Many people use CBD oil for pain, helping to manage chronic pain conditions or to relieve joint pain, back pain or muscle pain, but how does it work? The Natural Hemp Company looks at the pain relief research and evidence to work out how CBD oil could help with pain. Read more about CBD in our Guide To CBD or explore the rest of our blog!


CBD oil for pain

What is CBD oil?

CBD oil is a health supplement that’s used throughout the UK and the globe. CBD, or cannabidiol, is extracted from the hemp plant and interacts with a system in the body called the endocannabinoid system, which is intricately tied up with the immune system and central nervous system.

CBD itself is a cannabinoid compound. There are loads of different cannabinoids, including some that are made naturally in our own bodies. You may have heard of another called THC. THC is found in cannabis and is responsible for making people high. THC can be found in hemp plants. However, hemp plants that are grown for making CBD oil are a particular strain bred to contain less than 0.3% THC so it’s not possible for CBD oil to make you high.

How Does CBD Oil Work?

CBD oil is increasingly appearing in the press and on social media as something of a ‘miracle’ health supplement. People claim that is has a huge range of benefits that include pain relief, but also improving the immune system, helping with insomnia, supporting mental health including easing anxiety, improving concentration and more! Can CBD actually do all of this?

CBD Receptors

Our bodies are made up of lots of different systems, like the respiratory system, the digestive system, the central nervous system and more. One of these, which was only discovered in the 1990s, is the endocannabinoid system. This describes a set of receptors that are found in the body that interact with cannabinoids.

Our bodies naturally produce endocannabinoids that interact with the receptors like instructions, telling the receptors to do something in the body, like respond to the pain and damage when you’ve twisted your ankle, for example.

There are also phytocannabinoids, which are made in the hemp plant rather than in a human body, that also interact with the same receptors — this includes CBD. Scientists think that CBD doesn’t bind to the receptors in the same way as your natural endocannabinoids, but instead encourages endocannabinoids to work more effectively within the system.

The two known receptors (although scientists think there are likely more!) are called CB1 and CB2. CB1 is largely found in the brain and is involved in neurological processes, influencing memory, cognitive thinking, emotion, motor coordination.

CB2 is found throughout the body. It’s most closely tied up to the immune system and central nervous system. It’s found in the gut, spleen, liver, heart, kidneys, bones, blood vessels, lymph cells and reproductive organs — among others! The endocannabinoid system has a big impact on a wide range of organs and processes in the body, which is why the cannabinoids can have such an influence on our health.

How Does CBD Oil Help With Pain?

We know that CBD can have a massive influence on the body because of the abundance of receptors in almost every organ system, including the immune system and central nervous system, but how does this impact CBD and pain relief?

CBD Pain Relief Research

The research into the precise way this works is still ongoing, but scientists have discovered that at the site of an injury — whether this is an ongoing injury such as tennis elbow or a sudden injury like falling during sport — cannabinoids can be found in abundance.

Dr Dustin Sulak describes that ‘cannabinoids can be found decreasing the release of activators and sensitizers from the injured tissue, stabilizing the nerve cell to prevent excessive firing, and calming nearby immune cells to prevent release of pro-inflammatory substances. Three different mechanisms of action on three different cell types for a single purpose: minimize the pain and damage caused by the injury.’

In summary, he describes the way that cannabinoids interact with the central nervous system to control pain levels, but also help in the immune response process to reduce inflammation that could lead to further pain.(source)

Healthline reports that CBD could improve chronic pain because its interaction with the CB1 and CB2 receptors creates anti-inflammatory and pain killing effects that help with pain management.

A 2008 report reviewed a large number of studies involving CBD to assess its effectiveness in relieving chronic pain for a range of different conditions. It reported that the endocannabinoid system is tonically and peripherally active in control of pain. It interacts with essential systems that are known to influence pain and pain relief including the glutamatergic system, the spine and the thalamus in the brain.

There has also been a large number of animal-based studies that have researched into pain relief for specific conditions such as arthritis, MS and some cancers. The National Cancer Institute have reported that CBD could be useful in helping manage pain associated with cancer.

CBD For Pain

There are a wide range of studies and research reports that suggest that CBD oil could be a powerful way to manage pain and reduce chronic pain.

Not only this, but a huge number of people testify to the way CBD oil has helped them manage pain in their own lives.

While there hasn’t yet been enough research and studies to conclude with certainty that CBD oil will help with every variety of pain and for every person, the science suggests the impact it could have in the body is significant.

If you suffer from chronic pain, why not try CBD oil? We have a huge range of high quality CBD products. Drops are a great place to start.

Why not explore more of our CBD blogs such as the history of CBD or tricks to boost your immune system? We’ve got loads of information on everything CBD related.