Cannabis, though widely misunderstood, has a very rich history of medical use. It has been used to treat a variety of illnesses for many, many years. One of the uses of marijuana is pain relief, especially in the treatment of chronic pain. That’s what leads us to today’s article on CBD oil for pain.
(Some CBD products contain THC, please check the description before purchase)
The Properties of Cannabis
Not only does cannabis have analgesic properties, but it also has anti-inflammatory ones as well. This can be a godsend, because, let’s face it – when you’re constantly in pain, life in general is a lot harder. Not only that, but chronic pain is a major problem for many medical patients worldwide. It makes their quality of life and productivity suffer while costing them a lot of money in healthcare. Types of chronic pain include:
- Back pain
- Cancer pain
- Joint pain
- Multiple sclerosis pain
- Neuropathic (nerve) pain
- Temperomandibular disorder (TMJ)
- …and many, many more.
Some common medications for chronic pain are available over the counter or through prescriptions for NSAIDS or opioids. However, these come with a host of problems. First off, over-the-counter meds are not meant for long-term use. And if you go get a prescription for NSAIDS or opioids, you’ll have to deal with some nasty side effects. Plus, a lot of pain medications lead to life-altering dependency. It stands to reason that many people are seeking a natural alternative.
Dependency has been a major problem with opioids because users must slowly increase the dosage. This can lead to overdose, which can be fatal. The good news is, in addition to its pain-relieving value, cannabis may actually be able to help people solve this opium problem and keep their lives. Some people have successfully been weaned off of opioids with the use of medical marijuana.
So, let’s say you have a grandmother with chronic back pain. She’s looking for a natural painkiller because she doesn’t want an opioid addiction. All of this sounds great except for one thing: she doesn’t want to get high. What do we do? Well, I would gently let her know that she can use CBD for chronic back pain.
See, the cannabis plant is made up of a lot of different compounds that can be separated from the rest through extraction. Some of them are called cannabinoids, and CBD is one of those. The real name for it is cannabidiol, and CBD is the shortened version of its name.
Another cannabinoid is THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which is the one that produces the high. CBD, however, cannot get you high. But still, it has therapeutic and medicinal applications. This makes it ideal for treatments in which the patient shouldn’t, or doesn’t want to, get high.
Your body actually produces some of its own cannabinoids, called endocannabinoids. It also has its own system for these called the endocannabinoid system. That system affects your brain, endocrine system, and immune system. Cannabinoids from plants are called phytocannabinoids and they react with special receptors inside your brain.
The difference between THC and CBD
One of the reasons THC and CBD are so different is that they connect to different kinds of receptors in the brain, meaning they each take a different route to reach their goal. THC connects to CB1 receptors, which affect your appetite, coordination, memory, mood, and thinking.
On the other hand, CBD connects to CB2 receptors, which deal with the immune system, handling pain and inflammation. CBD actually encourages the body to make more endocannabinoids of its own, which helps the body respond better to both pain and inflammation.
Now, there is a little thing called the entourage effect. This basically just means that things work better together than separately. This is true for cannabis compounds. CBD will be effective on its own. But it will be even more effective if there are still other pieces of the cannabis plant with it. But don’t freak out just yet; you can get CBD by itself. Or if you want the entourage effect, you can get it with other compounds, and just trace amounts of THC. That way, there’s just enough to boost effectiveness, but it still won’t get you high.
Another beautiful thing about CBD is that there’s no tolerance buildup. Once you find a good dose, you can just stick with it and you won’t need to increase it over time. And, unlike opioids, if you find you don’t need treatment anymore, there’s no CBD dependency or addiction – you can just stop and you’ll be ok.
Best Way to Use CBD Oil for Pain
So, what is the best way to use CBD oil for pain? Considering ways to consume or apply CBD; first, let’s talk about bioavailability. That is a fancy word that means how much of the product (in this case, CBD) is actually reaching its target in your body. Different consumption methods, or ways of taking CBD, change its bioavailability.
If your pain is not deeply internal, then a topical would probably be best for you. Otherwise, the better way is to inhale it, which gives it about a 40% bioavailability. You can also use a nasal spray, which will have about 34-46% bioavailability. If you take CBD orally, only about 6% will reach its target. However, some people are still more comfortable this way, so we will continue to cover oral medications in this article.
If you’re looking at oils, you need to know that there are two different kinds. One is a crystalline isolate, which is a sparkly white fluid. This version has no THC, or any other compound – it’s pure CBD by itself. When it’s made, the oil is extracted from the cannabis plant, and then allowed to cool, separating CBD from the other cannabinoids. The cooled oil forms crystals and is crushed into powder. This will most likely be what’s in CBD items where other cannabis products are illegal.
Full Spectrum CBD
The other, most effective kind, is called full-spectrum CBD. It’s extracted, but not allowed to cool, which means the other compounds – including trace amounts of THC – stay with it. Do you remember the entourage effect from the discussion above? This is that, in its full form. The CBD from these does a better job because it’s boosted by the other compounds. But it still won’t get you high. This is by far the best kind of CBD.
