How did you sleep last night? Tossed and turned? You drop your keys and then pick them up. How does that feel?
Most of us just assume that after a certain age, chronic back pain is simply something we have to put up with. In fact, it has been reported that close to 100 million Americans live with the pain and discomfort due to various back issues, from sciatica to degenerated discs. While many suffer from back pain due to cartilage or disc injury or disease, medical experts tell us that most back joint pain is caused by inflammation. In serious cases, the inflammation is treated with a cortisone shot–generally with unpleasant side effects. So instead we just endure it, gulping down all kinds of over-the-counter medications as if they were M&Ms. The most frequently used conventional drugs for back pain are called NSAIDS, and all are anti-inflammatories. These include medications such as Ibuprofen, Tramadol and Lortab. Lortab–or the generic hydrocodone–is an opioid. Other popular opioids used for chronic pain are oxycodone, codeine and morphine. These drugs can cause dependence and are commonly abused. In fact, the unbelievable truth is that drug overdoses are the leading cause of death in Americans under the age of 50. It is apparent that these drugs cause dependency, and can lead to frightening addictions and accidental overdoses, ending in death.
Enter cannabidiol or CBD, a key constituent of the cannabis plant (yes, THAT cannabis plant!) with its other key constituent being THC—the psychoactive component. However, cannabidiol or CBD oil is NOT psychoactive. You can’t get “high” from it (no “reefer madness” here!) But, researchers believe it may offer relief for people suffering from back pain, most likely because of CBD’s ability to reduce inflammation. Cannabidiol has also been identified as an “adenosine uptake inhibitor” which means it helps keep levels of this vital protein higher; this is good because adenosine is necessary when the body has been stressed or injured because it helps with the healing process, especially after surgery.
Again, we see just how damaging inflammation can be, regardless of where it is or what caused it. Like so many other physiological functions, inflammation has cascading—and painful—effects throughout the body. Dealing with chronic pain is also no laughing matter in terms of how it can negatively affect mental health. Chronic pain is debilitating not only physically but mentally and emotionally as well. Chronic pain and depression seem to have a feedback loop; many people with depression suffer from chronic pain, and many people with chronic pain suffer from depression. This is sad news indeed. A therapeutic approach to treating both would definitely bring much-needed relief. CBD holds such promise.
The human body has a receptor system termed the “endocannabinoid” system, which accepts, or uptakes, cannabinoid compounds–such as CBD. Coincidentally, the plant-derived cannabinoid is nearly chemically identical to biologically produced cannabinoids, and are called phytocannabinoids. They mimic the naturally occurring cannabinoids–called endocannabinoids–and their corresponding functions. Researchers theorize that CBD oil somehow interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid “receptors” in cells. These chemical signals respond to and perform actions on cells…a response that creates, among other things, both anti-inflammatory and pain-numbing effects.
For the last few years, CBD oil has become a popular way to treat pain. Some find it so effective that more doctors are recommending it instead of traditional prescription painkillers. CBD also does not cause drug dependency. It is generally well tolerated by test subjects across the board with virtually no known side effects.
The Food and Drug Administration has labeled CBD as being investigated as “new drug.” Meaning it has the potential for substantive and promising therapeutic benefits, that many of those studies are in pre-clinical trials, and that those trials have been made public. It is clear that more studies are needed for the treatment of chronic pain, and that those who suffer deserve relief from symptoms and the debilitating prognosis which includes isolation, depression, loss of income and strained relationships.
An article in HelloMD notes that taking CBD in oil form is “a very good option because it works for 8-12 hours per dose; pre-measured oil capsules are a very convenient way to go. Smoking and vaping are possible, but you may only get a few hours of relief when you inhale it.”
Even its biggest fans admit, CBD oil is not a magic pill–there is no such thing. But, given the many benefits it promises for people suffering from a wide variety of ailments–acute and chronic–from everything from cardio and circulatory problems to back pain, this therapeutic compound derived from the cannabis plant offers a glimmer of hope where hope is in short supply.
A persistent pain in the back can mean a lot of things—some temporary and fleeting, others more severe and an indication of something serious. If it continues, see an MD or a chiropractor. It could even mean you have a heart or other circulatory problem. But, if not, there’s at least some good news to consider: science continues to find help for whatever your ailment. And CBD oil may be just what you’ve been asking for.
For more reading on using CBD for Chronic Pain, visit 4 Important Questions (and Answers) About Chronic Pain and CBD.