Of the many discussed benefits of CBD — and, as scientists will tell you, there are plenty — its relationship with inflammation is one of the most talked about. It’s believed to be a possible force in the face of many a flare-up, whether you’re dealing with acne, diabetes, persistent pain or achy shoulders... the list goes on.
But how much clout does CBD for inflammation really have? To find out more, we spoke to two members of our Scientific Advisory Board, Dr. Peter Laing PhD and Dr. Daniela Tonucci. Dr. Laing is a drug delivery specialist and founder of Cambridge-based pharmaceutical company Excivion, while Dr. Tonucci is a consultant in chronic pain and anaesthesia.
Here’s what we discovered…
What is Inflammation?
All manner of ailments, big and small, have been linked to inflammation, ranging from muscle aches to chronic pain conditions, like arthritis. Put simply, inflammation is your immune system’s response to an irritant, and it can take many forms; redness and swelling on skin or loss of function, to name a few.
The good news is, though often painful, inflammation is a sign that your body is healing, and it plays a vital role in the recovery process, lasting only a few hours or days. The bad news? For some, that process can linger as the immune system goes into overdrive, leading to what is known as chronic inflammation.
Can CBD Ease Inflammation?
Each of us has cannabinoid receptors all throughout our bodies, which reportedly help to regulate inflammation, protect from oxidative stress and balance the immune system. It’s believed that CBD sends out signals to these receptors, which may have an anti-inflammatory effect that could prove effective at easing a whole host of conditions.
Although the research is in early stages and by no means conclusive, this might be why CBD is becoming more and more popular to supplement inflammation-fighting routines, whether you’re combining it with treatment prescribed by your doctor or an anti-inflammatory diet. And, because it’s very hard to consume too much CBD studies show you would have to take 20,000mg almost all at once), a daily capsule or a drop of CBD oil slots into daily life without worry or fuss.
If you’re wondering what dosage is best, the FSA advises taking no more than 70mg per day. Start slow with just one dropper of oil or a capsule to begin with, and see what works for you.
Can CBD Impact Pain?
“There are two main types of pain: inflammatory pain and neuropathic pain,” says Dr. Tonucci. “If patients describe a dull ache, it’s inflammatory, and if they describe burning, tingling or a sensation similar to an electric shock, that’s neuropathic pain, which is nerve pain. You can have both at once, and it’s nerve pain that tends to be harder to live with. It’s also harder to treat, with around 25% of our patients finding they’re unable to tolerate medications.”
This, Dr. Tonucci explains, is why many pain patients seek adjunct or alternative therapies. “If you can find a low dose of medication that is tolerable, then you can add an adjunct therapy. This might be CBD, it might be magnesium, it might be physiotherapy… The wellness CBD product you can buy over the counter does have a role as an analgesic, but on a less efficacious level than a medical CBD.”
As for how a CBD oil might offer these analgesic effects, Dr. Tonucci says it comes down to how it interacts with your endocannabinoid system. It might work centrally for an anticonvulsant effect on neuropathic pain, or via peripheral receptors when we use it for inflammatory or arthritic pain.
Can CBD Affect Arthritis?
Although there are no definitive human studies that link CBD with an easing of arthritis symptoms, anecdotal evidence suggests it may have an impact on associated stiffness and pain. Here’s what we do know: arthritis commonly causes inflammation and – as we’ve seen – animal research indicates that CBD acts as an anti-inflammatory.
If this is the case, it’s easy to see why scientists are intrigued by CBD and arthritis, and whether the former can offer relief for the affected joints. For those who want to try it, we recommend speaking to a doctor first, so they can ensure the CBD works in harmony with prescribed medication.
What CBD Products Shall I Try?
How you take CBD depends on the inflammation you’re experiencing. However, a CBD capsule is a good suits-all option. For calming effects, look to supplementary ingredients that harness additional anti-inflammatory properties, like the CBD Curcumin Capsules, which contain the soothing chemical compound found in turmeric, as well as Beta-caryophyllene and Vitamin D.
If you prefer topical application for your neck or back, try the CBD Muscle Balm, which can be massaged directly into your muscles and joints. For those who want a lighter formula, the CBD Skin Cream combines all the benefits of a muscle balm with a non-greasy feel — perfect for on-the-go care.
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