One of CBD’s most common uses is for the treatment of pain. Chronic or acute pain leads to other mental and physical conditions and can even lead to dramatic decreases in productivity and quality of life. Thankfully, cannabinoids like CBD and THC have shown potential in alleviating certain kinds of pain.
Just how does CBD work to alleviate pain?
Through its interactions with the body’s inner endocannabinoid system, CBD may be able to alleviate different kinds of pain including inflammatory pain and neuropathic pain. CBD is also believed to inhibit and delay the breakdown of the body’s own endocannabinoids, boosting endocannabinoid levels in the body.
Research indicates that naturally produced endocannabinoids function to control pain. Endocannabinoids are lipid-based retrograde neurotransmitters that bind to various protein cell receptors found throughout the body and brain. Our endocannabinoid system constantly works to keep our body in homeostasis (balance) by regulating numerous bodily functions, including pain.
It does this by making use of endocannabinoids, like anandamide and 2-AG, and phytocannabinoids (external cannabinoids) like CBD and THC, among others. When pain is experienced, the body is not in homeostasis and the ECS is not capable of achieving balance on its own. With the help of phytocannabinoids like CBD and THC, the ECS can attempt to bring the body back into balance, thereby alleviating pain.
Antidepressants are the most commonly prescribed treatment for PTSD sufferers, yet only 18% of veterans taking antidepressants reported any improvement in their symptoms. In many cases, pharmaceutical drugs can make PTSD symptoms, such as anxiety, sleeplessness, and nightmares even worse.
Other drugs prescribed for PTSD include narcotics, mood stabilizers, anticonvulsants, sleep medications, and even tranquilizers. None of these medications interact with the Endocannabinoid System (ECS), which is partially responsible for reconciling and sorting emotional memories. CBD on the other hand, does.
One of the ways that CBD is believed to modulate pain is through its interactions with TRPV (transient receptor potential channel subfamily V.) receptors, and specifically TRPV1 receptors. These receptors are known to mediate inflammation, pain perception, and body temperature.
TRPV1 receptors are believed to play a large role in the way your body experiences pain. They are some of the most sensitive neuroreceptors in the body and can be triggered by nearly any kind of pain stimulus. These receptors are evenly distributed throughout the peripheral nervous system and can even be found in the brain.
CBD is believed to activate and then desensitize these receptors, making their effects less intense. Through prolonged activation, TRPV1 receptors actually become desensitized resulting in fewer sensations of pain.
Researchers believe that CBD’s desensitization of TRPV1 receptors may be responsible for its usefulness in treating epilepsy and arthritic pain. People suffering from epilepsy are thought to have more TRPV1 receptors than others. The desensitization of these receptors may be, at least in part, responsible for CBD’s anti-epileptic effects. Additionally, a 2015 study found that CBD’s interactions with TRPV1 receptors may make it a promising treatment for rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
After endocannabinoids serve their purpose, they are broken down by endogenous enzymes. The two main enzymes responsible for this are fatty acid amide hydrolase, which breaks down anandamide, and monoacylglycerol acid lipase, which breaks down 2-AG.
Research indicates that CBD can function as an anandamide reuptake and breakdown inhibitor. When CBD enters the mix, endocannabinoid levels in the brain’s synapses are raised as the breakdown is delayed.
CBD’s anti-anxiety and anti-inflammatory effects are believed to be in part attributable to its ability to inhibit the breakdown of endogenous cannabinoids. For instance, CBD also inhibits the breakdown of adenosine, leading to higher adenosine levels in the brain and increased adenosine receptor activity. Because adenosine receptors are believed to modulate broad anti-inflammatory effects throughout the body, this mechanism may contribute to both CBD’s anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.
Chronic pain and joint pain are two of the most common reasons why people turn to CBD oils and CBD topical creams. Approximately 20% of Americans are believed to be living with chronic pain, and many have found relief with CBD. Most people that take CBD find it to be effective or very effective when it comes to treating chronic pain and joint pain.
Why do you take CBD? Is it effective? Let us know what you think!
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