CBD and Pain

Overview

Pain is an unpleasant sensation which can be a result of an illness or injury. It can limit a person’s ability to stick to a daily routine. Pain can often be a warning sign to alert you that something isn’t right with your body, or sometimes it can have no apparent cause.

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There are many different types of pain. Some of the most common types of pain are;

Acute pain

Acute pain typically lasts less than 3 to 6 months or pain that is directly related to soft tissue damage such as a sprained ankle or a paper cut.

This type of pain usually only lasts for a short duration but it gradually resolves as the injury heals. Acute pain is distinct from chronic pain and is relatively more sharp and severe.

Breakthrough pain

Breakthrough pain is a sudden increase in pain that may occur in patients who already have chronic pain from cancer, arthritis, fibromyalgia, or other conditions. Breakthrough pain usually lasts for a short time. During breakthrough pain, the level of pain may be severe but the type of pain and where it is in the body are usually the same as the patient’s chronic pain.

Chronic pain

Chronic pain is often defined as any pain lasting more than 12 weeks. Whereas acute pain is a normal sensation that alerts us to possible injury, chronic pain is very different. Chronic pain persists—often for months or can even be a life-long condition.

Chronic pain can arise from an initial injury, such as a back sprain, or there may be an ongoing cause, such as illness. However, there may also be no clear cause.

Other health problems, such as fatigue, sleep disturbance, decreased appetite, and mood changes, often accompany chronic pain.

Chronic pain may limit a person’s movements, which can reduce flexibility, strength, and stamina. This difficulty in carrying out important and enjoyable activities can lead to disability and it can also result in mental health problems.

How common is chronic pain?

It is estimated that 43% of the population in the UK experience chronic pain. Up to 14.3% of people live with chronic pain that is moderately or severely disabling. The 4 most common types of chronic pain are chronic back pain, chronic headaches, chronic joint pain and chronic nerve pain. Chronic pain may limit a person’s movements, reducing flexibility, strength and stamina.

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What conditions cause pain?

Arthritis

Arthritis is a very common condition that causes pain. On some days, arthritis pain can be crippling and on others it is possible to forget it is there. The joints become inflamed which causes stiffness and pain.

Back Pain

Pain in the back is particularly common in the lower back area (lumbago). It’s often felt in places along the spine, from the neck to the hips. There’s a number of things that can cause back pain, which can range from muscle or ligament strain to a sudden awkward movement. 

Diabetes

Diabetic neuropathy is nerve damage that is a direct result of diabetes. Depending on the affected nerves, people can experience pain and numbness in their legs and feet. Some people have mild symptoms however for others diabetic neuropathy can be painful.

Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia’s main symptom is widespread pain which is usually felt throughout the body. However, it may be worse in certain areas like the back or neck. Fibromyalgia is likely to make you extremely sensitive to pain all over your body, it may be that even the slightest touch is painful, as if you suffer from hypersensitivity.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can involve chronic and recurring pain mainly in the abdominal area. Pain is one important clue that changes in your bowel movements are not related to diet or mild infections.

Current treatments for pain

There are many different types of medications that people can get prescribed for pain. The most common medications are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen, naproxen and aspirin.

Anti-seizure medications are often prescribed for treating pain that relates to nerve damage or injury.

Steroids such as prednisolone and dexamethasone are another type of medication that can help to relieve pain and inflammation.

Despite medications such as ibuprofen providing short term pain relief, it does have some common side effects. These side effects consist of nausea or vomiting, constipation or diarrhoea and abdominal pain.

Steroids may help to relieve pain in certain conditions but comes with many side effects such as increased appetite, mood changes, trouble sleeping and acne.

Physiotherapy

Physiotherapy is another form of treatment for pain. Physical therapists can tailor the correct exercise routine for you to treat pain. Proper exercise slowly builds your tolerance and can help to reduce pain.

How does CBD work for pain management?

What is CBD Oil?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the many compounds found in the cannabis plant that belongs to a class of substances called cannabinoids. As CBD is non-psychoactive, you will not get “high” but reap the benefits of CBD instead.

How can CBD help the pain?

When it comes to pain, there’s more than one way CBD may benefit a person. Primarily, the pain is the main focus for taking the supplement, however, as CBD can have positive effects on the mood, sleep disorders and more, you may find that CBD can help with the side-effects of the pain as well the pain itself.

The Endocannabinoid System (ECS)

The human body has its own system for creating and processing its own cannabinoids. This system is the endocannabinoid system (ECS).

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) helps to fine-tune most of our vital physiological functions. Put simply, the ECS helps to regulate and harmonise all the major body systems making sure all our vital organs work well with one another. The ECS is involved in functions like appetite, pain modulation, digestion, reproduction, motor learning, stress, and memory.

A good way to explain the ECS is that if you imagine the body like a machine, each system works together to keep the machine moving. The immune system is like a filtration system, the brain is like the motherboard, and endocannabinoids help to maintain these systems.

As with any machine, whether it be a result of poor maintenance, damage, or natural ageing―our body parts and systems can deteriorate and malfunction. When this happens, it affects the entire body and can lead to various health problems.

Certain conditions such as fibromyalgia also involve something called endocannabinoid deficiency. That makes cannabis products a promising treatment.

Similar to other deficiencies, when we’re low on certain vitamins, we take supplements. In this case, when we’re low on cannabinoids, CBD works as a cannabinoid supplement to get our ECS back on track working more efficiently.

Research