CannabisMd is the authority publisher on CBD and Cannabis
Insistent or chronic pain is hard to beat. The opioid crisis currently enveloping the United States and much of Europe is a largely a result of doctors prescribing opioid painkillers to treat chronic pain. The trouble is, while opioids are extremely effective in the short-term, they are very addictive, have severe side effects and can be deadly, as the tens of thousands of deaths in the USA last year from prescription drug overdoses proves.
Chronic pain affects up to half of adults in the UK every day, according to the National Health Service. Much of this is undiagnosed and self-medicated, which can be a problem. The effects of taking over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen and paracetamol over a prolonged period are well established, with lower efficacy and potential problems with renal functioning, a higher risk of heart attack and stroke, and bleeding in the intestinal tract. Hardly ideal for people whose pain is unlikely to go away.
There is only so much physiotherapy, exercise, a positive outlook and a good diet can do. Even if you are ticking all those boxes, chronic pain can be debilitating and reduce your quality of life hugely. So, what to do?
People have been using Cannabis and industrial hemp for treating pain and other medical conditions for generations. Cannabis has a pleasant effect on many users, and this is one reason for them taking it. There are a host of around 60 chemicals called cannabinoids that are present in cannabis that have an active effect on the brain, even if they are not psychoactive.
What CBD Does in the Brain
In the brain, there are signalling chemicals called neurotransmitters. Cannabinoids and terpenes, or CBD, are amongst them. They act on receptors in what is known as the cannabinoid and endocannabinoid systems, altering how the neurons the receptors are attached to interact with the neurons they are connected to. This changed series of thresholds for communication produce the effects cannabis has on the brain. Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is a psychoactive cousin of CBD, and is what gets people high. CBD does not have this effect as it interacts with the brain in a subtly different way.
It appears that CBD does not interact much with the ECS, instead it has the effect of changing how other compounds in the ECS are produced, activating or inhibiting their production. While it is not very well understood, one effect of CBD is that it prevents the uptake of anandamide, a chemical involved in the regulation of pain. It is possible that an increased level of anandamide can reduce the levels of pain the patient feels.
CBD also has an anti-inflammatory effect on the brain and nerves around the body. Inflammation of the nervous system causes pain, so anything that regulates this can have a pain-relieving effect. It also suggests that CBD can reduce neuropathic pain.
Again, it is not well understood, but it appears that CBD plays a role in immune system regulation. As many chronic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis appear to be immune system related, this could account for the success many people report CBD to have on treating their symptoms. The inflammation is reduced and the pain itself is lowered.
CBD reduces the nausea patients can feel during or after chemotherapy, making it much easier to bare. This can have a very positive effect on the person’s quality of life during what is a very difficult time. Combined with the low levels of side effects, CBD looks to be a promising treatment in chemotherapy.
The non-psychoactive nature of CBD hemp oil makes it a prime candidate for drug testing and research as it is easier to regulate. For reasons that do not make much sense, cannabis has been subject to huge restrictions on its cultivation and use, somewhat at odds to its minimal risk of harm and many beneficial effects, especially when eaten or taken as an oil.
CBD is a naturally occurring neurotransmitter found in the brain, so when ingested in small amounts it can penetrate the blood-brain barrier and affect the brain in the desired way without the need for large doses, which could have effects on other parts of the body. This makes it ideal for effective treatment.
Another benefit of CBD oil is its relative stability: it does not degrade very easily, can be stored at room temperature and transported easily. This makes it useful for hard-to-reach areas and places where refrigeration is not available. As it is only needed in relatively small doses, large amounts need not be transported or stored.
The cannabis sativa plant that CBD is isolated from grows in many parts of the world, and through intensive cultivation it can produce high concentrations of CBD oil relatively inexpensively. Cannabis is a non-invasive species, grows in between 6 and 8 weeks from planting to cultivation, and has zero toxicity when ingested orally. Production is cheap and can be done anywhere with a water supply and electricity; there are existing methods for cultivation and breeding that are well tested and very effective.
Extracting CBD Oil
The extraction of CBD is very easy and easily scalable to industrial levels, making it a prime candidate for widespread distribution and helping the millions of people currently suffering pain to get the best, full spectrum CBD oil for pain.
There are three main methods of extraction: supercritical CO2 extraction, ethanol and canola oil and the Rick Simpson method.
Supercritical carbon dioxide extraction uses high pressure, low temperature CO2 in a liquid/gas phase to extract CBD without harming the rest of the plant extracts. The CO2 is passed through the cannabis repeatedly until most of the CBD oil has been removed. This produces high-quality CBD oil, amongst the best CBD oil for pain.
The ethanol method uses ground-up cannabis and the solvent ethanol to dissolve and extract all the soluble compounds in cannabis. This means that the oil produced is full of other chemicals such as chlorophyll and has to be distilled to get pure CBD. This is a relatively safe and easy process but produces lower yields than the supercritical CO2 extraction.
The solvent, or Rick Simpson method, is dangerous but effective. It simply involves grinding up cannabis, adding a solvent like butane or acetone, letting it gas off and collecting the remains. The sludge left is very highly concentrated cannabinoids, from which CBD can be extracted by fractional distillation. This method is not recommended due to the risk of fire and explosion.
