Did you know that roughly 50 million Americans suffer from chronic pain? For many years, sufferers of chronic pain have been without a cure. This is thanks to the difficulty of addressing the variances in each person’s illness. While this has been a reality for decades, we’re seeing an uptick of people tapping into cannabis as a way to manage and alleviate unsolvable pains and aches. In fact, nearly 62% of Americans who use medical marijuana have reported using cannabis as a way to manage their chronic pain – and that number is growing every day as more and more cannabis products and permutations become legal.
What is Chronic Pain, Anyways?
According to Healthline, chronic pain is classified by pain that lasts anywhere from three to six months. For many injuries, most pain will subside shortly after an illness runs its natural course of action. When it comes to chronic pain syndrome, the pain one experiences can last months or even years after your body has supposedly healed.
Chronic pain occurs when your brain and nervous system are unable to properly communicate and changes the way that the neurons behave. The neurons become hypersensitive to pain messages and can cause body pain, even without triggers.
Symptoms of chronic pain include:
- burning pains
- muscle aches
- joint pain
- Fatigue and malaise
- Insomnia or sleep problems
- loss of flexibility and stamina, due to decreased activity
- mood problems and mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, and irritability
Some commonly known triggers of chronic pain can include arthritis (including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid), fibromyalgia, back pain and many more. Despite a person’s ability to manage these symptoms and pain when they have been diagnosed with any of the above illnesses, people may still feel pain that impedes their lives.
A quick rule of thumb? If you experience prolonged aches and pains beyond the normal healing process, that is an indicator that you may be suffering from chronic pain.
How can CBD help?
We’ve talked a lot about CBD and it’s effects on the body in many different forms. CBD is capable of doing so much good for your body, and that includes helping you manage your pain. Chronic or otherwise, for many years people have turned to cannabis for its health benefits.
Thanks to setbacks in CBD research, we don’t have many studies on how exactly cannabinoid helps us. We do know that CBD helps reduce inflammation with minimal adverse side effects.
When using CBD for management of the symptoms that come from chronic or neurological pain, one must use it regularly for maximum relief. Ideally, using it as a preventative measure to avoid flare-ups. Treating it as a dietary supplement could help you manage pain down the road, and you will feel little to no effects. Since there is no drug that can truly eliminate the chances of a flare-up, users are advised to try consuming weed by inhaling or vaping, so they can feel instantaneous pain relief, over a delayed one that comes from indigestibles.
Daily use of CBD oil can take the following form: tinctures, topicals and gel capsules. Be aware of dosage amounts when you are partaking in any of these. According to this article “those suffering from any kind of pain [should] start with 5-10mg per day of CBD. If relief is not felt at this dosage, we suggest increasing by 5-10mg until the desired effects are achieved.”
Ingestible products such as gel capsules and tinctures can help keep the pain away for hours to days. Remember: with any edibles or ingestible cannabis products, there is a delay in onset time. Be wary of how much you take and build slowly as needed over time. If you’re looking for relief from pain that is localized in your muscles, ligaments, bones or skin, etc.? CBD-infused topicals and salves can help you manage the pain and reduce inflammation.
- Don’t take more than thea recommended dose of CBD. You may experience headaches or gastrointestinal issues.
- Don’t take CBD oil to manage pain if you’re taking any medication that interacts with grapefruit (it will probably react negatively with CBD too).
Where does THC factor into the equation?
THC, known as the psychoactive element in cannabis (it’s what gives you that floating, amazing high we all love, and what cannabis has been known for), can often negatively impact your pain when taken solo. Using THC solely for pain management can lead to adverse effects such as dizziness, nausea, munchies, and more.
But, when taken together with CBD, in small, manageable doses, THC is uplifting and can help you deal with the negative, mental side effects that come from chronic pains. While you don’t necessarily need to feel uplifted when managing pain, some respite from negative mood disorders that impact your day.
All of this to say that you don’t necessarily need to incorporate THC into your CBD use. It is not essential and for those who prefer to just manage pain without the high, then CBD products can help manage it just fine.
While we may not know exactly how CBD and THC can help manage your pain, the research is looking promising. Bringing CBD into your life can offer you an alternative to dangerous and addictive medications (i.e. opioids, steroids).Interested in trying out CBD for your pain management? Check out this list for some recommendations based on your needs.