Thousands of people in the U.S. suffer from chronic pain, and as a result, they turn to pain medications. However, the misuse of pain medications is a serious problem which can lead to addiction and other medical conditions. Up to 130 people in the U.S. die daily from opioid overdose. The opioid crisis costs the country nearly $80 billion every year. In 2018, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declared opioid abuse as a public health problem. One of the solutions to this issue could be cannabidiol (CBD).
The fact is that people don’t start taking opioid pain medications thinking that they’d become addicted to it. However, that is the stark reality. In the early 1990s when opioid pain medications were introduced to the market, people didn’t know it was addictive. A few decades later, when the addictive nature of opioids was discovered, it has already claimed the lives of over 700,000 people.
How CBD Works to Relieve Pain
Thousands of people across the world have testified to the efficiency of CBD in providing relief from chronic pain. But how exactly does it work? Well, CBD is a phytocannabinoid (i.e., a cannabinoid produced by plants). Your body produces cannabinoids, and it is controlled by the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Since you have an ECS, your body can easily interact with phytocannabinoids like CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
The ECS has a network of receptors that are spread all over the body and the brain. When you take CBD, it interacts with the neurotransmitter pathways responsible for sending pain signals to the brain. CBD inhibits these pathways and as a result, reduces the sensation of pain that you feel. CBD is useful in dealing with all types of pain including muscle pain, nerve pain, bone-related pain, and more.
CBD also reduces inflammation and prevent it from spreading in the body and boosts your immune system. In this way, it tackles the root cause of pain rather than merely dealing with the symptoms.
Not only is CBD effectual at reducing pain, but it also has lesser side effects than opioid pain medications. The most common side effects of CBD are dry mouth, nausea, dizziness, anxiety, changes in appetite, diarrhea, and mood changes. The good news is that the side effects of CBD are usually short-lived. What’s more, you can usually avoid the side effects by cutting down on the dosage of CBD you are taking.
In addition to having only minor side effects, there is no risk of getting addicted to CBD. This cannabis-extract helps people get over an addiction. CBD does not directly cure addiction but deals with the issues at the root of addiction like anxiety, pain, depression, and more.
It is important to note that unlike THC, CBD will not get you high. This compound is not addictive even if you take high doses of it.
While many medics recommend using CBD for pain and many other conditions, further studies are necessary to improve our understanding of this cannabinoid. If you plan to use CBD, make it a point to consult a medic especially if you are on another medication.