According to data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, almost 20% of Australians aged 45+ reported having chronic pain. Such individuals are nearly three times as likely to receive opioid and other painkilling medication than people who don’t have chronic pain. Given that such drugs are potentially addictive and cause side effects such as nausea, dizziness, vomiting and constipation, it isn’t surprising to learn that a growing number of people are seeking analgesic alternatives.
CBD is one such option, and research indicates that it could be effective for pain management, with few of the adverse effects associated with other painkillers. CBD gummies are popular due to their taste, convenience, and potential benefits.
This article outlines the mechanisms behind how CBD gummies for pain work, looks into their advantages, investigates the science behind the claims, and discusses possible side effects.
How Does CBD Provide Pain Relief?
Also known as cannabidiol, CBD is one of 100+ cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. Unlike THC, the well-known intoxicating component in cannabis, CBD does not cause a ‘high’. You can find it in various bricks-and-mortar and online stores in a variety of forms, including oil, capsules, gummies, topicals, drinks, and more.
Despite a significant number of studies, there is no consensus on how CBD acts on the body to provide its potential effects. Researchers believe the cannabinoid impacts the endocannabinoid system (ECS); a complicated cell-signalling system first identified in the 1990s.
The ECS is believed to play a significant role in regulating various functions, including: memory; sleep; mood; appetite; and chronic pain. It consists of endocannabinoids, enzymes, and receptors.
What are endocannabinoids?
Endocannabinoids are cannabinoids created by the body; 2-AG and anandamide are the two identified by researchers to date. The body creates endocannabinoids as required to ensure our internal functions work properly.
What are enzymes?
The enzymes in the ECS break down cannabinoids once they have completed their task. Monoacylglycerol breaks down 2-AG, whereas fatty acid amide hydrolase breaks down anandamide.
What are receptors?
Endocannabinoid receptors are located throughout the body, and endocannabinoids bind to the receptors to inform the ECS that action is required. CB1 receptors are primarily found in the central nervous system, whereas CB2 receptors are mainly in the peripheral nervous system.
Endocannabinoids may bind to CB1 or CB2 receptors depending on the location of the receptor and the endocannabinoid it binds to.
How Does CBD Affect the ECS and Reduce Pain?
Researchers have yet to conclude how cannabidiol acts on the ECS. They know that THC binds to CB1 receptors in the brain, while CBD, in contrast, has minimal binding affinity to CB1 and CB2 receptors. The compound is more likely to stop other endocannabinoids from breaking down, thus ensuring they have a stronger effect on the body.
There is evidence that CBD could help reduce chronic pain by affecting the activity of endocannabinoid receptors, decreasing inflammation and interacting with neurotransmitters.
Another theory posits that low endocannabinoid levels may cause some medical conditions. A review of studies published in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research in 2016 suggests that clinical endocannabinoid deficiency (CECD) could be why some individuals develop conditions such as fibromyalgia, migraine, and IBS. If this is the case, using a treatment that impacts the ECS could be highly beneficial.
Ultimately, the ECS is perhaps the key to ensuring our bodies and minds remain in homeostasis or balance. However, experts have yet to fully determine how it functions, let alone understand how CBD impacts it.
What we know is that humankind has used cannabis to manage the symptoms of pain for millennia. Studies are being released regularly that show how cannabidiol helps reduce pain, and hopefully, researchers are getting closer to finding out why this is the case.
What are the Advantages of CBD Gummies?
While CBD oil remains a highly sought-after product, CBD gummies are becoming increasingly popular. CBD gummies are edible candies infused with cannabidiol and available in various colours, flavours, and concentrations. For example, the Premium Jane Australia brand has a range of gummies in strawberry, mango berry, and tropical pineapple flavours.
Customers are drawn to the taste of gummies, particularly individuals who don’t care for the taste or texture of CBD oil. Gummies are also a convenient method of consuming the cannabinoid and using one is as easy as popping it in your mouth and sucking or chewing it. Furthermore, no special equipment is necessary, unlike CBD oil, which requires a dropper.
The effects of CBD gummies tend to last longer than other consumption methods, according to users. However, you should know that the effects could take up to two hours to become noticeable, depending on the user, dosage, and other factors.
Looking to Buy CBD Gummies for Pain? – Things to Consider
Trying to find high-quality CBD products is unquestionably challenging. As the market is crowded and lacks robust regulation, there is a plethora of low-quality products on the market. Therefore, you need to consider a few things before purchasing CBD gummies.
1. CBD Concentration
Today, the ‘industry standard’ is approximately 25mg of hemp extract per gummy. Therefore, it is perhaps best to stick with brands that provide at least this amount of CBD.
Does this mean you should avoid products with less than 25mg of cannabidiol per gummy? Not necessarily. However, you must consider the price of products in a cost per mg of CBD sense. If gummies don’t have 25mg of the cannabinoid apiece, you probably aren’t getting good value for money.
