CBD for Chronic Pain
CBD for Chronic Pain

CBD for Chronic Pain. How Effective Is It?

CBD is one of the effective natural remedies which enhances pain regulating receptors and reduces anxiety, inducing pain relief with nearly no side effects.

Painful health conditions are not uncommon. Pain is more of a protective mechanism in our body. It is an alert signal from the brain that something is wrong, and it should save the body from further damage.

For instance, when your hand suddenly touches the flame, it sends a quick message to the brain, and in that response, you feel pain and remove the hand away from the flame, which otherwise could have entirely burned you.

In other words, the pain usually signifies damage to body cells, tissues or organs.

Acute pain resolves shortly on its own after injury healing. Chronic pain, in contrast, is the most frustrating and lasts longer (several months or even years), and it could be due to autoimmune diseases (rheumatoid arthritis), anxiety/mental health disorders (PTSD) or continuous injury with an incomplete repair.

However, some chronic pains are of unknown origin, meaning that you have no clue what is causing you pain.

Fact: Chronic pain is more diffuse, unlike acute pain, which is more localised.

Some chronic pain we perceive can be due to heightened emotions, past experiences and anxiety, intensifying pain awareness. Similarly, some people have hypersensitivity to pain stimuli.

Fact: Up to 35% of the population in Britain suffers from chronic pain, most commonly musculoskeletal pain (every 8 in 10 people) (1).

Chronic pain can involve any part of the body. Perhaps, pain in joints, muscles, shoulders, back, neck and headaches are some common ones.

Fact: Fibromyalgia is the most common chronic pain, 7 times more in females, as per NHS (2).

Analgesics (NSAIDs, paracetamol, opioids) seem an ultimate solution to subside the pain (temporarily). But then a time comes when these pain killers do not work anymore because of tolerance build-up against them.

Additionally, according to a study published in Australian Prescriber, Peptic ulcer (ulcer in the stomach) is the common side effect of using NSAIDS for a prolonged time (3). Opioids are heavy pain killers and commonly used in chronic pain management.

Perhaps, the world is experiencing an opioid crisis due to its misuse, overuse and deadly consequences, as per WHO (4).

When these detrimental side effects became evident to medical researchers, they started digging into the past to explore the cure of pain used in ancient times, which was safe, natural and effective.

Eventually, CBD(Cannabidiol) was discovered as one of the miracle constituents in the Sativa plant, a natural remedy with numerous health benefits, including analgesia for chronic pain.

A wealth of clinical and pre-clinical studies favoured CBD for chronic pain due to known and unknown causes.

Is CBD good for pain?

CBD is synonymous with natural pain killers. A case report published in the Journal of Opioid Management found that CBD can help relieve significant chronic pain due to neuropathy (damaged nerve caused) and radiculopathy (damage to nerve roots from the spinal cord) (5).

How would CBD help ease chronic pain?

 CBD’s pain-relieving mechanism is different from THC (another constituent of the cannabis plant). CBD itself could not exert an analgesic effect, but it makes the pain perception bearable or less bothersome and improves the quality of life.

It seems to act more on relieving inflammation that manifests as pain or discomfort in bones, muscles and tissues.

Unlike THC, CBD does not act on the endocannabinoids system (the natural cannabinoids in our body) via its CB1 receptors (which regulate pain), but rather it enhances the activity of these receptors to subside pain. 

There is evidence that CBD, when used with THC in the ratio of 1:1, can have better and potential analgesic effects, especially in cancer pain. Perhaps, CBD, when used with THC, helps mitigate THC effects.

CBD also enhances anandamide (AEA), another endocannabinoid, which is responsible for pain regulations and helps relieve pain and discomfort.

Besides, CBD helps lower anxiety and improves pain thresholds which are intensified by stress or fear. On top, there is no chance of physical dependence, tolerance build-up and other side effects, making CBD use more favourable for chronic pain relief.

