You might have heard of the growing interest in CBD oil for pain?

But what is it?

Is it marijuana?

Will it get you high?

CBD oil comes from the cannabis plant. CBD oil is a type of cannabinoid. Cannabinoids are chemicals naturally present in hemp and marijuana plants. CBD oil does not contain THC, another variety of cannabinoid. THC is the chemical which makes you feel ‘high’.

CBD oil has gained phenomenal interest around the globe for its purported health benefits.

It is massive business.

Estimated consumer sales of CBD products range between $600 million and $2 billion in 2018.

Financial analysts predict this number will jump to $16 billion by 2025.

Some investors are calling the CBD craze the next gold rush.

These numbers are even more staggering when you take into account the legal technicalities surrounding CBD.

  • In the USA only 33 states have legal medicinal CBD markets.
  • 10 further states have legal recreational use.
  • CBD oil has not been tested or approved by the FDA
  • The FDA maintains CBD is not safe as a food additive

So who is consuming CBD oil?

Well that obviously depends on where you come from. CBD oil is still illegal in many countries. We have a run down on the legal status of CBD oil by country below.

A study from the USA revealed another surprising statistic.

Of 2500 people polled, 7% said they had used CBD oil to provide relief for a range of symptoms.

So the numbers suggest a lot of interest around CBD oil but…

Does CBD Oil work for chronic pain?

CBD oil for painWhat is CBD Oil?

CBD oil is otherwise known as cannabidiol.

CBD is one of 104 chemical compounds called cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. Strains of cannabis plants include marijuana and hemp.

The cannabis plant is also known as Cannabis sativa.

When people think about cannabis they usually think about getting ‘high’. Students in a dark room, playing music and talking about the meaning of life.

The chemical compound that causes these psychoactive effects is THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol).

CBD oil is a refined element of cannabis with no THC present.

CBD oil is made by extracting the CBD compound from the cannabis plant. Once extracted it is diluted with a carrier oil such as hemp seed oil or coconut oil.

The non-psychoactive nature of CBD oil makes it an alternative prospect for people looking for natural pain relief.

 

Does CBD oil help chronic pain?

Studies examining CBD oil for pain have shown a great deal of promise.

CBD oil may provide a viable alternative to addictive pain medications such as opioids.

Traditional remedies have used marijuana to treat pain since 2900 BC.

Scientists now know the pain relieving effects of CBD oil operate through the human body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS).

The endocrine system is a specialised system which regulates functions including:

  • sleep
  • appetite
  • pain
  • immune response

Your body produces neurotransmitters, called endocannabinoids. The endocannabinoids bind to cannabinoid receptors in your system.

These neurotransmitters send signals around the body.

Scientists believe CBD – and other cannabinoids – affect this signalling system.

The altered signals, in turn, affect the way you experience pain.

 

CBD oil for painCBD oil for pain relief

Studies have shown CBD oil reduces inflammation and endocannabinoid receptor activity. It also interacts with neurotransmitters. These interactions all help to reduce chronic pain.

A study of rats found CBD injections reduced the pain of surgical incision. Another rat found taking CBD oil orally reduced the inflammation and neuropathic pain of sciatica.

A review of studies on CBD oil from the late 1980s to 2007 concluded it was effective in pain management without adverse side effects.

CBD oil for Multiple Sclerosis

Studies of people with multiple sclerosis found a combination of CBD and THC was effective at relieving pain, muscle spasms and walking difficulties.

 

CBD oil for arthritis

A separate study examined the effects of CBD oil and THC on patients with rheumatoid arthritis. The study found significant improvement in pain whilst at rest and moving. Patients also reported an improvement in sleep.

A study of rats with arthritis applied CBD gel to the rats for four days in a row. The researchers found a reduction in inflammation and the overall pain in the rats’ joints with no side effects.

More research is needed to verify if CBD oil is effective for pain relief but preliminary results are promising.

 

Other health benefits of CBD oil

CBD oil is gaining interest around the world for its health benefits. There are an enormous variety of claims from good for your skin to good for your dog.

Here are 7 evidence based health benefits of CBD oil.

 

Reduce anxiety and depression

Anxiety and chronic pain go hand in hand. {LINK}

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) depression is the largest cause of disability in the world. Anxiety is the sixth largest.

The pharmaceutical drugs used to treat anxiety and depression come with a long list of nasty side effects including:

  • Drowsiness
  • Insomnia
  • Agitation
  • Headaches
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Addiction

In animal studies CBD oil has demonstrated an anti-depressant effect.

A study of mice found CBD oil had an anti-depressant effect similar to the prescription drug Tofranil.

Another study of people with anxiety disorders gave them CBD oil before a public speaking test. The group that received the CBD oil had significantly less anxiety or discomfort than those without CBD oil.

Researchers believe the anti-depressant qualities are due to the ability of CBD oil to act on the brain’s receptors for serotonin. Serotonin is the happy and pain relieving hormone.

 

Benefit your heart health

The latest science has demonstrated a link between CBD oil and the ability to lower blood pressure.

High blood pressure is linked to a range of conditions including strokes, heart attacks and metabolic syndrome.

A study gave healthy males 600mg of CBD oil. They were then asked to perform stress tests that normally raise blood pressure. The group given the CBD oil had a lower blood pressure increase than those without the CBD oil.

