Pain can range in severity from irritating to overwhelming. It can go from one to the other within a day, or even a few hours for many people with chronic pain. At its worst, pain can be debilitating, inhibiting your ability to engage and enjoy life.
While prescription and over-the-counter medications can offer relief, they often come with nasty side effects, including fatigue, nausea, dizziness, and constipation.
For people who experience daily unbearable pain, prolonged use of painkillers could pose significant long-term health risks, ranging from addiction and dependence to kidney damage. The good news is CBD may offer a natural, non-pharmaceutical source of relief. While supplements cannot replace a doctor’s prescription, CBD can be a helpful complement.
How CBD Helps Manage Pain
Pain is often associated with inflammation, both of which are alarm bells set off by the immune system to tell us something is wrong.
Many prescription and over-the-counter medications work by modulating pain and inflammation simultaneously. CBD does the same thing without the high risk of severe side effects (constipation, nausea or vomiting, and addiction, to name a few) associated with many painkillers.
CBD works by interacting with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), an intricate network of neurotransmitters (endocannabinoids) and receptors located throughout the brain and body. The ECS is responsible for a range of functions, including immune response, sleep, mood, memory, appetite, reproduction, and pain sensation. CBD influences the ECS’ CB2 receptors, which are primarily associated with the immune system, including immune responses such as pain and inflammation.
CBD stimulates cannabinoid production, helping the ECS, and subsequently, the immune system to work more effectively. The result is more efficient healing processes and less pain.
What Kinds of Pain Can CBD Treat?
A growing body of evidence suggests CBD can treat pain associated with a broad range of ailments, from menstrual cramps to arthritis and chronic back pain to multiple sclerosis.
One study published in the 2017 journal Pain found CBD can prevent and reduce osteoarthritis pain and joint neuropathy by reducing inflammation and protecting the nerves. A survey from the Arthritis Foundation confirmed many people are successfully using CBD to treat arthritis pain.
An overwhelming majority of respondents reported they have used, currently use, or are considering using CBD for pain relief and arthritis management. Almost 90% of those who use CBD do so every day or several times a week.
Another study, based in Uruguay, examined CBD's effects in treating chronic pain in kidney transplant patients. The study included seven patients, ages 58 to 75. The results were very promising. Two patients had complete pain reduction, four had a partial decrease within the first 15 days, while only one had no change in their pain level.
A study involving rats demonstrated CBD reduced sciatic nerve pain and inflammation. Considering back pain is a leading source of chronic pain and the second-most cause of disability in the United States, this finding is significant for individuals and the potential future of public health.
To date, most research has involved animal subjects, and more studies using human participants are needed to understand better how we can most effectively use CBD for pain management. However, preliminary research shows it may help an array of issues, including migraines, arthritis, cancer, and other neuropathic pain.
How Much Should You Take?
Just as CBD can affect one person differently than another, the dosage also varies. There is no official guidance on dosing. However, manufacturers can offer recommendations.
The amount you take will depend on a few factors, including the severity of the pain and the type of CBD you’re using. Your weight, sex, and age can also affect the rate at which your body metabolizes CBD.
You may need to experiment a bit to find the ideal amount for you. Generally, it’s best to start small. For example, for mild pain, you may want to start with a dosage of 30 mg or 40 mg per day, split between two doses, adding another 10 mg as needed. You may want to start with 60 or 70 mg a day in two or three doses and build from there in 10 mg increments for more severe pain.
Products Available for Pain
CBD is available in a broad range of forms. Here’s a brief outline of the main categories and how they can address pain:
- Oils: CBD oil is probably the most common form of CBD. These are made with a CBD extract infused with a carrier oil, such as coconut, grape seed, or hemp seed. Usually, you take these sublingually, by placing the drop under your tongue and holding it there for about a minute to allow absorption. You can also add oil to food or drinks.
- Tinctures: Tinctures are very similar to oils in content and consumption. Tinctures, like Bespoke Extract’s Full Spectrum Lemon Lime Tincture, contain the same basic CBD and carrier oil base as well as additional ingredients, such as terpenes, other cannabinoids, essential nutrients, and flavors, to form a proprietary blend.
- Gel Capsules: CBD gels can be taken orally with food or a beverage. These offer a consistent dosage and no lingering taste. However, they tend to work a bit slower compared to other methods as the CBD takes longer to absorb into the body.
- Sprays: Sprays absorb oromucosally or through the mucous lining in the mouth. You spray these under the tongue or on the cheek and hold it there for a while before swallowing. Like oils, these usually contain a carrier oil, like peppermint oil.
- Creams: These are topical solutions such as salves, lotions, balms, or roll-ons intended for external use only. You apply these to the skin in painful areas.
Before adding CBD to your health regimen, be sure to consult with your doctor. When you’ve got the OK, try one of Bespoke Extract’s ethically-sourced, U.S.A.-made tinctures, oils, or soft gels. If you prefer a topical treatment, we also love Fab CBD’s topical cream or, for menstrual cramps, Foria’s suppositories are another quality choice.