In what way and how CBD acts as a pain reliever
The medicinal properties of cannabis have been known since ancient times. The first traces of cannabis were found in ancient cemeteries dating from 5000 to 3000 BC. C. Scientists believe that it originated in the steppes of Mongolia and southern Siberia, where it was often used in shamanism. The first written mention only came about around 2800 where it was mentioned in Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing or Medical Matter. Even during the reign of the Chinese emperor Fu Xi, cannabis was a very popular medicine. At that time, the Chinese found 100 uses of cannabis, one of which was as an ingredient for anesthesia. Some cultures consider it sacred and even today it is used in rituals. What is the secret of such an attitude towards this plant?
The algorithm for the action of cannabis on the human brain
Modern science explains it this way: the different medicinal properties of the plant are explained by the similarity of the structure of the main active components – tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) with anandamide and 2-arachidonoglycerin, which the body produces to protect the nervous system from overload. Brain cells transmit information along a chain, exchanging electrical impulses arising from the potential difference between the membranes of neighboring neurons. With chronic pain, foci of pathological activity arise in the cerebral cortex, which the body cannot cope with on its own. Entering the body from the outside, plant and synthetic cannabinoids bind free receptors and stop the production of gamma-aminobutyric acid, one of the leading neurotransmitters. As a result, the excitement is not transmitted to the higher nerve centers and gradually dies out. This is the algorithm for the action of cannabis on the human brain, and in this way, cannabis works as a pain reliever.
Research on CBD for pain
Legalizing the use of medical cannabis has helped expand the field of research on cannabis as a pain reliever. For example, in Canada, where cannabis was legalized, clinical research on the therapeutic effects of cannabidiol became possible after Canada’s Cannabis Act was passed on October 17, 2018. The Research Institute of the McGill University team conducted some studies. In their work, scientists reported on the optimal effective doses of cannabidiol, extracted from plant materials and allowing to safely eliminate pain without the development of undesirable side effects of pronounced euphoria that characterize the effects of tetrahydrocannabinol. The authors noted that the data obtained are, first of all, important for patients with chronic pain syndrome. The study was first published in The International Association for the Study of Pain “PAIN”.
Researchers at the Washington Institute of Medicine believe that CBD can be used to relieve pain in the following cases:
- in patients receiving chemotherapy,
- in the postoperative period in combination with opioids to reduce nausea and vomiting,
- in patients with spinal cord injury,
- peripheral neuropathic pain,
- and post-traumatic mixed pain,
- in patients with chronic neuropathic pain and insomnia,
- in HIV-infected patients with neuropathic pain,
- and in other cases where severe pain is present.
The British company GW Pharmaceuticals conducted a study in which 34 patients with spinal cord injuries and other diseases that cause severe pain were involved. 28 patients reported that CBD treatment reduced pain and, as a result, allowed for normalized sleep.
Here are some more facts about CBD’s pain-relieving properties:
- In 2007, the journal “Neurology” in the USA published an article that CBD helps fight painful sensations caused by nerve damage in patients with HIV diagnosis.
- In the United States, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society noted that cannabis relieves spasmodic pain.
As stated above, cannabis affects chronic pain. He helps to neutralize her. It is this property of cannabis that is responsible for the increasing geography of cannabis legalization in the world.
The whole world knows that cannabis is a pain reliever
Compared to opioids (hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine, fentanyl, and methadone), cannabis has several benefits.
Firstly, it is of natural origin, and secondly, it does not have such side effects as opioids (addictiveness, nausea).
In a 2014 study, the majority of opioid users for chronic pain who substituted cannabis for opioids remained faithful to cannabis. The researchers note that cannabis can reduce pain when applied topically. For example, with arthritis, skin damage, or muscle strain. In this case, it can be applied in the form of an oil, ointment, or paste. If you take cannabis internally in the form of capsules, tablets, drinking syrups, that is, adding plant cannabinoids to the body, you increase endocannabinoid activity and thereby relieve pain.
The effects of CBD on chronic pain
Let’s go back to chronic pain and the effects of CBD on it, and consider the result of research by American scientists.
In 2017, a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was released to the public, which noted that approximately 20 percent of American citizens experience chronic pain. To find out this information, a survey was conducted among 50 million people. Most people in pain have used opioids. Those people who exceeded the permissible dose of the drug simply died. It was this fact that prompted specialists to start looking for drugs that could replace opioids. A study by the American scientist Bonnke, showed that CBD is highly effective in relieving chronic pain, he does not report possible side effects when taking this substance. And medicine has changed its attitude towards this drug as a pain reliever. Studying this effect of cannabis, according to Bonnke, is of immense value to US residents, as cannabis helps relieve pain.
Canadian scientists note that cannabis is also effective for menstrual pain. Every woman has experienced such pain at least once in her life. The pain does not allow you to do ordinary things and work normally, and of course, the pain needs to be relieved. In this case, doctors recommend taking capsules or relieving the pain locally. How does it work? In the US, cannabis “tampons” designed specifically to relieve menstrual pain has appeared, using which to reduce menstrual pain. They are suppositories (candles) that consist of cocoa butter (they say, hemp healing candles smell like cookies) and cannabinoids. The active ingredient is absorbed through the vaginal mucosa and reduces muscle spasms. Also, actress Whoopi Goldberg founded the production of cannabis-based products for women – herbal tincture, bath salt, shower gel, and even cocoa. These things are designed to relieve pain during menstruation.
Based on the results of scientists, in this article, we examined in what way and how cannabis acts as a pain reliever.
Does cannabis have side effects and negative effects on the human body?
- The side effects of cannabis are still being studied.
- Research in 2011 showed that cannabis is non-toxic, does not affect physiological parameters (heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature).
- In controlled doses, cannabis is completely harmless to both humans and animals.
- The negative effects of cannabis use can be solely due to drug overdose. In this case, attacks of nausea increased anxiety, and even paranoia are possible. This is why a well-calculated dose is so important for the patient.
- Concerning addiction, its degree is not so high when compared, for example, with opioids. When using cannabis, a rather psychological habit, rather than a physiological one, can develop, which can be accompanied by bouts of pain and a desire to immediately take this drug.
From this, we conclude that cannabis is a decent pain reliever if taken correctly and dosed under the supervision of a doctor. There is one more thing to consider if your doctor has prescribed cannabis for your pain reliever. CBD works well for chronic pain, but unfortunately, it is less effective for acute pain, such as postoperative pain.
Below we provide quotes from patients who used cannabis as a pain reliever (names changed at the request of the authors of the statements), published in 2017 in the USA:
I took cannabis oil during chemotherapy after a relapse, the oil helped me fall asleep. Previously, I did not know about the existence of this drug. I take it on demand, when I am very tired and cannot sleep, or when the pain attacks intensify.Linda, diagnosis – breast cancer
Now I have a relapse after inflammation. To be honest, I hesitated for a long time, weighed all the pros and cons. But I intuitively realized that it would help me. And this summer I started taking cannabis oil. at night. I again have an appetite, sleep has become better. Sometimes I take a break for a week, but because of my condition and nervousness, I feel that I need to take more often. Cannabis relieves pain.Olga, diagnosis – cervical cancer
There were eight chemotherapies, that’s when I started taking oil and vape. I was able to sleep (my psychological state improved), I was able to eat (it took away nausea), the side effects were gone – joint pains, body aches. Of course, I took and premedication, but took almost no medication between chemistry. I could just smile and communicate with people – medical cannabis was very nerve-racking and relaxing.Helga – breast cancer
The information in this article is provided for general educational purposes only and does not constitute professional medical advice or propaganda.