Meg Byrne, DC, chiropractor and certified acupuncturist with Acacia Natural Medicine in Scottsdale, Arizona—and the Spring Training chiropractor for the San Diego Padres—explains the central role that terpenes found in CBD oil may play in pain relief. "Terpenes, specifically, affect the CB1 and CB2 receptors and neurotransmitters of the brain," she notes. The most common therapeutic terpenes include myrcene, caryophyllene, terpineol, and linalool.
The purity and potency of a CBD product can be checked through third-party lab testing. Look for the following labels on a brand's website:
Potency: 10, 25, and 50 milligrams of CBD per 1 milliliter servings
Best Dosing Guide: Naternal Full-Spectrum CBD Oil
Potency: 60 milligrams of CBD per 1 milliliter serving in 30- and 100-milliliter bottles
Available in a variety of strengths and flavors, cbdMD’s broad-spectrum formula is a great choice for individuals who are new to CBD. The product is vegan and gluten-free, and the brand offers a 60-day money-back guarantee if you’re not satisfied with the oil. The fact that it uses U.S.-grown hemp ensures that strict safety standards are met during the production process.
Potency: 30 milligrams of CBD per 1 milliliter serving in 300-, 900-, 1,800-, 3,000-, and 6,000-milligram bottles
Third-party lab testing
Potency: 17, 33, 83, and 167 milligrams of CBD per 1 milliliter servings
According to primary care physician Carrie Lam, MD, who specializes in functional and integrative medicine at the Lam Clinic in Tustin, California, a variety of studies have been performed on the benefits of cannabis for pain. "Some of the disorders cannabis can help with include arthritis, fibromyalgia, endometriosis, neuropathy—resulting from nerve damage—cancer, [and] emotional pain," she states. The benefits of cannabis, and CBD, for pain are believed to result from its anti-inflammatory properties.
CBD itself does not bind to receptors but is thought to work by inducing other components of the cannabinoid system.
But it is important to be cautious if you are taking other medications or substances, like alcohol. Specifically:
Your Body Chemistry Matters
Keep in mind that while CBD can have many benefits, it is not a cure-all and should not be viewed as an alternative to your other pain care treatments. Rather, CBD should be considered a complementary treatment to add to your pain management toolbox.
HAVING THOSE HARD CONVERSATIONS ABOUT CBD USE
Broad Spectrum cannabis products maintain the whole profile of the marijuana plant, but with the THC mostly removed.
CBD is emerging as a promising pharmaceutical agent to treat pain, inflammation, seizures, and anxiety without the psychoactive effects of THC. Our understanding of the role of CBD in pain management continues to evolve, and evidence from animal studies has shown that CBD exerts its pain-relieving effects through its various interactions and modulation of the endocannabinoid, inflammatory, and nociceptive (pain sensing) systems. The endocannabinoid system consists of cannabinoid receptors that interact with our own naturally occurring cannabinoids. This system is involved in regulating many functions in the body, including metabolism and appetite, mood and anxiety, and pain perception.
In fact, the FDA has issued several warning letters to companies and individuals that market unapproved new drugs that allegedly contain CBD. The FDA has tested the chemical content of cannabinoid compounds in some of the products, and many were found to not contain the levels of CBD the manufacturers had claimed they contain.
What’s the research that CBD works in humans?
Given its promising results in animal models, along with its relative safety, non-psychoactive properties, and low potential for abuse, CBD is an attractive candidate to relieve pain. Unfortunately, there is a lack of human studies about the effectiveness of CBD. However, there is an abundance of commercial advertisements about the magical effects of CBD, and it is frequently presented as a cure-it-all potion that will treat everything including diabetes, depression, cancer, chronic pain, and even your dog’s anxiety!
Beware of powerful testimonials
So far, pharmaceutical CBD is only approved by the FDA as adjunct therapy for the treatment of a special and rare form of epilepsy. Currently, CBD alone is not approved for treatment of pain in the United States. But a combination medication (that contains both THC and CBD in a 1:1 ratio) was approved by Health Canada for prescription for certain types of pain, specifically central neuropathic pain in multiple sclerosis, and the treatment of cancer pain unresponsive to optimized opioid therapy. There is currently no high-quality research study that supports the use of CBD alone for the treatment of pain.