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Is CBD The Next Breakthrough Treatment For Pain?

Is CBD The Next Breakthrough Treatment For Pain?

Since the earliest start of modern medical research, one of the highest priorities has always been pain mitigation and management. The human body is subject to a wide array of aches and pains that can be caused by an amazing number of very different stimuli.

From stomach and bowel pain that is often caused by metabolic incongruities, to muscle aches caused by a buildup of lactic acid in soft tissue, and even on to severe headaches that happen in many people for reasons that remain unknown to scientists so far. For those reasons, managing the pain itself is crucial because it makes maintaining an acceptable quality of life possible while medical professionals continue working to solve the root cause of your symptoms.

One of the things causing so much excitement within the medical community about CBD is the fact that in early testing it appears to be giving pain sufferers as much or more relief than many traditional meds with a far less problematic set of side effects.

Traditional Pain Treatments Have Long Side-Effect Lists

Over the years pharmaceutical companies have pumped out a long list of pain medications including over the counter brands that contain: Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Acetaminophen, Naproxen and many others (more commonly known by brand names like Tylenol, Advil, Aleve or Motrin).

On the prescription side of pain treatment, Doctors have prescribed everything from Codeine and Morphine to Tramadol and Hydrocodone along with dozens of other laboratory concoctions aimed at dulling or eliminating the pain a patient feels.

While these medications have shown themselves to have a positive impact on pain, they also have come with a long list of side effects that are detrimental to the long-term health of patients. Some of the side effects that have been clearly stated by the drug manufacturers themselves include: Nausea, Drowsiness, Dizziness, Itching or sweating, Depression and a weakened immune system.

CBD has not yet been fully tested on as large a population of patients due to the fact that it is derived from the cannabis plant, which until recently was prohibited from any form of scientific study by health professionals. However, the limited data that has become available and anecdotal evidence from many people already making the switch to CBD appears to be exceptionally positive.

So far CBD has shown the ability to reduce pain as a major anti-inflammatory agent, and likely due to the fact that it is a completely organic substance (unlike the synthetic chemicals being used in many traditional medications) the side-effect list has been limited to things like “dry mouth” or a slight suppression of appetite. More study definitely needs to be done before any permanent conclusions can be stated, but given the long list of side-effects already known about most pain medications, the prospects of CBD becoming a newer and better treatment for pain look very promising.

Tolerance Isn’t Always a Good Thing For Pain Sufferers

We have always been told that tolerance of others is a great thing, but when it comes to pain, tolerance is one of the worst things a patient can experience. With most medications listed for over the counter usage, patients have demonstrated an increased tolerance over an extended period of time. That means, as you continue to take the same pills each day or each week, you will eventually need a larger and larger dosage to achieve the same effect you initially got from a smaller dose.

The danger lies in the fact that most of the side effects caused by traditional pain medications are even more likely, or even more severe as the dosage of that medication increases. Therefore, if you are at risk for a stomach bleed to be caused by a particular medication, the longer you continue taking it, and the more of it you take as each dose, the more at risk you become.

Again, CBD is still in the earliest phases of testing on a large-scale population for pain management, but so far it appears that pain sufferers do not build up a tolerance to CBD the same way they do to some other meds. If that finding holds up during more robust testing, combined with the possibility of a much smaller side effect profile – CBD may be the wonder treatment the world has been seeking for centuries.

Addiction Is The Biggest Problem With Traditional Pain Meds

Perhaps worst of all, in recent years there has been a rapid increase in the prescription of things like Fentanyl and Oxycodone, which some have argued was a direct result of large pharmaceutical companies offering doctors monetary benefits in exchange for “pushing” their meds to more patients. The resulting Opioid crisis has even lead to some doctors illegally trading Oxy prescriptions for cash or sex (find a study on this in the references section at the bottom). 

Just how big has The Oxycodone Epidemic become? According to the Washington Post “America's largest drug companies saturated the country with 76 billion oxycodone and hydrocodone pain pills from 2006 through 2012 as the nation's deadliest drug epidemic spun out of control, according to previously undisclosed company data released as part of the largest civil action in U.S. history.”

To put that in perspective, there are only 329 Million people in the United States right now according to recent census bureau data. That includes every man, woman and child. So the drug companies sold 76 billion Oxycodone pills over a 7-year period of time. Even if we assume ever living person in the United States was on these medications (which is obviously wildly inaccurate), that would still equate to 231 pills per person over 7 years, or 33 pills for ever individual American during each year of the study! No wonder why so many people have fallen to the dangerous and sometimes lethal problems associated with Oxycodone painkiller addiction.

The National Safety Council reported that in 2017 alone, 61,311 Americans died from pain killer addiction related dangers. A survey by the Substance Abuse and Medical Health Services Administration says there are 4.3 million nonmedical users of painkillers, leading Dr. Don Teater to famously write, "Painkillers don't kill pain. They kill people."

It would be unfair to say we known for sure that CBD does not cause any form of addiction, but in all of the studies done so far, there has not been a single case reported to date about anyone ever being addicted to CBD. That is significant. In fact, CBD appears to be so safe from the perils of addiction that healthcare professionals are now doing tests to see if CBD can be used as a treatment to help people overcome opioid addiction!

What If You Don’t Want To “Get High” – Can CBD Still Help?

CBD does come from the hemp plant, but it is also an organic compound that gets created in some forms by your body itself. It does not cause any “high” feelings of euphoria whatsoever. The confusion stems from the fact that the hemp plant is also known for having a different compound known commonly as THC in it, and THC definitely does cause a “high” when ingested.

Make sure when you obtain your CBD you are always getting the highest quality CBD supplements and check to be sure that the CBD you consume has 0.3% THC or less in it (Transcend CBD has .3%). By stripping away any significant THC content from the supplement itself, you can derive any pain treatment benefits of the CBD while being just as clear-headed as you were before trying CBD.

Are You Ready To Try CBD As A Pain Relief Treatment?

The most important question of course is whether CBD is right for you. As with anything you plan to put inside your body, contacting your doctor to discuss your care is always a reasonable step. Many doctors are now willing to openly discuss the benefits of CBD because it appears to carry a much lower level of risk than the traditional medications it may soon replace.

For common sources of pain like: headaches, muscle aches, hypertension, PMS, joint soreness, and back pain CBD is already gaining quite a bit of traction. The anti-inflammatory affects are already being lauded by many who are finally finding relief from aches and pains that were otherwise untreatable, and the continued record of providing relief without a single instance of addiction ever being reported so far seems to be true cause for celebration.

There is obviously an increased level of uncertainty when it comes to treating people who are pregnant or who are already on other higher level treatments due to medical problems because there has not yet been enough research completed with regard to any potential interactions between CBD and things like chemotherapy.

In time we may find out CBD can work well with nearly any other medical ailment, or in harmony with many other forms of treatment, but for now CBD may best be used by people who are in pain but otherwise healthy overall.

As CBD continues to gain popularity more and more data is becoming available. The only question that remains is whether you will choose to be an early-adopter who begins to get the pain reducing benefits of CBD right now, or will you opt to be more conservative and wait for additional data to come in from further study. For now that remains a personal question of how much you want to make your pain go away, and what level of experimentation you are willing to engage in to live a more pain-free life.

References

(1) The Oxycodone Epidemic

(2) US Population

(3) National Safety Council Study

(4) CBD For Mental Health Article