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Introduction

The opioid crisis is only now coming to a head across the United States and other industrialized nations around the world. It’s becoming increasingly clear that opioids do not hold the answers for chronic pain that medical professionals once believed they did.

While prescriptions, such as oxycontin, were once doled out without much forethought, doctors are now wondering what alternatives they have for treating chronic pain. Can non-psychoactive cannabinoids, like cannabidiol (CBD), hold the answer?

According to the research, cannabinoids hold exciting possibilities for people suffering from daily, and crippling pain. Not only is CBD completely natural, but it has so far been found to have little risk of side effects. Unlike its pharmaceutical counterparts, CBD has shown absolutely no risk for addiction and is well tolerated by all sectors of society.

Even a quick review of the literature, including the 19 recent studieson cannabinoids for the modulation of pain available here, is impressive. There is a building body of evidence that cannabinoids could be the key to safe chronic pain management in the future.

Chronic pain, although still a mystery in many senses, can be caused by inflammatory and neuropathic causes. Researchers believe that CBD and other cannabinoids can increase the function of a receptor called glycine receptors (GlyRs). These little-known receptors are responsible for one area of pain management.

According to an article published out of the National Institute of Health, even federally funded research is concluding that CBD could reduce pain associated with chronic inflammation and neuropathic pain. On top of this conclusion, they importantly mentioned that cannabinoids did not build up a tolerance, which is so common with other pain medications like opioids.

Nociceptive the term used to describe the way that the sensory nervous system responds to harmful external stimulation. In other words, it is one of the mechanisms that your body reacts to pain with. According to a team of researchersout of Italy, they discovered that both CBD and CBC interacted with this sensory nervous system. They concluded that, “These compounds might represent useful therapeutic agents with multiple mechanisms of action.”

Their results seemed to demonstrate that CBD and CBC, while both capable of reducing pain on their own, seemed to have a powerful synergistic effect. The research team also found that both these cannabinoids triggered activation of a healthy endocannabinoid system.

Interestingly, beyond its own therapeutic potential as a pain medication, CBD could actually boost the usefulness of other pain-killers. In a study publishedout of the University of Washington, researchers discovered that CBD could improve the pain regulation of another cannabinoid, THC.  

The study, published in 2017, compared animal pain responses in lab rats. One group was given CBD only, while another was given THC injections followed later by CBD. It was uncovered that CBD prolonged the pain management of THC. It also seemed to increase the antinociceptive capability of THC, which means it boosted the capability of THC to block painful stimuli.

Research and Case Studies on the effects of Cannabis to treat Chronic Pain: