If you’re on the internet or driving down the street, you’ve probably noticed it: CBD is everywhere. The industry has exploded in popularity ever since its legalization at the federal level with the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, turning into a massive economic industry that is expected to more than double every year for the next three years.
Why is CBD so popular? Numerous anecdotal reports and some scientific evidence have found that CBD can help people deal with an array of physical and emotional problems. Without a doubt, more research is needed, but for now, it does appear as if CBD may be able to help people.
One of the primary areas that CBD may be able to assist people is by reducing their pain.
In order to understand how CBD may work on the reduction of pain, you should first understand how this works. Pain in your body is influenced by a variety of factors and systems. One such example is your Endocannabinoid System, found in every human. This system influences many sensations of your body, including pain, appetite, stress levels, sleep, mood and more.
Your Endocannabinoid System is comprised primarily of cannabinoids that are produced throughout your body. Those cannabinoids bind with cannabinoid receptors that are also found across your body. Thus far, researchers have found two types of receptors, CB1 and CB2, but it is likely that there are more. Your Endocannabinoid System is activated when the cannabinoids bind with these receptors. Enzymes break down the cannabinoids when the reaction is complete.
The ways in which this reaction helps to reduce pain are not completely understood, but there are some theories. In addition to directly impacting your endocannabinoid system, there is evidence to suggest that CBD can also reduce inflammation throughout your body. This inflammation reduction appears to occur with your skin, muscles, and even internal organs, and this inflammation reduction is association with a reduction of pain.
Again, to be clear, CBD has not been approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration as a formal treatment for pain reduction. More research is needed in order to confirm that CBD can reduce pain, as well as examine its potential long-term dangers.
However, the available research is promising. CBD appears to be helpful at relieving a wide array of types of pain.
For example, a 2018 scientific review on the subject found evidence to suggest that CBD may be helpful at reducing numerous types of pain, including chronic pain, neuropathic pain, and pain caused by fibromyalgia.
CBD may be able to help migraine sufferers: A 2017 study found that CBD may assist people in reducing the acuteness and intensity of pain caused by migraines.
People who suffer from Multiple Sclerosis often suffer from muscle spasticity. This occurs when their muscles tighten and lock, causing a great deal of pain. One study found that CBD can lessen the pain associated with this condition.
It is possible that CBD may be helpful at addressing the pain caused from cancer treatments. Two studies – one from 2010 and another from 2013 – found that CBD, when used in conjunction with opioids, may be more helpful at reducing pain than opioid use alone.
Animal tests of CBD and pain have also been promising. In a 2016 study, researchers gave rats arthritis and then applied topical CBD gel to those rats. They found that the rats showed more joint mobility and displayed fewer pain symptoms. Indeed, a long article on the Rheumatoid Arthritis Support Network provides a comprehensive overview of the subject of arthritis and CBD, discussing the research and the ways in which CBD may be able to assist patients.
One of the more interesting and confusing aspects of CBD is that there is not just one type. Indeed, CBD comes in multiple varities. The two most common are Full and Broad Spectrum. Full Spectrum CBD contains THC (short for tetrahydrocannabinol, the active ingredient in marijuana which causes intoxication), while Broad Spectrum does not. There is considerable debate within the CBD community about the effectiveness of Full vs. Broad Spectrum CBD, with Full Spectrum supporters arguing in the efficacy of the Entourage Effect. According to the theory behind the Entourage Effect, CBD is most effective when it contains all of its naturally occurring components, including THC. Full Spectrum CBD, if produced legally, does not contain enough THC to result in any kind of intoxication or “high.”
Furthermore, CBD can be ingested in many forms, including vaping juices, topical creams, capsules, edibles and more. Each ingestion method has its own strengths and weaknesses, and some work quicker than others: Vaping or taking CBD sublingually seems to be the fastest, while topical creams are generally the slowest.
There are two considerations to keep in mind if you are interested in using CBD for pain relief. First, always make sure that you check with a doctor before starting CBD. This is not because CBD is inherently dangerous – indeed, a World Health Organization report has found that CBD is generally safe and well-tolerated in humans. However, that does not mean it is completely without risk, as there are concerns over CBD and drug interactions. Furthermore, additional studies have pointed to potential problems that CBD may create when it comes to liver function. This is not to say that CBD damages your liver, but people with liver problems may be more susceptible to additional problems with CBD. As such, make sure to discuss CBD use with your doctor before taking it. You would do this with any other supplement, and you should treat CBD the same way.
Additionally, make sure you do not purchase CBD unless you can confirm its ingredients via a Certificate of Analysis. Unfortunately, the federal government is moving very slowly when it comes to testing and labeling requirements and CBD. As a result, it is easy for unscrupulous CBD sellers to sell products that do not actually contain CBD or are otherwise mislabeled. A 2017 study from the University of Pennsylvania examined 81 CBD products and found that nearly 70% were mislabeled for a variety of ingredients, including THC.
Fortunately, many CBD vendors – including SUPA Naturals – provide Certificates of Analysis with all of their products. These certificates are essentially lab reports produced by independently hired laboratories that confirm what ingredients are in the products you are taking. As such, always make sure to purchase products that have Certificates of Analysis available.
As you have hopefully learned by now, CBD is an area that shows a great deal of promise and potential. More research is needed, but there is evidence to suggest that CBD can help people deal with pain.