As the stigma towards cannabis continues to shift, more and more people are using CBD oil for pain. How does it work though, and does it actually work? Learn the answer to these questions and more in our in-depth guide.
A researcher once referred to pain as “the oldest medical problem.” Some of the earliest doctors actually valued pain, touting pain as part of the healing process, or a divine reminder that people were living. However, a shift (thankfully!) took place and it became a positive thing to relieve pain.
From opium and sedating chloroform, historical physicians tried a lot of questionable agents in an effort to help people feel better. But it wasn’t until the last several decades that doctors started to really understand the physiology of pain, where it comes from, and potentially the best ways of managing it.
Since hemp-based CBD became legal in 2018, the cannabinoid has gained widespread popularity, and for good reason. About 4 of 10 people who take CBD do so for pain relief, but what is CBD and how does it work? Most importantly, does CBD oil for pain work? We’ve collected the details to help you out.
What is CBD and How Does It Work
In short, CBD (cannabidiol) is just one of the more than 100 cannabinoids found in plants that come from the Cannabis Sativa family, which includes hemp. In fact, CBD is one of the most concentrated cannabinoids in the hemp plant, even though others like THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBG (cannabigerol) are present. Cannabinoids, scientifically referred to as phytocannabinoids, are highly similar in nature to something produced by our own bodies: endocannabinoids.
Endocannabinoids interact with a series of widespread receptors throughout the body, primarily in the brain, but also in the immune system, central nervous system, and peripheral nervous system. This series of receptors is known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS). CBD seems to act as a balancing molecule within the ECS; instead of having a specific affinity to certain receptors like THC, the cannabinoid stabilizes the body’s own endocannabinoids and possibly signals the body to produce more. The ECS plays a role in a long list of physiological processes, including things like inflammation, pain perception, and stress.
How Does CBD Oil Work for Pain
Throughout history, researchers have examined cannabis for its potential pain-relieving qualities. However, obstacles came along with THC having intoxicating or sedating effects. With the ability to isolate other cannabinoids like CBD, researchers found that CBD could potentially be used for therapeutic pain relief without dealing with the negative effects of THC.
CBD oil may work for pain for a number of reasons. With knowing how the cannabinoid works in the ECS, it is easy to see that CBD could target different types of pain, such as general soreness, chronic pain, or even pain caused by inflammation. Pain can stem from a number of problems, such as free radical accumulation, tissue damage, oxidative stress, and more. Let’s take a look at the specifics behind different pain types and why CBD may help.
CBD for Inflammatory Pain
Inflammation is one of the bigger culprits behind pain, so targeting inflammation and inflammatory responses with CBD may help to alleviate a number of types of pain. For example, headaches, toothaches, and earaches are all caused by some form of inflammation. CBD seems to suppress inflammation, so it may do a lot of good to help with specific types of inflammatory pain.
CBD for Muscle Pain and Soreness
A number of active people use CBD oil for pain related to muscle soreness and stiffness. When you are really feeling the “burn” after a hard day at the gym, CBD may help to improve muscle recovery times. CBD has antioxidant properties, which can help prevent free radical accumulation that may be associated with heightened muscle soreness. Plus, the tiny tears in muscles brought about by intense activity can lead to inflammation, which may also be helped with CBD.
CBD for Chronic Pain
CBD oil for chronic pain may help for a few reasons. For one, CBD has been shown to reduce levels of glutamate in the spinal cord in animal studies. Glutamate can actually cause an increase in pain signal transmissions. Secondly, CBD may also increase the signaling of a molecule known as anandamide and sometimes call by the name the “bliss molecule.” Enhanced anandamide levels may help encourage feelings of general happiness, which can be an issue for chronic pain sufferers.
CBD for Neuropathic Pain
Even though neuropathic pain is a highly targeted area of research where CBD is concerned, the research is only just getting started. What we do know is CBD does seem to have effectiveness for neuropathic pain that is related to things like multiple sclerosis. The mechanisms by which this is possible may be related to the cannabinoid’s ability to suppress inflammatory responses and possibly act as an analgesic.
Ways to Use CBD for Pain
CBD oil may be one of the most popular ways to use CBD for pain, but each method of use has its own advantages.
Two ways to use CBD oil for pain exist. While most people will simply ingest CBD oil by swallowing it in an effort to get some pain relief, you can also place your dose under your tongue. Ingesting the oil by swallowing gives you a steady release of cannabinoids in your system. If you want something a bit faster-acting for a sudden onset of discomfort, taking the oil sublingually (under the tongue) can be best. Consider this when deciding how to use CBD oil for pain.
CBD topicals, such as CBD muscle cream or lotion, have grown as one of the preferred ways to use CBD for pain. Topicals give you the ability to apply the CBD directly to the point on your body that is hurting. For example, you could apply Nirvana’s CBD Muscle Recovery Lotion to sore muscles after a workout, use our CBD Roll On for pain in your joints, or try our broad-spectrum CBD Body Lotion for general aches and pains.
CBD gummies offer a fun, edible way to ingest CBD on the go. While edibles can take a little longer to kick in, they allow for convenient dosing while on the go. Simply eat a gummy or two when you feel discomfort coming on or get in your daily dose before bed or in the morning to help keep everyday discomforts at bay.
How Long Does It Take for CBD Oil to Work for Pain (it varies based on various factors)
Research suggests the CBD oil can get to work quicker when taken sublingually; possibly in as little as 15 minutes. Simply swallowing the CBD oil can lead to a longer onset of effects because the oil has to work its way through the digestion process before it gets to work. Beyond those general guidelines, however, each person can have a unique experience. A number of factors can affect how long it takes for CBD to work for pain, such as:
- The type of CBD oil you are taking (such as broad-spectrum, full-spectrum, or isolate)
- The potency of the CBD oil you are taking (a higher potency may mean a faster onset of relief)
- Your own personal body chemistry
- The type of pain you are experiencing
Team Up with Nirvana CBD to Help Combat Pain
While uncomfortable, pain does serve its purpose. Acute pain teaches us to avoid things like sizzling surfaces, sharp objects, and a number of potential threats to our well-being. Uncomfortable sensations also let us know when something is wrong—sometimes problems deeper than surface-level that we can’t see. The shift into viewing pain as a physiological process and not merely a symptom has brought a lot of interest to potential alternative pain remedies, including CBD oil for pain. If you’re ready to try CBD oil for pain, check out our collection of broad-spectrum CBD oil at Nirvana CBD.
Do you use CBD oil for pain? We’d love to hear about your experience. Share your story with us in the comments and we may feature you in our next article!
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The information contained in this article is not intended to serve as a substitute for advice or guidance from a certified doctor or lawyer. Before trying Cannabidiol (CBD) or purchasing any CBD product, you should always conduct your own research and consult with your doctor. While CBD was classified as “generally well tolerated with a good safely profile” by the World Health Organization (WHO), further research is needed in order to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of CBD on a generalized basis.