2. Hemp Quality
CBD gummies usually come from the hemp plant, a botanical class of Cannabis sativa cultivators. Also known as industrial hemp, this plant is renowned for having an extremely low THC content. It is also a bioaccumulator, which means it is excellent at absorbing and storing different substances from the soil.
However, this pro is very much a con when hemp is cultivated in low-quality soil, as it means the plant will likely absorb heavy metals and other pollutants as well. Therefore, you must find a brand that uses high-quality hemp, preferably grown using organic practices.
3. Extraction Method
Most top-rated CBD brands use supercritical carbon dioxide extraction to take the cannabinoids from the hemp plant. At specific pressures and temperatures, carbon dioxide acts as a solvent, and it is regarded as one of the safest, most effective and environmentally friendly ways to extract CBD. The result is clean and pure cannabidiol.
As carbon dioxide extraction is rather expensive, some brands prefer to use ethanol instead. When completed correctly, this process also produces high-quality CBD gummies. However, you must ensure that there is minimal residual solvent remaining.
According to the American Food and Drug Administration, ethanol is a “Class 3” solvent, which means ethanol-based extracts should have a maximum residual level of 5,000 parts per million, the equivalent of 0.5%.
4. Third-Party Lab Reports
Simply put, don’t purchase CBD gummies if the brand doesn’t include an up-to-date third-party lab report. Also known as a certificate of analysis (COA), this report is performed by a licenced testing lab. It highlights the product’s cannabinoid content and tests for heavy metals, microbials, pesticides, insecticides and residual solvents, among other elements. A COA provides peace of mind for customers and enhances a brand’s credibility.
5. Type of CBD
There are three main types of CBD:
- Full-Spectrum: These products contain the full range of compounds extracted from hemp, including cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. Such items will contain a small amount of THC.
- Broad-Spectrum: This form of CBD is the same as full-spectrum CBD gummies, minus the THC.
- CBD Isolate: This product contains no other compounds besides CBD, although some brands may add terpenes.
You need to decide your preference before making a purchasing decision.
How to Use CBD Gummies for Pain Relief
As mentioned earlier, using CBD gummies for pain is incredibly easy. The main consideration is dosage. For many users, 10-15mg of cannabidiol daily is enough, while others require significantly more.
If you’re a new user, begin with half or even a quarter of a gummy each day. Assuming the product contains 25mg of CBD, a quarter of a gummy equals 6.25mg of cannabidiol, whereas half a gummy equals 12.5mg.
Remember, CBD gummies can take a long time to have a noticeable effect. Therefore, don’t take a second dose if you feel nothing after an hour or two. Instead, note how much you used and increase the quantity slightly the next day. Gradually increase the dosage until you’re happy with the effects.
Are There Any Side Effects to Be Concerned About?
It is inaccurate to suggest that CBD gummies are entirely risk-free. The World Health Organization (WHO) is on record as saying that there is no evidence of pure CBD causing public health-related problems. Moreover, it doesn’t have the potential for abuse.
Nonetheless, the cannabinoid is known to cause adverse effects in some users, including: diarrhoea; appetite changes; weight changes; fatigue; and dizziness.
Large doses of CBD could sometimes show abnormalities in liver-related blood tests. It is also worth noting that the cannabinoid interacts with a high percentage of prescription and over-the-counter drugs. Therefore, you should discuss your usage of CBD gummies with a physician if you are currently using any medication.
Finally, the WHO says “pure CBD” has a good safety profile. Sadly, the industry is plagued by low-quality products capable of causing harm, so you should adhere to the advice given above on finding CBD products.
Final Thoughts on CBD Gummies for Pain
There is a growing body of research that suggests CBD could prove efficacious in managing the symptoms of pain. However, far more studies are required to state that cannabidiol successfully alleviates pain symptoms conclusively.
Even so, a significant number of Australians are turning to the cannabinoid in the hope it can succeed where other products have failed. CBD gummies are among the biggest sellers due to their taste, ease of use, and pre-measured dosage.
When buying gummies, please check where the hemp comes from, the CBD dosage, the type of cannabidiol, and the extraction method. Furthermore, it is essential to only purchase products with full third-party lab reports.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare: “Chronic Pain in Australia”
Healthline – “A Simple Guide to the Endocannabinoid System”
Project CBD – “How CBD Works”
FDA – “Tables and List Guidance for Industry”
Pharma Hemp – “What is CO2 Extraction?”
Harvard Medical School – “Cannabidiol (CBD): What we know and what we don’t”
Journal of Pain Research – “Pharmacotherapeutic considerations for use of cannabinoids to relieve pain in patients with malignant diseases”
Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research – “Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency Reconsidered: Current Research Supports the Theory in Migraine, Fibromyalgia, Irritable Bowel, and Other Treatment-Resistant Syndromes”
Images: Premium Jane
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