Not too long ago, you’d go to the doctor for a sore throat, a headache, or a severed limb, and the doctor would say these familiar words: “Take two aspirin and call me in the morning.” OK, he probably wouldn’t say that for the severed limb, but for pretty much every other non-life-threatening situation, you’d be instructed to pop a few of those chalky white pills.
Sometimes, though, the pain can be so intense that you need something stronger. But more powerful pain relievers like morphine, oxycodone, and codeine come with a long list of side effects—not to mention the potential for addiction and abuse.
And then there’s mental pain to consider. Depression and anxiety can be just as debilitating as physical pain, but infinitely more difficult to treat. Thankfully, the scientific and medical communities are finally catching up to what the cannabis world has known for a long time: marijuana is a potent mental and physical pain reliever. And it’s not just the fact that the THC in ganja gets you high. Other chemical compounds present in the wacky weed are much more important than THC when it comes to relieving pain.
One of those chemical compounds—cannabidiol (CBD)—is proving to be a life-saver for thousands of people suffering from chronic pain and disease. This article will delve into the science of CBD and show you how it can be used for pain relief management.
What Is CBD?
CBD is one of a group of chemical compounds called cannabinoids. Cannabinoids interact with neurons (or receptors) in your brain, and in your body itself, to produce a variety of interesting effects. The most well-known effect—and by far the most popular—is the psychoactive high produced by the cannabinoid THC. But CBD is rapidly gaining in notoriety thanks to its ability to interact with specific receptors in your brain that THC can’t reach.
How Does CBD Work?
Think of CBD like a key that fits a lock in a door. The doors, in this case, are the millions of receptors in your brain that make life possible. When the doors are locked and closed, the receptors are inactive. When the doors are unlocked and open, the receptors are active. It’s these active receptors we’re most concerned with because they cause reactions elsewhere in your body and brain.
But to get the doors open (to turn the receptors on), we first need to find the right key. That’s where CBD comes in. CBD is the key that activates three important receptors in your brain:
Let’s look at each in turn and see what they do.
When the serotonin receptors are active, they produce an antidepressant effect that boosts your mood, makes you feel happy, and improves your outlook on life. In high enough concentrations, CBD turns on the serotonin receptor and has a profound impact on the way you feel.
Vanilloid receptors, when they are active, are known to reduce the perception of pain and inflammation. So, when you take enough CBD into your body, the CBD activates the vanilloid receptors, which makes you feel less of the effects of pain and inflammation.
The adenosine receptors are largely responsible for reducing anxiety. Your body does a pretty good job of keeping these receptors active all by itself. But sometimes, the receptors don’t fire on all cylinders, or your brain doesn’t produce enough of the chemical to keep them active. When that happens, you can start to feel anxious, paranoid, and depressed. CBD stimulates the activity of the adenosine receptors, thereby decreasing the mental “pain” you feel.
Now that you have a general idea how CBD works, let’s examine some of the specific benefits it has to offer.
What Are The Benefits Of CBD?
CBD has a lot to offer those searching for pain relief and medical benefits. Here is just a small list of the benefits CBD can provide. As science continues to investigate the effects cannabinoids have on the body, more benefits are sure to follow.
- Fights tumor and cancer cells
- Reduces artery blockage
- Prevents degeneration of nervous system
- Makes it easier to sleep
- Suppresses muscle spasms
- Lessens the severity of psychosis
- Combats anxiety and depression
- Reduces inflammation
- Promotes bone growth
- Prevents bacterial growth
- Treats psoriasis
- Reduces blood sugar levels
- Suppresses seizure and convulsion activity
- Reduces nausea and vomiting
- Stimulates appetite
- Decreases pain
What Disorders Can Be Treated With CBD?
As you can see from the long list of benefits above, CBD has the potential to treat a wide range of disorders. These are just a few of the medical and psychological issues that respond well to CBD:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Antibiotic resistance
- Bipolar disorder
- Digestive distress
- Endocrine disorders
- Epilepsy and seizures
- Heart disease
- Huntington’s disease
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Kidney disease
- Liver disease
- Mad cow disease
- Mood disorders
- Motion sickness
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Chronic pain
- Parkinson’s disease
- Sickle cell anemia
- Skin conditions
- Spinal cord injury
Whew! That’s a lot of disorders, right? And that’s without federal funding to investigate further. Imagine what scientists could discover if marijuana were legal on a federal level. They’d discover that there’s so much more to marijuana than just getting high. That brings us to an important question about CBD: will it get you high?
Will CBD Get You High?
No, CBD will not get you high. In fact, when taken with THC, CBD reduces just how high you can get. That’s because CBD blocks THC from activating the receptors that cause you to lose touch with reality for a while. Remember the lock-and-key illustration from earlier in this article? In certain receptors (CB1 and CB2), CBD acts like a key that fits in the keyhole, but won’t actually unlock the door. What’s the point of that? With CBD occupying the keyhole, it prevents the THC molecule from getting in there and turning on too many receptors.
That, of course, only occurs when you consume whole-plant marijuana with all the trichomes, cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids intact. If you want to completely avoid the issue of getting high, or even slightly buzzed, there are now products you can buy that contain high levels of CBD and very low levels of THC (or even none at all). These products can be used to get all the medical benefits that CBD has to offer, without the risk of the psychoactive effects that THC produces.
Does CBD Have Any Side Effects?
Yes…no…sort of. It depends on what you consider a side effect. Most of us are familiar with the long list of side effects that come with most drugs. Oftentimes, the side effects are worse than the problem itself. If you think of side effects as severe reactions like liver damage, addiction, nausea, and paralysis, then, no, CBD doesn’t have any side effects. But if you think of side effects as ANY reactions other than what you are taking the drug for, then, yes, CBD does have side effects.
The only two side effects you may experience when taking CBD are:
- Dry mouth.
- A reduction in your liver’s ability to metabolize other pharmaceuticals.
So if you’re taking heart medication or blood-pressure medication, and you add CBD to your system, the CBD could block the effects of the first two. That could have serious unintended consequences. Be sure to consult a physician before taking a CBD product.
How Can I Use CBD For Pain Relief Management?
As we mentioned earlier in the article, growers and manufacturers have produced high-CBD/low-THC strains and products so that individuals suffering from medical problems can get the relief they need without having to worry about getting high. If you want to use CBD for pain relief management, consider using the following products:
- CBD strips.
- CBD oil.
- Cannabis oil.
- High-CBD bud (like Charlotte’s Web).
- Edibles made with high-CBD strains.
- CBD tinctures.
- CBD wax.
- Weed tea made with a high-CBD strain.
- Cannabis butter made with a high-CBD strain.
Always consult a physician before you take any CBD product for medicinal purposes. It can also be beneficial to talk to the budtenders at your local dispensary. They can provide useful information as well.
As for dosage amount, we always recommend starting small at first and increasing your dosage slowly once you see how you react. As a general rule of thumb, most full-grown adults can use the following information to gauge how much of a CBD product to take:
- No pain to mild pain: 12 mg – 18 mg of CBD
- Medium pain: 15 mg – 22.5 mg
- Severe pain: 18 mg – 27 mg
Keep in mind that the numbers above refer to the amount of CBD you take in, not the product itself. Always read the label and follow the directions for the product you choose so you don’t overdo it.
Start with the lowest dose possible and maintain that does for three days. This will give your body time to react. Once you know how you feel at a certain dosage, you can adjust up or down for the next three days. If you feel any discomfort, decrease your dosage.
For more information on all things marijuana, and to check out our 100-percent-all-natural cannabis products, visit HonestMarijuana.com today.