For those in search of a new, alternative treatment for depression, anxiety, stress, chronic pain relief, and other ailments, cannabidiol (CBD) is quickly gaining attention as a natural, safe option. The hemp-derived products provide medicinal benefits without the negative side effects often associated with traditional forms of medication, specifically opiates. CBD has no psychoactive effects, and when consumed without THC, does not provide the “high” or rush, it just removes the pain.
CBD oil works to eliminate and relieve pain in conjunction with the endocannabinoid system in our body, which controls a wide range of daily metabolic functions. The two primary receptors for CBD are CB1 and CB2. CB1 mostly exists in the brain and central nervous system, controlling sleep, appetite, mood, and motor control. CB2 receptors are more commonly found in the immune system and peripheral nervous system, though some do exist in the brain.
CBD triggers these two receptors through molecular pathways, producing analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, neuroprotective results to help patients suffering from chronic pain through systemic, widespread relief. It also has been shown to work on mental health disorders, including anxiety and depression. The anti-inflammatory properties of CBD help to reduce the swelling of cells, in turn preventing pain.
In tests for many chronic illness, particularly those that attack the immune or nervous systems, CBD has shown positive results. Due to its success in pain relief trials, it is recommended for patients with pain-related ailments, including fibromyalgia, arthritis, and undiagnosed chronic pain.
For those experiencing pain, whether, from an athletic injury or chronic, CBD provides a way for patients to be able to cut down on the number of pills they need to take to feel better. In studies, CBD has shown to cause few or no side effects. Opiates can cause vomiting and nausea in the short-term and increased risk of heart disease and other severe health problems in the long-term. Over-the-counter medications and opioids can lead to gastrointestinal damage, increased tolerance, dependence, addiction, and risk of overdose. CBD, however, does not cause gastrointestinal damage and is not habit-forming or addictive.
To become addicted to opioids, it can take as short as a 10-day prescription, which is prescribed for anything from minor pain to post-surgical relief. These addictions can change a person’s life in an instant and have the potential to be deadly, even for patients with no prior history of addiction.
Opioid overdose is a largely unaddressed epidemic that affects dozens of people in the U.S. every single day. In the face of these extreme risks, CBD is a safe and effective alternative to opiates for natural pain relief.
Studies show that patients who have taken CBD as a pain reliever are less likely to become dependent. Additionally, there is potential that CBD actually changes the addictive pathways in the brain, which may be able to help those with an opioid dependency to overcome their addiction
In one study conducted in La Jolla, California, lab rats treated topically with CBD for one week showed less addictive behaviors in times of stress for up to five weeks after the end of treatment. Not only does CBD have a high potential to reduce addictive behaviors, but it also has shown the potential to have long-lasting effects even with brief treatment.
While hemp-derived products, including CBD oil, are legal in all 50 states, you are still unlikely to be prescribed CBD by your doctor. Even though the research proves positive, there remains a lot of skepticism and opposition to any hemp-related products. However, some states have legalized hemp for both recreational and medical use, while others have laws that allow it to be used if prescribed by a medical professional.
There is a place and time for traditional medications and opioids, but you should always be cautious before choosing to take any form of traditional painkillers.
CBD has shown promise in early research and is worth a try as a natural, non-addictive pain relief for anyone experiencing chronic pain.