CBD For Back Pain – Is it Effective?

Cannabidiol is a relatively new way to treat pain as well as back pain. Commonly called CBD, Cannabidiol is said to help relieve inflammation and neuropathy. CBD is available in the form of topical gels and creams that when used, show promising results.

The difference between Cannabidiol and Marijuana

Apparently, CBD oil is made from the Cannabis Sativa plant. Harvard Health Publishing discussed that the hemp plant, where CBD came from, is a cousin of the marijuana plant. Hence, CBD is the second most dominant of the active ingredients of cannabis (marijuana).

With over 100 chemical compounds including cannabinoids, this plant is grown for two specific purposes such as THC content and industrial uses. Containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), this compound in the plant is associated with the feeling of being “high” for marijuana use. For the non-drug use, less than .3% amount of THC in the hemp variation of the plant can be used in making clothing, paper, and building material.

The legality and availability of CBD products

Apparently, CBD products now become more obtainable since more areas in the United States have legalized the use of marijuana. Still its legality in flux, the 50 state laws vary when it comes to using cannabis products in each state. Meanwhile, the federal government is still considering CBD under the same class as marijuana and they do not customarily enforce it.

Other countries have also started seeing the therapeutic benefits of CBD. In some South American countries, they have slackened the restrictions with CBD oil as well as medical marijuana usage. The European Union (EU) has established guidelines for the regulation of hemp-derived CBD oil to allow the cultivation of hemp-provided without exceeding 0.2% THC content. For certain conditions, both Brazil and Mexico allow CBD products. In Chile, they have already found a full-scale medical marijuana program.

To make things clear, CBD products are non-intoxicating do not come with the psychogenic effects of marijuana. The World Health Organization (WHO) even declared that CBD has no effects of any dependence potential or any abuse in humans. Up to this day, there are no reports of health-related problems associated with using pure CBD.

Looking at back pain

At least one episode of back pain will be experienced by 80% of adults at some point in their lives, according to the American Chiropractic Association. Known as the primary root of disability in the world, back pain is a condition that commonly causes extreme discomfort without mentioning a few missed days of either work or inability to do physical activity. Occurring for any number of reasons and severity, it could just be a simple muscle strain, bad posture, arthritis, a ruptured disc or a sign of a more serious medical condition like blood cot or kidney infection.

Back pain is classified as being acute or chronic. Acute pain is quickly resolved either with enough rest or recommended treatment while chronic pain in the back is felt that lasts for more than 12 weeks.

Treatment of back pain can be complicated as it involves pain management using ice and heat, lifestyle changes, physical therapy, and worse is surgery.

How CBD treats back pain

About 100 million Americans live with chronic pain as stated by the Institute of Medicine of The National Academies. CBD may help aid in back pain through reducing inflammation, managing anxiety associated with long-lasting back pain, and improving sleep and relaxation.

Generally, for overall pain relief and feeling of relaxation, CBD is also meant as a full body treatment and not only targeting back pain. The common types of chronic pain include headache, migraine, neuropathic pain, fibromyalgia, cancer pain, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Multiple sclerosis pain, temporomandibular disorder (TMJ), and osteoarthritis.

Although there are prescription pain medications available over-the-counter that are commonly recommended for treating chronic pain, many people still look for alternative relief and these include CBD oil.

Types of CBD Products

In treating back pain, the CBD products are in the forms of the following:

  • Used solely or used with other CBD products like creams and sprays, oil can be taken orally, vaporized or mixed into beverages. CBD oil-filled capsules provide accurate dosage (450 mg, 3000 mg).
  • Tinctures are produced from soaked cannabis flowers in alcohol for a long period wherein the CBD is extracted into a more concentrated form than in most CBD oil-based products. Designed with a built-in dropper, tincture bottles can be taken on their own or mixed with food or beverage requiring one or several drops.
  • Lotions are infused with CBD for it to be applied on the skin as CBD in the form of gels and creams are easily absorbed.
  • A drug prescribed for epilepsy called Epidiolex is the only CBD product that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved on the market.

Using CBD oil for back pain

Known as the sublingual method, the usual way to consume CBD oil is by using the dropper that comes with the bottle. Just apply only a few drops under the tongue then, allow the oil to be absorbed into the bloodstream. Also, you can target the source of discomfort by applying CBD oil, CBD-infused topicals or even CBD transdermal patches directly on the specific area where there is back pain. Before doing any application, always read the specific dosage instructions on the product packaging.

The right amount of CBD

To guide you in figuring out the right amount of CBD for you, you must know that it would depend on a number of factors such as your body weight, your unique body chemistry, the condition that needs to be treated, and the concentration of CBD in each capsule, pill, drop, or gummy.

You can take a smaller dosage then gradually increase it. For example, you can begin with 20 to 40 mg per day then increase the amount by 5g after a week. Continue taking this until you feel that the symptoms are getting better. You can take note of this on a piece of paper through an app on your smartphone.

CBD products such as CBD pills, capsules, or gummies indicate how much is in a single serving. For example, a CBD capsule’s bottle packaging specifies 5 mg of CBD per capsule. For CBD oil, it comes with a dropper bottle and indicates how much CBD is in a single drop. However, there are times that it is hard to figure out because the packaging indicates the total amount of CBD in the entire bottle but not the amount of CBD contained in a single drop. For example, a single drop is about 0.05 milliliters (mL). For a 10 mL bottle, CBD oil contains 200 drops. On the other hand, if the packaging says that it has 1,000 mg of CBD, every drop will contain about 5 mg.

Still, you need to remember that talking to a doctor is highly suggested prior to taking any CBD product.

Safety and side effects of taking too much CBD

Based on NCBI’s 2011 and 2017review on the safety and side effects of CBD, it was found out that using the medication continuously can be tolerated by humans, even if in huge doses such as 1,500 mg per day.

However, there was a study done in 2019 wherein an experiment was done on mice. There could be damage to the liver if someone is currently taking other medication along with CBD. Other side effects include fatigue, appetite & weight changes, and diarrhea. This can be prevented when discussed with a doctor.

Things to consider when choosing CBD products

Since there are a lot of types and brands available in the market that produces CBD products, you should be aware of the testing and labeling elements when you are thinking of using such. Also, this is not regulated by DFA that is why you should be in search of a reputable brand. As defined in Spine-health.com, these include the following:

  • Third-party testing is where you have to look for products that have been previously tested by other companies aside from those who are selling it. Being more familiar with the ingredients used is more important than what was said by the manufacturers in the label.
  • Labeling must be clearly and accurately articulated by manufacturers.
  • Regular testing must be done since each batch’s product quality and content may vary.

The bottom line

CBD has got a lot of healing potential. Even if the usage of CBD still needs more research, this was proven to be a cure for chronic pain as well as combating insomnia and battling with anxiety.

As of the moment, there is still so much about CBD that we do not know. In line with the growth of the cannabis industry, researchers would likely be conducting further studies including marijuana and hemp as well as its derivatives.

Before trying CBD oil and especially if you are taking other medications at the moment, do not forget to ask for your attending physician’s help for determining the right dosage for you.

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