To tell you the truth, my initial intention was an article about CBD and joint pain.
I changed direction when, after discussing my idea with Marlene, she told me:
I thought you covered this, though. With your article about arthritis.
My order-freak and deviating brain took charge of the situation putting me and my intentions and wills aside. I realized there are so many types of discomfort, physical and emotional and so much confusion about their origin, causes and potential treatments! So I thought I should put things in order and dedicate a whole article to CBD oil and pain in general, before going on exploring its potential to specific types of pain.
Then the universe sent me a message: I came to know that Brian hurt his knee at work. (According to doctors, he has probably torn a tendon.)
I was sure that my decision was right. Pain is everywhere, in many forms and intensities and has the power to make our lives really unbearable.
So, get ready: find a comfortable armchair and prepare your heart and mind.
This will be a painful article!
What is pain
It seems an easy question but I am sure if I present it to hundreds of people I will get as many different answers.
Some of you will say that pain is the message our body sends to warn us about trauma or damage or a health-issue. Sure! Have you ever heard of the term pain-free major trauma?
Others will respond that pain is the way our body informs us that something is wrong. But what about phantom limb pain, that constant and devastating discomfort that comes from the part of the limb that isn’t there anymore?
Or even worse, how would one explain the soul pain, this growing mental and emotional ache that gradually becomes chronic tearing you and your life apart?
As stated by the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) pain is
“an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage.”
Are you satisfied with this definition?
I am not.
I totally agree that pain is a warning signal. I object to the anachronistic belief that it is a way of measuring tissue damage.
Let me explain why. For my whole life, I have been discovering bruises all over my body with no recollection of when or how they happened. A bruise is proof of tissue damage with no pain. This means we can have one without the other, right?
So what the heck IS pain?
According to the latest scientific point of view, pain as a complex and advanced mechanism that involves both the physiological and psychological functions of our system with one simple but crucial aim: to protect us.
It’s pain that commands us not to do things.
It is hip pain that tells Theresa to stop mowing the lawn and take a break. It is knee pain that requires Brian not to work in a heavy-duty status. It is joint pain that tries to force my mum to stop cleaning her house. (In vain: her OCD is stronger than pain.)
It’s pain that orders us to do things.
It’s knee pain that restricts Brian to light work, using a cane and relaxing for 40 out of 60 minutes each hour. It’s your toothache that drives you directly to the dentist. It’s your back pain that obliges you to make a physio appointment or to get some rest.
It sounds familiar to all of you, doesn’t it?
Right, but how, why and where is pain created?
Your body contains specialized neurons (nociceptors) that act as “danger indicators” and transmit signals to alert your brain every time a potential hazardous alteration in your body is detected. These “never sleeping eyes of the brain” can only convey warning messages. Not pain.
How could they? Pain isn’t produced by your body. It is born in your brain.
So next time, don’t blame your hip, knee, joints or any other part of your body for the discomfort they cause you.
Simply, thank your nociceptors and brain for always being in alert and protecting your well-being and health.
By making your life hell!
Types of pain
My research for the different types of pain revealed different classifications related to its physiology, intensity, duration, the kind of tissue involved and the syndrome it is related to.
Here follow the different categories of pain based on:
- Pain physiology: Nociceptive, Inflammatory, Neuropathic
- Intensity: Mild, Moderate, Severe
- Time course: Acute, Chronic, Acute-on-chronic pain
- Type of damaged tissue: Skin, Muscles, Viscera, Joints, Tendons, Bones
- Syndromes: Cancer, Fibromyalgia, Migraine, etc.
While some of the above classifications are self-explanatory, others are “all Greek” to you.
So, let me clarify the more difficult ones to help you understand (alas not tolerate) better the type of pain you suffer from.
“Oh wow! This is too scientific for me” you might think.
Nociceptive pain is the result of tissue injury or damage. In simple words, when you bump your hip on the corner of the desk, get burnt while carrying the boiling pot without a potholder, jam your finger in the door or twist your ankle walking on those high-heeled stilettos, you perceive what is called nociceptive pain.
