CBD 101: What Is It and How It Can Help You With Chronic Pain
If you deal with chronic pain, you have probably tried various things in search of relief. But taking over-the-counter painkillers long-term can be harmful to your health, and more potent pain relievers like opioids are addictive and can be dangerous. Fortunately, there is another option for people struggling to deal with chronic pain without negative side effects.
Studies have shown that cannabidiol—or CBD—is a safe and effective tool for managing pain. People often misunderstand this naturally occurring chemical compound in cannabis, but its use is becoming more mainstream, and doctors increasingly recommend it. Additionally, new research shows that retaining the raw form of the plant, which is cannabidiolic acid—or CBDa—offers anti-inflammatory benefits similar to common NSAIDs like ibuprofen, but without the GI effects.
You should always consult with your doctor about your treatment, but some basic facts about CBD can help guide you in your pain management journey.
What is CBD, exactly?
Don’t confuse CBD with psychoactive marijuana. CBD will not make you high . At most, you might feel a little bit calmer, and the pain can start to subside.
CBD is derived from the hemp plant, a species of cannabis that contains very little of the psychoactive compound tetrahydrocannabinol—or THC—the chemical that causes the mind-altering effects of cannabis. Hemp and CBD are both legal federally, while marijuana remains illegal at the federal level.
How does CBD work?
We all have a system in our bodies that ensures we are in balance. Inflammation, anxiety, depression, pain, even allergies may be the result of our bodies being out of balance. Studies show that CBD can help get them back in balance.
Researchers are still hard at work determining all of CBD’s benefits and how it interacts with our bodies. In general, CBD works with various receptors in our brains, blocking certain signals—including pain—and helping our brains better use chemicals that naturally occur in our bodies. CBDa takes it a step further by leveraging the raw hemp plant in its purest form and exhibiting 18 times higher levels in the blood than CBD alone.
Is CBD safe?
Perhaps the best part of CBD is its effectiveness without the nasty side effects that can come with other types of long-term pain management. Some people experience side effects like dry mouth or nausea when using CBD, but these effects are largely manageable through dosage adjustments.
It’s essential to get the correct dose for your weight, your habits, and your past experience with marijuana. The form of CBD you use also makes a difference. CBDa, for example, has a linear effect in the body that ensures a better prediction of outcomes. Again, confer with your doctor and a knowledgeable CBD expert who you trust. Use high-quality products, and use them as directed.
Stacy Cason, CEO and founder of CBDa company, Planetarie, recommends starting with a low dose, taken daily. After several days to a week, assess how you feel, and you can gradually add to your dosage. Topical CBDa products can provide more targeted relief for issues like back pain, runners knee, arthritic hands, or menstrual cramps.
Where can I find CBD?
With CBD now legal in all 50 states , you’ve probably seen all kinds of products that contain CBD. Candies and chocolates, drinks, creams, and tinctures—these come with some small amount of CBD in them, and you can easily purchase them from your neighborhood store .
But, especially for people trying to address a serious medical condition with CBD, do your research and make sure you’re getting high-quality CBD products that are concentrated enough to make a difference. Many products available on store shelves are low concentrations or poor quality CBD unlikely to help with chronic pain. Look for products that disclose the concentration of CBD or CBDa and provide dosing information, and be sure to ask the product supplier where their hemp is grown and for the Certificate of Analysis. Products grown in Colorado are required to test for potency and purity and a reputable company will provide their COA.
If you’re looking for an alternative to NSAIDs, look for a product like Planetarie’s CBDa, which is also a selective COX-2 inhibitor and more potent and bioavailable than regular CBD. For example, products like Planetarie’s soft gels, rubs and salves, infusions, and drink additives provide highly concentrated CBDa shown to treat chronic pain without the potential side effects seen when using NSAIDs.
CBD is a safe, effective option that anyone who is seeking pain management should seriously consider. With some research and high-quality products, you can feel better and get back to your active lifestyle in no time.