As more people look for safer, more natural pain relievers to the traditional prescription-based medicines, the surge in the popularity of CBD oil as a serious option continues to grow.
In this article, we’re going to explore why this is, what are the benefits (if any) of using CBD oil to help with pain relief – and from there, you can decide if it’s something that might benefit you.
Table of Contents
First things first, what is CBD?
Short for cannabidiol, CBD is a chemical compound from the hemp plant. It’s a naturally occurring substance that imparts a feeling of relaxation and calm when ingested. But unlike its well known cousin, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD is not intoxicating or addictive.
Today, CBD is often used as an alternative to pain medication for common conditions like arthritis and back pain, plus forms of stress, anxiety and insomnia, to name a few. It’s also available in a variety of forms, everything from high-quality body lotions and oils to CBD-infused foods and drink.
Does the science support using CBD oil for pain relief?
First thought to have been used in China, cannabis has been adopted for medical purposes worldwide for centuries. The first real evidence that it was used as a medicine dates back to AD400, and in the US, cannabis was extensively used as a medicine in the 19th and early 20th century. But despite all its history, scientists and researchers still have a long way to go to understand how CBD can help alleviate pain fully.
This is partly because much of the early evidence for CBD oil’s effects on pain relief comes from animal-based research. This research includes a study published in the European Journal of Pain in 2016 that identified when used as a topical gel, CBD significantly reduced joint swelling, measures of pain and inflammation in rats with arthritis.
However, a further 2018 study published in Pediatric Dermatology reported that during tests on a group of children with Epidermolysis Bullosa, a rare blistering skin disorder that is challenging to manage because of the skin’s fragility and repeated wound healing that causes itching, pain, limited mobility, and recurrent infections. Scientists saw that by using a topical application of CBD to localised areas led to wounds healing faster, less blistering, and reduced pain.
What are the benefits of using CBD oil for pain relief?
Due to its non-intoxicating effects, CBD has gained significant interest in the medical community. It has shown a high potential for therapeutic use, including as an antiepileptic (treat epilepsy), anxiolytic (treat anxiety), antipsychotic (treat psychosis and mental health-related problems) and anti-inflammatory (treat pain and arthritis). It also has neuroprotective effects and may have applications in pain management for (chronic and neuropathic) diabetes and cancer.
Alongside this, it has also been suggested that one of the key reasons why CBD oil helps with pain relief is because it promotes sounder sleep and minimises sleep disruption, a common experience for many people suffering from chronic pain.
Why people might CBD oil prove to be an alternative for pain relief?
Along with drastically reducing the quality of life, chronic or ongoing pain not only affects the body, but it can also change emotions, relationships, and the mind. It can lead to anxiety and depression, which can make the pain worse.
And while over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription pain medications are often recommended to treat chronic pain, many people prefer to seek alternative forms of relief, such as all-natural CBD oil, herbs and nutritional supplements. The main reason for this is that they prefer to avoid the many side effects frequently associated with the typical harsher pain medication, such as damage to the liver and kidneys.
At the same time, many people have concerns about becoming dependent on such powerful drugs. This is why it has been suggested that CBD oil could provide a natural solution to opioid addiction, as fears of opioid overdoses for pain relief continue to escalate globally.
Are there side effects of using CBD oil for pain relief?
Side effects are generally mild and often the result of an interaction between CBD and other medication being taken at the same time.
So is CBD oil the answer for pain relief?
If you have a long-term pain condition or you just need something to soothe your aching joints, you might consider CBD oil for pain relief – particularly if standard forms are treatment are ineffective or come with too many adverse side effects.
However, before starting a CBD regimen for ongoing pain relief, have a talk with your doctor to discuss whether it’s appropriate and the safest way to include it within your pain management plan.
The final comment
Living with pain or everyday aches is never easy; not only does it disrupt your sleep, but, in some cases, it can lead to more significant issues such as anxiety and depression.
While CBD oil works in a number of ways, you should consider it a part of your wellness toolkit rather than a cure-all. Research has shown that when combined with natural and lifestyle therapies, such as exercising and taking up mind-body practices like meditation and yoga and following an anti-inflammatory diet, the quality of life for some who experience recurring pain does improve.