Natural medicine has been using the beneficial properties of hemp for thousands of years. It has been used and continues to be used to treat skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema, for anxiety, and for a wide variety of inflammatory conditions. Hemp was used to treat wounds, burns or ulcers. It was also administered for deworming, but also had a laxative effect. And for centuries hemp has been used as a painkiller for migraines and pains of equal origin.
Cannabidiol (CBD) produced from hemp seed is now increasingly used as a remedy for many ailments, including pain. It is legal and safe. It has no psychoactive properties and is not addictive. Therefore, it is invaluable in the fight against pain as an alternative to pharmaceuticals, which are not without their effects on the body. Hemp oil for pain can be used at any time without fear of causing adverse effects.
What is CBD cannabis oil, how does it work, what does it have to do with the endocannabinoid system and how can it all come together for pain relief? Find out below.
- Endocannabinoids - which are small molecules that are neurotransmitters responsible for the activation of cannabinoid receptors. Two endocannabinoids are produced naturally in the body: Anandamide (so-called AEA) and 2-Arachidonylglycerol (2-AG).
- Cannabinoid receptors - are cell membrane proteins. To date, two types of receptors have been distinguished: CB1 and CB2. They are located on the surface of cells. CB1 receptors are most abundant in the brain (hypothalamus and amygdala), in areas responsible for appetite control and memory and emotion processing, but large numbers are also found in the lungs, pancreas, liver, smooth muscle and gastrointestinal tract (most in the intestines), in the central nervous system (nerve endings), where they are responsible for pain sensation. CB2 receptors, on the other hand, are mainly found in the immune system. Their activation stimulates the immune system to fight inflammation and gives a signal to perform other immune actions. CB2 receptors are also found in the peripheral nervous system.
- Metabolic enzymes - They have a special task - as they destroy endocannabinoids that have already been used by the body. Two such enzymes are known: FAAH - responsible for the breakdown of Anandamide and MAGL - responsible for the breakdown of 2-Arachidonylglycerol.
What are cannabidiol (CBD) and CBD oil
Cannabidiol, or CBD for short, is a chemical compound belonging to the broader group known as cannabinoids. They are all found in hemp seed (Cannabis Sativa). By supercritical CO2 extraction, CBD is extracted from the flowers of the hemp plant, combining it then with a carrier, which can be hemp seed oil or olive oil. The product is hemp CBD oil.
Cannabidiol (CBD) has the ability to interact directly with the endocannabinoid system via the CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors. This is all thanks to the fact that phytocannabinoids (i.e. plant cannabinoids) have the same ability to interact with cannabinoid receptors as endocannabinoids, eliciting the desired responses.
What is pain and what are its types
Pain can be defined as an unpleasant sensory and/or emotional experience that has been caused by an illness or injury. Pain is discomfort, suffering, unpleasant mental and physical sensations to which a person reacts in a certain way to eliminate the pain or at least reduce its intensity.
The perception of pain is an individual matter and is genetically determined. This means that each person feels and classifies the level of pain differently. But one thing is common to pain, when it lasts for a long time and is a pain of high intensity, it often carries very serious consequences:
- Physical - limits physical activity, causes sleep disturbances and often also nausea, vomiting and constipation.
- Mental - causes anxiety, fear and stress often leading to depression. It can also include irritability, anger and even aggression.
- Social - pain limits activity, and chronic pain causes gradual withdrawal from family, work and social life.
There are many types of pain, but one stands out in particular:
- Acute pain - Usually caused by a sudden injury due to thermal, mechanical or chemical damage. Such pain forces an immediate response.
- Chronic pain - is pain that is referred to when it lasts longer than three months. It is pathological pain caused, for example, by arthritis or curvature of the spine or chronic diseases such as multiple sclerosis. The causes of chronic pain are numerous. Chronic pain is no longer just an ailment, but a disease in itself and requires treatment.
- Persistent pain - is one that is felt even when wounds have healed, e.g. after surgery, but not only. An example of this would be pain after experiencing hemiplegia.
Pain can be caused by irritation of the receptors by physical stimuli (so-called receptor pain) either through damage to the nervous tissue (neurogenic pain). It may be superficial or perhaps deep or visceral. It is also possible to experience pain that cannot be localised.
Hemp oil for pain
CBD oils are beginning to exist in the minds of more and more people as an excellent treatment aid for many conditions, including various types of inflammation and pain. There is a lot of scientific research into the effects of cannabidiol on the body, and the results are quite clear that CBD shows pain-relieving effects by acting on the endocannabinoid system. Studies show that CBD is not only effective in relieving chronic pain, it has no significant adverse effects.
Selected scientific studies and their results on the effects of hemp oil on pain:
- CBD hemp oil and pain in rheumatoid arthritis - studies have shown that in the case of rheumatoid arthritis, oral intake of cannabidiol did not produce the expected results in terms of significant pain relief. In contrast, topical application, i.e. rubbing it into the skin in painful areas, already had positive effects without causing any adverse effects;
CBD oil for ulcerative colitis - Research into the use of CBD oil for this extremely troublesome and painful condition has been conducted at the Oxford Academy, among others, and although the results were not as expected, it opens the door to further research into this aspect of CBD oil's effects;
- cannabidiol and postoperative pain - The study was carried out on several kidney transplant patients and the results were surprising to the researchers. In fact, it turned out that two patients had a significant improvement in their condition, another four had a partial improvement within the first 15 days of cannabidiol use, and only one had no change at all. Adverse effects of CBD use were also included in the study results, but they were generally minor. These included nausea, dry mouth and drowsiness.
- CBD and neuropathic pain - This pain is caused by nerve damage and is commonly experienced in chronic diseases such as multiple sclerosis or in injuries such as herniated discs, as well as in infections such as herpes zoster. By acting as an oxidant, CBD is able to reduce inflammation by reducing oxidative stress.
There is another aspect where CBD hemp oil has an effect on the human body, and although this is not directly related to pain reduction, it is an extremely important property for sufferers. Namely, an improvement in mood after taking CBD oils and a significant improvement in sleep quality. Not only is pain in itself an extremely unpleasant experience, but it also deprives people of sleep, induces anxiety, causes fatigue and often even leads to depression. Therefore, when taking CBD oils, it is worth choosing those with a full spectrum of action. This will ensure their much greater versatility in positively influencing the body and greater effectiveness.
- "Emerging Role of (Endo)Cannabinoids in Migraine", by Pinja Leimuranta, Leonard Khiroug, Rashid Giniatullin; 2018; https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphar.2018.00420/full
- "Selective Cannabinoids for Chronic Neuropathic Pain: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis"; 2017; https://journals.lww.com/anesthesia-analgesia/Fulltext/2017/11000/Selective_Cannabinoids_for_Chronic_Neuropathic.32.aspx
- "Cannabinoids and Pain: New Insights From Old Molecules"; authors Sonja Vučković, Dragana Srebro, Katarina Savić Vujović, Čedomir Vučetić, Milica Prostran; 2018; https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphar.2018.01259/full
- "Therapeutic potential of the endocannabinoid system in the treatment of acute and chronic pain"; authors: Magdalena Kostrzewa, Katarzyna Starowicz Laboratory of Pain Pathophysiology, Department of Pain Pharmacology, Institute of Pharmacology, Polish Academy of Sciences; https://bolczasopismo.pl/api/files/view/52013.pdf
- "Transdermal cannabidiol reduces inflammation and pain-related behaviours in a rat model of arthritis", authors D.C. Hammell, L.P. Zhang, F. Ma et al; 2016. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4851925/