CBD for Pain or Anxiety, Facts You Should Know
Many claims state that cannabidiol, or CBD oil, has properties that could cure almost any ailment. While supporters of the product stand by their supplement, is there any merit to its effects on anxiety and pain? With minimal studies and few facts, it is easy for people to imply many things that may or may not be true.
How do we know that CBD isn’t just another trend becoming popularized by the recent legalization?
First, let’s have a look at what the science behind CBD has to say about anxiety and pain. Though many tests, experiments, and observations have been done, there is still very little we know about CBD and its range of effects on the human body.
Types of Anxiety – CBD
Social anxiety effects millions of people, and prevents them from comfortably experiencing the world. With social anxiety, individuals experience fear of social interaction, and often times become disoriented as their stress levels increase. CBD is known for alleviating symptoms of social anxiety.
General anxiety differs from social anxiety in that it is more generalized, and is always somewhat present. CBD can alleviate the symptoms of generalized anxiety, helping users to experience less discomfort during their daily lives.
Panic anxiety is it’s own form of anxiety, and effects people with spontaneous outbursts where anxiety and stress become extreme for a period of time. When patients experience a ‘panic attack,’ vision, decision making, and mental well-being are all negatively effected. Individuals can dose CBD during a panic attack to keep anxiety at bay.
CBD on Anxiety – Mechanism
From what IS understood, CBD binds to receptors in the brain that have been shown to have regulatory effects on anxiety-related behaviors and fear. The studies performed on humans have been very short term and small in size. More research is needed to confirm or deny the claims that many are making regarding this novel compound.
A study completed by Bergamaschi MM, Queiroz RH, Chagas MH, et al. suggested that Cannabidiol reduces the anxiety induced by public speaking in treatment-naive social phobia patients. Usage of CBD in certain doses can reduce anxiety that is associated with public speaking. Though this study seems promising, no studies have been done with more chronic CBD dosing.
Studies that were completed in regards to pain have used CBD, and the combination of CBD with THC. Some studies suggest that the combination of THC with CBD is a more effective medical therapy.
With the lack of studies completed, doctors believe that CBD oil is purely a placebo treatment, and has no real influence on the individual at the molecular, non-placebo level.
Regardless, CBD is used for pain relief through smoking(the herb), consuming(as an edible), and topical application(like a lotion). By applying the oil topically on the skin, it is supposed to be reminiscent of ‘Icy Hot,’ which soothes and relaxes the effected area. Inhaling or eating CBD produces strong relaxing effects in the patient.
When CBD oil is ingested, it may be unlikely to have the intended response as compared to inhaling. Ingesting CBD will cause it to join fat in the body, and is likely to be stored in the fat cells. Because CBD is stored in the fat when consumed, it may be more effective in other forms.
CBD Gummies for Pain
Another popular CBD product that is currently on the market is the CBD gummies. CBD gummies are a flavorful option when it comes to using CBD as a supplement. Many brands have emerged on the cannabis and CBD market, and new products are constantly being introduced to the industry.
CBD gummies for pain are another option for those patients or individuals experiencing pain or chronic pain symptoms. CBD is a much safer alternative to some of the seemingly toxic painkillers that are prescribed by doctors. However, even if you are trying out CBD for pain or another chronic illness, it is important to contact your doctor about any possible side effects or warnings. While CBD gummies are generally considered a safe, alternative means of treating anxiety and pain, we need more research and time to see fully what the effects may be.
That being said, many people have touted the benefits of CBD gummies for treating chronic pain. CBD gummies can be consumed casually; they are a great snack to help you relax, watch a movie, or even just clean the house. However, if the individual consumes too many CBD gummies, they may experience some of the negative side effects. Certain individuals are more prone to bad CBD reactions than others. Possible side effects may include nausea, dizziness, or excessive drowsiness. CBD gummies may be a good option for treating chronic pain in individuals.
While minimal studies come to no conclusion of efficiency, they also leave safety and dosage information unknown. Research that has been done suggests that higher doses than the amount typically sold are needed for CBD to be effective. It is also found that doses too high or too low are both ineffective. Be sure to look for verified, recommended sources of CBD. Many retail shops will have advertised ‘CBD,’ but it will not contain any of the actual compound.
The FDA and other organizations have found evidence that there are tainted CBD products that contain little to no CBD, and instead contain harmful additives. These organizations have also tested various samples of CBD that are on the opposite end of the spectrum, and some contain more CBD than what is legally allowed. Here are the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Warning Letters and Test Results for Cannabidiol-Related Products.
Pure CBD oil has also been questioned regarding safety. Generally, users find that side effects are mild. However, clinical trials reveal side effects include diarrhea, tiredness, and changes in appetite. For users that are taking additional medications, there may be dangerous interactions caused by detoxification of enzymes that metabolize medications.
Iffland K, Grotenhermen R. An Update on Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol: A Review of Clinical Data and Relevant Animal Studies. Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2017; 2(1): 139–154.
The conclusion of CBD oil at this point is that there are not enough clinical studies to know if it can be used as a safe and effective treatment option.
Although there are skeptics surrounding CBD, there is some merit to the CBD claims. The FDA has recently approved a new drug called Epidiolex. The target for this new drug is not for pain or anxiety, but for epilepsy. There is no known information on how CBD affects the brain long-term, and no guarantee that is 100% safe to use. Be wary when trying trends like CBD; future research may reveal that these health claims are false or exaggerated.
For those suffering from chronic pain and anxiety, talking to a doctor and seeking out FDA-approved medications for pain and anxiety is a great first step. Therapy can be very helpful to those suffering from anxiety, as well as exercise and a healthy diet.
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