Ok, you twisted your ankle and promised you’ll never wear high-heeled stilettos (liar!).
The terrible pain you experienced during the “accident” has passed. But now your ankle is bruised, swollen and continues to hurt. These are signs of inflammation. The pain is there and has evolved from nociceptive to inflammatory.
Neuropathic pain is associated with an injury or malfunction in the peripheral or central nervous system.
Examples of this type of discomfort include, but are not limited to, diabetic neuropathy, postherpetic neuralgia, shingles, spinal cord injury pain, post-amputation pain, and post-stroke central pain.
It refers to the kind of discomfort that lasts less than 3 to 6 months. That terrible toothache that made you count sheep all night long or the dreadful pain from the sprained ankle (darn stilettos!) are classified as acute types of pain.
Well, this type of pain is horrible (arthritis sufferers know what I mean). It lasts more than 3 -6 months or insists on making you suffer after an acute ailment or tissue damage has been healed.
I wouldn’t wish this type of pain on my worst enemy. It’s the lethal combination of both acute and chronic pain and implies sudden flare-ups of acute pain superimposed on existing chronic pain.
What about pain intensity?
I am sure you can describe your pain with hundreds of adjectives or even invent new ones to explain to others how you feel. (my favorite adjective is the following: #%$&$#@ 😉 )
But neither your doctor nor your sweetheart will understand how intolerable your pain is unless you use three magic words: mild, moderate and severe.
No, not all pains are severe!
To be able to self-report pain clearly and with the most possible precision, you should use the Numeric Rating Scale (NRS-11), an 11-point scale developed for adults and children at or above the age of 10.
The following table can help you understand what the words mild, moderate and severe mean in terms of pain.
|0||No pain at all|
|1-3||Mild pain with no or little interference with activities of daily living|
|4-6||Moderate pain with significant interference with activities of daily living|
|7-10||Severe pain. The sufferer is unable to perform any activity of daily living|
It’s obvious that your pain doesn’t belong to a “one-and-only-one” category.
We can describe the pain sensed by an arthritis sufferer as inflammatory, chronic, severe, joint pain. Your burnt hand makes you feel a nociceptive, acute, moderate, skin discomfort and so on.
No matter its type, intensity level or whatever category scientists may come up with to classify pain, one thing is for certain: pain sucks and makes your life suck too!
What does pain do to you?
According to a Buddhist proverb,
Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.
Yeah, right! Very convincing!
Try to repeat it to me during one of my herniated disc crises and I can assure you, you will not appreciate that not-so-Buddhist-China-vase that will land on your head.
Try to remind me of this proverb while I am experiencing one of my immense and so emotionally painful anxiety attacks and you will see Jack the Ripper rising from his tomb right in front of your eyes.
I won’t tell you what unrelieved pain does to you. We are all in the same boat and experience the same agonizing tempest.
I will reveal to you the monsters hiding in the shadows of pain and the possible hazards they bring along.
As if living with recurrent pain weren’t enough, constant and unrelieved discomfort can cause you prolonged stress which might increase your blood pressure and your heart rate. Chronic stress can reduce your body’s ability to combat illnesses and be the cause of conditions such as heart disease.
Wait, there is more!
Persistent pain is responsible for tense and sore muscles. You lack energy and, therefore, your ability to move about is limited. There might be significant changes in your appetite leading you to eating-disorders.
One thing is certain. Pain is responsible for emotional suffering. How couldn’t it be? Your physical and emotional selves are so closely interconnected…
Constant distress leads to irritability, anger, and anxiety disorders. Moreover, it is strongly correlated with depression which usually remains undiagnosed. When these two conditions coexist -a rather frequent phenomenon- they tend to exacerbate every condition-related symptom. Your pain gets more and more unbearable and the darkness of depression deeper and deeper.
Nightmarish, isn’t it?
I could write a whole encyclopedia about how pain affects your behavior judging from my own reactions and conduct.