As you’re shopping for your perfect CBD medication, you’ll need to make sure you’re getting a quality product. Here are a few tips on how to find the best CBD oil for pain:
- Find out how it’s extracted. Some people use things like propane or butane to extract their products, and though these are cheaper, they are also toxic. There are safer extraction methods, like ethanol, which detoxes the hemp plant itself. Another safe one is called supercritical carbon dioxide. This changes the pressure and temperature of carbon dioxide to get rid of harmful materials that may be in the cannabis plant.
- Look into where the plants are grown and make sure they don’t use contaminated soil.
- Check for third-party test results. A reliable company will very often have their products tested by a third party, and will usually even make the results of those tests available for the public to see.
- Try and get organic CBD. This is pretty important because CBD is super concentrated. If there are toxins (like pesticides, etc.) in the cannabis plant, they are very likely to be concentrated into the CBD oil as well.
How Much is Enough?
So, how much CBD should you take? Some people will tell you to just take a dropper-full a day, but this isn’t always accurate. CBD comes in different potencies, and some people’s conditions may require more of it than others. There’s no official serving size or dosage, and everyone’s body is a little different. So you’ll have to figure out what works for you. But no worries! We’re here to help you do just that.
The key to finding your best individual dose is to “start low and go slow”. Start with a low dose, test that for three to seven days, and see how you feel. If that’s not enough, increase your dosage. Remember, CBD is not addictive, and you won’t have a lethal overdose from it. So don’t worry too much – just make sure you’re taking enough. If you’re nervous or concerned, you can try talking to your doctor about it, and have them help you find your best dose.
How to Measure CBD Doses
Now we’re going to talk about how to measure the doses of different kinds of CBD. If you’re using a CBD oil for pain, or a tincture that has a dropper, then it will be useful for you to know that a dropper contains about one milliliter of liquid. To find out how much CBD is in one dropper-full of your product, divide the total amount of CBD in the bottle by the number of milliliters in the bottle, and you have your answer.
Remember how we talked about inhalation as one of the best methods? Well, if you’re concerned about actually smoking something, then you should consider vaping your CBD. A vape works pretty much like a room vaporizer you’d use for a cold or flu, which means what you breathe is not smoke, but vapor – it’s much safer. A vape is portable and you inhale the vapor through your mouth. The juice comes in many different flavors, and yes, there is CBD available for your vape.
If you’re vaping your CBD, then you’ll either be using e-liquid or a CBD cartridge. For e-liquid, use the same measuring technique as you would with an oil dropper. Then, as you use the dropper to fill your vape tank, keep track of how much you’ve put in there. Take a puff, wait about 15 minutes, and see how you feel. If you need more, take another puff.
As you vape throughout the day, keep an eye on your tank to see how much of your dosage you’ve used. It’s not lab-accurate, but it’ll be enough to give you a general idea of how much you need.
There are different potency levels of e-liquid available; start with the smallest one, and work your way up if you need to. If you’re feeling adventurous, try adding some flavor to your CBD. Just remember to keep an eye on how much of your tank really is CBD and how much you’re using.
As far as using CBD oil for pain, oral methods do have a lower bioavailability, the good news is, they are very accurate. These will usually come in the form of edibles or capsules. If you’re in the market for these, remember the best CBD pills for pain will have the dosage right on the label. The edibles usually will, too.
Shopping for CBD
Shopping for your perfect CBD medication can be a daunting task. So I’ve taken it upon myself to mention a few good products here, just to get you started. Let’s take a shopping trip together and stroll the virtual aisles of CBD splendor.
This is a fantastic company that was founded in Squamish, BC. They boast a large variety of products, which are all locally sourced and organic. They even grow a lot of their own plants themselves! Their products include soothing topicals, some nice tinctures, and even pet products!
Tetra Healing Club
Started by two fathers trying to care for their families, Tetra Healing Club has a lot of neat products as well. They’ve got capsules, a tincture that comes in two potencies, a healing salve, and my personal favorite of theirs: a topical bar for easy application! And, like Cannalife, they also offer an oil for pets.
Based on Vancouver Island, Mota offers a great tincture. But my favorite thing about them is their huge selection of tasty edibles. They have everything from delicious chocolate, to fruity gummies, to a sweet honey. Sounds like a yummy way to medicate!
These guys are masters of pain relief. Not only does Yoni have an awesome women’s tincture, but they also have something I’d be totally stoked about: tea! Don’t you just love the idea of sipping some warm CBD out of a cup? And if you want to really pamper yourself, look at their bath soak. Now that’s a good treatment session!
If you’re looking for a good CBD-dominant marijuana strain, try some of this CBD Harlequin. When you just want an isolate, Miss Envy has a great one. If you want to vape, but are intimidated by those weird contraptions, check out these disposable vape pens by Kind Labs. They’re easy to use, and you just throw them away when you’re done! If you’re already a pro at vaping, you’re gonna’ love the HTC Puma Mini Kit.
