CBD for Pain Management: How It Works & Why More Americans Are Turning to It

Sep 23, 2021

Pain is something everyone has experienced at some point in their lives. Whether it be from an injury, illness, or more chronic condition, pain is one of the most difficult things to manage and treat.

Recent estimates say that over 50 million Americans are living with chronic pain and 1 in 5 Americans will experience chronic pain at any given point in their lifetime, giving way to a global industry that is projected to reach $65.8 billion by 2027.

It’s no secret that we are in a health care crisis, with opioid abuse touching everyone’s lives either directly or indirectly. As more awareness is spread, people are recognizing that what they may see on their doctor’s prescription pad may cause more harm than good.

Just as Americans had enough of prescriptions for pain, the legalization of hemp for the production and sale of CBD (cannabidiol) via The Farm Bill of 2018 became a game- changer for pain management. Just a year after the passing of the bill, a study found that over 62% of medical cannabis users were turning to the mother plant for the management of chronic pain.

What is Pain?

Pain is difficult to describe because pain is a subjective experience.

In 2020, the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) put out a revised definition of pain as, “An unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with, or resembling that associated with, actual or potential tissue damage.” The definition is expanded to include that pain is a personal experience, that pain itself and the perception of pain are different experiences, and that the inability to communicate pain does not negate the experience of pain.

Pain may not always be chronic. Acute pain is persisting pain as a result of an injury or illness that doesn’t last longer than six months. Some are living with untreated invisible pain conditions such as reproductive issues or autoimmune issues because their medical providers can’t see the source of pain with the naked eye.

The Far-Reaching Implications of Pain in America

Pain can be debilitating for some people, keeping them from performing basic functions of life, with chronic pain being responsible for $80 billion in lost wages every year. Too many people have developed a dependence on opioids as a way to manage pain, which has led to a crisis in health care. Up to 29% of people who are prescribed opioids from pain misuse them, leading to up to 18% developing a dependence on these drugs. Of those prescribed opioids for pain, 4% may turn to heroin, with 80% of heroin users reporting that they came to the drug through opioids.

CBD is an opportunity to undo the far-reaching damage of earlier approaches to pain management that told us that relief could only be found in a neon orange prescription bottle. Too many people are losing too much to opioid dependence and are looking for alternative options for pain with more positive outcomes.

How Does CBD Work with Pain, Exactly?

CBD is not a “cure all”, but rather an alternative and natural option that holds pain relieving and anti-inflammatory properties that are increasingly being backed by science. Much of what is being uncovered about CBD and pain hinges on the understanding of the endocannabinoid system (ECS).

The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) and Pain

The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is the regulator of all systems in the body, while also influencing how the body experiences sensations like pain. Within the ECS are cannabinoid receptors, the CB1 and CB2 that exist within and serve different parts of the body.

When tissues are injured, natural cannabinoids, known as endocannabinoids (called anandamide and 2-AG) are activated within the cannabinoid receptors. These endocannabinoids have been shown to suppress sensitization, or the experience of pain, while reducing inflammation, which is the body’s naturally-occurring response to pain.

Research has shown that phytocannabinoids, CBD in particular, can activate the CB1 receptors in the spinal cord, augmenting its ability to send pain signals to the brain.

A 2019 study looking into cannabinoids for Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) suggested that activating the CB2 has a direct role in reducing inflammation by reducing how cells mobilize around the source of pain.

Unfortunately, studies examining the efficacy of CBD alone on pain are limited, and are mostly combined with other cannabinoids and terpenes, however, CBD has been shown to be an important cannabinoid that activates the endocannabinoids in the body when pain is experienced.

What this research suggests is because endocannabinoids are the body’s natural response to pain, ingesting phytocannabinoids from cannabis or hemp plants work with your body to reduce pain and inflammation naturally.  Pain medications only mask symptoms and often don’t address the underlying cause of pain.

Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency (CED) and Pain

Because the ECS has such a large role in modulating pain, prominent cannabinoid researcher Dr. Ethan Russo has theorized that a deficiency of cannabinoids may be linked to some pain issues.

In particular, Russo links Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency (CED) to migraine, fibromyalgia, and irritable bowel syndrome, but his theory is currently being applied to various pain conditions and other medical issues.

Russo suggests that cannabinoid therapy, such as consistently using CBD, may be a “gentle nudge” to help the endocannabinoid system play a role in regulating pain.

Applying CBD Topically: How It Works

As the popularity of CBD grows, more topical creams, lotions, salves, and balms are becoming available that claim to have pain relieving and anti-inflammatory properties. While studies on CBD and pain when applied topically are limited, we’ve learned a few things about how topical application differs from oral administration.

We know that the endocannabinoid system is enacted when the body experiences pain, delivering endocannabinoids (anandamide and 2-AG) to mitigate that pain. When ingested, we’ve seen that CBD activates the endocannabinoid system’s ability to respond to pain. When applied topically, CBD topicals bypass the CB1 and CB2 and the cannabinoid goes right to the neurotransmitters that block signals for pain by interacting with the pain at the source. CBD also helps mute the pain signals sent to the CB1 receptor, altering how the brain and body is experiencing pain.

The efficacy of CBD topicals for pain depends highly on dosage, formulation, carrier oils, the terpenes that exist within the hemp plant, and the other botanicals that are used alongside CBD.

MATCH CANNA Offers CBD for Pain in Various Forms

Our company originated by witnessing first-hand how desperate our clients and those close to us were to find relief from pain. Many had not found success with pharmaceuticals or the side-effects from some pharmaceuticals had become concerning. Some were simply just nervous about the use of prescription medications.

When Christina formulated a topical oil that combined cannabinoids and a blend of cold-pressed botanicals for her husband’s long-persisting back pain, she finally saw him find the relief he had been seeking. When Maggy, who specializes in chronic pain management, witnessed the relief that the topical oil provided her brother, she began to offer the oil to her massage therapy clients. 

Clients, family, and friends who had experienced relief through our oils encouraged us  to take our product further, thus, MATCH CANNA came to fruition. Our company is committed to providing effective and luxurious relaxation and relief for every body by elevating the cannabis experience with thoughtfully-created, plant-based products that are rooted in nature and backed by science.

MATCH CANNA’s line of CBD products include both topical oils made for your skin as well as sublingual oils that you can ingest. Our topical CBD product is a High Potency Relief Oil that combines a blend of botanically-infused oils that provide anti-inflammatory properties while relaxing and relieving muscle and nerve pain. 

Our sublingual CBD oils come in two formulations: Extra Strength CBD Oil, which contains 3000mg of CBD isolate with cold-pressed botanicals and Full-Spectrum Extra Strength CBD Oil, containing 2500mg of broad-spectrum CBD oil. Both the pure isolate and the full-spectrum products are made with organic MCT oil, which allows for faster uptake and metabolism — meaning you get the benefits faster and more efficiently. These products can be added to beverages or taken under the tongue to enact the endocannabinoid system in working its magic for pain modulation. 

Our company was created because we saw how CBD was changing lives in respect to managing pain, and improving quality of life. We are committed to providing our customers with high-quality products with transparency as we invite them to incorporate CBD into their pain management journey.

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