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What is CBD?

Chronic pain and inflammation are major health concerns today, as it is one of the most common reasons adult seek medical care. According to a study, more Americans suffer from chronic pain than cancer, diabetes, and heart disease combined. 

If you’re suffering from chronic pain and inflammation, you may be wondering about using CBD as a treatment. The substance has soared in popularity in recent years due to the range of benefits it offers. Wondering whether or not to make CBD a part of your pain-management arsenal? Keep reading to learn how CBD can help relieve chronic pain and inflammation.

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a type of chemical compound (known as cannabinoids), found naturally in cannabis (marijuana and hemp) plants. It is quite different from THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which is another cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. 

Unlike THC, CBD has no psychoactive effects, meaning it doesn’t affect cognitive brain activity. In other words, it won’t get you high or cause euphoric effects that are commonly associated with the cannabis plant because it does not affect the same receptors as THC.  

While CBD oil can be found in both marijuana and hemp, it is usually extracted from hemp because of its low THC content. Unlike marijuana that has high amounts of THC (up to 30 percent), hemp contains extremely low levels of the psychoactive compound (usually no more than 0.3 percent.) In effect, CBD oil cannot make you feel stoned or intoxicated because of the trace amounts of the THC. 

What does CBD to the body?

One of the frequently asked questions about CBD is how it is able to produce a wide range of effects in the body. The answer isn’t farfetched: the human body produces cannabinoids, which are the same chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant. The cannabinoids that your body produces are actually referred to as endocannabinoids, which simply means cannabinoids produced from within.

These cannabinoids are part of a larger system in your body, called the endocannabinoid system. It is just like any other system in your body, such as the digestive system and the nervous system. 

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) consists of three key elements: cannabinoid receptors, endocannabinoids, and enzymes. These cannabinoid receptors are located throughout the body and are actually tiny proteins in your cells that receive signals. They are of two types: CB1 and CB2 receptors – both of which aid the absorption of cannabinoids into your system. 

So what exactly is the endocannabinoid system? It is a complex biological system that plays a critical role in the body for our survival. It is involved in a wide variety of processes, including sleep, mood, appetite, memory, reproduction and fertility, metabolism, immune system response, and more. In other words, the main function of the endocannabinoid system is to ensure that your body is operating in a state of balance known as homeostasis, a state of biological harmony in response to changes in the environment. 

Since CBD is also a cannabinoid, it is able to interact with your body’s system, just like the endocannabinoids, to trigger a range of effects. However, studies indicate that the effects of CBD on the body last longer than that of the endocannabinoids, which is some good news.

How does CBD combat chronic pain and inflammation?

Chronic pain is a complex condition that can affect millions of people around the world, drastically reducing their quality of life and having a negative impact on productivity at work. There are different types of chronic pain, including cancer pain, fibromyalgia, headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, migraines, osteoarthritis, neuropathic pain, and so on.  

Until recently, medical science knew little about how CBD helps relieve chronic pain and inflammation. Previous studies have however shown that the pain we feel is due to the transmission of signals from the cells around affected parts of our body to the brain via sensory nerves. So when you take CBD, it interacts with the endocannabinoid receptors in your brain and the immune system to block the pain signals so you can feel relieved. 

Furthermore, studies indicate that CBD also blocks glutamate levels in the brain and spinal cord, which is associated with increased sensations and transmission of pain. Additionally, CBD also improves anandamide signalling in the brain by restraining the body from absorbing it. Anandamide is a compound associated with pain regulation, with high amounts of it in the bloodstream translating to less sensation of pain and vice versa. 

Another noticeable effect of CBD is the reduction of inflammation, a condition that is characterized by the release of chemicals known as cytokines to eliminate the irritants in the body. While CBD is unable to stop the production and release of cytokines in the body, studies show that it is able to significantly reduce the amount of the chemicals, which in turn stop existing health conditions from deteriorating.  

Also, scientists have found that CBD is a more powerful antioxidant than Vitamin C and Vitamin E, making it the first endocannabinoid modulator used to relieve pain. In other words, the cannabinoid boosts adenosine signalling, which further decreases inflammation and eases pain.

Research overview

Also, a 2008 review of previous studies related to CBD’s ability to serve as an effective treatment for chronic pain concluded that CBD could help decrease pain and combat insomnia without any side effects.

study published in the September 2015 edition of the journal Neurotoxicology revealed that CBD inhibits glutamate levels in the brain and spinal cord, which is associated with increased sensations of pain and transmission. 

2016 study was carried out by rats, and the researchers found out that CBD gel helped reduce both pain and inflammation without any negative side effects. 

Although there’s a need for more research, existing studies are promising and all point to the fact that CBD may help ease pain and inflammation. 

 

Wrap-up

Now that you know you about the pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects of CBD, you might want to use the substance the next time you have a headache instead of popping an aspirin. Unlike alternative forms of treatment that are unsafe for long-term use, CBD is non-habit forming and is safe for consistent, everyday use.