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oil for chronic pain

Certainly, painkilling properties are what brought me to CBD. I have suffered chronic pain for more than a decade, ever since a horrible double leg-break. CBD helped reduce the daily pain and stiffness to the point where I no longer had any need to take OxyContin – the highly addictive opioid known as “Hillbilly Heroin” because of the vast swathes of poor Americans who are addicted to it. I also used to regularly take ibuprofen, which was until very recently considered an entirely safe medicine, before its long term use was found to have devastating effects on your gut and your liver, and who knows what else.

Nonetheless, the numbers of people taking it for more everyday complaints like pain and anxiety are huge; it is clear that people believe in the medicinal effects of CBD enough to spend their hard-earned money on it. In the UK a conservative estimate values the market at £300 million a year. A recent study says that within five years, sales of CBD will hit $20 billion a year in the US alone.

What happens when you take CBD?

CBD oil, meanwhile, is legal to buy – although it must be sold as a food supplement, which means companies are unable to use medical claims as part of their marketing (including on packaging). And as chemists are pointing out, this means the product exists in a regulatory grey area. It can be hard to know exactly what a bottle of CBD oil actually contains (although that looks set to change in the future).

Others at the high-quality end of the market are Apothem and Provacan, both selling hemp-derived, lab-tested products. Provacan recently commissioned a study of 2,000 adults into attitudes towards CBD. It found that most people still think it is illegal, and banned in professional sports. Neither point is true, but the point about confusion still stands. CBD is legal, but because it is now defined as a medicine, it means that companies have to sell it as a food supplement, and cannot make any medical claims.

A lot of companies also sell muscle balms and oils for rubbing CBD onto your skin, and some even stretch to CBD deodorants and CBD suppositories. I have tried a muscle rub, which does appear to ease pain, but it is hard to be sure how much of this is from other ingredients like eucalyptus oil. Dr Weisinger said: “We see no reason to limit the means of taking CBD to tinctures and capsules. Our customers’ experience with topical CBD has been excellent, as the active ingredient is absorbed through the skin.”

While very few clinical trials have explored the pain-relieving effects of CBD oil, a report published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews in 2018 examined the use of a variety of cannabis-based medicines and found they might be of some benefit in the treatment of chronic neuropathic pain.  

CBD oil should not be used as a substitute for standard care. In the case of chronic inflammatory conditions like arthritis, for instance, chronic inflammation can lead to joint damage (causing destruction and disability) if the condition is not effectively managed.

The research on the side effects of CBD oil is extremely limited. CBD is the major non-psychoactive component of cannabis. Due to the lack of regulation, there is inconsistency in content and purity. The amount of CBD may not be consistent, and products can contain varying amounts of the psychoactive component THC.

Chronic Neuropathic Pain

Side effects included sleepiness, dizziness, and mental confusion. The authors concluded that the potential harm of such medicines may outweigh their possible benefit.

The use of cannabis for pain relief dates back to ancient China.   It’s thought that CBD oil might help ease chronic pain in part by reducing inflammation. In addition, CBD oil is said to promote sounder sleep and, in turn, treat sleep disruption commonly experienced by people with chronic pain.  

It’s important to note that many CBD oil products do not contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the compound responsible for producing the “high” associated with marijuana use. Unlike THC, cannabidiol is non-intoxicating and does not have psychoactive effects.

Preclinical animal research suggests that CBD may have moderate pain-relieving effects for neuropathic pain without the cannabinoid-like side effects, however, there is currently a lack of large, well-designed clinical trials (the type of research you want to see to put full stock in a treatment) confirming these effects.