by Dr. Bill Rawls
Can CBD from hemp help reduce chronic pain and acute pain? Dr. Bill Rawls shares how CBD oils and salves work, and why CBD may be a safer bet than opioids for easing pain. Get an essential guide to CBD here »
Question: Does CBD help ease pain?
Hello, everyone. Dr. Bill Rawls here. Does CBD from hemp, a form of cannabis, help with pain? I would say pain is one place that CBD, the whole extract that has all the other components of the hemp, shines. It’s not the same as medical marijuana, but it still has a place for some pretty significant benefit.
What CBD is doing in the body when you take it as an oil — that’s the preferred way that you take it, and it’s absorbed in your mouth and then some of it is absorbed in your intestinal tract — it’s modulating endorphins. It’s overseeing endorphins. Endorphins are those feel-good chemicals in our body that help with pain. We would all be just a bundle of pain all the time if it wasn’t for endorphins. So endorphins keep us comfortable.
There are other things that affect endorphins. When you look at narcotics and heroin and opioids, they are actually acting like endorphins in the body or replacing endorphins, so you suppress your endorphins, and that isn’t a good thing. With the CBD, we’re doing something completely different. We’re modulating endorphins.
So when you take CBD, it’s affecting chemicals in your body that actually increase your endogenous, or internal, endorphins, so you don’t have that risk of dependence and all of the problems that come with opioids. It’s not as potent as opioids, for sure, but you don’t pay a price for using CBD. It’s not going to affect you in an adverse way, and you don’t have to worry about habituation and dependence. So it’s a really nice option for pain.
The only thing that you have to deal with, with chronic pain, is if you’re taking it every day, you will develop some tolerance to it, so you’ll have to use more of it. But it doesn’t have withdrawal symptoms. In other words, if you suddenly stop it, you’re not going to go into withdrawal. If you were taking a narcotic for a long time, or an opioid for a long time, and stopped it suddenly, you could be in real trouble. CBD won’t do that. It doesn’t have those habituating tendencies.
So there are really two ways to use CBD to get benefit. One is as an oral preparation that you take internally. The other is as a rub or a salve to rub on joints or places that are uncomfortable. There, I think you’re getting some benefit from the CBD, but I think with topical application, we’re actually looking more at the other aspects of cannabis, other chemicals called terpenoids that are actually absorbed very well.
Most preparations that have topical CBD also use other essential oils. The essential oils are just wonderful for aches and pains and joint discomfort, so when you combine that with the full-spectrum herb from hemp and you combine various different essential oils, it can be a really nice effect that can do wonders for aches and pains. I use it all the time for overexertion, and it’s at the top of my list for that sort of thing.
If you’d like to know more, please check out my website, RawlsMD.com. I’ve recently written a blog on CBD to help you gain benefit there. And sign up for our newsletter: lots of great information coming to you regularly.