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CBD for Pain Relief

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a type of cannabinoid, one of many compounds found naturally in cannabis plants. Some people with chronic pain use  CBD products, such as CBD oil or topical CBD creams, to help manage their symptoms. CBD oil may reduce pain, inflammation, or overall discomfort related to a variety of health conditions. Unfortunately, due to the restrictions on testing on cannabis more research is needed to verify the pain-relieving benefits of CBD oil, but the research on CBD products and pain management has been promising. The research suggests that CBD could offer an alternative for people who have chronic pain and rely on medications, such as opioids, that can be habit-forming and cause dangerous side effects.

What is CBD?

CBD, short for Cannabidiol, is a chemical compound naturally occurring in the hemp plant, Cannabis Sativa. It can be taken orally (as a tablet, capsule or gummy), sublingually (under the tongue as a tincture) or topically (applied to the skin as a cream) to deliver a wide range of benefits.

CBD or Cannabidiol is legal  in the UK, provided it comes from an industrial hemp strain that is EU approved and contains no THC, but you need to make sure you are getting it from a trusted source. Hemp Well organic CBD comes from EU certified hemp grown at our own farm, processed and lab tested to make sure it is pure and contains accurate dosages. We control the process from seed to shelf so that you can be confident you are getting a high quality, fully traceable product.

The human body contains a complex network of neurotransmitters and cannabinoid receptors known as the endocannabinoid receptor system (ECS). Research suggests that cannabinoids and the ECS may play a role in many bodily processes including anxiety, stress and mood.

Research & Evidence

Pain is something that is experienced by everyone at some point in their lives. Chronic pain can be uncomfortable to live with at best or debilitating at worst. Common treatments for pain include opioids but people all over the world are looking for alternatives because they can be habit-forming and have serious side effects. Opioid-related deaths have even been called an opioid epidemic by the US Center for Disease Control (CDC). In 2019 over 70% of drug related deaths in the USA involved an opioid. It is understandable that people are increasingly looking for pain management alternatives. 

Some people believe CBD to be an effective pain reliever as the research on CBD products and pain management has been promising. Human studies on CBD and pain are lacking, due to restrictions on the use of and research on cannabis, and more research is needed in this area, but the studies we do have show some encouraging results.  In the first human experimental pain study on CBD, the research showed that CBD has real pain-relieving properties in humans. The authors of the study expected it to show that the anecdotal pain-relieving effects of CBD that are reported are from people experiencing the placebo effect. However, the researchers found that CBD had real pharmacological effects resulting in pain relief. The lead researcher Martin De Vita said: "we found improvements in pain measures caused by the pharmacological effects of CBD (...) it was pretty remarkable and surprising" (Source

There are several ways to take CBD for pain relief:

Ingesting it via a capsule, tablet or gummy. These are absorbed via the bloodstream after being digested, this can take up to two hours. Absorbed sublingually (under the tongue) via a CBD oil. Letting the product absorb under your tongue rather than subjecting it to the digestive tract preserves more of the CBD, and you’ll feel results faster.

Topically - this means designed to be applied directly to the skin. CBD creams are supposed to be absorbed into the skin, topicals are a great choice when it comes to treating localized pain. If you are treating a painful area then the physical motion of massaging the cream in may provide additional benefits. 

CBD and Arthritis

It is well known that Cannabinoids are potent anti-inflammatory agents (Source) and therefore could provide real benefits to help relieve inflammation, swelling and pain commonly associated with arthritis.

Arthritis.org say: 'Animal studies have suggested that CBD has pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties, but these effects have not been validated in quality studies in humans. Anecdotally, some people with arthritis who have tried CBD, but not all, report noticeable pain relief, sleep improvement and/or anxiety reduction.'

In 2016 a study on rats showed that both pain and inflammation of arthritis was significantly reduced by CBD and in 2018, this study on the treatment of osteoarthritis in dogs demonstrated that CBD resulted in a significant decrease in pain, and increase in activity in the dogs tested. There are over 30 clinical trials being undertaken in Europe at the moment for a range of conditions, we hope there will be results from research into CBD for arthritis in human patients soon.

An image of a man clutching his painful knee

Pain and Athletes

It is no surprise to hear that exercise puts a lot of stress on our bodies, to both positive and negative effect. Training stress leads to adaptation and increased performance (such as being able to run further or lift heavier weight) but physical trauma and prolonged wear and tear can also lead to injuries and pain. Searching for alternative pain relief and effective sports recovery athletes are turning to CBD, but how can it help?

If you regularly exercise there has probably been a time that you needed to turn to pain relief, whether due to injury or for another reason. Both preclinical and clinical studies have indicated a potential benefit of CBD use in chronic pain, athletes could therefore benefit from pain-relieving effects of CBD if taken. Some over the counter pain relievers known as Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs - NSAIDs (ibuprofen being one example) can actually be dangerous to athletes, particularly ultra-distance athletes as there is increased risk of gastric trauma, especially if taken as a prophylactic. This can range from relatively benign dyspepsia, to potentially life-threatening events such as upper GI bleeding. It is unsurprising that athletes are looking for alternative treatments. We know that Cannabinoids are anti-inflammatory and therefore could provide real benefits to athletes to help relieve inflammation, swelling and pain, especially those recovering from injury. With both pain relieving and anti-inflammatory properties, CBD could therefore provide a safer alternative to NSAIDs for some athletes. 

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