How CBD for Chronic Back Pain Works in a Variety of Ways
Posted on March 19th, 2021
CBD or cannabidiol is one of the many compounds in the cannabis plant. There is a growing awareness lately about the potentially therapeutic properties of CBD. A lot of studies are beginning to scientifically establish the medicinal benefits of CBD. There is one CBD-based, FDA approved, medication that is already available. However, there are still a lot that people don’t know about this cannabinoid. You may have heard that it can be effective in pain treatment, but can you use CBD for chronic back pain? Read on to learn about CBD and its potential for pain relief.
Where Does CBD Come From?
One of the most common misconceptions associated with CBD is that it makes you feel high. However, that high is due to THC, which is a totally different compound. What’s confusing is that marijuana contains high amounts of THC as well as CBD. So if you consume CBD that came from a marijuana plant, there is a chance it will make you high.
On the other hand, all the legal CBD products available for sale in the market today come from industrial hemp. Industrial hemp is a great source of CBD as well as various other beneficial compounds such as terpenes. It contains less than 0.3% of THC which is the legal limit in the USA. If you buy a CBD product and the amount of THC is more than 0.3%, that product is not legal. This is why most commercial manufacturers of CBD products derive it from industrial hemp.
Benefits of CBD
Anxiety: for some people, CBD can be exceptionally helpful in providing relief from anxiety. There are many studies on this potentially therapeutic benefit. One study showed that taking CBD before events such as public speaking can help make people less anxious. This is one of the more popular benefits of CBD.
Depression: Some studies on animals have shown that CBD helps in enhancing the levels of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a hormone that plays a huge role in mood swings.
Sleep Issues: Many people take CBD to get relief from sleep disorders such as insomnia or other disorders. They have found CBD to be helpful in providing relief from the symptoms of various sleep disorders.
Epilepsy: The FDA has approved a drug (Epidiolex) that includes CBD for the treatment of seizures. It has been approved for treating two rare forms of childhood epilepsy. Studies look at the effect of CBD on treatment-resistant epilepsy in addition to the traditional medications.
Arthritis: Studies on animals have shown that topical application of CBD has been helpful in providing relief from inflammation and pain from arthritis.
Pain: Several animal studies have confirmed the effectiveness of CBD in providing relief from pain. A few human trials have also been conducted but these trials use a combination of CBD and THC. This is consistent with findings that prove cannabinoids are most effective together (the entourage effect). Keep in mind that the regulator in Canada has approved a combination of CBD and THC in 1:1 to provide relief from nerve-related pain in multiple sclerosis.
Recent studies have shown that CBD has anti-inflammatory property which could be the reason for its effectiveness in providing relief from pain.
CBD for Chronic Back Pain
What is Chronic Back Pain
In simple terms, chronic back pain is back pain lasting for more than 3 months. This is the type of pain that does not show any improvement even with treatment.
There are a number of reasons that could cause chronic back pain. Usually conditions affecting the muscles, joints or spine cause back pain issues. Some of the common causes include arthritis, muscle tension, spinal stenosis or spinal disc breakdown. There are a number of factors that increase the risk of back pain such as obesity, aging, repeated twisting, lifting of heavy items, or bending. Even maintaining bad posture while standing or sitting, remaining in the same position for long periods and other such things can cause pain.
As far as the conventional treatment of chronic back pain is concerned, there are a number of treatments such as NSAIDs (non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs). These medications are designed to decrease swelling and provide relief from pain or fever. However, these have certain side effects such as kidney issues or stomach bleeding in some people. Also, these might interfere with blood thinner medicine. In certain cases, people receive prescriptions for opioids. However, opioids have a long history of abuse due to their addictive nature.
Nociceptive Pain vs Neuropathic Pain
Not many people are aware that there are different types of pain. There are two main classifications: neuropathic pain and nociceptive pain. CBD for chronic back pain can have positive effects on both in different ways.
Nociceptive pain (Physical Pain): It happens in a particular situation and the pain goes away once the affected body part has completely healed. For instance, you won’t feel any pain once your broken ankle has completely healed. There are special nerve cells called nociceptive cells in your body. These cells are capable of detecting stimuli that could damage your body such as pressure as well as extreme heat or cold. These cells capture the signals and pass them on to the nervous system which results in nociceptive pain. This is how you know to remove your hand quickly if you touch a hot stove.
Neuropathic pain (Nerve Pain): It happens due to a problem with the nervous system. It is not similar to nociceptive pain as it is not caused by a particular outside stimulus or in a specific situation. In fact, it can also happen when the injured body part isn’t present. For instance, people who have had an amputation might feel pain in the part which is not there. This is called phantom limb pain. Nerve pain is typically chronic.
How Does CBD for Chronic Back Pain Work?
CBD has a number of possibly beneficial properties that may make it a good option for people suffering from chronic back pain. Here is how CBD for chronic back pain works.
- It Has Analgesic Properties
Many people suffering from chronic back pain feel a sensation of burning or stabbing pain in various parts of their back. Since chronic back pain is often neuropathic, it is constant in nature and the exact cause isn’t apparent. Most people take painkillers which are not only habit-forming but also come with a variety of side effects. This is why CBD can be of great help in dealing with chronic back pain issues as it has no severe side effects and is not addictive. One of the biggest benefits of CBD for chronic back pain issues is that it is completely natural and safe to use.
- It Has Anti-Inflammatory Properties
People suffering from chronic back pain issues typically take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Long-term use of these drugs is associated with high blood pressure, stomach ulcers and a variety of other side-effects. This is why it is not wise to use these drugs for long term pain management. Studies have shown that CBD has anti-inflammatory properties similar to the NSAIDs pain relief mechanism. It inhibits the COX-2 enzyme just like NSAIDs do.
- It’s a Muscle Relaxant
Patients suffering from painful musculoskeletal conditions are often prescribed a muscle relaxant to provide relief from back pain issues. These medications are known to provide relief from spasms or pain. CBD may also have muscle relaxant properties, which would make it a good supplement for relief from back pain issues.
Scientists discovered the endocannabinoid system in the 1990s. We still need more research to completely understand how the system works. It’s a complex biological system inside the human body. Medical researchers know that it affects a number of major processes inside the body such as memory, mood, sleep as well as appetite. The system is responsible for modulation of neuronal as well as immune cell function and both these play key roles in pain. This is why the medical community has called for more research into therapeutics that target the endocannabinoid system.
There are 3 components of the ECS including enzymes, receptors and endocannabinoids.
There are many different types of enzymes but there are 2 particular types that are capable of breaking down endocannabinoids.Endogenous cannabinoids or endocannabinoids occur naturally in the body and are responsible for functioning of various bodily functions.
The receptors are spread throughout the body and the endocannabinoids bind to these receptors. The two types of receptors are CB1 & CB2. The CB1 receptors are present in the central nervous system and are responsible for appetite, pain, movement, coordination, mood, and memory. The CB2 receptors are present in the peripheral nervous system and are capable of influencing pain and inflammation.
It seems that CBD doesn’t directly attach to the receptors but it plays some kind of role which is not yet clear. The benefits CBD offers are somehow due to activation of these receptors. Researchers believe that CBD is also capable of influencing certain non-cannabinoid receptors.
Conclusion: CBD for Chronic Back Pain
Some animal studies confirm that cannabinoids such as CBD can be highly effective in suppressing chronic inflammatory and neuropathic pain. While CBD research is still in its infancy, what we know so far is very promising. Nevertheless, you should always ask your doctor before you try a new pain relief treatment. Never stop your usual medication suddenly in lieu of CBD.