Hemp Oil for Pain and Chronic Issues
May 30, 20
If hemp oil for pain is a priority topic for you, then this article will cover why hemp oil is being used for pain and other chronic issues and how you can benefit from the latest research to stay informed and make the right choice about your pain management options.
Types of Pain
What we feel as pain involves an intricate communication between the nerves, brain and spinal cord. The varying types of pain are generally based on the cause.
Sometimes it can be challenging to describe the type of pain we’re experiencing, especially if it’s unfamiliar to us or if we’re experiencing more than one type of pain at a time. Following are several types of pain we can experience, and further below we’ll be talking about what the research tells us about hemp oil for pain.
- Acute pain, often described as a sharp pain
- Chronic pain, usually lasts a longer period of time
- Breakthrough pain, a sudden pain when painkillers wear off triggered by a cough or something
- Bone pain, often described as a dull, persistent ache
- Soft tissue pain, often described as pain in our organs that can feel localized in the stomach
- Nerve pain, often described as burning, stabbing, or tingling
- Referred pain, when pain from an internal organ can be felt elsewhere, such as in the shoulder
- Phantom pain, when the brain “feels” pain in a part of the body that has been removed
Total pain, a medical term used to describe the different parts of a person’s pain
You may not have been familiar with all the many types of pain, though you may have felt some of them. Next, we’ll cover the management of pain before we get into hemp oil for pain and the endocannabinoid system.
There are several types of pain management options, some both traditional and nontraditional, depending on which culture you come from, eastern or western. Following we’ve outlined some of the more traditional western types of pain management.
- Acute pain: nonopioids, weak opioids, opioids, nonpharmacological treatments such as ice or bioelectric therapy
- Chronic pain: nonopioids, weak opioids, opioids, antidepressants, capsaicin cream, nonpharmacological treatments such as bioelectric therapy, radiation therapy
- Breakthrough pain: short-acting opioid, nonpharmacological treatments such as acupuncture or relaxation techniques
- Bone pain: nonopioids, bisphosphonates, opioids, nutritional supplements, surgery
- Soft tissue pain: nonopioids, corticosteroids, nonpharmacological treatments such as ice, physiotherapy, or ultrasonography
- Nerve pain: antidepressants, anticonvulsants, capsaicin cream, nonpharmacological treatments such as cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Referred pain: nonopioids, cold/warm compresses, nonpharmacological treatments such as massage or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS).
- Phantom pain: nonopioids, antidepressants, anticonvulsants, ketamine, nonpharmacological treatments such as acupuncture or repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS)
As you can tell, there are several traditional western pain management methods. Next we’ll be getting into hemp oil for pain and what the research tells us about cannabinoids and chronic pain.
Why Hemp Oil for Pain
Hemp oil for pain was one of the first choices a few thousand years ago in China, as the hemp plant was used for many traditional eastern remedies for a wide variety of symptoms. As early as 6000 BC, hemp was cultivated in China for its seeds and oils for use in foods and medicines.
In 1764, The New English Dispensatory encouraged topical application to treat skin inflammation. In 1839, W.B. O’Shaughnessy reported that hemp was effective in treating epilepsy and tetanus. He noted that a tincture of hemp was used for pain relief.
If you want to know why you should use hemp oil for pain, you needn’t look much further than the following research. But, before we get into that, let’s clear out a couple of misconceptions by covering two important facts.
FACT #1: Hemp is not marijuana. Hemp contains just 0.3% THC (the psychoactive component in marijuana), whereas marijuana contains 20% THC. Hemp also typically contains higher levels of CBD, and is rich in 120 different cannabinoids such as CBN, CBG and THCA, all with their own unique properties and benefits.
FACT #2: The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is considered by many to be the most important system of physiology in the body. The ECS was discovered in mid-1990 by researcher Dr. Ralph Mechoulam. It was found that the ECS is an integral part of our physiologies responsible for maintaining order and balance across all other systems of the body from the circulatory, digestive and reproductive, to the nervous system, and hemp plays a crucial role by supplying us with these all-important cannabinoids.
Hemp oil for pain has been a choice by various cultures around the world for millennia. It was only due to the ban of hemp in 1930 that its production declined, along with the health of our population. But since 2008, kiwi farmers have been growing hemp legally in New Zealand and recently, have been allowed to supply the public with hemp oil, rich in many healthful compounds to support good health. Of course, hempseed oil is different to a full spectrum hemp oil. One is a healthy salad oil, and the latter provides more powerful benefits to human health.
Hemp Oil for Pain Research
There is a lot of research around hemp oil for pain, specifically, cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are the scientific term for the compounds found inside hemp and marijuana, the cannabis family of plants. Cannabinoids support and work through the endocannabinoid system.
Our goal is to not only activate the endocannabinoid system with cannabinoids, but to also support the body by supplying cannabinoids directly. One can do this through consuming a full spectrum hemp oil for pain. Follow along as we cover several studies from reputable peer reviewed medical journals.
In one study researchers began,
“The term ‘medical cannabis’ refers to physician-recommended use of the cannabis plant and its components, called cannabinoids, to treat disease or improve symptoms. Chronic pain is the most commonly cited reason for using medical cannabis.”
“cannabis/cannabinoids exhibit analgesic activity, especially in neuropathic pain”
Analgesic *adjective: (of a drug) acting to relieve pain.
