Cannabidiol (CBD) is a chemical that is naturally produced in cannabis plants. When separated, CBD does not cause the euphoric or “high” feeling that results from cannabis use, but has a growing list of benefits related to pain management.
WHAT ARE THE BEST TYPES OF CBD PRODUCTS FOR PAIN?
CBD is available in different forms. Below is a brief introduction to the formats typically used to ease pain.
- Oils: Most commonly, you may see ads for CBD oil. In this case, a CBD extract has been infused with a carrier oil that is safe for consumption. Some companies use naturally-occurring oils (like coconut, grape seed, or hemp seed oil), while other companies use man-made oils, like MCT oil. All have different properties and benefits, so it is important to research what ingredients may be best for your specific needs.Oils are usually taken sublingually, by placing drops under the tongue. It is recommended to hold the drops there for about a minute to allow the CBD to naturally absorb into your system before swallowing the rest. Other possible options include putting the drops in food or drink.
- Gel Capsules: Like other capsules or pills, CBD gels are taken orally with water or food. For anyone who may be nervous about the dosing they get in oils or the taste, gel capsules ensure a consistent dosage and should go down without a lingering taste. However, capsules slow the rate at which CBD absorbs into the body.
- Sprays: CBD sprays absorb oromucosal, meaning through the mucous lining inside the mouth. It can be sprayed under the tongue or on the cheeks, but should be held inside your mouth a while before swallowing. Depending on the potency, one spray is likely enough. Much like the oils, CBD extract is often infused into a spray that likely contains oils, like olive or peppermint oil, along with other ingredients.
- Creams: These are topical products (like lotions, salves, creams, or roll-ons) intended for external use only. Creams should be applied to the skin in areas where there is pain, either shallow or deep. Some CBD companies have creams with special functions, like creating a warming or cooling sensation where applied. Occasionally, people may choose to use a CBD topical cream along with a CBD oil, capsule, or spray.
Regardless of which method is used to deliver CBD into your system, effects may be felt within 15 to 45 minutes.
HOW MANY MILLIGRAMS SHOULD YOU TAKE?
There is no official guidance on how large or small a CBD dose should be. Clinical trials have produced different effects for different people.The reality is that how much CBD a person needs to take to relieve pain will depend on each person’s individual needs and pain responses. Other factors, like weight, sex, or age may impact the rate at which your body can metabolize CBD.
CBD products vary in potency. Most CBD companies will offer the same product in different strengths. It will be important to match the potency to your pain. First time users or those with mild pain will want to opt for a low potency and increase as needed.
WHAT TYPES OF PAIN ARE BEST CONTROLLED BY CBD?
There is growing evidence that CBD is effective for treating pain associated with various diseases and ailments. One study, done in Quebec, examined the effects of CBD on osteoarthritis in research animals found that CBD effectively blocked the pain. This was measured by reduced joint inflammation and increased ability to bear weight on previously weakened joints. This suggests that CBD is effective for arthritic pain.
Another study, done in Uruguay, tested the use of CBD to treat chronic pain in kidney transplant patients.
There were seven patients, ranging in age from 58 to 75 years. Two required a decrease in dosage partway through the study period. The results varied. Two patients had complete pain reduction, four had a partial response within the first 15 days, and one patient had no change in their pain levels.
This is a good example of how different people will have different experiences with CBD as a pain treatment. More studies on human participants are needed to continue to test the effects and uses of CBD for pain management. Early research evidence points to the use of CBD for cancer, migraines, arthritis, and other neuropathic pain.