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Cannabidiol (CBD) oil, or hemp oil, is a special type of oil that we can extract from cannabis plants. Many people use this type of oil to relieve pain-related symptoms that are associated with chronic conditions that cause pain. Unlike marijuana, CBD oils do not contain THC, which is the compound that produces the “high” in humans.
So far, studies that focus on the effects of CBD on chronic conditions, such as arthritis, have been promising. CBD products may or may not work for everyone, but studies show that they certainly work for some patients.
What is CBD Oil?
CBD is a type of chemical that occurs naturally in cannabis plants. While this is the case, the chemical is not currently considered to be a psychoactive substance. Cannabis itself contains a variety of different chemicals. Specifically, the chemical that can produce a psychoactive reaction in humans is called tetrahydrocannabinol (or THC).
CBD products come in many different shapes and sizes, and their contents vary wildly. Some products contain higher amounts of CBD, while others are a bit more toned down. Because many people use the associated plant to achieve recreational highs, there is an unfortunate stigma surrounding CBD products. Naturally, many people automatically assume that CBD products and marijuana are one and the same. This is simply not the case. In fact, most people extract CBD oils from hemp plants, rather than from marijuana plants. Both of these plants fall under the cannabis classification, so the confusion is natural. However, like CBD oil, hemp plants do not contain any THC.
How do CBD Products Relieve Pain?
It would not be truthful to say that the extracted oil from CBD does not affect brain activity. It certainly does, but not in the same way that THC alters our perception. CBD oil reacts with two receptors in the brain, aptly named the CB1 and CB2 receptors. The interaction that takes place between the oil and these receptors is what can reduce chronic pain, such as cancer pain, and inflammation.
Additionally, CB2 also reacts with the immune system. In particular, this is beneficial for people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a condition in which the immune system attacks the joints. The relationship between this receptor type and the immune system is likely why CBD products seem to work so well in RA patients.
Of course, the benefits of using CBD products in RA patients do not just end at the immune system. Because of the oil’s anti-inflammatory properties, CBD also slows down the progression of the disease. In some instances, the supplement may even stop the progression altogether. Additionally, CBD products may alleviate symptoms such as fever and fatigue. This is because these problems are closely associated with the inflammation that RA causes.
As previously mentioned, CBD products come in different shapes and sizes. You can find CBD oil in the form of a capsule or even a liquid, for example. One is not really better than the other, it more or less depends on your personal preferences. Some people even mix the oil in with other lotions that they already use. This mixture is effective when applied directly to the affected joints.
To find out the appropriate dosage for you, experts recommend that you consult with your doctor. Dosages in CBD products vary wildly, from 2.5 mg all the way up to over 1000 mg. Most patients start out with small doses and work their way up to determine effectiveness, but it is still recommended that you consult a doctor. If the current dosage you are taking is not providing any benefits, then try slowly increasing the dosage until you notice a change.
Always purchase CBD products from a reputable provider and make sure that they include a full list of ingredients. Although not as common, topical CBD creams and lotions are slowly becoming more available. This will benefit those who already make their own DIY mixtures, as the oil dosage will be much more clear-cut.
CBD Oil & Arthritis Pain Relief
Chronic pain, such as lumbago, is sort of the root of all evil—it leads to so many other problems. Many patients with chronic pain conditions often suffer from comorbid disorders, such as insomnia, depression, or anxiety. This just has to do with the way that a constant, suppressing feeling of pain interacts with the body. It makes us want to do less, and it keeps us from sleeping at night.
Conditions known to produce this dilemma are:
- Osteoarthritis(OA): A degenerative disease caused by age-related wear and tear. Also, one of the most common types of arthritis. Osteoarthritis typically affects joint cartilage and bones, leading to pain and stiffness. Usually, OA primarily attacks the hip, knee, and thumb joints.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA): The other incredibly common form of arthritis. This one is a little different, however, as it is more of an autoimmune disease than a degenerative disorder. Rheumatoid arthritis causes the immune system to attack the joint cartilage and bones, leading to pain and stiffness. Usually, this condition targets the hands and feet.
- Psoriatic Arthritis (PA): Not as common as the other two, but not exactly rare either. PA occurs in patients with psoriasis—a condition that causes red, scaly skin patches. Most people develop psoriasis first, and then PA follows. That being said, there are cases where joint problems appear before the skin lesions.
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS): A disabling disease of the central nervous system. With this condition, the immune system attacks the myelin sheath that covers our nerve fibers. This leads to misfirings and gradual nerve deterioration.
These are just a few conditions that CBD can help. It’s important to note that you do not have to fall on this list to receive the benefits of CBD oil. CBD oil also aids with chronic pain, which for some people, is a condition all on its own.
Does CBD Oil Work?
In that regard, it’s honestly like any other medical treatment. The answer is sometimes. However, CBD constitutes a much better alternative to opioids and comes with fewer side effects. Of course, that statement is case-dependent, but the real appeal here is that CBD oil is not risky. At most, the reported side effects of CBD products are mild. These include fatigue, insomnia, irritability, and nausea. Even still, it is uncommon for these effects to occur. Basically, it almost never hurts to try. CBD oil provides a conservative avenue to explore for those with opioid sensitivity
But, what does the scientific evidence indicate? Studies for cannabis-based treatments in RA patients began in roughly 2006. Researchers concluded that after five weeks of use cannabis-based treatments reduced inflammation and pain in RA patients. Moreover, these patients also experienced improved sleep and little to no negative side effects.
Additional studies have been performed, but they all reveal pretty much the same thing. The only issue with these studies is that they have relatively small sample sizes. That being said, what they do show is quite promising. It is very likely that the future will bring even larger studies that will provide us with even better scientific results that indicate the treatment’s effectiveness.
Are CBD Products Legal?
The answer to this depends on your state, but in most of them, it is. You can easily find interactive maps online that detail your state’s laws on the matter. Do you have a chronic pain condition? Maybe CBD oil is right for you. As always, if you have any questions on the matter, please contact us at (855)853-6542. Our spine doctors at OLSS are leading experts in the field of conservative treatment options. They will be able to answer any questions you may have about this treatment.