Everyone knows that cannabis is relaxing, but did you know that CBD from cannabis may work as an effective, natural muscle relaxer? Click here to learn how.
With over 25 million Americans affected by chronic pain, there seems to be no end in sight. The worldwide pharmaceutical industry continues to rake in billions in revenue every year. Meanwhile, prescription abuse is at an all-time high. The over-prescription of medication has majorly contributed to the opioid epidemic. Yet, in light of this epidemic, we as a society are finally rethinking how we treat pain. Today, more people who used to take prescription muscle relaxers are considering the alternatives. Meanwhile, the medical marijuana industry is simultaneously gaining headway in the United States. Because of CBD, cannabis is becoming big medicine.
CBD works as a natural muscle relaxer. More people suffering from chronic pain are choosing to medicate with it. But how exactly does CBD work as a natural muscle relaxer? Can it replace prescription muscle relaxers once and for all?
Find out in this article!
To understand how CBD works as a natural muscle relaxer, it’s important to understand pain and why we feel it. Pain, despite how it makes us feel, actually protects us. It alerts us to dangerous situations and stimulates a response in us to then act and avoid them. But how does pain register in the human brain and allow for this to actually happen? The nervous system is an intricate network of neurons found throughout the body.
These neurons contain pain receptors which activate when tissue becomes damaged. They also activate when external areas of our body become affected by things like injuries. Neurons transmit and receive chemical signals. These signals travel through the spinal chord and up to the brain. There in the brain is where these chemicals translate into the sensation of pain. The speed at which this occurs is instantaneous. This is why we immediately feel pain when we put a finger on a hot stove or when we cut ourselves.
The nervous system can also pick up on when something is amiss internally. The process of registering this works the same way as acute pain. The difference is that unlike acute pain, chronic pain persists. Chronic pain can occur with trauma, like after a vehicle accident or a sports injury. Inflammation caused by obesity or infections will even lead to chronic pain.
Though some of these are treatable, many conditions associated with chronic pain don’t ever go away. Some incurable diseases which cause severe chronic pain include multiple sclerosis (MS) and arthritis. Many of these diseases cause muscle spasms which can be very painful. To treat muscle spasms, doctors will typically prescribe muscle relaxers.
CBD is growing in prominence as a natural muscle relaxer. But how do prescription muscle relaxers work? And why are more people veering away from them? Muscle relaxers are typically used to treat neck or back pain, as well as muscle spasms. These are often the symptoms of other conditions, such as arthritis or inflammation. They’re also prescribed to alleviate pain from long-term neck, back, or head injuries. They can even help with conditions like MS and cerebral palsy.
All muscle relaxers work by stopping nerve transmissions in the muscles. So, even when the brain signals for muscles to constrict, muscle relaxers cut off these signals. Certain muscle relaxers work directly on the muscles by relaxing them. Others will relax the muscles through contact with the central nervous system. While doing this, they’ll constrict muscle spasms and reduce tightening.
Muscle relaxers, which work on the central nervous system often produce side effects. These side effects include:
Normally muscle relaxers aren’t prescribed long-term. When they are, people can become addicted to them more easily. Prescription muscle relaxers aren’t as addictive as prescription painkillers. Still, people can become addicted to them. Those who depend heavily on muscle relaxers to relieve their pain are most prone to addiction. They can also be fatal when combined with alcohol or sleep medications. Additionally, certain patients shouldn’t take muscle relaxers. Those with breathing problems or liver damage, for example, shouldn’t take them.
Muscle relaxers do relieve chronic pain especially when over-the-counter painkillers prove ineffective. Yet, the adverse side effects that they produce often leave people feeling in worse shape. The types of patients who can take them are limited, as well. Because they’re also addictive, many doctors will only prescribe them for short-term use. But ask anyone who suffers from chronic pain. Short-term relief is not enough.
