Pain management is a complex problem for both those suffering from pain and the physicians who are treating them. Pain may be localized, such as the kind caused by certain kinds of injuries or athletic activities. Pain may also be chronic. People with cancer, multiple sclerosis, or other serious illnesses or people who have suffered injuries that result in long-term effects may need different kinds of pain management than those dealing with strains and sprains.
Whether you are a “weekend warrior” with a sore shoulder from playing too much tennis or someone with a serious disease who has been suffering from deep-seated pain for a long time, CBD may provide you with relief.
Why consider turning to CBD products? Many people are fearful of becoming addicted to prescription drugs. Others have a desire for more “natural” remedies. Says Kathleen, an active 60-something who lives in Manhattan: “I much prefer CBD to use pills.”
Do CBD products really help ease the pain? Do they work with all kinds of pain?
Sheila, a nurse in a pediatric unit, rubs it on her sore feet at the end of the day. Tom is 94 years old and an avid gardener, but his painful, arthritic hands were preventing him from doing what he loves best. He began using a CBD cream and found that it reduced the inflammation in his hands.
1. CBD Is Non-Addictive
CBD is attracting a lot of attention for its potential use as a non-addictive solution to pain management, especially for chronic pain. According to the World Health Organization: “In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential . . . To date, there is no evidence of public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”
This in contrast to some pain medications currently in use which are effective but have undesirable side effects. Some, like opioids, carry the risk of addiction, overdose, and even death.
2. CBD Can Be Used by People of All Ages, Including Seniors
This is important because chronic pain, in particular, is being recognized as a significant public health issue in industrialized nations with aging populations. Surveys were done in Europe, Australia and the U.S. have found large percentages of elderly people living with persistent pain.
3. CBD Is Widely Available
Why are we seeing so many CBD products derived from hemp on the market these days, when we didn’t before? For years, hemp was classified as a controlled substance, which made it prohibited.
The plant was declassified as a controlled substance by the 2018 Agricultural Improvement Act, otherwise known as the Farm Bill. This paved the way for the explosive growth of the CBD industry.
4. CBD Can Help Treat Chronic Pain
Research on CBD is rapidly evolving. A study from the European Journal of Pain found that topical CBD, when applied to the skin, could help reduce pain and inflammation caused by arthritis. In addition to pain relief, some arthritis sufferers say that CBD allows them to sleep better and experience less anxiety.
Moderate doses of CBD are not thought to pose any serious safety concerns. As with any supplement, there is a potential for interaction with other drugs a CBD user is taking. CBD use should be discussed with your physician.
5. CBD Comes in Different Forms
The variety of CBD delivery systems allows users to select the product that best fits their needs.
Carolyn finds that CBD topicals help relieve her menstrual cramps. “They work well and mellow you out,” she says, noting that she uses them at night before bed. “I have fibroid cysts in my uterus, which exacerbates the pain level. The topicals help to subside the pain a bit and I am able to sleep better.”
When she broke her ankle, Mary used a salve containing both CBD and comfrey – a plant also known as “knitbone” that has been used medicinally for centuries. The powerful combination “sure did the trick,” says Mary.
Some companies manufacture salves aimed at decreasing inflammation and lessening pain in joints, and muscle rubs designed to be absorbed rapidly and bring instant relief to the affected area of the body. Some CBD products also contain ingredients that complement the CBD for additional medicinal benefits. CBD manufacturer Crescent Canna, for example, has a CBD freeze roller that infuses menthol and arnica, which help soothe muscles and joints and ease inflammation. Aloe vera and witch hazel, shown to have healing properties, are also in some popular topical CBD products.
Where Does CBD Pain Relief Go From Here?
It is likely that more research and new regulations are in CBD’s future. Although CBD products aren’t allowed to be marketed like a supplement or a medical product, the research does suggest that there are benefits when they’re used to manage pain, reduce anxiety, etc.
Taking the time to visit a company’s website can provide valuable details about the purity and quality of the product. A Certificate of Analysis (COA) will tell you if a product has been tested by an independent, third-party laboratory. If there is no COA on a company’s website – and customer service is not willing to provide you with information about product quality – you should avoid that company’s products.
As for research, it is probable that scientists will conduct studies intended to determine the most effective therapeutic dosage of CBD for specific medical conditions.
The more information that is developed about CBD and the more the industry matures, the greater the likelihood of regulatory oversight. What that will look like may depend on the dose. As a “nutraceutical,” low-dose CBD may continue to be unregulated. Higher-dose CBD products could be classified as pharmaceuticals and thus, subject to federal regulations.
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