icon
CBD and Pain CBD and Stress CBD Benefits

Can CBD Help Manage Pain? [What the Research Has to Say About It]

Cannabinoids are the main components found in the cannabis plant. Contrary to popular belief, 113 identified cannabinoids, and only one of them carries psychoactive properties.

CBD is one of the 112 cannabinoids on the list that is non-psychoactive. A feature combined with the large amounts found in hemp has made it a top-rated product over the past ten years. The popularity keeps growing as the cannabinoid gets linked to better sleep, pain relief, stress reduction, and other common ailments.

With opioids and over-the-counter pain meds becoming abused and subsequently vilified, it’s not a surprise that people are turning towards CBD for a non-intoxicating, organic, all-natural alternative to pain relief.

We can’t even really talk about CBD as a verified pain management medication itself because there isn’t enough clinical evidence to support the claim. However, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t enough evidence to associate CBD with pain relief. There are vast amounts of ongoing research studies that look incredibly promising and an equally immense amount of anecdotal evidence to back them.

Potential Benefits of CBD

Most benefits connected to CBD consumption cannot be confirmed conclusively. Whether we refer to using CBD oil for pain management or symptoms of other conditions is not necessarily correlated with pain.

Most of the existing studies that address how to use CBD tincture for pain and the possible bond between CBD and pain management have shown that CBD consumption can be a powerful ally in combating symptoms. This bond doesn’t mean that CBD can be considered a treatment for the condition itself. 

There is currently only one FDA-approved prescription drug that uses CBD as an ingredient. This medication is called Epidiolex, a CBD-based product that treats two rare, severe forms of epilepsy.

The FDA does not approve CBD as a prescription pain med in the United States. There is, however, a variety of medications approved in other countries. This approval is notably the United Kingdom and Canada. Health Canada has approved a product called Nabiximols (or Sativex) that combines both THC and CBD on a 1:1 ratio for prescription on specific pain types, primarily neuropathic pain related to multiple sclerosis in adults.

Both of these medications act via cannabinoid receptors that distribute throughout the body. But this is not a unique feature in Epidiolex or Sativex. Most CBD products work in very similar ways. 

The human body has an array of receptors throughout the central nervous system, immune system, and several other methods that take on essential roles in the body. These receptors are also a part of the Endocannabinoid System (ECS), the main course in the body responsible for regulating, processing, and activating the effects of incoming cannabinoids in the body.

The ECS receptors are responsible for a variety of different functions. Among them stands ‘pain management.’ By latching on to these receptors, CBD has the potential of altering the way they behave, sequentially having the potential to modify the way our body processes pain. A thought process that gives the applications of CBD for pain management a fighting chance.

CBD and Chronic Pain Relief

Chronic pain encapsulates an extensive range of pain types that include headaches, postsurgical pain, post-trauma pain, lower back pain, cancer-related pain, fibromyalgia, neuropathic pain, and many others. Perhaps the most popular use is using a CBD tincture for back pain.

CBD oil applications for pain relief seem endless, but not all CBD products are the same. CBD's purpose and effectiveness for certain kinds of pain will ultimately depend on the appropriate CBD pain management dosage and the application method used.

CBD and Arthritis Pain Relief

Arthritis pain is one of the most common types of chronic pain treatable with CBD and other cannabis-derived products. A study conducted in 2015 by the European Journal of Pain found that "transdermal cannabidiol (CBD) reduces inflammation and pain-related behaviors in a rat model of arthritis."

When dosing rats with transdermal CBD gel, a significant reduction of joint swelling, limb posture scores as a rating of spontaneous pain, immune cell infiltration, and thickening of the synovial membrane occurred; the study results were highly dependent on CBD dosage levels.  

Regardless, the rats exhibited inflammatory biomarker reduction. The study's resulting data indicated that topical CBD application has therapeutic potential for arthritis-related pain and inflammation without any evident side effects. Which is more than enough reason for many to use a CBD tincture for pain.

But the keyword to bear in mind in that last statement is 'potential.' Promising results does not make conclusive outcomes, which is where we are today with CBD arthritis pain relief.

CBD and Stress-Induced Pain Relief

A 2005 study suggests that stress-induced analgesia may be triggered when the brain releases cannabinoids. As this happens, the ECS receptors are blocked by the cannabinoids, resulting in analgesia.

