If you live with chronic back pain, you’re probably ready to try anything to get some relief. Back pain is miserable, and it can keep you from living your best life. CBD oil is gaining more attention as people use it to help with everything from anxiety and stress to pain management, even for chronic conditions like chronic back pain. Here’s everything you need to know about the benefits of CBD oil for back pain.
What is CBD oil?
First, let’s clarify what I mean when I say, “CBD oil.” CBD oil is not the same as medical marijuana. That means you don’t need a license to get it if you live in a state that has legalized medicinal marijuana. It also means that it isn’t heavily regulated, so you need to be careful when choosing which brand of CBD oil to use (more on that below).
CBD oil is one of the most popular ways to ingest CBD. You can ingest it directly using a dropper. You can also find CBD products like hand creams, edibles, and serums if you want something other than an oil or if you want to use CBD in multiple ways.
CBD is one of the hundred-plus cannabinoids that are found on the cannabis and hemp plant. Unlike marijuana, it doesn’t have tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is another cannabinoid and comes from the part of the cannabis plant that gives you the “high” feeling. That’s why you can buy CBD oil online, in drugstores, and even in some gas stations. It’s also why so many people are turning to CBD oil as an alternative for pain relief. Getting the pain-relieving benefits of cannabis without enduring the high is appealing for a lot of people who live with chronic pain.
Understanding back pain
To fully wrap our heads around how CBD can relieve back pain, it’s helpful to fully understand what back pain is and what causes it.
Everyone experiences some form of back pain at one point or another. Whether you sleep funny, overdo it at the gym, or pick up something that’s way too heavy, you’re bound to hurt your back at one point or another. In these situations, your back pain, though obviously painful, is temporary. With rest and recovery, you’re back to your normal routine and activities in a relatively short amount of time.
Chronic back pain is another story. If you have back pain that lasts longer than three months and isn’t the result of a specific incident or injury, your doctor will likely diagnose you with back pain. In these cases, you tend to have back pain most days and have a hard time finding relief. Your body needs more than a heating pad and some Aleve to bounce back.
Chronic back pain usually has an underlying cause, such as:
● Muscle strain
● Herniated disc
● Spinal stenosis
● Multiple sclerosis
In extreme cases, people who suffer from chronic back pain will need to undergo surgery to fully heal. Even then, you might still have pain. If you’d prefer to avoid surgery and take a more holistic approach to pain relief, or if you’ve had surgery and still endure back pain, consider taking CBD oil.
How CBD helps with back pain
One of the main ways CBD can help with back pain is by reducing inflammation. CBD oil can be a safe alternative to anti-inflammatory medication. It can also make it easier for people who suffer from back pain to sleep, which can help you feel more refreshed and recharged. CBD is known for relaxing your muscles and calming your mind, both of which can lead to a more restful slumber.
Finally, CBD can help people with back pain combat their anxiety, which is a frequent side effect of chronic back pain. Put together, managing these symptoms of back pain can help patients suffering from chronic back pain feel better physically and mentally.
While a lot of studies looking at back pain and CBD oil are still in the clinical trial phase, they are showing promising results. One study looked at how CBD oil could benefit patients who didn’t respond well to back surgery. It concluded that CBD was effective for pain management in every participant. Another study, performed on animal test subjects, concluded that CBD could be useful in the treatment of intervertebral disc degeneration. This means that CBD has been shown to reduce the severity of a vertebral disc injury, which could be revolutionary.
By reducing inflammation and helping you sleep better, CBD oil can be a key tool in your arsenal to combat back pain so you can get back to living your life.
Choosing the right CBD oil
Because the CBD industry is so new, it isn’t heavily regulated. Therefore, it’s really important to do some research before you buy just any CBD oil. Most CBD oil and other products aren’t regulated by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA). In fact, as of November 2019, you can only find one FDFA-approved CBD product, which is used to treat a rare and serious form of epilepsy.
THC and CBD
The first thing to know is that some CBD oil products (called tinctures) do contain trace amounts of THC. While there shouldn’t be enough THC to show up positive in a drug test, it is possible.
To avoid taking CBD oil that contains a lot of THC, look for CBD oil that is derived from a hemp plant instead of a marijuana plant. Hemp-derived CBD products will have no more than .3 percent THC, and often they have zero percent THC. That’s because, unlike marijuana plants, hemp plants are federally mandated to have this maximum of .3 percent THC. Marijuana plants can have varying amounts of THC, depending on the varietal.
Full-spectrum vs broad-spectrum CBD
The best way to choose a CBD oil that doesn’t contain THC is to look for broad-spectrum CBD. This type of CBD oil and product contains additional compounds that are in the plant, including other cannabinoids and terpenes.
The same is true for full-spectrum CBD. Full-spectrum CBD products can be derived from either hemp or marijuana plants. Hemp-derived full-spectrum CBD oil is required by law to contain .3 percent or less THC. Marijuana-derived full-spectrum CBD oil can have more than .3 percent THC.
Full-spectrum CBD is available as an oil, tincture, or edible. It’s relatively easy to find, though it can be a challenge to tell whether the product is sourced from a hemp or marijuana plant, which can make it difficult to know whether there is any THC in it.
In contrast, broad-spectrum CBD products don’t contain THC. You can find broad-spectrum CBD as an oil, though it is more challenging to find than full-spectrum CBD.
Taking the right dose
When you’re first starting to take CBD oil, it’s best to use a low dose. You can figure out the concentration of a particular CBD oil is from its bottle. Some bottles list their concentration in milligrams, while others use percentages.
Start with a low concentration and a minimum dose. Then, if you don’t have any side effects, you can up your dosage slowly. It’s best to start taking CBD oil on a day when you have a light schedule since it can make you sleepy. It can also be dangerous to drive after using CBD, so take it when you know you don’t have to go anywhere.
Potential Risks and Side Effects of CBD
Even though CBD is generally safe, like anything, it can have side effects. The side effects of CBD oil haven’t been well studied in humans, and they can vary depending on where the CBD oil is sourced. Talk to your doctor or a healthcare provider if you experience any side effects after taking CBD oil and stop taking it immediately.
In general, side effects from CBD oil are relatively mild and non-life threatening. They include:
● Dry mouth
● Mental confusion
● Low blood pressure
In addition, CBD oil can negatively interact with certain drugs, including blood thinners, anti-seizure medication, sedatives, and certain chemotherapy drugs. Talk to your doctor if you’re on medication before you start taking CBD oil for your back pain.
CBD oil has helped a lot of people who suffer from chronic pain, including back pain. Talk to your doctor before you start taking CBD to make sure there aren’t any potential drug interactions that you should know about. It’s also always a good idea to fill your doctor in on any holistic treatment options you’re trying, including taking CBD oil.