Since the legalization of hemp and CBD, it’s likely you’ve heard whispers of just how CBD (and other cannabinoids) can be beneficial medicinally. However, due to the decades long prohibition of the plant, a stigma still remains.
Fortunately for those seeking out natural alternatives, research is quickly catching up with what so many CBD consumers have already discovered through self-exploration: that CBD could be potentially therapeutic for a variety of common ailments. A fact that has many asking: is CBD good for pain relief and inflammation?
Chronic pain, of course, can come from a variety of conditions, ailments, and even things like age. Inflammation can be a silent detriment to your health and cause even more issues when the inflammation is internal. This makes this research even more crucial, not just for those who suffer from pain but also for helping people find optimal health overall.
We’ve pulled together an overview of the latest research on CBD for pain and inflammation and will explain the mechanisms for how CBD works within the pain cycle. Keep reading to learn more, especially if you’ve recently taken our Peaceful Lane quiz or are just beginning your CBD journey.
CBD Oil for Pain and Inflammation: How it Works
To understand the science of CBD for pain, first we need to understand how pain is felt and where it comes from in order to know how it can be targeted for relief.
The central and peripheral nervous systems are at the core of how pain is felt. No matter how an injury or pain is inflicted or arises, it’s these systems that signal to the brain to feel the unpleasant feeling. This complex messaging system is carried out by a variety of sensory and motor nerves that are found within the peripheral nervous system throughout the body and speak to the central nervous system (located inside the brain and spinal cords).
Another common source of pain comes from inflammation. Hence why the two are so often connected. There are two types of inflammation that are directly associated with pain -
- Acute inflammation: Acute inflammation occurs from an injury, infection or illness, when the immune system naturally sends immune cells to the area affected for protection. Acute inflammation is often accompanied by redness or swelling.
- Chronic inflammation: Chronic inflammation is when your immune system sends inflammatory cells into your system when no outside danger (like an injury, infection or illness) is present. These cells can build up over time, and even attack joint tissues, which is the cause of conditions like rheumatoid arthritis.
CBD Benefits for Pain
There is a third physiological system that impacts how pain and inflammation is experienced in the body - the endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system is a lesser known physiological system, most likely because it wasn’t yet discovered until the late 1980s, when cannabis research began to increase. Very quickly, researchers realized that cannabinoids from hemp and cannabis plants interact with the endocannabinoid system helping maintain a major state of being—homeostasis.
Homeostasis refers to the overall feeling of feeling well or put simply, it’s the state in which you feel the most normal and healthy. When an injury or pain is signaled within the body, it’s the endocannabinoid system that goes to work to address the issue and bring your systems back to the state of homeostasis or balance. The ECS does so through the regulation everyday functions of -
- Digestive systems
- Nervous systems
- And beyond
As we mentioned, cannabinoids like CBD interact with the endocannabinoid directly, allowing their unique effects to be felt or “signaled” into action.
The two most important CBD benefits for pain are its analgesic (pain-relieving) and anti-inflammatory nature. Meaning, when CBD is consumed and interacts with the endocannabinoid receptors found on the cells and receptors that signal pain, these effects can reduce both pain and inflammation. This is similar to the commonly used NSAIDs, or non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs, like ibuprofen, aspirin, and Aleve, which are often used to address pain. In fact, one study showed that CBD is 20 times more potent and effective than other NSAIDs (and proved to have fewer side effects too!).
CBD Oil & Pain Management: The Research
The iInitial research that has explored the benefits of CBD oil for pain and inflammation are promising, and we have compiled a list of the most interesting findings. We believe this is just the tip of the iceberg and there is still much research to be done on how these physiological systems work and why cannabinoids impact our experience of pain and inflammation.
- A 2019 study showed that CBD has the unique ability to inhibit the COX2 eicosanoid enzyme, which may be just how the cannabinoid is so effective at reducing inflammation. In fact, NSAIDs are also designed to specifically target the same enzyme for pain relief efficacy.
- Another inflammatory protein that’s said to be responsible for inflammatory response and pain, are cytokines. Cytokines are integral to immune system signaling (like that of pain!) and studies are now proving that CBD can influence them positively. Even by reducing the protein’s negative effects, and reducing inflammation, overall.
- In early animal studies on mice, CBD has repeatedly been successful at reducing pain.
- In 2017 a study review concluded that CBD was effective at reducing chronic neuropathy pain in humans.
- A 2016 study proved the efficacy of CBD topical application for pain, especially when associated with osteoarthritis. Even further, another study conducted in 2017 concluded that CBD was a “safe and effective way” to treat osteoarthritis, too.
- Most recently, a 2020 study concluded that CBD could have benefits for relieving chronic pain, and reducing inflammation, when related to specific conditions.
- In another study overview titled “Therapeutic Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids”, researchers concluded that “In adults with chronic pain, patients who were treated with cannabis or cannabinoids are more likely to experience a clinically significant reduction in pain symptoms.”
However, before you head out and just buy any ol’ CBD to heal your chronic pain, it’s important to know that not every CBD type or brand can be treated equally. See below for the most important things to look for when shopping for the best CBD for chronic pain and inflammation.
The Best CBD for Chronic Pain and Inflammation
Given the above, you can understand why it is important to find quality, cannabinoid-rich CBD oil for pain and inflammation. When learning how to use hemp oil for pain, it’s also important to consider another plant compound, known as terpenes. Terpenes are the plant’s aromatic compounds responsible for producing its unique scent. However, terpenes, like cannabinoids, are also being researched for their effects on pain and inflammation.
To harness the benefits of both cannabinoids and terpenes, it’s key to find “full-spectrum” or “broad-spectrum” CBD oils for pain and inflammation. These are considered the best pain relief CBD choices since they contain the entire profile of hemp compounds, cannabinoids and terpenes included. The only difference between the two is that full-spectrum CBD can contain up to .3% THC (which has anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects too!) and broad-spectrum CBD is THC-free.
To help you even further, the most common types of pain relief CBD products that consumers now turn to include -
- CBD Oil - CBD oils are highly versatile, and can kick in fast when consumed sublingually (holding under your tongue for up to 1 minute!).
- CBD Edibles - CBD edibles are highly recommended for chronic pain as they provide long-lasting effects (anywhere from 4-6 hours).
- CBD Topicals - As you can see from the research above, CBD topicals can be highly effective at targeting specific areas of pain.
- CBD Soaks - Get full body relief from a bath with CBD soaking salts!
- CBD Roll-Ons - Take targeted relief on the go, with handy CBD roll-ons.
Finding Peace from Chronic Pain & Inflammation
At Peaceful Lane, it’s our mission to maintain the highest quality ingredients and processes, because we believe our bodies are only as healthy as the things we put into them.
Family owned, we treat every customer like a part of that family with USDA-certified organic full spectrum hemp that delivers authentic results as Mother Nature intended. Unlike other companies, our hemp is 100% grown in North Carolina, where our team is hands-on from seed to soil to harvesting to processing and eventually to you.
Experience the Peaceful Lane difference with our entire collection of premium hemp CBD. Shop now!