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CBD for Chronic Pain: What You Need to Know

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Back when the substance was still illegal in most of the world, CBD’s potential as a pain-relieving tool was one of the first things that made it gain public attention. That, and its anti-seizure properties, which were highlighted in 2013 with the Charlotte Figi case. The only FDA-approved CBD drug available now in the US is the anti-seizure medication Epidiolex.

When it comes to treating chronic pain, CBD provides a wide array of benefits with relatively few side effects. Many laboratories are looking into getting CBD-based pain medication approved. If you are considering using CBD for pain relief yourself, here is what you should know:

The basics of CBD

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a substance found in cannabis plants. It was identified in 1940, and today it is mostly extracted from hemp, which is one of the reasons why CBD oil often contains only trace amounts of THC. The other reason is industrial extraction methods. CBD extraction using supercritical CO2, for example, allows manufacturers to further separate CBD from any potential THC still found in hemp, creating CBD isolates that are as much as 99% pure.

What this all means is that CBD will not get you high. What it will do is interact with your endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is a cell signalling system. That interaction leads to a reduction in inflammation throughout the body and a decrease in pain symptoms.

What can CBD treat?

Studies on the effects of CBD on different conditions have been performed for a long time. However, a lot of them were targeted at evaluating the effectiveness of medical marijuana, which means those studies used compounds that mixed CBD and THC, instead of pure CBD.

Since the use of CBD by itself is a relatively new trend, it’ll be a while before we have enough verified data to help us understand what CBD does and doesn’t do. However, there is good indication that CBD can help with back pain, migraines, arthritis, cancer pain, pain caused by chemotherapy, and neuropathic pain, among other conditions.

How do I use CBD?

When using CBD to treat pain, you need to decide between using topical application, sending CBD into your bloodstream, or doing both.

CBD creams, salves, and oils can have a localised effect if applied directly to a painful area. This makes them useful to treat arthritis and back pain, for example. When used on the skin, CBD rarely reaches your bloodstream, which means you can avoid any side effects associated with the substance.

Sending CBD into your bloodstream, on the other hand, can affect your entire body. This is usually done by placing CBD oil into your tongue, but CBD edibles and vaping are also viable options.

What are the dangers of using CBD?

Most side effects of CBD are associated with bowel problems. It may cause irritation, constipation, or diarrhoea. The substance is also psychoactive, with calming effects which may be unwanted if your only goal is getting rid of pain. Finally, like many health supplements, CBD may increase the risk of liver-toxicity by overloading the organ, especially if utilised in high doses. If you’d like to learn more about CBD in general, read this Cibdol.com article

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Image credit: Freepik


Peter Wallace has been an advocate for mental health awareness for years. He holds a master’s degree in counselling from the University of Edinburgh.

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