Research suggests that CBD may have several benefits that can help to control acute and chronic pain, as well as a range of related symptoms. Although there is much to learn about its potential therapeutic applications, CBD may provide pain-relief benefits including:
In addition to research findings, anecdotal evidence for the pain-relieving properties of CBD is strong. Many people who have health conditions that cause chronic pain, such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, back pain and other conditions, have reported decreased pain and inflammation after using CBD.
But CBD has also shown strong anecdotal support for treatment of chronic and acute pain related to sports injuries. In 2017, the World Anti-Doping Agency issued a statement saying it removed CBD from its 2018 list of prohibited substances. And, several former professional athletes also have gone public regarding turning to CBD for pain relief.
For example, in an article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, reporter Lori Nickel describes how Cullen Jenkins, a former NFL player, turned to CBD to help manage chronic pain and insomnia associated with injuries sustained during his football career.
Research suggests that CBD may be beneficial to help control chronic and acute pain. But so far, most of the research on CBD and pain has been based on animal studies. In one study, applying CBD to the skin of rats with arthritis decreased joint swelling and improved limb posture.
However, studies also show encouraging results about the effectiveness of CBD for pain management in humans. A 2008 review of CBD studies conducted during the past 20 years suggested that “the future for cannabinoid therapeutics appears very bright, indeed.”
With the use and abuse of opioids reaching epidemic proportions in the United States, doctors and patients alike are looking for alternatives to the use of these medications for chronic and acute pain. Researchers and medical professionals are hopeful that cannabidiol, or CBD, may offer a solution to this national crisis, providing pain relief without the dangers of addiction and overdose.
CBD is a cannabinoid molecule produced by cannabis. Unlike THC, which is the most common cannabinoid, CBD is non-intoxicating and non-addictive.
Many adults are prescribed opioids to manage pain. For some patients, pain relief is essential to being able to function normally, but opioid medications usually do little more than mask symptoms and control pain for a short time.
More importantly, with long-term use, opioid painkillers can lead to addiction, which can have devastating effects on addicts and their families. Even when they are used for a short time, prescription opioids may cause side effects that make it difficult — or even unsafe —to perform daily activities. Side effects of prescription opioids may include:
Taking opioid prescription painkillers, which include drugs such as OxyContin, Vicodin and Norco, also can put you at risk for dangerous drug interactions and overdose. In fact, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that in 2016, more than 46 Americans died every day from overdoses involving prescription opioids.