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Research regarding the effectiveness of CBD to treat chronic pain


Before taking a deep dive into the results of several research papers, a basic comprehension of what CBD oil is and how it works provides a solid foundation. Armed with this information, we can start to build a complete picture of CBD’s scope of potential.

CBD or cannabidiol belongs to a family of chemical compounds called cannabinoids, which are derived from the Cannabis sativa plant. Once ingested, CBD interacts with our body's endocannabinoid system (ECS). Connected to major organs, our immune system, and areas of the brain, the ECS is hugely important.

Throughout our endocannabinoid system are receptors that are activated by the. presence of cannabinoids like CBD. CB1 or CB2 receptors cause a variety of biological responses once activated. Studies into the benefits associated with these reactions are growing in number. However, given the sheer quantity of variables in the human body, providing a definitive conclusion of CBD’s abilities is proving difficult.

The primary focus of scientists is to understand the endocannabinoid system and the benefits CBD could have.

Don’t worry, CBD won’t get you high

It is a valid concern. CBD is extracted from Cannabis sativa, a plant that also contains THC. Tetrahydrocannabinol is well-known for its psychoactive side effects. These two chemical compounds have completely different structures. CBD does not induce a high or any kind of psychoactive side effect. Both cannabinoids still work on the same principle of interacting with our ECS. However, due to their difference on a molecular level, the receptors and reactions they trigger are also different. A brother and sister may come from the same parents, but they will be uniquely different in how they behave—the concept is the same with THC and CBD.

CBD’s potential at treating chronic pain according to the research carried out so far?

Chronic pain is defined as a severe prolonged pain, which has been sustained for longer than 12 weeks. Chronic pain can dramatically affect a person’s quality of life including difficulty sleeping eating and mobility.

The most common way of treating chronic pain is pharmaceutical pills including strong opioids. We cannot doubt the effectiveness of these drugs, but their side effects can also be severe. CBD has recently become very popular as an alternative treatment to chronic pain as it has shown to have almost zero negative effects on the body even at high doses.

Let take a look at some previous studies regarding CBD and chronic pain.

Major surgery

When carrying out the research the focus was on ensuring that the recorded results were logged with precise doses being administered. The results showed some very positive effects.

Ulcerative colitis (UC)

To ensure that conclusions are not corrupted researchers adopt numerous techniques. To test the effectiveness of CBD, a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was set up. Neither the patient nor the researchers had any knowledge of who had been issued with the placebo or controlled CBD dose. Ulcerative colitis is a chronic condition that causes prolonged periods of abdominal and rectal pain.

The results of the study concluded that “although the primary endpoint was not successfully reached, several signals suggest CBD-rich botanical extract may be beneficial for symptomatic treatment of UC”. The results were promising, but further experimentation with dosage would be needed to come to a definite conclusion.

Rheumatoid arthritis

In 2010, it was estimated that over 2.9 million people had rheumatoid arthritis. Unfortunately, those numbers are also expected to have risen as a result of lifestyle factors. For this study, researchers identified that CBD taken orally as an oil supplement could provide more targeted relief.

The report also concluded that topical CBD application has therapeutic potential for relief of arthritis pain-related behaviours”. It went on to add that, in their rat model, "exploratory behaviour was not altered by CBD indicating a limited effect on higher brain function".

Multiple sclerosis and chronic pain

In 2017, the National Academies of Sciences published a systematic review of the therapeutic effects of cannabis and cannabinoids. Collating data from a number of previous studies, the report explored CBD’s effectiveness in regards to cancer, chronic pain, epilepsy, addiction, anxiety, and several other conditions. Notable highlights include: "In adults with multiple sclerosis-related spasticities, short-term use of oral cannabinoids improves patient-reported spasticity symptoms".

The research showed that In adults with chronic pain, patients who were treated with cannabinoids were more likely to experience a significant reduction in pain symptoms. The findings of the paper are incredibly comprehensive and well worth a read to understand the sheer scope of the review. It brings together a vast collection of information and attempts to evaluate each one as part of a larger picture—something that has previously not happened. Many studies take place in isolation.

CBD oil is becoming more widely understood by the public, and based purely on patient accounts is being met with tremendous praise. The need now is for research to corroborate the claims made by users so that treatment can be applied constructively.

We are sure you’ll agree the results look very promising. CBD interaction in children is less studied so, therefore, there is less information regarding the possible benefits. CBD oil is also not recommended while breastfeeding or during pregnancy.

The lack of toxicity and side effects associated with CBD certainly point towards a world full of possibilities.

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