This is very helpful, especially for those who suffer from neurodegenerative conditions such as multiple sclerosis.
This study went on to wrap up with,
“In conclusion, the evidence from current research supports the use of medical cannabis in the treatment of chronic pain in adults.”
Now, some people will wish to avoid medical cannabis (marijuana) as it typically contains high levels of THC, which will provide a psychoactive effect, and they would rather choose a full spectrum hemp oil rich in cannabinoids, but low in THC.
In another large scale meta-analysis (study), researchers went on to say,
“Preclinical and clinical studies have suggested that they may result useful to treat diverse diseases, including those related with acute or chronic pain.”
“promising indications of cannabinoid receptor agonists to alleviate acute and chronic pain”
And they had this to say about current available pharmaceuticals for treating pain,
“Currently available treatments, generally opioids and anti-inflammatory drugs, are not always effective for certain painful conditions.“
Not always effective, but also come with a long list of side effects including heavy withdrawals due to their highly addictive nature. View our article on cannabinoids and how they help with addiction and withdrawal here.
And they also said,
“Cannabinoids have antinociceptive mechanisms different from that of other drugs currently in use, which thus opens a new line of promising treatment to mitigate pain that fails to respond to the pharmacologic treatments available, especially for neuropathic and inflammatory pains.”
Antinociceptive (definition): the action or process of blocking the detection of a painful or injurious stimulus.
“Cannabis sativa plant containing known amounts of the active compounds (mainly THC and CBD) or diverse synthetic derivatives of THC are promising treatments for painful conditions that do not respond to available treatments, such as neuropathic, inflammatory and oncologic pain. Specifically, cannabis extracts have shown effectiveness to relieve some symptoms of the patients with multiple sclerosis, mainly for pain and spasticity.”
See our article on How Hemp Works for Multiple Sclerosis.
Another study found,
“Cannabinoid analgesics have generally been well tolerated in clinical trials with acceptable adverse event profiles. Their adjunctive addition to the pharmacological armamentarium for treatment of pain shows great promise.”
Over and over again, we see researchers optimistic about the potential of cannabinoids and cannabis products such as a full spectrum hemp oil for pain treatment.
One reason many researchers wish to see additional clinical trials is, of course, for safety and efficacy reasons, which is completely understandable. Especially if they’re conducting trials to assist pharmaceutical companies with producing an isolated product, like CBD oil, which they can first patent protect, and then sell to the medical industry.
And they concluded the study with,
“Given their multi-modality effects upon various nociceptive pathways, their adjunctive side benefits, the efficacy and safety profiles to date of specific preparations in advanced clinical trials, and the complementary mechanisms and advantages of their combination with opioid therapy, the future for cannabinoid therapeutics appears very bright, indeed.”
Nociceptive (definition): relating to the perception or sensation of pain.
Another large meta-analysis found,
“the studies available provide evidence to support the use of cannabinoids for some cancer, neuropathic, and chronic pain conditions.”
In another review of the literature, researchers found,
“Common uses of medical cannabis are for the treatment of nausea, emesis, anxiety and depression, seizures, cancer, neurogenic diseases, and especially chronic pain.”
They had this to say about CBD for pain,
“CBD was found to provide adequate analgesia as adjunct therapy to conventional pain medications, including opioids and disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs.”
“CBD administered before opioids was found to result in synergy between the opioid and cannabinoid signaling pathways.”
So the cannabinoid, cannabidiol (CBD) acts as a powerful painkiller on its own, but when combined with opioids, can provide synergistic effects.
Unlike opioids, which have very serious side-effects, addictive qualities and withdrawal complications, cannabinoids have a much safer safely provide in which researchers stated,
“Cannabinoid products were found to have a favorable safety profile in clinical trials and to maintain efficacy during extended periods of use, positing them as appropriate where first-and second-line therapies have failed.”
They went on to state,
“CBD-associated analgesia offered in products without THC is attributed to agonism of serotonin receptors that are directly involved in anti-inflammatory pathways.”
Meaning, cannabis products without THC are powerful in their own right. We needn’t need the psychoactive effects of medical marijuana, ie. high levels of THC, to experience the beneficial analgesic effects of cannabinoids.
They later concluded,
“studies show promising results for the use of CBD oral sprays and other cannabinoids for the management of pain.”
In fact, you can read our other article on the individual benefits of each cannabinoid here. Although CBD and THC are the most widely studied of the 120 cannabinoids found inside the cannabis plant, the other cannabinoids are extremely potent and powerful in their own right.
Another large scale study found,
“Current research suggests that a potential role exists for medical cannabis in pain management, although research shows varied effectiveness by the type of pain. Moreover, its coadministration with opioids may result in reduced opioid requirements.”
In other words, cannabinoids could play such a powerful role in the management and treatment of pain that it would render opioids to the bottom shelf. This has huge implications for the multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical industry, and a bright future for hemp products and the hemp industry.
If you’ve read this article you can probably understand by now why so many people are choosing hemp oil for pain after speaking with their Doctor. After all, medical professionals are doing their best to stay on top of the research while being swamped with many patient visits daily.
You can learn more about cannabinoids, hemp and the endocannabinoid systems role in various conditions as it relates to human health over on our blog, as we explore the latest research and bring it to you in an easy to read format. We hope you enjoyed this article on hemp oil for pain and chronic issues.
As always, before making changes to your lifestyle or treatment plan, consult with a licenced medical professional.