Chronic pain affects a huge number of people for a variety of different reasons. These include traumas, diseases, to the most disparate of pathologies.
In the past few years, due to important advances in medical research, products containing high quality CBD extracted from hemp plants are increasingly used by those who need to alleviate their pain.
We'll discuss the mechanisms of endocannabinoids later in this piece.
But first, let's take a look at which areas that CBD products have proven to help relieve and sometimes eliminate chronic pain.
In 2016, the European Journal of Pain released a paper showing the results of an animal model to reveal whether or not arthritis could help humans manage their pain associated with this condition.
During the study, researchers applied a topical gel that contained CBD to rats with arthritis for four consecutive days.
Their results noted a significant decrease in inflammation and signs of chronic pain, with no adverse side effects.
People that supplement CBD oil for their arthritis may see a substantial reduction in pain. However, more research is required to confirm these clinical findings.
MS (Multiple Sclerosis) is a disease that attacks the immune system and can affect the whole body via the brain and nervous system
One of the most common symptoms of MS is muscle spasms, which are known to be a cause of considerable amounts of pain in some MS sufferers.
An academic paper released in 2007 revealed that short-term consumption of CBD oil was able to reduce the levels of spasticity that people who live with MS feel daily.
Although the results are quite modest, many people have reported a reduction in symptoms. Once again, further studies on humans are required to verify these results.
The same report looked at the relationship between CBD and chronic pain treatment. Researchers compiled results from many systematic reviews that covered dozens of trials and studies. Their research concluded that substantial evidence exists to prove that that cannabis is an effective treatment for chronic pain in adults.
This collective research suggests that using CBD can reduce pain and inflammation across several conditions.
The research also revealed that subjects were not likely to build up a tolerance to the effects of CBD, so they would not need to increase their dose continually, which is fantastic, considering the global opioid epidemic that the world currently faces. Opiate based prescription medicines are useful, but they are addictive, and patients that take them often build up a tolerance to these drugs incredibly quickly.
The research links included in this piece noted that cannabinoids, such as CBD, may offer effective treatments for people suffering from chronic pain.
The Mechanisms of EndocannabinoidsThe human brain can produce endocannabinoids, substances similar to the ones contained in cannabis.
Through accurate studies on the mechanisms underlying endocannabinoids produced by our brains, research has been able to throw light on the therapeutic effects of consuming cannabis.
As humans, we mainly produce two endocannabinoids: anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (commonly called 2-AG). Both have a specific action on a receptor – denominated CB1 – present in the cerebral cortex.
The endocannabinoid 2-AG is an inhibitor of the excitement of nervous cells, while anandamide has a substantial action towards conditions of stress.
Due to the studies on these mechanisms, discovering the role in regulating the electrical stimuli in the brain, it has been possible to demonstrate the analgesic capabilities of cannabis.
CBD for the Treatment of Pain
There are many useful areas in which CBD products can be used to treat pain. Some people use products derived from hemp to alleviate pain caused by arthritis or pain felt during post-operative phases, after surgical intervention.
As Discussed above, abundantly demonstrated are the anti-inflammatory and myorelaxant properties of CBD, to the point at which many patients affected by multiple sclerosis use hemp products to mitigate muscular spasms and dissolve their pain.
In general, the revisions of the studies carried out so far (both on human beings and on animals) demonstrated the effectiveness of cannabis in the treatment of chronic pain.
CBD can Also be Used to Treat Post Workout Pain in Athletes
Cannabis works as an analgesic, which helps to combat pain after and during physical exercise.
THC and CBD are both incredibly effective as natural anti-inflammatories after exercise. Cannabinoids work as powerful agents to reduce inflammation. They manage to exert their effects through suppression of cytokine production, inhibition of cell proliferation, and the induction of apoptosis.
FDA Approved Mediations Containing THC and CBD
A cannabis-based pharmaceutical product called Sativex has been approved in multiple countries across the globe. This product contains both CBD and THC and has been effective in the treatment of neuropathic pain, stiffness, MS-related muscle spasms, and severe pain from advanced cancer. This medication is undergoing intense clinical trials in the USA at the time of writing this piece.
Although cannabis and CBD research shows a great deal of promise, experts have acknowledged the current limitations. Earlier this year, the American Academy of Pain Medicine issued a statement that urged federal agencies to reschedule all medical cannabis to encourage more research. This could lead to quicker and more responsible regulation.
Kevin Boehnke, Ph.D., research investigator in the department of anesthesiology and the Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center at the University of Michigan has said:
"Because we're in this space where people are using these things all the time, but the science is pretty far behind the policy."
It's an exciting time for the medical cannabis industry, and our experts here at Enecta will keep publishing the latest legislation and information as it becomes available.