CBD For Pain: How & Why It Works
Struggling with pain? You are not alone. An estimated 50 million adults in the U.S. had chronic pain in 2016. Nearly 20 million had high-impact chronic pain. Here are some explanations on how the body perceives pain and why many people are turning to CBD for pain relief.
How bad is the pain problem in the U.S.?
84% of people with high-impact chronic pain can’t work outside of the home.
- Chronic pain is the #1 cause of disability in the 3%-7% of adults who have chronic neuropathic pain.
- Over 4 million people have chronic migraines.
- 15 million adults have severe joint pain from arthritis.
Physical pain is just one piece of the puzzle. Chronic pain also affects your mental health. It’s hard to feel chipper when you’re in constant pain. That’s why it’s no surprise that people with chronic pain are:
Three times more likely to have anxiety and depression.
More likely to misuse opioids (21%-29%) and overdose (17,000 deaths annually).
The sad reality is that conventional pain treatments are not always effective. Even when they are, there is a risk of dependence and other side effects. Should you give up your pain prescription? No. But CBD may help you get the relief you crave.
What Causes Pain?
To understand how CBD helps with pain, you have to understand how the body perceives or senses pain.
The process is more complicated than you think, but pain signals fire at lightning speed so pain is felt almost immediately.
In cases of chronic pain, there may be several factors at play.
- The spinal cord and brain may not be able to reduce the pain signal.
- Your pain receptors may be ultra-sensitive.
- Chronic tissue damage causes constant pain signals.
- Inflammation activates pain receptors that are normally dormant.
- Nerves may not function properly after a nerve injury.
- Chronic pain can have many causes, and they are not always apparent. That’s what makes this type of pain so difficult to treat.
How Does CBD Help with Pain?
CBD interacts with your body’s endocannabinoid system. Cannabinoid receptors are scattered all throughout the body, from your organs to your connective tissues, immune cells, brain, nerves, and glands. As you may have guessed, the endocannabinoid system also affects how we experience pain.
CBD can cause the endocannabinoid system to trigger a number of responses in the body, and these responses can help with the pain.
– CBD prevents the body from absorbing anandamide, a compound that regulates pain. Higher levels of anandamide in the blood can reduce your perception of pain.
– CBD reduces inflammation in the nervous system and brain, which can reduce pain.
– CBD when taken orally reduces the pain signals from the spine to the brain which decreases pain perception. Most anti-depressants help with chronic pain by stimulating serotonin production.
A review in 2018 looked at studies conducted between 1975 and 2018 to see how well CBD worked at reducing chronic pain. These studies covered several types of pain, including neuropathic and fibromyalgia –all of which are notoriously difficult to treat.
Researchers concluded that CBD was effective at overall pain management and caused no side effects.
Another study from 2004, which was published in the British Journal of Pharmacology, found that CBD helped alleviate pain through TRPV1 receptors. These receptors control a variety of functions, including pain awareness and inflammation.
As you can see, CBD affects pain in many ways, from reducing inflammation to inhibiting processes that cause you to experience pain. CBD has been shown to be a promising way to treat chronic pain without serious side effects and risk of dependence.
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