Relax, I won’t! (I can only say that there is a male or female primitive beast lurking in every suffering person on this planet)
Pain carries so many changes in your life that it inevitably has an impact on your behavior.
Having to live with intolerable, ineliminable, and unending pain may cause you to lose not only your mental and physical wellness but your financial independence as well.
No wonder it leads to changes in your behavior and personality by affecting your mood and character and by lowering your self-esteem in almost no time.
Persistent pain often causes you to experience relationship breakdowns.
Being unable to socialize and keep up with the activities and hobbies you used to enjoy with your friends, you tend to isolate yourselves and watch your mates fade away, gradually but steadily.
No one can understand the intensity of the pain you live with, not even your loved ones. You may feel you have been losing yourselves and instead of that independent, vigorous and productive man or woman, you are becoming a weak individual and a burden on the others.
Yes, pain is debilitating. It drains your energy, spirit, liveliness, and strength. It puts out your fire and passion.
And empties your wallets.
Health economists have announced that the annual cost of pain in the USA has risen to $635 billion. The sum includes both the total incremental costs of health care and the value of lost productivity.
I would have been amazed by the amount if I hadn’t examined the pain relief section of a drugstore.
I couldn’t help noticing, though, that it appears that the store struggles to keep painkillers in stock. There were empty spaces meaning that the medicine cabinets at the customers’ houses are packed up with analgesics.
I have always resisted medicines. I deliberately refused to take any painkillers. I wanted to avoid both their side effects and the addiction they can cause. Having no natural and non-addictive alternative, I had no other choice but to let pain conquer me and then get tired and leave me.
It may sound strange but that was my way of dealing with pain. Whether it was a migraine, PMS, cervical or even back pain, I just tolerated it waiting for it to stop. (Had I developed a high level of pain tolerance or was I a total moron? Science still investigates the issue.)
Those days are gone forever!
I have recently discovered a natural and non-addictive substance contained in the cannabis plant that won’t give me a “high” but it will help me manage pain.
Yes, you guessed right! It’s my favorite cannabinoid I am talking about.
CBD is a sworn enemy of pain! Any enemy of pain is definitely a friend of mine. And it should be yours too!
What does CBD do to pain?
First things first.
Let me give you some information about how CBD cooperates with your body.
Two cannabinoid receptors exist in your body: the CB1 and CB2 receptors. Most of the CB1 receptors are located in your brain and are linked to cognitive actions related to coordination, mood, reasoning, memory, and appetite. The CB2 receptors can be found in the immune system. They are responsible for the way your body responds to pain and inflammation.
CBD oil interacts with both CB1 and CB2 receptors causing the reduction of pain and inflammation.
According to Dr. Rim of the Hospital for Special Surgery in NY:
“These receptors are primarily involved with coordination, movement, pain, emotional output, and the immune system,”
She emphasizes that this might be the reason why an increasing number of her patients who suffer from recurring pain have found relief from their suffering.
Enough with science and its baffling terms and definitions.
Let’s stop the chitchat and get down to the nitty-gritty!
CBD oil Relieves Neuropathic Pain.
The glutamatergic system, a significant neurotransmitter pathway is largely responsible for the creation and the sustaining of neuropathic pain. Glutamate is a predominant excitative neurotransmitter released by nerve cells in the brain.
High levels of glutamate in the brain are associated with enhanced perceptions of pain and chronic pain syndromes such as fibromyalgia. Decreasing the levels of glutamate helps to decrease pain sensation.
CBD represses the release of glutamate along with other inflammatory agents. This is the reason why it is considered ‘neuroprotective’ and excellent at lessening the itching, stinging and burning sensations that characterize neuropathic pain.
CBD oil Relieves Inflammatory Pain.
All types of arthritis, autoimmune diseases such as Crohn’s and simple conditions like headaches, toothaches, cramps, and muscle aches are examples of inflammatory pain.
