CBD for Pain Relief | A Guide for Canadians

CBD for Pain Relief graphic

How CBD Works:

CANNABIDIOL, or CBD for short, is a non-psychoactive, neuroprotective compound, commonly found in both the marijuana plant and its more industrious cousin - hemp. Recent CBD studies are showing that when CBD enters the body through an oil, edible, or pill, it stimulates receptors in the brain that may regulate anxiety, pain perception, nausea, and mood. These receptors are a part of a larger system within our bodies called the Endocannabinoid System, or ECS, for short. 

The ECS is our body’s naturally occurring cannabis-like system. It helps control our emotional, physical, and mental functionality. From body movement, immune system function, gut health, sleep, and brain protection, our ECS plays a crucial role in maintaining homeostasis within our bodies, helping us feel and perform at our peak optimal selves. Over time, and through physical or emotional trauma, the ECS can begin to malfunction.

An intro to Cannabinoids:

CBD is a relatively well-researched compound that interacts well with our body's ECS receptors. In turn, they initiate a variety of physiological responses and help maintain better overall health, happiness, and motor function. CBD is just one among hundreds of cannabinoid compounds that can be found in the Cannabis plant. It is observed that 

THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the main cannabinoid found in the Cannabis plant that is known for its psychoactive (stimulates a high) and therapeutic effects that can create a sense of euphoria, ease pain, and increase appetite by interacting directly with CB1 receptors. 

THCA (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid) is a non-psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant, known for its “super-food” like benefits. It is the reason why fresh, unheated cannabis leaves can be used for juicing and as a nutritional supplement. 

CBG (Cannabigerol) is another popular cannabinoid known to bring out its therapeutic effects by directly interacting with CB1 and CB2 receptors in our brain to decrease inflammation, inhibit tumor growth, and have the ability to reduce symptoms of paranoia that can come with consuming THC. The reason why CBG is less produced than CBD, is due to the price of manufacturing and extraction, giving it the nickname “the Rolls-Royce of cannabinoids.”

About CB Receptors:

Within the ECS, there are two primary cannabinoid receptors: CB1 and CB2. 

CB1 receptors are most abundant in the brain and central nervous system. In the brain, these receptors can be found in abundance (amygdala, basal ganglia, hippocampus, etc). They process pain, fear, emotional memory, and mood. THC is known to bind with CB1 receptors more actively which can boost mood, decrease anxiety and increase appetite. 

CB2 receptors exist primarily in the immune system, gut, reproductive system, and hormone system (endocrine) as well as the hippocampus (memory and learning). Currently, researchers don't know exactly how CBD interacts with the ECS, but they do know that it doesn't bind to CB1 or CB2 receptors in quite the same way that THC does. CBD acts as a balancer of the entire endocannabinoid system, helping fine-tune the system as needed.

One increasingly popular theory is that CBD may prevent endocannabinoids from breaking down. This could mean CBD would have a greater and more sustained effect on your body and its ailments. At this stage, it is important to note that CBD that is taken as an ingestible will be used as a daily supplement to prevent future pains and ailments rather than being used predominantly as a “quick fix” when pain strikes compared to topical CBD treatments. 

Types of ailments that CBD may help address:

Although CBD is known to relieve many different types of pains and ailments. It is important to note that it can affect the way certain drugs work in the body and is advised that you consult with your doctor or health practitioner. Especially if you are currently taking other types of medication. There is no “one size fits all” treatment.

Hemp-based CBD wellness products are not meant to be the main treatment for serious medical illnesses, but if a high-quality CBD is used alongside conventional medicine it may help minimize the side effects that come along with pharmaceutical grade medicines while helping decrease pain and inflammation. 

Promising treatments include help with:

Anxiety: CBD can benefit individuals who experience symptoms of mild to severe anxiety such as PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and insomnia that is induced by anxiety.

Depression: CBD produces fewer side-effects than common anti-depression medication (although it should not be taken instead of the medications prescribed) and is known to possess anti-stress effects that can help ease stress-related depression. 

Epilepsy: Epidolex is the first of many pharmaceutical-grade CBD oil that was FDA approved. A study was done in 2020 based on artisanal CBD and how it was associated with a 70 percent increase in seizures, mainly due to its THC content. When looking at CBD for seizure, make sure to find a quality product that ensures less than 0.3% THC. 

Cancer: CBD cannot cure cancer, but due to its anti-inflammatory and relaxing benefits, it can help aid and potentially minimize the side effects of chemotherapy, including nausea, vomiting, pain, and anxiety.

Chronic pain: CBD can be very effective due to the analgesic (pain reducing) properties, bringing reduced inflammation and relief to individuals that suffering from post-surgical pain, post-trauma pain, lower back pain, and nerve damage. 

Crohn's Disease: Thanks to the multitude of CB2 receptors in the lower abdominal organs, the cannabinoids CBD and CBG could help ease the pain of Crohn's particularly when consumed orally.

Fibromyalgia: The anti-inflammatory and pain mediation properties of cannabis CBD make it a strong option for fibromyalgia sufferers. Fibromyalgia causes pain throughout the body, as well as mental distress and insomnia. 

Kidney disease: According to a study published in the Canadian Journal of Kidney Health and Disease, which found patients who were treated with non-synthetic cannabinoids were up to three times more likely to report at least a 30 percent reduction in chronic neuropathic pain compared with a placebo.

