At CBC we are joining an important effort to manage pain safely. This means relying on opioid medications far less than in prior years. Alternative mindfulness approaches such as breathing techniques and meditation have proven useful.
Useful medications such as acetaminophen and NSAIDs can be used in higher doses than typical for everyday aches and pains and headache. In addition, medications that were developed for treatment of seizures has become well accepted in the treatment of nerve pain. These meds include gabapentin, pregabalin, baclofen and others. More recently, our understanding of the body’s endo-cannaboid receptors has lead to the adoption of cannabidiol (CBD) as a very useful drug for the treatment of various conditions such as anxiety and pain. These are things that share common neural pathways in the brain and body.
CBD is a compound found in the Hemp plant as well as Cannabis Sativa Plant (that will produce marijuana after the hemp plant flowers) to help treat symptoms caused by a variety of health issues. Consumers in several countries and many states in the U.S. have access to a plethora of different forms of CBD and THC ranging from oils and lotions, to soft drinks and coffee. Here in Connecticut, medical marijuana is legal and CBD can be obtained over the counter.
CBD is the second most prevalent compound found in the Cannabis Sativa Plant (marijuana) making up for about 40% of its composition.There are many other compounds in hemp besides CBD. CBD is not psychoactive, meaning it does not give the feeling of a ‘high’. While it has been used to treat a variety of health issues, the strongest scientific evidence surrounds epilepsy treatment. CBD is also used to treat or manage symptoms caused by conditions such as anxiety, insomnia, and chronic pain.
Will it help reduce my back or neck pain?
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke reports that “about 80 percent of adults experience low back pain at some point in their lifetimes. It is the most common cause of job-related disability and a leading contributor to missed work days.” Anyone that experiences symptoms associated with spinal stenosis, sciatica, or a herniated disc can report that the persistent severe pain is by far the most debilitating.
CBD suggests a different pathway for pain management. Typical pain killing drugs often consist of opioids, which yield severe unwanted side effects such as constipation, sedation, nausea/vomiting, respiratory depression and are habit forming.The CBD pathway of pain management does not involve opioids. This is part of the reason that CBD is gaining in popularity. The dangerous effects and abuse potential of opioids can be avoided with the use of CBD.
Is it safe?
According to the World Health Organization “CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential……to date, there is no evidence of public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.” Side effects include, fatigue, nausea and irritability. Most often adverse reactions are a result of drug-drug interactions between the patients medications and the CBD. CBD can increase blood levels of Coumadin, so if you are taking this drug, discuss CBD use with your provider. The safety concern with CBD is that it is marked and sold as a supplement, therefore its purity and potency is not regulated by the FDA. It is also difficult to know what the right dose is for each patient. For these reasons the use of CBD should always be discussed with your provider.