumors as well.
Cannabis Strains for Pain Management
There are three main strains of CBD found in different regions and are famous for their distinctive properties. But there is one thing in common, that all strains possess pain-relieving properties and gives therapeutic effects to the body.
Indica: This strain contains high doses of CBD and low doses of THC. Indica-dominant strains are famous for their intensely relaxing and pain-reducing effects. Because of its relaxing properties, sleep aid medicines from these strains are recommended to be taken at night.
Sativa: This strain contains high doses of THC and low doses of CBD, because of which it is considered potent. Sativa dominant strains have anxiety-reducing and energizing effects; hence it is recommended to be taken in the daytime.
Hybrid: Hybrid strains are grown on farms and greenhouses to get the best of both strains. It means that if you want to enjoy the benefits of Indica and Sativa both then plant hybrid strains.
Severe pain can cause sleep deprivation and can slow the process of healing. In order to help the sleep-related problems, oral or sublingual CBD formulas or tinctures are made by so many brands. They are recommended to be taken at night to experience the best results.
For example, a high-quality CBD tincture for a sleep aid from Heavenly Garden has garnered the attention of so many people struggling with insomnia. Their users have claimed that this formula has helped them have a peaceful & quality sleep.
The results of fewer studies also indicated that Indica and Sativa strains helped to reduce nausea caused by chronic pain conditions like migraine.
CBD for Animals | Does it relieve pain in animals too?
After all the buzz, the veterinary profession has been inundated with various CBD products. These products also include CBD pain killers for animals. Since the research on its medical use is in progress, the major reliance is on anecdotal evidences only. The veterinary professionals are only prescribing CBD painkillers with a regulated amount of THC and CBD.
So far, controlled CBD dosage in case of seizures, anxiety, gastrointestinal support and cancer has been helpful. But veterinary clinical trials should be conducted to materialize the research studies.
This brings us to an important question, Does CBD works in animals in the same way as humans? Well, animals have ECS too. This means CBD is going to interact with it in the same manner as it does in humans. But in order to record animal response, it is best to start low and slow.
To date, pets with conditions like seizures, arthritis, cancer, anxiety, inflammation, irritable bowel syndrome, and poor appetite have responded well to a low dose of CBD treatments.
It is also mentioned that CBD can cause drowsiness, mild vomiting and itching in animals, so always consults a veterinarian before putting your furry friends on CBD pain managing treatments.
CBD Topicals for Pain Relief | oils, creams, spray gels | How to use?
CBD products are very competitive in the market and can be found in every form, be it topical or ingestible. But when we talk about CBD and its use to relieve pain and aches, topical products are best.
CBD oils, creams, roll-ons and tinctures are widely available for muscle pain treatments, whereas gummies are not any less. Topicals like creams, lotions and roll-ons are easy to use and can be applied directly on muscles for instant pain relief.
The American Academy of Dermatology also has suggested using CBD infused topicals on eczema, psoriasis, and acne-prone skin.
There are so many CBD topicals available in the market. With so much information comes doubt as a user may get confused between real and fake products.
The easiest way to avoid being cheated by fake products is to go for sellers that are selling lab-tested products. Brands like ‘The heavenly Garden’ puts authentic lab reports of their products online for complete transparency.
Moreover, their products contain optimized THC levels as regulated by law. This makes their product safe to consume medically and legally.
Heavenly Garden’s roll-on gel is the perfect amalgam of CBD’s wonderful pain countering powers and the ease of use of the roll-on stick. This is a painkiller on the go, as wherever you are, you can easily roll-on the gel on your muscle and enjoy instant pain relief.
In this scientifically advanced era, chronic pain management is not rocket science. Millions of analgesic medicines have been made to address pain issues. But if we try to find healthy alternatives, there are not many.
Patients mostly rely on medications like opioids for chronic pain management. Conventional medicines can offer instant relief too, but most of them are habit-forming, and their long term usage can cause lung damage.
The cannabis industry is booming mainly because of its therapeutic uses and pain management properties. However, the studies on Cannabis and its products are limited but giving enough hope to get going with the research. In the interim, we can safely use it after consulting with our doctors and start getting familiar with what it offers.