CBD is a fascinating medicine that has been used for centuries to treat a diversity of ailments. It has historical links to Ancient Egyptian medicine, Chinese herbal teas made for Emperors and most recently, used by Queen Elizabeth, who took a popular medication in the Victorian times called laudanum to gain relief from her monthly cycle. Laudanum is an alcoholic herbal mixture containing 10% opium that was extremely popular for pain relief and inducing sleep.
Throughout history, in many countries of the world, CBD has commonly been used to treat pain. Anecdotal reports have shown CBD to decrease not only temporary discomfort, but chronic pain, including arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and back pain. Some studies have shown CBD to help relieve pain caused by cancer. According to a recent study examining regular CBD users, 62% reported using CBD to treat a medical condition, particularly in managing chronic pain, arthritis, and joint pain as well as anxiety and depression. A recent Gallop Poll showed 14% of Americans to use CBD, and the number one reason was for pain relief.
Thanks to herbs and plants, many of our pharmacological treatments for pain have been developed and implemented. Several of the most common pain relievers have come from plants, including the plant willow bark from Salix spp., which led to the development of aspirin. Another common pain-relieving plant is the opium poppy (Papaver somniferum). Discovering the structure of the opium poppy led to the scientific term prototypic narcotic analgesic morphine, or what is more commonly known as morphine. This was the first alkaloid discovered, leading to further research and development of understanding the endorphin and the enkephalin systems in the human body.
Just like the willow bark and the opium poppy led to the discovery of aspirin and morphine, cannabis led to the original development of THC (or Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol) which became popular in 1964. This chemical compound is the psychoactive ingredient leading to a “high” most people associate with cannabis. The ingredient CBD, on the other hand, is the non-psychoactive extraction of the cannabis plant used for pain relief and to help to induce sleep and reduce inflammation. It disrupts the pain receptors in the body and releases serotonin and dopamine as neurotransmitters, which ease the pain and discomfort, even if pharmaceutical painkillers do not affect.
Below are three common chronic pain ailments that CBD has shown to bring relief to including arthritis, neuropathy, and post-traumatic pain.
CBD has been a great source of decreasing inflammation and pain caused by arthritis. A study published in the journal Pain in December 2017 tested whether pain from osteoarthritis and joint neuropathy could be reduced. The research proved to have done both for two reasons. Firstly, because of CBD’s anti-inflammation properties and secondly, because it serves as a protectant to the nerves. It is recommended that you talk to your doctor before adding CBD to your regiment, as it may counteract with any current arthritis medications you are taking.
According to Drug Science, 20 million Americans struggle with peripheral neuropathy, which is nerve damage to the peripheral nervous system breaking communication between the nerves and causing intense pain. Some people who reported their results, experienced muscle weakness, uncontrolled twitching, and painful cramps. CBD has shown to significantly reduce the inflammation and decrease anxiety and nausea associated with nerve pain
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
PTSD is an anxiety disorder with symptoms like anxiety, anger, depression, irritability, sleep problems, and sadness. It occurs in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event. Because of CBD’s incredible ability to decrease pain and nerve receptor connections in the body, which relate to stress, many people use it to fight against the pain and stress resulting from traumatic experiences. Care By Design surveyed 300 patients in 2016 on their use off cannabis, and it’s ability to defend against PTSD. Respondents reported improvements in symptoms leading to the conclusion that cannabis may be better than pharmaceuticals for treating PTSD.
CBD can be applied topically, orally, or through inhalation.