Unlike conventional pain killers that are likely oral and intravenous/ injections, CBD is available in all user-friendly forms, including mist sprays, oils, vapes, candles, tablets, capsules, and edibles (coffee, gummies).

They are also available in topical forms, such as CBD ointments, balm, and lotion, which are ideal for gentle messaging for chronic pain relief. 

CBD balm for arthritis:

Topicals such as CBD balm seem more promising for effective pain relief in body aches, including arthritic pain.

CBD balms can be applied to sore body regions for a precise effect, unlike systemic(oral) intake. Besides, the massage manoeuvre with CBD balm enhances blood circulation, causing quick absorption of CBD and subsequent pain relief.

 CBD oil for pain management:

An effective massage of CBD oil helps enhance blood circulation, de-stress fatigue muscles, relieve muscle spasms and infuse soothing sensations in a chronic aching body.

CBD oils are available in various strengths – the best would be to seek advice from your doctor/GP, who will guide you about what would be the ideal dose for you. 

Can I use CBD with painkillers for chronic pain?

Although CBD makes the pain less bothersome, it is not an analgesic itself. CBD helps enhance those mechanisms that regulate pain in your body.

Therefore, if you use CBD with regular analgesics, you will have better pain control and less need to rely on high doses of medicines, lowering your odds of side effects.

Caution: Pregnant and breastfeeding ladies should avoid using CBD products, especially with THC.

Also, patients with liver disease and those on multiple medications should seek advice from doctors before consuming CBD products. 

CBD dose for pain relief:

There is evidence that 30-40 mg/day of CBD could provoke pain-relieving effects. However, not everyone suffers the same pain: it varies from person to person in terms of type, nature and intensity of pain.

It also depends on the cause of pain, pain sensitivity and use of painkillers.

The best practice would be to start with a mild-moderate CBD dose. However, you must also consult your doctor/GP to help figure out the right CBD dose for you.

Best CBD oil for chronic pain:

Here we created a list of the most credited suppliers of organic CBD oil for chronic pain in the UK as follows:

Cubid CBD

Infinity CBD

Nutrivive CBD

Orange County CBD

CBII CBD

FourFive CBD

Hempura CBD

CBD Armour

CBD Brothers

CBD Life

BNatural CBD

Cannacares CBD

Evopure CBD

Purity Hemp Company

Blessed CBD

In Summary

  • Chronic pain is not uncommon, which can be due to multiple health problems and can hamper your routine activities. Conventional pain killers seem temporary solutions which lose their effects after prolonged use.
  • CBD is one of the effective natural remedies which enhances pain regulating receptors and reduces anxiety, inducing pain relief with nearly no side effects.
  • CBD is available in various user-friendly forms. Perhaps, CBD balms and oils are more favourable for a gentle massage to soothe pain in chronic conditions such as arthritis and fibromyalgia.

References (APA 7th edition):

  1. Chronic pain in England: Unseen, unequal, unfair. (n.d.). Versus Arthritis. https://www.versusarthritis.org/about-arthritis/data-and-statistics/chronic-pain-in-england/#:~:text=Around%2015.5%20million%20people%20in
  2.  Fibromyalgia. (2017, October 20). Nhs.uk. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/fibromyalgia/#:~:text=What%20causes%20fibromyalgia%3F
  3. Drini, M. (2017). Peptic ulcer disease and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Australian Prescriber40(3), 91–93. https://doi.org/10.18773/austprescr.2017.037
  4. World Health Organization. (2021, August 4). Opioid Overdose. Www.who.int. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/opioid-overdose
  5.  Eskander, MD, MBA, J. P., Spall, BS, J., Spall, BA, A., Shah, MD, MBA, R. V., & Kaye, MD, PhD, A. D. (2020). Cannabidiol (CBD) as a treatment of acute and chronic back pain: A case series and literature review. Journal of Opioid Management16(3), 215–218. https://doi.org/10.5055/jom.2020.0570