Common Questions About CBD For Pain
Many people searching for pain relief alternatives claim to have found some relief from concerns like exercise-induced inflammation by turning to natural products such as full spectrum CBD. The science on this is still very new, and success can only be measured anecdotally on a case-by-case basis. This blog will give you a better understanding of pain and the endocannabinoid system to help you answer these questions in consultation with your doctor.
The Endocannabinoid System
The endocannabinoid system, or ECS, is a network of receptors that communicates with nearly every system in your body, including the central nervous system, which relays feelings of discomfort and pain. Studies show that cannabinoids such as CBD can interact with your ECS in ways that we are just starting to understand.
Types of Pain
Chronic, Acute, Neuropathic, Nociceptive, Radicular
Pain is not a one-size-fits-all sensation. There are lots of different types of pain that a person can feel, ranging from everyday aches and pains to more serious concerns. Before talking with your doctor about the types of pain that you might experience, it's a good idea to familiarize yourself with these pain-related terms to help your primary care provider better understand your situation.1 What are the different types of pain?
Acute pain tends to be related to a soft-tissue injury or a temporary issue, so it typically subsides after the injury heals or the issue subsides.
Chronic pain is often due to a condition. This type of pain that can be inconsistent or continuous over a long period of time.
Neuropathic pain is due to damage to the nerves or other parts of the nervous system.
Nociceptive pain is a type of pain caused by damage to body tissue.
Radicular pain is a very specific type of pain can occur when the spinal nerve gets compressed or inflamed.
How does the ECS work?
The ECS appears to help regulate bodily systems to bring them into balance, according to the latest research. The ECS does this by producing endogenous cannabinoids that bind to CB1 and CB2 receptors throughout the body. Likewise, cannabinoids produced by cannabis and hemp plants, like CBD and THC, appear to interact with the same system to achieve similar results.
Below is a map of the body that shows the different systems, glands, and organs where ECS receptors are located.2 This map is not intended to diagnose the location of any pain, but is merely an educational tool to help you better understand the ECS before consulting with your physician.
- Brain / CNS / Spinal Cord Cortigal Regions / Cerebellum / Brainstem (neocortex, pyriform cortex, hippocampus, amygdala)
- Thyroid (endocrine gland)
- Upper Airways (of mammals)
- Liver (kupffer cells - macrophage immune cells, hepatocytes -liver cell, hepatic stellate cells - fat storage cell)
- Adrenals / Basal Ganglia / thalamus / pituitary / hypothalamus / olfactory bulb (endocrine gland, globus pallidus, substantia nigra pars)
- Ovaris (gonads and endocrine gland)
- Uterus (myometrium)
- Prostate (epithelial and smooth muscle cells)
- Testes (gonads and endocrine gland, leydig cells, sperm cells)
Why is CBD for pain relief so popular?
More studies are needed to determine if CBD for pain relief is an effective alternative to traditional treatments. However, it's clear that CBD is gaining popularity in this regard. That popularity is by no means a substitute for the scientific research that needs to be conducted to answer these questions. However, this is another great piece of anecdotal evidence to bring to your conversation with your physician as you work with them to determine if CBD for pain relief might be an option for you to consider.
In 2020, SingleCare published results from a survey of 2,000 people asking them various questions about CBD.3 When asked why they used CBD, 64 percent of respondents across all age groups said they use CBD for pain management. See the results below:
Again, this is no guarantee that CBD will work for you the same way it does for 64 percent of the respondents to the SingleCare survey. But for people looking for data regarding CBD for pain, this is good information to take to the conversation with your doctor.
About the Author
Dr. Leslie Mudd, PharmD
A board certified oncology pharmacist with 25 years experience at the James Graham Brown Cancer Center in Louisville, Kentucky, Dr. Leslie Mudd now serves as the Cornbread Hemp resident pharmacist and medical expert. Read Dr. Mudd's full author bio here.
1. "Types of Pain," Beaumont Health. Retrieved from https://www.beaumont.org/services/pain-management-services/types-of-pain
2. Zou S, Kumar U. (March 13, 2018). Cannabinoid Receptors and the Endocannabinoid System: Signaling and Function in the Central Nervous System. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5877694/
3. SingleCare Team. (April 20, 2020). The 2020 CBD Survey. Retrieved from https://www.singlecare.com/blog/cbd-survey/