By Emily Ledger
Cannabidiol (CBD) is widely accepted to be an anti-inflammatory compound which can help patients to manage pain. The reasons for this are not fully understood, but medical professionals claim that the chemical shows promise as a treatment for chronic pain conditions such as Fibromyalgia.
What is Chronic Pain?
Pain is considered chronic when it continues for longer than 12 weeks, despite medication or treatment. The cause for chronic pain can be down to a large number of factors. It is thought that people can develop Fibromyalgia after accidents, loss, or experiencing trauma; undergoing operations; or even giving birth. Other conditions associated with chronic pain include diabetes and arthritis.
A study in the USA indicated that 19% of Americans suffer from chronic pain, and 6% of people had attempted to manage their pain using cannabis. It is also reported that chronic pain-related conditions affect two fifths of people in the UK. Cannabidiol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are both thought to be of some value when treating pain. However, THC is considered a mind-altering substance, and so is illegal in the UK and many other countries around the world. But how might CBD be able to help patients manage their pain?
CBD Vs Chronic Pain
The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is made up of CB1 and CB2 receptors. The CB2 receptors are being recognised as an important mediator for suppressing pain and inflammation. The ECS mirrors and interacts with other major endogenous pain control systems.
To put it simply, (as the exact science is yet to be outlined), CBD seems to interrupt pain messages in the brain. These interruptions consequently have anti-inflammatory and pain killing effects.
Is there any Evidence?
There are a number of studies exploring the effects of CBD on various chronic pain-related conditions. The most significant of these explored the effects on pain associated with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Subsequently, a review of these studies concluded that CBD was effective in aiding pain management, without adverse side effects.
However, it is noted that a large proportion of these studies have not been extended beyond animal trials. This is often down to the legality issues surrounding cannabis products. Due to these current shortcomings, many health organisations stress the need for more clinical studies and regulation of CBD products to fully understand the benefits they may have. In spite of this, good quality CBD products are seen as a safe way to self-manage chronic pain symptoms.
Always talk to a Doctor before taking CBD alongside treatment medication, as it may affect the way your existing medication works.