Pain & Recovery
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Forget traditional painkillers: CBD is the new pain relief remedy
What do we know about Cannabidiol? Most people that are not familiar with the name of Cannabidiol (or CBS in short) assume that it must be "something to do with marijuana", and rightly so. They also often think that if it has anything in common with cannabis, it must be "something illegal and sketchy" when talked about in a conversation of health and wellness. And this is where the mistake in perception takes place. In this article, we would like to not only prove that this prejudice has no ground but also shed light on the advantages of using CBD for health and wellness purposes. The main focus will be on the topic of CBD, potentially becoming the next best thing after a traditional painkiller or even become its direct competitor as a pain relief remedy.
Canna-what? What is Cannabidiol anyways?
Before we even begin to talk about CBD, let's power through a little bit of terminology. Cannabis is a plant that is often used to produce drugs such as weed and hashish. The main compound that gives one a high is called tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, and it is found in the cannabis plant. Apart from THC, however, cannabis has hundreds of other compounds that are not only non-harmful but are incredibly unique and have a lot of health benefits. Nowadays, scientists conduct many experiments, and some of these compounds find extensive use in modern medicine to create more natural products, such as supplements, pain relief remedies, acne creams, and many more. A compound that we would like to draw your attention to today is cannabidiol or CBD. Unlike THC, it does not have any psychoactive properties and therefore has none of the THC's psychedelic side effects. In short, it will not get you high even if you consume it in large quantities.
What is so good about it?
Now that we know that CBD is one compound out of hundreds found in cannabis plants, let's discuss what it can be used for. Extracted CBD comes in oil form; however, manufacturers produce all kinds of variations of products with CBD oil being the main ingredient: capsules, creams, edible sweets, drops, beverages, you name it. The research shows improvements in conditions, such as insomnia, depression, anxiety, inflammation, cancer pain or many other types of pain, such as ones experienced from having injuries.
What pain really is?
To explain how exactly CBD acts as a pain remedy, we first need to define what constitutes pain and injury. Pain is essentially an unpleasant feeling often caused by injuring stimuli when one experiences damage of tissue. The sensation of pain is an exchange between one's nerves, spinal cord, and brain. One of many reasons for a person to experience this distressing feeling is after having an injury. Factually speaking, injury is a mild to severe damage to the body caused by an extreme force, such as breaking a bone in an accident or torn muscles while doing sports.
Why feeling pain is vital
Perhaps no one enjoys the feeling of pain (maybe except for masochists). However, if we didn't receive the signals of a tissue being damaged and as a result didn't feel the sensation, we would not be aware of something going wrong. Imagine if your skin didn't have thermoreceptors; for instance, we would not be able to detect when it is in contact with something hot enough to create a burn. Pain receptors' processes are more complicated, but the principal and the meaning for having them is the same. So it is a crucial indicator telling us to treat the injury with either practice, such as massage, or medication, be it cream in case of a burn or a cut, or a painkiller.
Types of pain relief
Depending on what is the cause and what type of pain you are experiencing, there are countless remedies for pain relief available on the market. The most traditional and well-known solution is a painkiller. Pain can be classified as mild, moderate and severe, and can also be short term or long term. A type of painkiller needs to be picked in accordance with the type and the level of distress one experiences. A lighter type of painkiller is non-opioid that usually contains paracetamol, and stronger drugs that can help with severe pain are called opioids that oftentimes include ingredients such as morphine.
How do the painkillers work?
To put in simple words, we know that we feel pain because the cells that are injured or damaged release a chemical called prostaglandins. Hard to read, even harder to pronounce, as with nearly any medical term, but bear with us. When this chemical is released, our nerve endings detect it and send a message to the brain with the information of where exactly is a damaged or injured tissue and how badly it was damaged. Once the brain receives this signal, we feel the pain. So the way painkillers work, they don't interact with the particular spot that has been inflamed or injured, but rather with your cells, body's nerve endings and your brain. After taking a pill or a capsule of paracetamol, for example, it keeps damaged cells from releasing prostaglandin and as a result, stops the information about the pain coming through to your brain.
And how would CBD help when I am in pain?
Let's try to put a finger on how CBD works in case of pain relief. We all have a cell-signaling system called the endocannabinoid system, or ECS. According to research, CBD interacts with a primary component of this system called endocannabinoid receptors that are located in our brain and immune system. The receptors are in charge of receiving chemical signals to create a response in our cells. And here is when the trick happens – the impact of CBD on ECS helps to create an anti-inflammatory effect. Since inflammation is often the cause of experiencing pain, this is why we experience pain relief as a result. There have also been a few human trials that gave the research grounds to believe that CBD can be useful in alleviating neuropathic pain, which is the pain caused by nerve damage.
Can CBD be used instead of a painkiller?
Although CBD does not have the properties of a painkiller drug to shut off any signals indicating that a person should be feeling pain, it is often used systematically to prevent these sudden pain impulses. Researchers claim that it is a much better solution for dealing with pain than painkiller drugs. The reason is apparent: because rather than stopping the information from coming through, it is much more beneficial for us to cure whatever is hurting, especially if the pain is chronic or often recurring. So you don't only eliminate the symptom but rather deal with the core of the problem. However, if the feeling of pain is sudden rather than chronic or recurrent, and you need a quick fix, it may not be your number one remedy of choice.
Challenges of CBD research
Having identified the benefits of using CBD, we must take into consideration the fact that it has only been tested on animals and not on humans. There are several reasons for the gaps in experimental activities, mostly due to cannabis and medical marijuana being illegal in some countries. However, the response that the scientists got from their experiments on mice was extraordinarily positive and showed mild side effects, which gives a reason to assume that it will perform in a similar way among humans. The researches have also surveyed thousands of people that used CBD infused products for a variety of wellness-related problems. Their founding also had a positive outcome with a visible trend of CBD being an effective pain remedy, substitute to antidepressant drugs and many more.
Absolute "don't"s when taking CBDs and things to consider
Generally speaking, in the limited research and trials that have been held in the past, CBD proved itself to be a safe and well-tolerated treatment, unlike THC or opioids, which often lead to dependence and therefore abuse. However, there are a few rules that need to be followed for a successful and harmless experience.
First of all, before you decide to try using CBD, it is crucial to pay close attention to the composition and the ingredients list of a particular product. People often buy oils or capsules that have a small percentage of CBD and a lot of unnecessary chemicals in the composition that either minimize the effect or not perform at all due to rubbish ingredients. Another factor that you need to consider when taking CBD products is time. People often do not see any effect after a few days of consuming the product, become disappointed and stop taking it altogether. They conclude that it is ineffective when, in reality, it just needs more time to sink in and give noticeable results.
The research also revealed a trend of CBD not being effective or giving undesired side effects in cases when people were consuming it alongside other drugs, vitamins or BADs that consist of ingredients that do not work together with CBD. If you are taking any other medications, you must always research whether they can be consumed along with CBD simultaneously or during the same period. Furthermore, sometimes, the reason for ineffectiveness could even be such unobvious things as smoking cigarettes or vaping.
Unfortunately, it would be impossible to list all kinds of combinations of habits, ingredients, and activities that do not work together with CBS. Therefore it is essential to read the annotation that comes with a particular CBD infused product and preferably speak to your doctor to make sure that you are getting the most out of the product without undesirable side effects.