Do you or a family member suffer from chronic pain and inflammation?
If so, you’ll know just how crippling these symptoms can be, and the effect they can have on your daily life.
And while anti-inflammatories and prescription painkillers can offer relief, they can also cause a wide variety of side effects.
Luckily, CBD creams can be an effective way to spot treat inflamed and painful parts of the body, as well as treat inflammatory skin conditions. And it’s totally safe!
Read on to learn more.
Understanding Inflammation and Pain to Help See Exactly How CBD Can Help
To help you wrap your head around CBD and how it works, let’s first look at the role of pain and inflammation in the body.
Both pain and inflammation are vital for survival.
Pain, in its most basic sense, helps draw our attention to parts of our body that are in danger and protect them from further damage.
Medical professionals usually identify 3 different kinds of pain:
- Nociceptive Pain: Think of the sharp pain you get when you stub your toe or cut your finger.
- Visceral Pain: Think of the dull, internal pains associated with IBD, for example. Visceral pain tends to be a lot harder to pinpoint.
- Neuropathic Pain: Also known as nerve pain, neuropathic pain is caused by damage to the nervous symptom. Nerve pain is usually described as tingling or burning.
Inflammation, on the other hand, is a sign that our body’s immune system is working hard to fight an infection or repair damaged tissue.
When the body’s immune system detects some kind of threat or damage in the body, it recruits white blood cells to the area.
These cells produce chemicals which help recruit other immune cells to the area and kill off any potential threats.
To help these cells enter the site, the blood vessels in the area expand.
This influx of cells and fluid to the area, as well as some collateral damage caused by the fight between your immune system and the threat, is essentially what causes the swelling, redness, and pain we call inflammation.
The Problem With Chronic Pain and Inflammation
Most acute cases of pain aren’t too big of a health concern, seeing as they serve an important purpose and generally subside once their underlying cause has been dealt with.
Chronic cases of pain and inflammation, on the other hand, are much more problematic, mainly because they do more bad than good.
Chronic inflammation happens when the body is unable to properly turn its inflammatory responses off once they’ve done their job.
When this happens, long-term inflammation can damage healthy tissue, which can lead to all kinds of other health problems.
Chronic pain is similar and is caused by the constant sending of pain signals to the brain via the nervous system.
Over time, chronic pain conditions can cause all kinds of health problems, including:
- Depression and anxiety
- Appetite loss
- Fatigue and weakness
What Conditions Cause Chronic Pain & Inflammation?
There’s a vast variety of conditions that cause or are caused by chronic pain or inflammation.
Some common examples include arthritis (characterized by chronically inflamed and painful joints) and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (caused by chronic inflammation of the bowel).
More common conditions like acne or allergic reactions are also caused by inflammation.
In fact, research shows that inflammation plays an important role in diabetes, cancer, heart problems, and even mental illnesses like Alzheimer’s.
I’ll likely look at some of these conditions in more detail in my upcoming blog posts.
How are Pain and Inflammation Usually Treated?
There are many different treatment options for pain and inflammation.
- Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs: Over-the-counter NSAIDs like ibuprofen are usually the first step in treating patients with chronic pain and inflammation.
- Steroids: Corticosteroids like cortisone and prednisone can have powerful anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects. They can be taken orally, or via IV or injection.
- Opioids: Drugs like morphine and codeine are powerful analgesics that can effectively treat severe symptoms of pain and inflammation.
- Antidepressants: Antidepressants and anticonvulsant drugs can also have analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects.
- Therapy: Physical and cognitive behavioral therapy can help patients recover from and better understand their pain.
Note that pain medications aren’t effective in all cases and can have a wide variety of side effects.
NSAIDs, for example, can have severe effects on the stomach, kidneys, and liver.
This means they aren’t ideal for long-term use to treat chronic conditions.
Steroids, on the other hand, can affect a person’s sleep and mood, cause headaches and migraines and even weight gain in some patients.
Steroids also simply aren’t effective in some patients.
Lastly, opioids also cause serious side effects like confusion, somnolence, hyper or hypotension, nausea, vomiting, and more.
Plus, opioids are regarded as highly addictive, meaning they shouldn’t be used continuously for long periods of time.
Revealed: How CBD Can Help With Inflammation and Pain
Now that you have a better understanding of pain and inflammation and how they work, let’s take a closer look at CBD.
Chances are you already know a little bit about CBD or even know someone currently using it to treat some kind of condition.
Below is a basic overview of how CBD works to fight both pain and inflammation:
The Endocannabinoid System: A New Target for Pain and Anti-Inflammatory Therapy
CBD and THC, two of the main cannabinoids present in cannabis and hemp, were first identified and isolated from the plant in the 1960s.
In the late 1980s, researchers finally found receptors that seemed to process these chemicals once they entered the body.
