Consumers Seek Natural Way to Manage Pain

Pain is among the most common reasons that adults seek medical care and is associated with a decrease in quality of life as well as opioid dependence and poor mental health. In 2019, over 20 percent of U.S. adults had chronic pain and 7.4 percent of adults had chronic pain that frequently limited life or work activities in the previous three months. [1]

Chronic pain is complex and there are many causes. It can be the result of biology, state of mind, past experiences, and even social environment. Opioids are among the treatments for chronic pain. However, opioids pose significant risks. WebMD points out that people who regularly take opioids for pain relief can develop a number of other health issues, such as heart attack, lung damage and depression and risk an accidental overdose.[2]

CBD for Pain Management

Concern over the rising use of opioids to mitigate pain is encouraging both medical practitioners and patients to seek effective and safer alternatives for pain management. Increasingly many people are turning to cannabidiol (CBD) for pain relief. As of 2020, around one third of Americans have tried CBD and 64 percent of current CBD users use it for pain relief and inflammation, according to a study conducted by SingleCare.[3]

CBD is one of the over 60 cannabinoids or naturally occurring chemicals found in industrial hemp and marijuana. Cannabinoids interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is made up of endocannabinoids or neurotransmitters that send chemical messages between neurons, the cells that transmit nerve impulses. The ECS has CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors. CB1 receptors are mostly located in the brain; CB2 receptors are mostly found in immune cells and in a few neurons.[4]

The ECS acts to restore balance whenever something happens with one of the body functions, such as appetite, sleep, immune response, and more. When CBD interacts with the CB2 receptor, it inhibits pain and inflammation.

CBD Pain Management Research

One small study conducted in 2018 evaluated the pain-relieving effectiveness of CBD in seven people with a mean age of 64.5 who had chronic pain after having kidney transplants. Six of the seven participants reported improvements in pain. One of the participants experienced more pain at higher CBD doses but achieved the best pain control at lower CBD doses.[5]

Another study reported in the European Journal of Pain investigated the effectiveness of a topical CBD gel on test subjects to reduce inflammation and pain from arthritis. The CBD was applied to test subjects for four consecutive days. Results indicated a significant drop in joint swelling and signs of pain. The data indicated that topical CBD has therapeutic potential for relief of arthritis pain-related behaviors and inflammation without evident side effects.[6]

More research is needed but preliminary studies such as these indicate CBD may be effective in helping to manage pain.

 

[1] Carla E. Zelaya, Ph.D., James M. Dahlhamer, Ph.D., Jacqueline W. Lucas, M.P.H., and Eric M. Connor, B.S., “Chronic Pain and High-Impact Chronic Pain Among U.S. Adults,” National Center for Health Statistics, November 2020. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db390.htm#ref3
[2] “Should You Worry About Your Back Pain Meds?,” WebMD, December 8, 2021, https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/addiction/painkillers-back-pain#2-5
[3] SingleCare Team, The 2020 CBD Survey,” SingleCare, April 20, 2020. https://www.singlecare.com/blog/cbd-survey/
[4] Mackie K. Cannabinoid receptors: where they are and what they do. J Neuroendocrinol. 2008 May;20 Suppl 1:10-4. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2826.2008.01671.x. PMID: 18426493. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18426493/
[5] Eske, Jamie, “What are the Best CBD Products for Pain Management,” Medical News today, December 22, 2021.
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/best-cbd-for-pain-management#_noHeaderPrefixedContent
[6] Hammell DC, Zhang LP, Ma F, et al. Transdermal cannabidiol reduces inflammation and pain-related behaviors in a rat model of arthritis. Eur J Pain. 2016;20(6):936‐948. doi:10.1002/ejp.818  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4851925/