CBD For Chronic Pain In Veterans
Musculoskeletal pain, or pain caused by damage to bones, nerves, muscles, and connective tissues has been recorded as a leading cause of chronic pain in veterans. Additionally, a large number of veterans are diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries (TBI) which also lead to chronic pain in the form of headaches. This has led some to look into CBD for chronic pain.
The Veteran Health Administration reports that as many as 50% of veterans receiving treatment at their centers suffer from chronic pain. Untreated, chronic pain can cause depression, anxiety 1 and an inability to work.
The most common treatment currently offered for chronic pain is opioids, which unfortunately pose a risk of dependency. As a result, America is in the grips of an extremely serious opioid crisis. Alternative methods of pain management include acupuncture and 2 cognitive psychotherapy. However, new exciting research into the beneficial properties of CBD seems to suggest that CBD can provide an efficient, nondependent, and sustainable way of treating chronic pain in veterans.
CBD is a type of cannabinoid that naturally occurs in the hemp and marijuana plants. While another well-known cannabis compound, THC, is responsible for producing a high, CBD is most known for its therapeutic properties. CBD does not produce a high, but it does support the Endocannabinoid (ECS) system.
ECS primarily focuses on maintaining balance and homeostasis in the body and making sure functions like the immune system and the central nervous system are working properly. Because CBD is remarkably similar to ECS’s endocannabinoids, it can seamlessly enter the ECS receptor network and provide essential support. CBD can bind to ECS’s CB1 and CB2 receptors located throughout the body.
As mentioned above, CBD can originate from two sources: hemp and marijuana. This distinction is important because even though on a molecular level hemp-derived CBD and cannabis-derived CBD are the same, the regulations applied to the two are very different. With the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp and hemp products were removed from the controlled substances list and became legalized and approved for agricultural producton. Because hemp production falls under the USDA’s rules, legalized hemp has to contain less than .3% of THC in dry form. For perspective, many marijuana products contain upwards of 20% THC.
CBD And Chronic Pain
CBD may be able to help with chronic pain management by interacting with the serotonin receptors in the brain as well as the ECS’s receptors throughout the body. Through sending signals to these receptors, CBD communicates new information about the state of the specific part of the body to the brain and influences new cellular response. In doing so, CBD positively affects inflammation and pain levels, thus providing relief for chronic pain.
A study in the European Journal of Pain found that CBD lotion administration was able to lower inflammation in people suffering from arthritis, and thus was able to provide relief. In fact, CBD 3 use in patients with arthritis has become so common that the Arthritis Foundation recently released guidelines on safe CBD use for arthritic pain.
An animal study found that rats with chronic pain exhibited lowered 5-HT neuron firing rates and elevated markers of anxiety. When treated with CBD administration for a week, rats exhibited less anxiety-like behavior and an increase of 5-HT neuron firing. This study seems to imply that CBD administration was helpful with chronic pain management.4
More human-centered studies will help to understand how CBD can interact with the body. However, the research conducted so far seems to provide helpful information on CBD and pain management.
With so many veterans suffering from chronic pain, it is encouraging that CBD can provide an alternative to opioids.
CBD products like lotions, balms, and topicals seem to be able to send the quickest signals to the brain. Therefore, these products may provide the quickest pain relief. On the other hand, CBD edibles and serums provide slower yet longer-lasting relief.
When choosing a CBD product right for you, make sure you are getting the highest-grade organic hemp-derived CBD, which National Botanicals is proud to use in all our products.
To learn more about CBD, visit our FAQ page.
1 Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General; Opioid Prescribing to High-Risk Veterans Receiving VA Purchased Care
2 TIME; THE OPIOID DIARIES
3 The National Center for Biotechnology Information; Transdermal cannabidiol reduces inflammation and pain-related behaviours in a rat model of arthritis
4 The National Center for Biotechnology Information; Cannabidiol modulates serotonergic transmission and reverses both allodynia and anxiety-like behavior in a model of neuropathic pain