CBD for Chronic Pain
It’s safe to say that we’ve all experienced pain at some point in our lives. Some were acute pain as a result of injury, or chronic pain due to disease or infection. Pain is simply a normal part of life and is our bodies’ way of saying that something is wrong.
Most of the time pain will go away on its own as the injury heals or the infection clears. But for some people pain can sometimes last weeks, months or sometimes even years later. When pain persists for 12 weeks or longer, this is what is known as chronic pain.
Chronic pain can oftentimes become quite debilitating. I can cause people to be unable to go about their daily lives in a normal way, often also ending up jeopardizing other aspects of the physical and mental health.
Types of Chronic Pain
Scientists believe that chronic pain is because the body sends unprompted pain signals to the brain without any clear cause. This can also happen long after healing has taken place. Chronic pain can also roughly be grouped into one of two types – neuropathic or inflammatory.
The cause of Neuropathic pain is primarily by the over activation of a neurotransmitter in the brain. The name of this neurotransmitter is glutamate. It is responsible for modulating the neurons in the neural pathway of pain. Glycine is another type of neurotransmitter in the brainstem and spinal cord. This neurotransmitter is responsible for promoting the actions of glutamate. Its role is to make it glycine a key player in pain signaling.
Inflammatory pain is related to neuropathic pain (1), but is not limited to neurons alone. Inflammatory pain is caused by responses in the immune system to environmental stressors, toxins and infections. The underlying mechanism involved in inflammatory pain is the modulation (sensitization) of TRPV1 channels. This pain modulation is the release of prostaglandins which regulate inflammatory responses, oxidative stress and lowering the nociceptive threshold that increases sensitivity to pain.
Symptoms of Chronic Pain
Symptoms can vary a lot between different people and is very much dependent on the original cause of the chronic pain. However, despite this, many symptoms are considered as common and include the following:
- Headaches and neck pain
- Lower back pain
- Shooting, burning, or stabbing sensations
- Tingling or a “pins and needles”
- Numbness or a loss of sensation
- Spontaneous pain or pain that occurs without a trigger
- Pain that’s caused by events that are typically not painful (e.g. rubbing against something, being in cold temperatures, or hair brushing)
Emotional & Miscellaneous Symptoms
- Difficulty with sleeping or resting, and loss of sleep
- An inability to perform normal daily activities (e.g. work, exercise, or social events)
- Feelings of anxiety and depression
CBD for chronic Pain
You just need to ask around or do a cursory search of the internet to see that cannabidiol (CBD) for pain is probably one of the most common reasons people use it. And for good reason. Although research into CBD for pain is ongoing and new mechanisms of action are being discovered, what we do know as that CBD can be a very effective pain reliever that helps many people get back to living full and active lives again.
The reason why CBD has the potential to relieve chronic pain effectively is because of the different ways in which it interacts with our bodies, our endocannabinoid system and various other receptors and neurotransmitters involved in pain.
CBD, the Endocannabinoid System & Pain
When we take CBD, it can help relieve chronic pain because of the way it interacts with our ECS, activating cannabinoid receptors and restoring the levels of the endocannabinoid that control how we experience pain. For instance, when we do not have enough of endocannabinoids in our bodies, we can experience an increase in sensitivity to pain. Similarly, both CB-1 and CB-2 cannabinoid receptors play an important role in your body’s ability to inhibit and control pain.
. For example, CBD suppresses pain processing by activating both the CB-1 receptors responsible for suppressing pain signals, and the CB-2 receptors that stimulate opioid receptors to release natural painkillers in our brain. In addition, CBD has also been shown to enhance anandamide signaling in the brain, the endocannabinoid often referred to as the “bliss molecule” because of its link to feelings of well-being and happiness.
CBD, Glutamate, Glycine & Pain
As mentioned, glycine plays an important role in the way that glutamate modulates the activity of the neurons in primary pain pathways, exciting glutamate activity and increasing our sensitivity to pain. Because of this interaction between glutamate and glycine, activation of the glycine receptors (GlyRs) can both cause, and increase the sensation of pain. Scientists have found that CBD causes a cannabinoid-induced analgesic effect by regulating the activity of α3 GlyRs mediated glycinergic activity, in turn, suppressing chronic neuropathic and inflammatory pain.
CBD, Prostaglandins, Oxidative Stress & Pain
Researchers have also shown that CBD has powerful anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce chronic inflammatory pain. This is primarily because of CBD’s ability to decrease the activity of the enzyme cyclooxygenase in a similar way as NSAIDs like Ibuprofen and Naproxen do. This decrease in cyclooxygenase inhibits the release of the prostaglandins responsible for your body’s inflammatory response. Researchers also found that CBD helps fight inflammation and its associated oxidative stress by exercising an immunosuppressive effect on the cells that play a role in inflammation.
CBD Products for Chronic Pain
As with anything health related, it is important to always choose a high-quality product when using CBD for pain. It is also important to keep on taking it regularly to experience full benefits.
CBD Oils & Tinctures:
For daily prevention and maintenance we recommend the sublingual administration of a full-spectrum CBD oil or tincture.
For acute flare-ups, vaping CBD can provide almost immediate relief due to its fast onset of action. Topical Treatments: A specially formulated CBD cream will deliver the CBD directly to the affected area and provide localized pain relief.