Cannabidiol (also called CBD) is a natural extract from cannabis plants. For use in commercially available CBD supplements, the extract is obtained from industrial hemp plants. The benefits of supplementing on CBD seem to be numerous. Using CBD for pains and cancer treatment has proved to be one of the more popular applications of the supplement. With many people suffering from chronic pains turning to CBD for pain relief, there are several things you should know about cannabidiol use.
Is CBD Effective in Treating Health Ailments?
CBD was discovered in recent years to be a potentially beneficial drug for a variety of health ailments. The concept behind the efficacy of CBD is that it affects a part of the nervous system which scientists refer to as the endocannabinoid system.
In recent years, great advancements have been made in the area of CBD research, with many researchers exploring CBD for managing chronic pain, inflammation, anxiety, depression and even epilepsy.
A new anti-epilepsy medication with CBD has recently been approved by the FDA for forms of childhood epilepsy that aren’t traditionally responsive to conventional medication. Intended for children over 2 years of age, the drug will serve to treat Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS).
While CBD has been approved for treating epilepsy, the outlook for new CBD medications to treat pain and assist in cancer treatment isn’t as promising. It will still take many years develop new CBD drugs, if this ever does happen. In the meantime, none of the reported health benefits of the substance are available to the public in an FDA-approved medication.
However, plenty of research has been done on CBD and its efficacy in treating pain, and the results have been favorable. Extensive use of CBD in the form of a natural supplement has seen thousands of people reporting benefits in the area of pain relief, as well as additional benefits when used as a supplement alongside traditional cancer treatment.
Research on CBD for Pain Relief
Multiple studies have been done on the efficacy of CBD for treating pain. Specifically, two studies on the efficacy of CBD for treating arthritis pain in rats, both reported positive findings.
In 2017, scientists published a study in the journal Pain. This study examined the use of CBD as a topical treatment against osteoarthritis. The results were positive, as the topical CBD treatment was found to reduce the rate at which osteoarthritis developed and prevented nerve damage.
Another study done in 2016, published in The European Journal of Pain, found similar results. For this study, CBD was also applied topically to rats suffering from arthritis. Researchers reported reduced joint swelling and thickening of the synovial membrane. These findings are significant, as the thickening of the synovial membrane suggests that CBD treatment can, in fact, partially reverse the effects of arthritis.
But the analgesic effect of CBD isn’t limited to only arthritis pain relief. As a general anti-inflammatory, CBD is a good alternative to traditional painkillers such as ibuprofen and aspirin for managing pain. It can be consumed both orally, or applied topically, making it a versatile treatment for pain relief.
CBD for Pain Relief Uses
Thousands of patients around the world use CBD for various forms of pain treatment. Some of the common forms of pain treated with CBD supplements include:
- Arthritis pain
- Pain from sports injuries
- Intestinal discomfort (caused by conditions such as Irritable bowel syndrome)
- Depression, anxiety and PTSD
One of the main reasons for the effectiveness of CBD in treating various forms of pain lies in the fact that it triggers the endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system is responsible for releasing endocannabinoids into the human body. Once released these endocannabinoids play a role in memory formation, appetite stimulation and, of course, pain relief.
CBD is chemically similar to the endocannabinoids present in the human body. Although researchers are still investigating the exact way in which CBD affects the endocannabinoid system, it’s generally believed that the use of CBD has a positive effect on the function of this bodily system.
In memory formation, researchers have observed that the endocannabinoid system is responsible for selectively allowing helpful memories, while also blocking harmful memories. Specifically, emotionally aversive memories such as traumatic events are blocked, while everyday memories that are helpful are allowed to form.
This direct intervention by the endocannabinoid system to reduce emotional pain, may be one of the reasons why people find CBD supplementation effective for treating emotional pain, such as depression and anxiety.
This filtering aspect of the endocannabinoid system, as well as the effects of CBD in triggering it, has peaked the interests of researchers. As a result, researchers have studied the effects of CBD in treating post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and have found that participants treated with CBD had reduced anxiety and less flashbacks.
CBD for Cancer Treatment
There is currently no official CBD-based drug used for treating cancer. It’s also not recommended to substitute traditional cancer treatment with supplementing on CBD, as it’s extremely unlikely that the use of CBD alone is enough to treat cancer. No studies have proven CBD use to cure cancer.
With that in mind, cancer patients should be aware of the fact that CBD isn’t considered to be a cancer cure. Instead, CBD has been studied as a supplement to help cancer patients alongside traditional treatment.
Many cancer patients take CBD alongside traditional chemotherapy and radiation treatment. The purpose of supplementing on CBD is to reduce pain from cancer.
Some studies have also suggested that the use of CBD can also inhibit tumor cell growth. More research on the effects of CBD on cancer are necessary to prove or disprove this claim. If it is true that CBD can control tumor cell growth, then using CBD alongside conventional cancer treatment can prevent cancer from spreading throughout the body.
Furthermore, the anti-depressant benefits of CBD can help cancer patients cope with the emotional stress of the disease. A positive attitude is an important part of successful cancer treatment. Not so much because it can affect the outcome of treatment, but rather because dealing with depression or anxiety can take its toll on cancer patients and diminish their quality of life.
Starting CBD Treatment: What You Should Know
While CBD offers an instantly available treatment for a variety of health conditions in the form of a natural health supplement, you should be careful about how you use it. Many medical conditions are serious and require specialized care from a trained medical professional.
Currently there’s no research suggesting that CBD has anti-bacterial or anti-viral effects, which means that it can’t be used as a substitute for ant-biotics or anti-viral medications. Because of this, you shouldn’t use CBD for cold or flu symptoms, as it’s unlikely to be effective. Although it’s possible that CBD can offer pain relief even if you have a cold or flu, it won’t treat the underlying causes of the illness.
CBD itself isn’t intended to be a cure for any health conditions. While you can use CBD freely for less serious health ailments (such as minor pains, headaches and so on) you should always consult a health professional when you’re dealing a condition that could be potentially serious.
No matter how beneficial CBD can be for your health, many medical conditions aren’t suitable for self-treatment at home. Some health conditions that require immediate care from a doctor include:
Persistent high fever of 103 degrees Fahrenheit or more
- Severe chest, abdominal or pelvic pains
- Pain that lasts more than 3-6 months
- You get headaches and are self-medicating on painkillers almost daily
- You have headaches accompanied by weakness, dizziness, loss of balance or numbness and tingling in the limbs (or any other worrisome symptoms)
- You have severe ear pain
- Fever accompanied by a stiffness in the neck and possibly a headache
If you display any arthritis symptoms, but have not yet been diagnosed with the condition, it’s important to see your doctor as soon as possible. Getting a diagnosis for arthritis can help you cancel out other possible causes for your joint pain.
Once you start using CBD, keep track of the health problem you’re hoping to treat. Note whether the problem is improving or not so that you can decide if CBD is right for you. Thousands of people all over the world have already seen the benefits of using CBD oil for their health. It’s not too late for you to start improving your overall health as well!