Studies of mice found CBD oil reduced the oxidative stress of diabetic mice, preventing heart damage.

 

Reduce the symptoms of cancer

It may also be helpful for reducing the side effects of cancer treatment like nausea, vomiting and pain.

A study looked at people with cancer who did not experience any relief from pain medications. The group given a mixture of CBD oil and THC experienced a significant reduction in pain.

Another study found CBD oil could reduce the nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy.

 

CBD oil for painHelp with neurological conditions

Researchers believe CBD oil’s ability to act on the endocannabinoid system may help people with neurological disorders.

One study gave people with severe epilepsy CBD oil and found seizures reduced by around one third.

Another study of children with Dravet syndrome, a childhood epilepsy condition, found CBD oil reduced seizure activity of the children.

Several studies have also shown CBD oil may be help aid sleep and improve quality of life for people living with Parkinson’s disease.

  

May reduce acne

Acne might be more common than you realise – 9% of the population suffer from acne.

Recent studies suggest CBD oil may help acne because of its anti-inflammatory properties. CBD also has the ability to reduce sebum production.

One study found CBD oil prevented the activation of ‘pro-acne’ agents like inflammatory cytokines. It also prevented the sebaceous gland from secreting excess sebum.

 

How do you take CBD oil for pain?

CBD oil is available in a variety of forms. The most common forms of CBD oil are:

Capsules & pills

Pills & capsules are swallowed and digested. The time from taking the pill to feeling the effect can take a while. CBD pills and capsules have been approved by the FDA to treat some seizure disorders. They are also used to treat digestive issues.

Oils & tinctures

Oils and tinctures are typically carrier oils mixed with CBD. They are generally taken by placing a drop under the tongue. The capillaries under the tongue absorb the CBD compounds quickly.

 

Edibles

Sweet gummies infused with CBD oil are one of the most popular ways to take CBD oil. The main bonus is they remove the guess work involved with dosage. You know exactly how much CBD oil you are getting per edible.

 

Vaping

Vaping operates in a similar way to e-cigarettes. The CBD oil is inhaled in a vaporized form. It is one of the fastest ways to feel the effects of CBD oil. WARNING* There is still ongoing debate around the potential to damage your delicate lung tissues when vaping.

 

How much CBD oil do you take?

Everyone is unique – their physique, condition, metabolism. Therefore the dosage of CBD oil is unique for everyone.

Whenever possible you should talk to your doctor about your dosage of CBD oil.

You must talk to your doctor first if you plan to take CBD oil for seizure treatment or any other medical condition.

It is recommended you start with a low dosage of CBD oil (20 to 40 milligrams a day) then increase to a desired effect.

Many oils come in 1 milligram per drop concentrations. This can vary so you must proceed with caution and make sure you read the label carefully.

It can be difficult to achieve an accurate dosage with methods such as vaping CBD oil.

CBD oil for painCBD oil side effects

Side effects reported from CBD oil include:

  • Irritability
  • Nausea
  • Sleeping problems

Although far less addictive than pain medications such as opioids, you may experience withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms can include anxiety and depression.

CBD oil is not recommended for children due to potential adverse side effects on developing brains.

 

Legal Status of CBD Oil in 4 Countries

 

USA

Ok – hold on to your hat because this is confusing!

The legal status of CBD oil in the USA is complicated by multiple levels of law (state and Federal). To add to this several agencies have authority over CBD oil including the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) and FDA (Food and Drug Administration).

Finally (just to make things even trickier!) the law treats CBD differently depending on whether it is derived from hemp or marijuana.

At a federal level, it is not illegal to grow or sell CBD derived from Hemp.

BUT…CBD is still subject to the DEA authority. This allows individual states to create their own laws relating to CBD oil – even when derived from hemp.

To make the issue even murkier….

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has the authority to regulate any products containing CBD oil.

The FDA has not approved any health claims relating to CBD oil. This includes the use of CBD oil to treat diseases or health conditions.

The FDA has however approved the use of a cannabis product to treat some rare seizure related conditions.

If you are not sure about the legal status of CBD oil in your state, you can find a useful guide here:

 

Is CBD Legal?

It is also important to note CBD oil is not regulated for dosage or purity like other drugs. So do always proceed with caution before trying.

 

UK

CBD oil is currently legal and can be purchased from high street stores. It is recommended CBD oil is not sold to anyone under 18 years old.

As of November 2018, medicinal cannabis – including products with THC – can be prescribed by doctors.

More information on medicinal cannabis is available here.

So far the pathway to access medical marijuana is not as simple as heading to the pharmacy with your prescription.

Only specialist doctors can prescribe medicinal marijuana to people with exceptional clinical needs.

 

Australia

In Australia CBD oil must be prescribed by a doctor for medical reasons.

Again, you can’t simply ask your family GP and take the prescription to the local pharmacy.

Doctors have to submit an application under a Special Access Scheme for each patient before they can write the prescription.

 

Canada

In Canada recreational use of marijuana is no longer illegal.

CBD oil is fully legal and available to purchase.

 

Summary

Further scientific research is needed to verify the claim that CBD oil can help chronic pain.

The preliminary research of CBD oil in pain management is promising.

There is still a legal minefield surrounding the access and use of CBD oil in many countries.

It is important you properly research the legal status of CBD oil in your state or country before buying.

 

Have you tried CBD oil for pain?