CBD is a common name these days as a treatment for a variety of conditions ranging from chronic pain to cancer. It has been traditionally used by many countries and communities for the treatment of pain. Recent medical studies have started to explore its benefits. Though it has still not been completely understood, it has been widely used for several conditions and showed successful results and research is still ongoing to find out more of its benefits.
What is CBD?
There are two kinds of cannabis plants, namely hemp, and marijuana. They produce a kind of a chemical compound known as a cannabinoid. CBD or cannabidiol is one of these cannabinoids that exist without the capacity to get you high. There are other cannabinoids like THC which is derived from marijuana and is known to get people high. CBD is primarily a hemp product that has negligible amounts of THC. Our body has certain cannabinoid receptors through which cannabinoid compounds can attach and exhibit various functions such as relieving pain and inflammation.
CBD oil and pain treatment
Cannabinoid oil is derived from industrial hemp which has a high content of CBD. Different methods are employed by the makers to extract the CBD compound which is then added to a carrier oil to create CBD oil. The strength of the oil depends on the concentration of the CBD in the oil. It has been seen in some recent studies that the use of CBD in the case of Rheumatoid arthritis, Osteoarthritis and Fibromyalgia has helped in reducing associated pain and inflammation in these conditions. But such small-scale studies require larger, supporting scientific research to get legally approved as a pain treatment drug.
CBD targets a part of the cannabinoid system inside our bodies known as the endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system has 2 types of receptors: cannabinoid receptor type 1 and type 2 (CB1/CB2). CBD oil targets these CB1 and CB2 receptors. These receptors control the working of the central nervous system and its peripheral organs. It brings about a balance that is necessary for producing the desired effects. CB1 controls our cognitive activities while CB2 deals with the body’s response to pain and inflammation. When cannabinoid oil is used in the body to target the endocannabinoid system, these CB1 and CB2 receptors control the inflammation and reduce the sensation of pain.
Arthritis is the most common form of joint pain in elderly people. Sometimes it can occur at an early age too. The symptoms include inflammation of the joints which cause moderate to extreme pain and limitations of movement and daily activities after a period of time. The symptoms generally worsen with time if the condition is left untreated. Current Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) medications (including glucocorticoids) often interfere with cytokine production or signaling but are often associated with side effects related to infection or immune disturbances. On the other hand, the use of CBD for arthritis-related pain started with a study published by the European Journal of Pain where a CBD containing topical gel was applied to rats with arthritis. They saw a massive drop in pain and inflammation without any side effects. CBD might be added to RA therapy, as it elicits anti-depressive and anti-inflammatory effects independent of cannabinoid receptors and without psychotropic side effects through a very complex pathway. However, more and larger studies of CBD on human arthritis are yet to be conducted and the results are yet to be proven.
CBD has been recently used by many practitioners because of its potential benefits in the case of chronic pain associated with arthritis, though there is a need for other human studies too. Usually, a low dose is given to the patient to work best for relieving pain and reducing side effects, if any. The dosage is slowly increased if at all needed. This helps to adjust the body with this compound without reacting badly.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is the most frequent chronic neurological disease among young and middle-aged populations. MS is a kind of auto-immune disease which causes stress, pain and spasm in the entire body by affecting the entire nervous system. These muscle spasms and severe pain associated with MS can somewhat be controlled through the use of CBD in such patients. It has been seen that short-term use of oil-containing CBD compound has been successful in reducing the pain and spasms in a patient.
A web-based survey, hosted by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, revealed that 66% of patients with MS currently use cannabis for symptomatic treatment, while 50% of MS patients in Canada would consider cannabis if its legal status was clear. Cannabidiol increases the range of mobility by reducing fatigue, inflammation, pain, depression, and spasticity. It has been associated with 50% reduction in spasticity symptoms in MM patients in comparison to placebo. Overall, there is substantial evidence that oral cannabinoids are effective treatment in improving patient-reported MS spasticity symptoms.
CBD and chronic pain
The use of CBD has also been studied for chronic pain management in general, even though it was on a small scale. Researchers opined after seeing all the results of the conducted researches that there was substantial evidence concluding that CBD had successfully treated chronic pain in adult patients. Thus, CBD has been used in several instances for treatment of pain and new researches are being conducted to explore its several benefits in offering new kinds of treatments.
Is the treatment legal?
Along with the treatment of pain, CBD is also known to successfully treat seizures, epilepsy, anxiety, schizophrenia, and type-1 diabetes. It is widely being used in the United States with different legality across its various states. It has shaped up as a very promising drug that can provide treatment for a variety of problems and further research is indeed very necessary to explore all of its possibilities. Only then can it be a fully legalized drug. As of now, the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has only approved the use of CBD for the treatment of two specific kinds of epilepsy, known as Dravet Syndrome and Lennox-Gestaut Syndrome in June 2018. The other uses of CBD for other treatments are yet to get legalized. However, it is still being widely used everywhere, even by some medical practitioners.
Noteworthy, it is strongly advised to use CBD and CBD oil only after a detailed consultation with a doctor. You need to be sure whether you are fit to use the product for your condition and the right dosage before you actually start using it. Self-medication using CBD is not a really good idea as dosages should be considered with caution. People under the age of 25 should be extra cautious with CBD products, especially those that have some amounts of THC because it may cause dependence and addiction.