Chronic pain is a huge problem affecting society today. An estimated 29 million adults from Ireland and the UK suffer from the condition. Approximately 20% of those that live with chronic pain are moderately or severely disabled by it.

Chronic pain is defined as persistent pain that has lasted 3 months or longer. It can occur in nearly every part of the body. The pain may feel sharp or dull, causing a burning or aching sensation in the affected areas. It may be steady or intermittent, coming and going without any apparent reason. The pain is not only confined to a particular body part, after a while it becomes hard wired in the brain and nervous systems. It drains energy from the body and mind, and in many cases creates or amplifies mental health issues such as anxiety or depression.

Some of the most common types of chronic pain include headaches, post trauma pain, lower back pain, arthritis, neurogenic pain or injury.

Complex to diagnose and treat

The traditional Western medicine approach of using anti-inflammatory pain drugs can be a very effective method for treating acute (short-term) pain. Replicating this approach for long lasting pain is often not sustainable or effective. Prolonged use of  such medication can cause negative side effects such as gut and intestinal problems.

We know that in many cases chronic pain is complicated to pin point and treat. This complexity is also as a result of how the brain processes pain. Specific brain circuits can become wired to enhancing the pain felt in the body.

Given the inextricable link between brain and body in the context of pain management, it is often advised to take an integrated medicine approach for dealing with chronic pain conditions. Looking holistically at the body and mind can prove effective in getting to the root of the issue.

CBD as a solution

This is where CBD and plant cannabinoids come in. Evidence from human clinical research is still limited to support the full extent of benefits CBD can have, however multiple studies show promising results. The potential pain relieving effect of CBD is down to its various interactions and modulation of the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is involved in regulating brain pain networks and pain nerves throughout the body.

Taking CBD along with other cannabinoids and terpenes can positively effect how the body and brain process pain, effectively interrupting pain messages. CBDs interaction with the ECS receptors also accounts for its anti-inflammatory properties which may have a direct result on pain relief.

It is also thought CBD’s activation of the TRPV1 ‘vanilloid’ receptor could be a contributing factor for its positive results in pain management. TRPV1 receptors are found in neutrons (nerve cells) involved in pain perception, pain control, inflammation and body temperature.

Overall, CBD represents an attractive candidate for chronic pain relief given its promising results in both animal models and early human studies, coupled with its relative safety and non-psychoactive properties.

Project CBD Study

The widespread positive reports of patients taking over-the-counter CBD products for pain relief is reflected in a survey conducted by Project CBD a US not-for-profit company:

  • 90% of participants (2,202) who took CBD to treat pain reported improvements in the frequency and duration of their pain.
  • 60% said it made the frequency and duration of their pain ‘much better’
  • Almost 70% of participants reported that their pain intensity was ‘much better’ after taking CBD

ethos Product Trial

Our team carried out a product trial over 6 weeks with a number of individuals suffering from chronic pain related conditions, including arthritis, fibromyalgia, migraines and back pain. These individuals trialled our BALANCE and NATURAL ranges. The results from the trial were very positive in the short time frame:

  • 80% of chronic pain sufferers reported their condition had improved since taking CBD
  • 50% of those taking prescribed medication had reduced their over the counter pain killers as a result

 

“I have been able to stop taking pain killers for my back pain and I am sleeping much better, not twisting and turning as much as I was” – Daniel

“I have seen an improvement in my chronic pain. I’m sleeping much better and now almost never suffer from the awful headaches I got daily before taking ethos CBD” – Anne Marie

 

CBD represents a viable natural alternative to help those who suffer daily with pain. Due to its safety profile it is certainly something that can be trialled by individuals if other forms of medication and treatment have not worked.

If you or someone you know suffers from chronic pain we always recommend you consult your healthcare professional for advice. Its important to get there opinion before taking CBD products especially if combining with other medications.

 

References:

Chronicpain.ie (2017)

https://www.britishpainsociety.org/mediacentre/news/the-silent-epidemic-chronic-pain-in-the-uk/ (2016).

Woodhams, S.G., Sagar, ,D.R., Burston, J.J. & Chapman, V. (2015). The role of the endocannabinoid system in pain.

Fine, P.G. & Rosenfeld, M.J. (2013). The endocannabinoid system, cannabinoids, and pain. Ramban Maimondies Med J., 4(4):e0022.

Costa, B et al. Vanilloid TRPV1 receptor mediates the antihyperalgesic effect of the non-psychoactive cannabinoid, cannabidiol, in a rat model of acute inflammation. British Journal of Pharmacology, vol 143 (2004), pp. 247-250.

Project CBD. Cultivating Wellness Survey www.projectcbd.org/reports/cultivating-wellness/summary (2019).