In theory, the goal is to imitate this behavior with externally consumed cannabinoids like CBD and THC. While the research in this area remains exceptionally scarce, CBD's potential applications in this area are encouraging.

CBD and Migraine Pain Relief

The concept of clinical endocannabinoid deficiency and its relationship to migraine, fibromyalgia, and irritable bowel syndrome alleviation was studied in a 2004 clinical study. The results found that migraines have multiple correlations with endocannabinoid functions promoted by the ECS. 

More specifically, the same study found that “cannabinoids have… demonstrated the ability to block spinal, peripheral, and gastrointestinal mechanisms that promote pain in headache, fibromyalgia, IBS and related disorders”. That said, the demonstrated endocannabinoid deficiency postulates cannabinoids as a potentially suitable treatment for these and other pathophysiologically similar conditions.

CBD and Other Forms of Pain Relief

CBD and cannabis have continuously been linked to pain relief for a wide range of symptoms produced by other equally essential conditions like multiple sclerosis, cancer, and neuropathic pain. While the research is vast and existent, the conclusive evidence, on the other hand, is not.

CBD behaves and interacts with the body to dream with unique pain-inhibiting applications, but further human studies are needed to confirm them with certainty.

CBD: Side Effects & Risks

As it has been deemed an almost miraculous substance by a considerable portion of experts, most qualified professionals also recommend caution when treating conditions and symptoms with CBD.

A 2019 study concluded that "CBD exhibited clear signs of hepatotoxicity." According to the  study published in the Journal Molecules, there is an associated risk factor of CBD with liver injury. 

Other studies also suggest a positive effect of CBD consumption on liver pathologies, like a reduced liver disease prevalence on dependent alcoholics. Similarly, a 2011 study concluded that by latching onto and blocking CB1 receptors, CBD could prove a valuable asset in delaying and attenuating receptor activity that could cause abnormalities and fibrosis in liver cirrhosis.

A Swiss study from 2018 using male lab mice suggests that chronic exposure to cannabidiol induced reproductive toxicity. The extent and potential consequences of this toxicity are yet to be determined. All that is known to date is that "chronic CBD exposure is associated with changes in the male reproductive system," which suggests reproductive toxicity but does not confirm it. 

Other less serious side effects of CBD are gastrointestinal distress and drowsiness. Symptoms that are usually prevented and dealt with by a simple change in your CBD pain management dosage.

Mixing CBD with other medications can lead to hazardous situations. This potential risk makes it all the more necessary to consult with a licensed physician before taking CBD in any form or quantity.

It's important to note that information lacks the use of CBD in particularly exposed populations like the elderly, children, and people with preexisting medical conditions, including the immunocompromised and pregnant.

We may conclude that every story has two sides, and if one study arrives at an adverse decision, there will always be another one that proves it wrong, and vice-versa. If you’re thinking on how to use CBD tincture for pain, then you need to consult with a licensed physician before making the decision. Someone that fully understands and knows how to interpret your specific medical condition.

In our opinion, the most significant and common risk is purchasing CBD products from unreliable sources and brands. At Hemmfy, we have an unbelievably extensive product portfolio of CBD products from more than 270+ leading brands in the industry, all in one trustworthy place and available to you at the click of a button.

Conclusion

There is no conclusive evidence for the positive or negative effects of CBD on the body. However, the anecdotal evidence for positive outcomes is overwhelming. CBD's potential for pain management is immense as the receptors that process it in the body also fulfill essential functions in pain-related responses.

Hemmfy articles and blogs are meant to entertain and educate. However, we are not medical professionals and do not intend to give medical advice through them.

The knowledge around CBD and other cannabis-derived products is growing and constantly changing, as does their legal status. Hence, we recommend checking with your local authorities and a licensed physician prior to consumption.

Simon Cartagena

Simon Cartagena is a full-time cannabis copywriter. This has led him to write for companies like Hemmfy.com where he acts as Senior Content Writer and other world-renowned cannabis publications. Simon has created Content Marketing strategies and articles that have helped company revenues increase by up to 1,000%. Simon’s goal is to help people understand cannabis in an industry where misinformation seems to be predominant.