Menstrual Cramps: As a potent anti-inflammatory, CBD can be used a week to ten days before an individual’s period cycle starts. Supplementing it daily leading up to “bleeding days” (depending on when you experience PMS symptoms) can provide notable pain relief.

Rheumatoid and Osteoarthritis: CBD can calm joint inflammation and reduce pain for millions of people with arthritis.

Ulcerative Colitis: There are abundant CB2 receptors in the lower abdominal organs, and they can respond well to a treatment involving CBD and CBG.

Vascular Disease: Once again, CBD's anti-inflammatory properties may play a role in reducing tissue damage that occurs after a period of ischemia (lack of oxygen to the heart). It appears that CBD may play a positive role in treatment with peripheral and cerebral vasculature.

A guide to CBD pain relief options

Today, there are many ways we can use CBD in our lives. Here are a few types of CBD pain relievers that have entered the market. This guide can be valuable, especially if you are interested in learning more about your choices and options.

Tincture (Oil-based or Alcohol-based): This is the most convenient, safe, and precise method for determining an optimal dose. Each measured drop of a tincture is consistent with the amount of CBD (mg) being delivered. In real-time, this means that each drop of tincture has approximately the same amount as the next drop (ex. A 1ml dropper can contain 15mg of CBD every time it is used).

Topicals: Topicals are applied directly to the skin covering the area of pain or inflammation. They contain active ingredients such as CBD and CBG and are non-psychoactive and potent anti-inflammatories. Topical treatments can be found in various forms such as creams, salves, butter, and ointments. CBD can be blended, or infused with other natural ingredients like arnica oil (a popular homeopathic remedy for pain and inflammation), as well as other essential oils such as peppermint and wintergreen both known for their own pain-relieving qualities

Vapour: CBD can be ‘vaped’ (inhaled) through concentrate-filled cartridges attached to a battery, and known as a CBD vape.  Its effects are almost immediate and have little or no smoke, or odour. You can purchase a CBD vape that contains all CBD or a 1:1 CBD/THC ratio. 

Edibles: Edibles are an easy and convenient way to consume CBD (gummies, capsules, treats). The greatest benefit of edibles is their duration of action. Depending on the dose, the therapeutic effect can last from 4 to 12 hours. In many cases of inflammatory bowel disease, such as Crohn's disease and even with IBS, edibles seem to be the most effective method of administration. 

Juice: Juicing cannabis leaves with other fruits and veggies such as spinach, celery or kale gives you the benefits of THCA which is the non-intoxicating form of THC and acts as a neuroprotectant (similar to CBD) which could be beneficial for individuals who suffer from Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease or Multiple Sclerosis. It is loaded with nutrients and anti-inflammatory properties.

How to consume CBD properly?

After you’ve spoken with your health care professional about implementing a safe CBD treatment regimen, we recommend easing in. Begin your CBD consumption with around 15mg a day and slowly work your way up as needed. Every individual is unique and may require a higher CBD dosage based on the amount of pain, anxiety, or insomnia they are dealing with.

When starting off administering your CBD dose, be self-aware and monitor your experience to see if you need more, or less, CBD. Pay attention to changes in pain symptoms, anxiety, and mood. 

When it comes to finding the right CBD dosage, experts agree, the only thing we know for certain is the science of CBD early and exciting.

"Determining the appropriate dosage is completely personal, and that's where the confusion comes into process," explains Zoe Sigman, program director for Project CBD (a national nonprofit cannabis-education group).” It all depends on who you are and what you need it for."

The process with prescription medication is straightforward and simple, you go to the doctors, they prescribe you medicine to help with your problems, you get your pills and go home. With CBD there is no standard amount to start dosing at, so you start small and work your way up. 

  • It all starts off with being honest with yourself and your goals with CBD. Ask yourself what you want from this experience and why is it so important? Set your CBD goals and intentions and create an understanding that it will take time and patience to understand what will truly work for you. 
  • Remember to “start low and go slow” as everybody has different tolerance levels and CBD experience levels. It's critical, to begin with, a small amount of CBD and gradually work way up until you get the effect you are after. "This is to help facilitate your own understanding of your own unique tolerances and sensitivities," says Charles McElroy, founder of Goldleaf, which makes dosing journals for cannabis patients.
  • Journal and take notes of your experience. Keeping a detailed and written list of experiences, feelings, and effects can help you assess what dosage has worked the best for you, what time in the day it benefits you the most and how consistent you have been with supplementing CBD into your lifestyle. 

Before you buy any CBD products on the market, be sure to check that the product has been tested by a third-party laboratory to ensure quality and non-synthetic CBD. Make sure the level of cannabinoids in it is accurate, where the product comes from and when it was packaged and created to ensure freshness. If the website or supplier you are buying off of does not have those test results, you may not know what you are taking. 

Where to buy CBD Pain Relief products online?

Due to legalization and a rise in popularity, there are many CBD product websites that can be misleading to new CBD consumers looking to incorporate a more holistic approach to their pains and problems. 

It is important to double-check where the product is being created, shipped, and manufactured as well as the quality of CBD they are selling. Synthetic CBD is created with synthetic chemicals such as fluoride to reduce production costs and time while increasing profits while emulating the effects of naturally harvesting CBD. Synthetic CBD may pose significant health risks and is linked to severe illnesses and even death. 

Make sure the websites you are purchasing from are sustainably sourced, cultivated, and produced. Listed below are some reliable CBD companies that have been helping Canadians with pain management, skin conditions, and education through the love and passion for CBD wellness.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to reach out and connect with us, either through our contact form or through social media.

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