Inflammation and oxidative stress are intimately involved in the genesis of many human diseases. Unraveling that relationship therapeutically has proven challenging, in part because inflammation and oxidative stress “feed off” each other.
However, CBD would seem to be a promising starting point for further drug development given anti-inflammatory actions on immune cells… CBD also has the advantage of not having psychotropic side effects. Studies on models of human diseases support the idea that CBD attenuates inflammation far beyond its antioxidant properties, for example, by targeting inflammation-related intracellular signaling events.George W. Booz
In addition to the scientific results, there are also the personal experiences of CBD users. Here follows the finding of a reader, friend of mine and CBD advocate after experimenting cannabidiol’s analgesic power with a toothache, made known to me with a comment on one of my articles:
Reading this article while battling the second day of a toothache prompted me to try rubbing CBD oil on the painful area and that worked! What a relief! I’m not really a fan of soup but I thought for sure that’s what I would be eating this evening.
CBD Eases Chronic Pain
It has been found that CBD oil is effective in easing chronic pain. Patients diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and cancer have been found to experience less suffering. The same positive effects have been reported by patients taking CBD oil to relieve their fibromyalgia pain.
Cannabidiol’s action doesn’t affect only pain.
I won’t repeat myself. If I get tired and bored with it, I can only imagine what it can do to you. I will let you take your time and consult the detailed articles I have dedicated to all of these topics.
Types of CBD products
I know you were wondering about which CBD product will benefit you the most. I understand you are interested in knowing the different forms of cannabidiol the market offers.
CBD producers and manufacturers are very imaginative. Perhaps, because CBD is a highly adaptable product.
The most widespread and popular methods of CBD consumption are:
- Tinctures or oils or sprays (sublingual administration)
- Vaping products (through the lungs)
- Topicals (balms, salves, massage oils, and creams applied to the skin)
- Suppositories (rectal administration)
- Edibles (through the digestive system)
I personally consume cannabidiol in the form of oil and edibles. I have recently received my CBD isolate crystals and I am currently experimenting with adding it to snacks, cakes, various dishes, and alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails. Though I am not keen on cooking (frankly I am a terrible cook), I think it’s interesting trying different recipes and combining the pleasure of a tasteful dish with the relieving effects of CBD. Two birds with one stone!
My parents use CBD topicals and more specifically a highly potent CBD body butter that works wonders with my mum’s joint pains and my dad’s psoriasis.
Most of my friends use the sublingual method of administration and some of them use topicals to cope with DOMS.
Along with all of us mere mortals, NFL, NBA, NHL, and MMA athletes and an increasing number of Olympians have ditched opioids and embraced CBD oil products to treat the pain and the issues their intense training sessions cause to them. If we add the Holywood celebrities to the equation, it becomes obvious that CBD oil has taken the world by storm!
Which is the most appropriate method of cannabidiol administration for you?
Cannabidiol is a potent analgesic with significant anti-inflammatory properties.
Even though science is still in the infancy stage of unveiling CBD potential to health and wellness, the scientific findings are promising and open new horizons in pain management and treatment.
You should have in mind that, along with other nutraceuticals, cannabidiol can interact with the pharmaceuticals you might be using.
For this reason, talk with your trusted physician and ask for suggestions and advice regarding any possible interactions of CBD with your medications.
There’s no better time than now to enlist cannabidiol to fight your battles against pain and live your life to the fullest!
Now that you know that cannabidiol can relieve you from pain, I am sure you are wondering which brand you should trust.
When it comes to CBD and health, you should be careful to commit to a brand that is reliable, trustworthy and transparent.
Here follows a list of my personal brand choices.
Their sourcing, extraction methods, lab tests, client reviews, and my readers’ personal positive experiences prove their claims regarding the quality of their products.
If you have any questions or want to share any personal experience regarding CBD and allergies, please, leave a comment below.
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DISCLAIMER: The content of this article is for informational purposes only. It is not meant to substitute professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The information provided is not meant to cure any disease or disorder. Always seek the advice of a qualified health provider for any medical condition.