Can cbd oil reduce chronic pain?

Pain is a common ailment that affects over 50 million Americans, causing distress and reducing quality of life. Opioids provide relief, but they also have side effects and risks, including addiction. Alternative therapies like CBD oil have become increasingly popular among people with chronic pain. 

Cannabidiol is a compound found in cannabis plants. CBD is not intoxicating or psychedelic, unlike the more well-known cannabis compound THC. CBD is extracted from both hemp and marijuana plants. Hemp-derived CBD contains less than 0.3% THC and is legal at the federal level. CBD oil is taken orally in drops, capsules, or edibles. It also be applied topically. When ingested or applied, CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which regulates functions like sleep, mood, and pain. CBD does not directly bind to endocannabinoid receptors but influences them to produce effects.

Evidence for cbd and chronic pain

Multiple studies have looked at the efficacy of CBD oil for treating different types of chronic pain, including:

  • Arthritis pain
  • Neuropathic pain 
  • Cancer pain
  • Multiple sclerosis pain
  • Chronic migraine 

While findings are mixed, most studies show cbd drops reduces pain levels and improves quality of life to some degree. For example, a 2020 meta-analysis of 18 studies found that CBD provided significant improvements in pain, sleep, and anxiety in chronic pain patients. A 2015 review also concluded there is substantial evidence CBD reduces chronic pain, although large-scale clinical trials are still needed. Another review found CBD reduced pain by close to 30% compared to placebo. Human and animal studies suggest CBD oil may help reduce chronic pain through various mechanisms, such as:

  • Interacting with endocannabinoid, serotonin, and vanilloid receptors
  • Reducing inflammation 
  • Altering pain perception 
  • Providing analgesic effects 

While promising, more research is still needed to confirm CBD oil’s effects on specific chronic pain conditions.

Using cbd oil for pain

If you’re considering CBD oil for chronic pain, talk to your doctor first, especially if you take any medications. CBD interacts with certain drugs. 

  • Start with a low dose of CBD oil and increase slowly over several weeks if needed. Consistency is key – it may take using CBD oil for several days or weeks to feel the full effects.
  • Choose high-quality CBD oil products from reputable brands. CBD oil drops or tinctures are popular for pain as they are easily measured and adjusted.
  • Track your pain levels and side effects to determine the optimal CBD dosage for your body. Work closely with a healthcare provider to adjust the dose and watch for interactions.
  • Consider using CBD alongside other pain management strategies like exercise, physical therapy, proper sleep, and stress management techniques.

While generally well-tolerated, CBD oil does come with some potential side effects to be aware of. These may include diarrhea, nausea, fatigue, irritability, and appetite changes. CBD could also potentially interact with certain medications. There are also quality concerns around CBD products. Since the FDA does not regulate CBD, brands mislabel products. Always buy from companies that provide third-party lab test results. CBD oil should be clearly labeled with the amount of CBD it contains. More research is still needed on the long-term safety and potential effects of CBD, especially at high doses. Pregnant women should avoid CBD, as the effects on a developing fetus are unknown.