The use of cannabis as a medicine for the relief of pain originated thousands of years ago. Now, with cannabis laws in many countries becoming ever-more relaxed, cannabis is again stepping into the spotlight as an excellent natural alternative to prescription pain medication.
The main compound in cannabis that is responsible for its pain-relieving properties is cannabidiol, or CBD. Unlike the other major active compound in cannabis, THC, CBD is non-psychoactive and doesn’t cause a high. With almost no week going by without new studies on the medicinal benefits of CBD being published, CBD as a treatment for pain and other health conditions is becoming increasingly popular. Furthermore, its lack of psychoactivity makes it legal in most countries.
HOW CBD WORKS: CANNABINOIDS AND THE ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM
Humans and many other animals on earth have a biological system known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS consists of cannabinoid receptors located throughout the body, including the brain, the spinal cord, and the immune system. The system helps regulate numerous important bodily functions such as sleep, immune response, and pain.
CBD influences receptors in the ECS indirectly and sustains multiple outcomes. For instance, CBD stops the body from absorbing anandamide, which is a compound associated with regulating pain. This way, CBD can reduce the amount of pain one feels, as well as reduce inflammation, which is an underlying cause of many painful conditions.
HEALTH CONDITIONS WHERE CBD CAN SUPPORT TREATMENT
CBD can support the treatment of a host of common painful health conditions, including but not limited to:
Inflammation and protection of nerves
HOW TO USE CBD FOR PAIN RELIEF?
A convenient way to use CBD for pain management is with CBD oil. CBD oils are normally made from industrial hemp, which has a high CBD content and negligible levels of THC.
The manufacturers of CBD oil products may use different methods to extract compounds from the hemp plant, as well as different carrier oils such as coconut oil, olive oil, and hemp seed oil to harness CBD. CBD oil is available in different strengths, allowing medicinal users to dose according to their preferences.
HOW TO DOSE CBD FOR PAIN
There is no risk of lethal overdose associated with CBD; however, it is always better to start out with low doses, then increase slowly over a period of days or weeks until you reach the desired effect.
A recommended low starting dose for CBD is 5–10mg.
Along with CBD oils that are normally intended for oral consumption, there are other ways to treat pain with CBD. You can find CBD capsules, edibles, topical creams, as well as CBD-rich cannabis strains that you can smoke or vaporize. CBD works fastest when inhaled or in the form of sublingual tinctures. Some users even combine various methods to get the best of both worlds. For soothing local pain, you can also use topical CBD creams and ointments.
ARE THERE ANY SIDE EFFECTS OF CBD?
CBD is normally well-tolerated even when taken in high doses. Minor side effects such as tiredness, diarrhoea, or loss of appetite have been reported. If you observe such side effects, it’s best to reduce your dosage until they disappear.
One possible concern when taking CBD is that it can make other medications more or less effective. If you are taking certain medications and plan to take CBD supplements, you should discuss this with a health professional first. They can advise you regarding any questions or concerns you may have.
CBD-RICH CANNABIS STRAINS
In addition to CBD oils and other CBD supplements, CBD-rich cannabis strains are another way in which you can take CBD for pain. A Californian study performed in 2006 found that the vast majority of medical marijuana users (82.6%) use it for the purpose of pain relief.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST CBD STRAINS FOR PAIN?
Cannabis strains can vary when it comes to their cannabinoid profile. Some strains are rich in THC and low in CBD, other varieties contain mostly CBD, while others still can provide an equal balance of both.
When looking for the perfect strain for you, know that everyone is different. Some medical cannabis users find that cannabis strains rich in THC do benefit them, since the high helps distract from the painful symptoms. Others prefer strains that contain little or no THC, which makes them ideal for daytime consumption. Some users report that cannabis strains containing both CBD and THC work best for them. This is supported by a theory known as the “entourage effect”. If you are a medicinal user but have yet to find the perfect CBD-rich strain for you, it’s best to experiment with several options to see how you respond.
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