Chronic pain is often intolerable. Many will wind up abusing muscle relaxers because they’re desperate for relief. It’s no wonder why more chronic pain sufferers are turning to alternative medicine. Many find relief with acupuncture, chiropractic, and cupping therapy. But what about when these methods aren’t enough? Where does CBD come into play as a natural muscle relaxer? Now, let’s explore medical marijuana, and CBD specifically.
In its nature, marijuana is a natural muscle relaxer. But to understand how, it’s important to understand cannabis as a whole. It’s also important to understand the systems it directly works with.
There are hundreds of chemical compounds that make up the cannabis plant. Of these, there are up to 111 cannabinoids – and most likely more. The effects of cannabis are due to chemical reactions involving cannabinoids. These reactions occur because cannabinoids mimic the effects of endocannabinoids. Endocannabinoids, which the body naturally produces, attaches to endocannabinoid receptors. They’re part of a network of nerve receptors known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS plays a role in how the body manages hunger, mood, and memory. They even play a role in the immune system, as well as pain sensation. Whenever any of these systems get out-of-whack, the ECS goes to work to achieve a balance again. Because cannabinoids mimic endocannabinoids, they also affect these very same systems.
The feeling of pain is the body’s natural response to a situation that is causing harm to the body. It’s the brain’s way of responding to something like an injury or even to something more internal. Pain will often come in the form of muscle spasms and tightness. The brain will signal to the surrounding muscles to constrict when an area is affected. The body will naturally produce endocannabinoids to level out these signals. At the same time, they aren’t always enough in cases of chronic pain. That’s where CBD comes in. CBD aids the communication between neurons in the muscles. So, when muscles spasm and constrict, CBD signals to them to ease and relax. Take those who suffer from MS, for example. Muscle spasms are a common symptom of MS. For relief, more MS patients are using CBD to slow down and relieve their muscle spasms.
Marijuana has the ability to relax the muscles naturally. Unlike prescription muscle relaxers, marijuana is natural and doesn’t carry its risks. But why is CBD the most sought natural muscle relaxer? Here are a couple reasons why:
THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) make up the majority of cannabinoids. Both reduce pain and inflammation because of their abilities to mimic endocannabinoids. Though similar, there is one big difference between THC and CBD. When people think of marijuana, they instantly think about being “stoned” or “high”. The reason for this is because THC produces psychoactive effects. These feelings range from euphoria and relaxation to heightened awareness and anxiety. CBD, on the other hand, does not produce these feelings. Instead, they feel like their normal selves.
Yet, they also feel certain symptoms go away. Scientists are now able to choose how much CBD and THC a cannabis strain will have. They’re able to strike a balance of CBD and THC so that users feel the effects of each. They’re also able to grow strains with little to no traces of THC. There are even strains that alleviate muscle spasms specifically! This is what makes medical marijuana so versatile and desired. Patients can get the CBD they need without the high of marijuana.
Do people who medicate with CBD have to smoke marijuana to feel its effects? Think again! CBD comes in a variety of forms, ranging from capsules to oils and lotions to food. CBD sprays make ingesting easier, and even tastier. They come in a variety of fruity and sweet flavors. Some CBD oils come with tinctures, which makes it easier for measuring. It also makes it easier to add CBD oil to recipes and beverages. There are also CBD topical lotions which people can apply on their skin. This is the best way to treat muscle spasms or tightness as the skin will directly absorb the CBD. Edibles are probably the most popular form that CBD comes in. The reason being is that there are so many options! Patients can enjoy taking their CBD as part of their meals when it’s made as a cannabutter. They can then treat themselves to their CBD as desserts or candy. There are even canned and bottled drinks that contain it.
Because of CBD, people no longer have to suffer from chronic pain and muscle spasms. At the same rate, they no longer have to rely on prescription muscle relaxers that only provide short-term relief. The stigmas attached to marijuana still exist today. Yet, they’ve faded as the medical breakthroughs of CBD have come to light. As our nation faces substance abuse of epic proportions, we as a society are – at last – rethinking our approach to medicine.