Cannabidiol (CBD) is rapidly climbing up in popularity when it comes to pain management. Whether it is for a medical condition related to chronic pain, or menstrual cramps, or the occasional stub of the toe, CBD can help.
When the endocannabinoid system is not functioning properly, the body can fall out of balance, which risks it in developing unwanted symptoms or conditions that cause pain. CBD regulates the endocannabinoid system, thus helping to maintain homeostasis. By keeping the body in balance, it allows the body to heal whatever may normally be out of balance, thus resolving the pain.
Another reason for CBD’s analgesic effects is due to its powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Decreasing inflammation also decreases pain. One 2008 review assessed how effective CBD is for chronic pain. The review looked at studies conducted between the late 1980s and 2007. Based on these reviews, researchers concluded CBD was effective in overall pain management without adverse side effects. They also noted that CBD was beneficial in treating insomnia related to chronic pain.
Is CBD a better alternative to NSAIDS?
NSAIDs work by blocking enzymes called COX-1 and COX 2. These enzymes produce a group of compounds that our cells make called prostaglandins. Prostaglandins made by COX-1 enzymes activate your platelets (for blood clotting) and protect the lining of your stomach and intestines. Prostaglandins made by COX-2 enzymes are made in response to injury or infection, regulating inflammation.
Most NSAIDs work non-selectively on both enzymes. This lack of selectivity becomes an issue because pain and inflammation relief from NSAIDs come from blocking COX-2, but unfortunately, COX-1 is also blocked, causing unwanted adverse side effects.
Recently, scientists discovered that, similar to NSAIDs, CBD also inhibits the prostaglandin-producing enzyme which is the enzyme that causes inflammation. However, unlike NSAIDs, CBD preferentially inhibits COX-2 over COX-1, which means its anti-inflammatory benefits come without the gastrointestinal side effects.
Not only does CBD inhibit the COX-2 enzyme, but both CBD and THC physically stop your DNA from producing so much of this enzyme in the first place (via the PPAR? receptor). So, comparing the pros and cons of NSAIDs and CBD, CBD displays as a safer and more effective medication for pain.
A major benefit to choosing something like CBD over NSAIDS is avoiding all the damaging side effects of even low doses or occasional use of NSAIDS. There are quite a bit of data piling up each day on the way NSAIDS disrupt, destroy and break down the gut microbiome, and protective layers which leads to endless other complications.
How can I use CBD for my pain in particular?
CBD comes in many shapes, forms, and sizes. Depending on the type of pain you are healing from will determine what type of product to use. Most surface pains such as bruises, swelling or blemishes may benefit from the use of CBD topicals (pain salves and creams). Menstrual cramps, joint pain, and muscle injuries can also be alleviated from applying CBD directly onto the skin. Topicals absorb directly into the area in which is causing you pain and is the first spot for it to start doing its job. Topicals usually deliver immediate localized relief, whereas taking CBD orally can take a bit longer to get into the whole system. Most oils and tinctures, however, can also be used as topical to help alleviate pain. Zen In A Bottle serves this dual purpose quite well.
All of these benefits are really best achieved with a high quality, full spectrum and full flower oil that is rich in natural terpenes. Terpenes are like the keys that unlock the doors to CBD’s effectiveness and by using a full spectrum you get the benefit of the entourage effect which means all the cannabinoids are working synergistically together for maximum results.
If you would like to buy a product that is effective for pain, please check out Zen in A Bottle. You can order here.