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  • by Nicola Boulton September 27, 2022 5 min read

    CBD and Pain

    CBD is gaining popularity for pain relief. The current article explains how CBD is used for pain and how cannabis extract interacts with the body to relieve different types of pain.

    Given the ongoing difficulty in managing pain through synthetic drugs that are proven addictive and non-efficient, people have shifted to natural ways to alleviate pain. CBD is studied for treating pains without serious side effects. Cannabidiol (CBD) is a chemical compound extracted from cannabis strains, especially hemp plants. Without the psychoactive properties of its cousin tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD can provide health benefits to your body without the risk of getting high, as most cannabis products do. The cannabis derivative is widely used for pain compared to any other purpose. Most users purchase cannabis products hoping to get additional health values that come with CBD, besides pain relief.

    Ways to use CBD for pain

    CBD is readily available over the counter in topicals, edibles, vape pens, wax, CBD oil, and tinctures. Each product dispenses CBD differently to the body and has its unique onset time in alleviating pain. Urits et al. (2020) highlighted the following ways to harness the power of CBD to reduce body pains:

    Topical Application

    Directly applying to the skin involves applying topically to the affected area to relieve skin irritations, joint and muscle pain, and skin inflammations. You rub the supplement into the skin gently and deeply, and the CBD molecules will diffuse past the skin layers to the bloodstream to combat the irritations. It takes approximately 60 to 90 minutes to feel the calming effects of CBD topicals.


    CBD products such as gummies and edibles are taken orally. Also, you can infuse the cannabis derivative into your daily meals and drinks to allow you to enjoy its benefits in a delicious flavor. However, orally ingested CBD goes through digestion and metabolic process before entering the bloodstream to be transported to the irritating area. It will take time for CBD effects to kick in; clinical trials show that it takes 2 to 3 hours.


    This is the common method to consume CBD oil since it bypasses the digestion and liver breakdown of the cannabinoid in the bloodstream. It involves placing a few drops of the supplement under your tongue and holding the oil for 60 seconds. This allows the molecules to penetrate through the soft membranes of the cheek to the bloodstream. It takes less than 5 minutes to relieve pain. Learn more about can cbd help alopecia?

    Inhaling CBD

    Vaping uses an electrical device called a vape pen or pod to vaporize CBD oil. The vapor is inhaled through the mouth to the lungs and tissues and then into the circulatory system. The method is instant since the onset time is 2 minutes; it also has the highest bioavailability.

    How Does CBD Interact with Your Body to Relieve Pain?

    When CBD enters your system, it interacts with two body systems to relieve pain: the endocannabinoid system (ECS) and brain receptors. According to Mechoulam et al. (2013), the ECS is responsible for maintaining body balance (homeostasis) by eradicating pain, inflammation, anxiety, and stress. The ECS comprises two cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) located in all body parts. CBD does not bind with the receptors like most plant cannabinoids. Instead, it induces the system to release anandamide which binds with the CB2 receptors to regulate pain and inflammations. Simultaneously, it prevents the breakdown of anandamide by body enzymes to buy time for effective pain relief.

    In the brain, CBD binds with brain receptors to block the signaling of pain impulses from the affected area to the central nervous system. Doing so promotes a calming effect in your mind, lowering pain, anxiety, and stress.   

    How CBD Treats Pain

    Much research has been done on the relationship between CBD and body pains in rats experiments (Evans, 2020). CBD could treat pain in the following ways:

    • Treating inflammation
    • Healing the damaged body areas
    • Treating anxiety associated with chronic pain
    • Calming effects and improve the quality of sleep

    Treating Inflammation

    Inflammations are normal body processes triggered by the immune system to protect the body from external and internal threats. However, the immune system may induce inflammation even when no damaged body tissues and cells exist. Pellati et al. (2018) explained that CBD interacts with the body receptors to reduce the immune system to trigger excessive inflammations, thus nicknamed the anti-inflammatory cannabinoid. 

    Healing the Damaged Body Areas

    Acute and chronic pains are largely associated with damaged body tissues and cells. Clinical studies show that the healing process starts when CBD helps reproduce body cells to replace damaged or dead cells. Additionally, most CBD products are rich in omega 3 and 6 amino acids that heighten the cells' healing process. The organic nutrients mostly originate from the hemp plant and carrier oils like coconut that are used to dilute CBD compounds after extraction. Learn more about can cbd help with the symptoms of ocd

    Treating Anxiety Associated with Chronic Pain

    Anxiety increases body cells' oxidative stress activities, which triggers more inflammation and pain. Treating anxiety is the first step to curing chronic pains. CBD interacts with brain receptors to increase the release of the hormone serotonin that blocks negative thoughts like stress, fear, tension, and anxiousness.

    Improved sleep quality

    It is hard to fall asleep when you are suffering from chronic pains. When sleeping, your body systems actively deal with infections and imbalances like pain. Kuhathasan et al. (2019) stated that a few drops of CBD would relieve your pain and induce calming effects on the muscles and joints for good sleep. 


    CBD products like topical, oil, softgels, and gummies are largely recognized for treating body pains. You can use these products differently to harness their pain relief benefits. You can use the cannabis derivative orally or apply it topically to the affected area. In addition, you can inhale its vapor or place a few drops of CBD oil under your tongue. In addition to pain, CBD can treat anxiety related to pain, boost sleep, reduce inflammation, and heal damaged tissues and cells.


    Evans, J. (2020). The Ultimate Guide to CBD: Explore the World of Cannabidiol. Fair Winds             Press.

    Kuhathasan, N., Dufort, A., MacKillop, J., Gottschalk, R., Minuzzi, L., & Frey, B. N. (2019). The use of cannabinoids for sleep: A critical review on clinical trials. Experimental and clinical psychopharmacology, 27(4), 383.

    Mechoulam, R., & Parker, L. A. (2013). The endocannabinoid system and the brain. Annu rev Psychol, 64(1), 21-47.

    Pellati, F., Borgonetti, V., Brighenti, V., Biagi, M., Benvenuti, S., & Corsi, L. (2018). Cannabis sativa L. and nonpsychoactive cannabinoids: their chemistry and role against oxidative stress, inflammation, and cancer. BioMed research international, 2018.

    Urits, I., Gress, K., Charipova, K., Habib, K., Lee, D., Lee, C., ... & Viswanath, O. (2020). Use of cannabidiol (CBD) for the treatment of chronic pain.  Research Clinical Anaesthesiology, 34(3), 463-477. Best Practice &

    Nicola Boulton
    Nicola Boulton

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