Pain Management and CBD
HOW CBD WORKS
CBD is on off more than 100 compounds in cannabis that create drug like effects in the body, including the nervous and immune systems. Called cannabinoids, these compounds mimic naturally produced compounds in our bodies called endocannabinoids that help maintain overall balance.
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) forms a major signaling network that regulates memory, mood, pain, and hunger. CBD and other cannabinoids act as keys, locking an unlocking receptors – much like how dopamine and serotonin act as messengers in the nervous system. Though most cannabinoids bind to nerve receptors, CBD does not directly trigger receptors. Instead, it binds in a different spot, leaving the normal spot free. By doing this, it makes it harder for receptors to activate. While this may seem undesirable, too much nerve activity can be a bad thing. If you are experiencing loss of sleep or heightened stress, it may be from overstimulation of cannabinoid receptors.
Unlike THC, CBD will not get you high, or arrested. It is easy to take and compares very favorably to pharmaceuticals, especially opioids: you cannot overdose or get addicted, and its side effects are rare and mild.
80 million Americans suffer from pain that lasts longer than three months, and modern medicine has gone to great lengths to develop pharmaceuticals to treat it. But prescription and over-the-counter drugs have many side effects, up to and including overdose, addiction, and death.
Emerging evidence suggests CBD is very effective at working with your ECS to influence receptors that regulate inflammation and pain. It may even cause the body to produce endocannabinoids that ease symptoms.
According to researchers at the University of Colorado, several studies show that cannabinoids like CBD provide relief from chronic pain. (Thought the are not sure if it is because cannabinoids have a direct effect on the intensity of the pain, or if they work by changing how we perceive pain, or both). And in a recent report published by the National Academy of Sciences, researchers found that patients with chronic pain who were treated with products containing cannabinoids were more likely to report significant pain relief.
A growing body of research suggest CBD is also an antidote to neuropathic pain, which usually feels like a burning sensation. In studies done at the Institute of Biomolecular Chemistry in Naples, Italy, CBD directly influenced TRPV1 receptors, a family of nerve channels that influences how you perceive pain. These scientists discovered CBD desensitized these neuroreceptors, and reduced pain levels, specifically the tingling and burning sensations associated with neuropathic pain.
Research has shown the potential for CBD to reduce inflammation from arthritis, autoimmune diseases, headaches, cramps, and muscle aches. One study showed CBD is up to 20 times more potent at relieving inflammation than ibuprofen and other NSAIDs. Another study, with animals, showed interaction with neurotransmitters that holds hope for humans.