A Guide to Cannabis and CBD for Chronic Pain
Learn what the research says about CBD for chronic pain and how to effectively treat chronic pain with cannabis.
Understanding How Chronic Pain Works and Affects Overall Health
Chronic pain is defined as pain lasting more than twelve weeks. There is no direct cause but is often related to previous injury or long-term health issues. For example, back injury or joint strain, or long-term health problems like multiple sclerosis (MS), arthritis, fibromyalgia, etc.
Chronic pain is often accompanied by other health problems, such as fatigue, sleep disturbance, decreased appetite, and mood changes. As well as may limit a person’s movements, which can reduce flexibility, strength, and stamina. This difficulty in carrying out important and enjoyable activities can lead to disability and despair, which affects a person’s overall mental health.
People dealing with chronic pain often turn to pain medication. Sometimes these pain meds are as strong as opioids which have significant and negative side effects. CBD is a less risky and healthier way to manage pain. Learn more about how CBD can help with your pain here.
CBD is a Safe and Effective Treatment for Chronic Pain
CBD oil reduces pain, inflammation, and overall discomfort related to a variety of health conditions including pain by interacting with receptors in our brain and immune system. This means that the CBD attaches to receptors that would normally tell a person’s brain that they are in pain so the compound that normally sends the pain signal cannot do so (source).
CBD does not cause the same psychoactive ‘high’ as THC does therefore is more practical for daily use; for example when higher cognitive functioning may be required. This is because THC is a different compound and interacts with different receptors in the brain (source). Also, if you’re worried about possible risks associated with smoking, CBD can be consumed via many alternative routes, including; capsules, oils, tinctures, topicals, etc.
A 2008 review has concluded that CBD was not only effective for pain relief but safe to use without negative side effects. Some of these side effects include shortness of breath, dizziness, vomiting, nausea, constipation, fatigue, thought and memory issues. It’s common for people taking these medications to build up a tolerance and then require a higher and higher dose to feel the same relief which increases the effect of the negative side effects as well. People also often become dependent on these types of medications so when and if they try to stop taking them they experience extreme withdrawal symptoms (source).
Research Supporting the Use of CBD for Pain
Studies at McGill University support the safe use of CBD for pain relief.
In a large survey of medical cannabis users in Arizona with chronic pain, 77% of fibromyalgia patients, 63% of patients with arthritis, and 51% of patients suffering from neuropathic pain reported experiencing “a lot” or “almost complete overall relief”.
Another study at Dalhousie University on rats in 2016 provides evidence that CBD is effective for arthritis and joint pain.
The same study from Arizona proved that use of CBD, reduced usage of other medications, as described as “a little or much less frequency,” and 75% of medical cannabis users who previously experienced opioid dependency reported a lot or almost complete overall relief.
How to Use, Dosing and Where to Buy
Treating pain can be easy with CBD cannabis products. You don’t need to worry about the potential negative effects of smoking because there are many other ways of consuming cannabis products. These include oral capsules, tinctures that are dissolved sublingually (under your tongue), topicals that are absorbed into your skin at the site of pain, and it can even be cooked into your favourite meals or added to your favourite drinks.
Check out some of these links to see these types of products and learn more about the different ways to add CBD into your pain plan:
These products can easily be digested; like the oral capsules (try these right before bed to help you sleep or in the morning to manage your pain all day) or dissolve sublingually (under your tongue) like the tinctures, or cooked into your favourite meals or added to your favourite drinks. You also have the option to use these products directly at the site of pain by applying them to your skin, for example; with joint, back or muscle pain.
Because CBD is binding to many different receptors throughout the body and not just in the brain it will be effective in reducing pain and inflammation at a fairly low dose. At higher doses, those receptors can become saturated, so the remainder of the CBD will interact with other receptor systems, and that’s where you may start to see different effects.
Which Route is The Best Route for Pain?
Different routes of administration, such as vaporization, sublingual tinctures, or topical products, provide the most direct route for CBD to enter the bloodstream and therefore reach the brain more quickly. So, people interested in CBD products may want to consider experimenting with different routes of administration. Many people choose to use capsules daily to manage chronic pain and then add vaporized CBD or tinctures for flare-ups where they require immediate relief. Depending on the site of the pain they also may consider adding topical that can be applied directly to the skin – wrists, ankles and other joints, backs or necks for muscle pain.
Topical CBD can be used for:
- Muscle/joint pain
- Back pain
- Eczema, etc.
Best Dose of CBD for Pain
There is no universally accepted dosage for CBD but there are few things people should consider when figuring out the right dose for themself;
- their weight
- the concentration of the product
- the route of consumption.
A person should also consult a physician whenever possible and always start with a small dose and gradually increase until the most effective dose is found. (source)
Check out this suggested dosage calculator from Honest Marijuana based on weight and pain severity. Note: this is only a suggested dosage and you should still consult with your doctor before using CBD for your pain.
If you still need some help with figuring out the correct dosage for you check out Honest Marijuana’s dosage calculator information on their website.
CBD and THC For Pain Relief
There are times where it might make sense to use CBD and THC together. CBD may reduce the unwanted side effects of THC, such as short-term memory impairment and anxiety. Often the more CBD you have relative to THC, the less of those psychoactive effects. (source)
While THC and CBD have different pharmacological properties, both have pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects but because they interact with different areas of the brain, as mentioned above, having THC and CBD could potentially enhance an outcome surrounding pain relief. (source)
Many people find that a 1:1 THC to CBD blend is most effective, but as mentioned previously there is some trial and error in figuring out what is the best dosage for any particular individual. Here are a few products that contain a 1:1 THC to CBD ratio:
If a 1:1 THC to CBD is not effective or you are still feeling the psychoactive ‘high’ effects of the THC try increasing the amount of CBD like with this product:
3:1 CBD to THC tincture
CBD for Chronic Pain Reviews
People have been using CBD products for pain relief for years and have good things to say about their experience with them. Read some of their experiences with pain relief on WebMD.
Miss Envy is a lifestyle company that prioritizes your health. We provide safe and effective treatment for pain relief for both yourself and your pets. Add our CBD products to your everyday routine and start living with less pain with Miss Envy. Try our CBD body products or even add CBD to your favourite meals or favourite drinks and don’t forget to treat your furry friends with our tasty Bully Bites. Find Miss Envy online at www.missenvy.ca