Those receptors make up what we now know as the Endocannabinoid System, a complex physiological network that’s involved in managing all kinds of bodily processes, such as pain and inflammation.
Unfortunately, scientific research into cannabinoids still isn’t able to pinpoint exactly how CBD works to treat these symptoms.
Some studies show that CBD can work in similar ways to regularly NSAIDs.
Drugs like ibuprofen, for example, work by blocking COX-1 and COX-2, 2 enzymes responsible for creating a group of prostaglandins which help regulate inflammation.
By blocking these enzymes, NSAIDs reduce the production of prostaglandins and can ultimately drive down inflammation caused by an overactive immune system, for example.
Studies show that some cannabinoids can have similar effects on COX enzymes.
In fact, some studies even tested the anti-inflammatory potential of cannabinoids like CBD against regular NSAIDs and prescription medication and found CBD to be the most effective.
Other studies suggest cannabinoids might act on glycine receptors, which play a key role in the transmission of pain signals in the spine.
In doing so, they may be able to change the way we perceive different types of pain, including that caused by inflammation and nerve damage.
For a more detailed look at the science behind CBD’s anti-inflammatory effects, make sure to look at some of the following studies:
- Nagarkatti, Pandey et al: Cannabinoids As Novel Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (Future Medicinal Chemistry, 2009).
- Burstein and Zurier: Cannabinoids, Endocannabinoids, and Related Analogs in Inflammation (AAPS Journal, 2009).
- Xiong, Culi et al: Cannabinoids Suppress Inflammatory and Neuropathic Pain by Targeting α3 Glycine Receptors (Journal Of Experimental Medicine 2012).
- La Purta, Bura et al: Involvement of The Endocannabinoid System in Osteoarthritis Pain (European Journal Neuroscience 2014).
- Gardner: Cannabidiol As A Treatment For Acne (O’Shaughnessy’s 2010).
How Do CBD Creams Work?
CBD creams are a great way to directly treat painful or inflamed parts of the body.
They work by activating the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) in the skin, which studies show plays an important role in maintaining skin health.
In fact, some research suggests that dysregulation of the ECS could be associated with skin disorders including atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, and even skin cancer. View the report here.
Based on my own research and experience with CBD creams, I found they can also help with skin issues like acne, and the pain and inflammation caused by arthritis.
I first started using CBD to help my Dad, Reggie, suffering from chronic pain and inflammation in his knee.
Dad suffers from arthritis which has destroyed the healthy cartilage in his joint.
This means the bones in the joint rub together, leaving Dad’s knee tender, inflamed, and in constant pain.
Using CBD creams, I was able to help bring down the chronic inflammation in Dad’s knee and reduce his pain, too.
I found they were particularly effective when applied overnight.
Plus, I’ve also used CBD myself.
All my life, I’ve suffered from skin conditions like acne.
The fact that I work a demanding, fast-paced job doesn’t help.
Over the years I’ve definitely noticed a connection between my stress levels and my skin health.
Particularly stressful situations at work, for example, often cause me severe acne breakouts.
Ever since I saw the positive effects CBD had for my Dad, I wondered whether it could help with my skin problems.
After all, acne is caused by inflammation and infection of the hair follicles.
I started researching and soon learned about the growing body of research into cannabinoids and skin health.
I took the idea up with my dermatologist and we both decided that, given the evidence, CBD was at least worth trying.
And it really was:
CBD has had astonishing effects on my skin.
Today, I use CBD creams in all kinds of different ways; to spot treat acne spots, skin rashes, or simply to moisturize my skin when it gets dry.
In fact, I’ve started using CBD creams as part of my daily skin routine and I’m super impressed with the results.
I also use CBD to treat localized back and neck pain I sometimes get from a long day at work.
Besides obviously helping me treat my acne and improve my overall skin health, I also use CBD to help me calm the stress and anxiety from work.
One of my favorite things about CBD cream is that it’s all natural, completely safe, and produces no side effects.
That’s more than I can say for most standard anti-inflammatories and painkillers.
Reap the Benefits of CBD Today!
CBD creams worked really well at reducing the inflammation and pain in my Dad’s knee.
Plus, they also helped me reduce my acne and skin problems, as well as reduce the stress and anxiety I sometimes bring home from the office.
If you’re looking for a natural alternative to pain and anti-inflammatory medications, I highly recommend looking into CBD.
Cannabinoid-rich creams, for example, are great for spot-treating inflamed joints or painful parts of the neck, back, etc.
I also use them to treat the inflammation caused by acne, skin rashes, or allergic reactions.
Plus, other CBD products like oils and gummies can also be great for reducing visceral inflammation and pain caused by conditions like IBD, gastritis, and more.
For more information on CBD, make sure to keep reading my blog and check out my homepage where I review some of the top CBD creams currently on the market.