I couldn’t write this article without including some of the cool topicals I found. Check out SeC’s CBD Rapid Patch. It’s just like those stick-on pain relief packs you see at the store, but it contains 25mg of CBD! And we can’t forget the wonderful Apothecary Roll-On medication, infused with essential oils.
How to Use CBD
Now, let’s say Granny asks you how to use CBD oil for back pain, and you need to instruct her. First, you need to learn this yourself, right? So here we go. Let’s learn how to use CBD oil for pain.
First, you need to know that CBD comes in many forms, not just oil. This way, you can choose the one that’s best for you – or Granny. Here are the different ways to take CBD:
Oils – The classic route. You can find this in a bottle with a dropper, which you can use to drip the oil under your tongue. Let it sit for about 15 seconds, then swallow.
Capsules – Taken orally, one to three times a day.
Topicals – For use on skin. Comes in salves, lotions, creams, gels, etc. Rub directly on the site of pain. Check the label for directions and potency.
Tinctures – Usually extracted with alcohol, or in a carrier oil. Use the same way as regular CBD oil, with a dropper for under your tongue.
Under-the-Tongue Sprays – This is pretty self-explanatory.
Powder – Can be
added to drinks and smoothies. Check the label for dosage.
Edibles – For eating. These absorb slowly into the bloodstream and can take an hour or two to take effect, but they last awhile. Again, check the label for dosage before eating.
Vaping – CBD vape juice is widely available for those who want to inhale their CBD, but don’t want combusted smoke in their lungs.
Medical Marijuana – If you’re not worried about the effects of THC, you can always use a CBD-dominant strain of medical marijuana. If you want to, you could try microdosing. Learn how to get your MMJ card here.
Checking for Sensitivities
Before you use topical CBD on your skin, you’ll want to do an allergy test. To do this, simply put a tiny amount on your forearm, and wait for a reaction. If nothing bad happens, you’re good to go. If your skin becomes irritated, wash the CBD off of your forearm and get your CBD another way.
Let’s talk about inflammation real quick. It is painful, but it also comes with heat, swelling, and redness. Relieving inflammation isn’t a bad thing, but do remember that it is a natural response by your body’s immune system. When you’ve been hurt, or if your body is fighting infection, inflammation is how the body fights. So there will be some instances in which you don’t necessarily need to eliminate inflammation altogether.
However, if you are dealing with chronic inflammation, that can lead to joint damage and needs to be properly handled by a doctor. If this is a condition you deal with, you’ll want to talk to your doctor before using CBD.
If you’re using medical marijuana to get your CBD, it can come with a few mild side effects, which you can see below. If you’re using CBD by itself, then the most common side effect you may experience is drowsiness. There are other possible side effects, but they only happen when CBD is ingested (meaning this doesn’t happen with topicals), and even then, they’re not guaranteed. Here are a few of them:
- Trouble sleeping
- Dry mouth
- Changes in appetite, weight, or blood pressure
Please note that research on side effects is very limited at the moment, since legalization is a relatively new thing in a lot of places. However, studies do continue to progress.
You’ll want to be careful and talk to your doctor if you’re on any other medications, because some may not mix well with CBD. This is especially true with some sedatives and medications that are changed by the liver. Here is a list of some possibly conflicting medications to get you started:
- Ibuprofen (Motrin)
- Alprazolam (Xanax)
- Warfarin (Coumadin)
- Venlafaxine (Effexor)
- Amitriptylene (Elavil)
- Tramadol (Ultram)
- Carisoprodol (Soma)
- Celecoxib (Celebrex)
- Progesterone (Endometrin, Prometrium)
- Phenobarbital (Luminal)
- Clozapine (Clozaril, FazaClo)
- Paroxetine (Paxil)
- Ondansetron (Zofran)
- Diazepam (Valium)
- Omeprazole (Prilosec)
- Disulfiram (Antabuse)
- Lansoprazole (Prevacid)
- Fexofenadine (Allegra)
- Ketamine (Ketalar)
CBD Oil for Pain – Summary
All in all, CBD is a great way to treat chronic pain, and there are so many ways you can use it. The beauty of CBD is that pain isn’t all it’s good for. There are many, many other uses, and more continue to be discovered! For example, as a person who suffers with anxiety, I am very glad it’s finally getting the attention it deserves. If you have a sick pet, or just think your pet could benefit from CBD, check out this article on how to help your furry friend!
You are now knowledgeable and well-equipped for using CBD oil for pain! You know what CBD is, how to use it, and how to find a good quality product. And best of all, even Granny will be comfortable using it! I hope you find your perfect treatment and find relief quickly! I am very excited to see the new ways that people come up with to use cannabis as a healthy, natural treatment for all sorts of illnesses – and I hope you are, too! Come back and see us anytime you want to learn more about it!