Unfortunately, cannabis has been long neglected as a potential medical treatment due to the illegality of the plant in most of the world. The case for its low level of harm has been around since before it was made illegal, but Western governments followed the path blazed by the United States in prohibiting any part of the plant, including CBD. Several states in the US have now legalized cannabis in all its forms, as has Uruguay. Other countries such as Canada and France look to be heading in a similar direction now that the case has been categorically made that making cannabis illegal has both no effect on its availability and is extremely lucrative to the taxman and local business.
The consequence of this relative loosening of the prohibition has been that the cannabinoids present in cannabis are easier to study. It did not matter to law-makers that CBD had no psychoactive effect, it was still banned. Now it is easier to study, the benefits of CBD are starting to become apparent. Hopefully as more study is done into the 60 or more cannabinoids in cannabis, and synthetic alternatives are developed, there will be other benefits to be found.
The study of CBD oil is in its infancy, but it is known to have effects on arthritis, both reducing pain and inflammation. The evidence is currently from small studies that are not readily comparable to populations at large, so it is difficult to make solid conclusions from them. Other studies have indicated that the autoimmune condition multiple sclerosis can be relieved to some degree by CBD, but the results are, again, from small studies and can therefore not be applied to large populations.
There is a definite evidence that CBD oil can reduce the amount of pain, not just by reducing inflammation and immune responses, but by actively affecting the parts of the brain and nervous system that regulate pain. Endocannabinoids have been proven to modulate pain, so ingesting the right CBD oil for pain should be an effective method of dealing with chronic pain and the pain of injury.
CBD oil only varies by the quality and concentration of CBD in it, the flavours and colours might change but they aren’t important; when looking for the best CBD oil for pain, a high concentration of high-quality, environmentally sourced CBD is a reasonable choice.
There are a few different ways of taking CBD oil for pain, that is: smoking it, vaping it, applying it topically (rubbing it in) or eating it. We do not advise smoking due to the harmful effects that smoking anything has on the body.. Vaping carries a much lower risk than smoking but is still not good for you as your lungs aren’t designed to deal with propylene glycol or glycerine.
Generally, CBD oils are available in 100, 300 and 600mg ointments or oils. The mg of cbd represents the concentration of CBD present. It is advisable to start at a low concentration and investigate whether it has a positive effect. If it is not effective, a higher concentration might be required. Tolerances to CBD can be built up, so it is never advisable to use a higher dose than you need as this will only increase your tolerance and therefore the amount of money you have to spend on CBD oil.
There are many CBD oil products on the market today, so below are listed a few things you should watch out for when finding the right product for you.
When looking for pure oils, look for unflavoured, uncoloured oils of high concentrations. They are available in concentrations of up to 99.9% and represent excellent value for money at this level. Cheaper oils might look like better value but as their concentration of CBD is often lower, a buyer might end up spending more in the long run. A brown bottle will prevent the photodegradation of CBD while it is in storage, extending the life of the product.
When looking for the best CBD oil for pain, look for honest reviews. There are trusted publications that are well established in the cannabis community that test all sorts of cannabis related products and have a loyal readership who will call them out if they are wrong. The recommendations they make are worth paying attention to and as the research into CBD continues, there will be constant refinement and improvement with regards to CBD.
Applying CBD topically can work for rheumatism or chronic local pains but the absorption rate for CBD is fairly low through the skin. Relatively cheap, topical CBD treatments offer not just the CBD but the soothing effects of the cream it is dissolved in. Possibly utilising the placebo effects, topical creams are reportedly quite effective. For those that dislike eating or smoking CBD, topical CBD can be the best option for pain. It can be more effective to take a few drops orally and given the lack of side effects or psychoactive effects, there are few risks with this method.
Whole Plant Extracts
Illegal in many countries where CBD might be legal, whole plant extracts contain not only CBD, but THC and other cannabinoids and nutrients from the plant. This can give a very pleasurable experience but makes the user feel “stoned”, which not what everyone will want. CBD on its own can be effective, but some people find that it is a combination of cannabinoids that is the most useful oil for their pain.
Many cannabis products are marketed to people who are concerned with the environment, so genetically modified organisms (GMOs), pesticides, solvents, phthalates, heavy metals, and toxins of all sorts are generally excluded from CBD oils. This added level of reassurance of the health benefits can sway a buyer.
CBD can be vaped very successfully and most portable vapes have the temperature control needed to get CBD vaporized successfully. CBD is best vaporized at 210 degrees Celsius as this maximises the number of cannabinoids in the vapour, although the vapour itself can be harsh and bitter tasting compared to lower temperature vapes. When medicating for pain, the user doesn’t need to ingest a lot of CBD oil.
The best CBD oil for pain can be easily added to foods and eaten without tasting it. Cakes, muffins, stews, and curries all can enjoy the benefits of CBD oil. If you are cooking with CBD oil, use additive-free oil without flavourings or colours, as this could affect the taste and appearance of your meal. Take care not to add too much, especially with whole plant extract.
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