Whether you’ve undergone a medical procedure or suffered a sprain, you’ll be familiar with nociceptive pain – an acute pain in tissues, tendons or joints. As with other types of pain, nociceptive pain is often treated with over-the-counter pain medication like ibuprofen, but if taken for extended periods, these can irritate the gut and cause other side-effects such as nausea and heartburn. For those looking for a natural alternative, CBD is earning a reputation as an effective treatment for pain relief with a number of other health benefits to boot.
While research into CBD as a therapeutic treatment is limited, there is a growing body of anecdotal evidence that points to it as an effective remedy for a number of ailments – pain being the most common. A survey* conducted in 2017 revealed that a staggering 62% of the people who participated indicated they used CBD to treat a medical condition, with pain topping the list. While CBD is not a cure-all, studies show it can significantly reduce pain when administered at the right dose.
One of a number of cannabinoids derived from the hemp plant, CBD acts on our endocannabinoid system – a cell-sginalling system that regulates different functions in the body, including our immune function. Our pain response is closely linked to our immune response because pain is often a symptom of inflammation, which is triggered when there is an injury or infection. By reducing inflammation, CBD in turn delivers a strong analgesic effect.
CBD reduces inflammation in three ways: firstly it elevates the production of natural cannabinoids, boosting the body’s anti-inflammatory and pain responses; secondly, CBD activates the CB2 receptors –part of the body’s immune function – which play a role in reducing pain and inflammation; and finally CBD acts on cytokine molecules, which are produced by our immune cells, reducing the levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines while at the same time boosting the levels of anti-inflammatory cytokines. Unlike non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), CBD comes with very few side-effects and is safe enough to use on a regular, or even daily, basis.
Furthermore, there is research to suggest that CBD can inhibit the body’s pain response by increasing the activity of particular receptors in the brain, which helps to reduce pain signals.
While nociceptive pain tends to be short-term pain, it can be severe and as such often interferes with one’s sleep. CBD has the added benefit of being an effective sleep aid, helping you to not only fall asleep easier, but enjoy better quality sleep too.
While there are many ways to administer CBD, topical treatments are a good choice for nociceptive pain, particularly if you’ve suffered a sprain or pulled a muscle. But there are also oils, tinctures and vapes available. Regardless of which option you choose, start on a lower dose and increase it slowly until you find what works for you.