How Does CBD Oil Work For Managing Pain And Inflamation In The Body?
Updated: Jun 21, 2019
As the medical benefits of Cannabis become more widely known in Western culture, and as countries and their citizens become more open to asking about the benefits of ingesting cannabinoids, it becomes logical for one to ask “how exactly does CBD oil work in the body to relieve pain?”
In the bigger picture, CBD oil is actually highly effective at relieving pain, especially pain associated with high levels of inflammation.. The reason for this is the unique way CBD functions inside the human body, compared to other cannabinoids, like THC.
First, one of the biggest misconceptions involving CBD oil use is that, like THC, CBD enacts itself upon the CB1, and/or CB2 receptors in the body. The CB1, and CB2 receptors are the same receptors that THC functions on, and are responsible for the “high,” associated with THC consumption. Because CBD does not actually operate on these CB receptors, CBD oil is not actually a recreational drug, nor does it produce a “high.”
However, positive sensations like bliss, and euphoria, and the relief of pain are produced indirectly by CBD oil. This is largely due to CBD’s ability to enable the body to utilize its own naturally occurring cannabinoids (endocannabinoids, of which there are a multitude of different kinds, each with their own specific function) more effectively, and to produce more of them.
An analogy to help you think of how CBD oil for pain works in the body might be the analogy of a business office. Let’s say that inside this office, there are several individuals, but each individual is limited to one role. So, there are people in charge of social media who operate behind a computer, people whose job it is to fax or e-mail documents to other departments, people doing research, and people writing. CBD oil is essentially the boss who comes into the office, takes one look around, and immediately knows which worker needs to produce more, which ones should produce less. CBD is able to get these workers to do exactly what he/she needs them to do. In other words, the CBD oil is the one worker in the room who has access to the bigger picture, and is not just limited to one micro-role.
In this analogy, the individual workers in the room represent different endocannabinoids. Endocannabinoids often have specific jobs related to the mitigation of inflammation, and pain. But some can produce feelings of bliss, and even increase the efficiency by which the brain uses serotonin.
Endocannabinoids are produced by the body whenever it metabolises fatty acid. So, for example, if you take any sort of Omega 3 Fatty Acid supplements, or digest anti-inflammatory fats from fish, nuts, or even something like Sativa Seed Oil, your body is regularly producing its own endocannabinoids. What CBD oil does is take these naturally occurring endocannabinoids, and allows your body to use them better. So CBD regulates the production of different endocannabinoids within the body.
Cannabis and the endocannabinoid system:
This is important, because many people when first ingesting CBD oil may attribute different sensations to the CBD oil for inflammation itself. When what is actually happening is that CBD oil is entering their body, and like a more conscious cannabinoid, begins increasing the effectiveness of endocannabinoids. This increased effectiveness is what is responsible for the many of the benefits, or positive results gained from supplementing CBD tincture, CBD Lotion or CBD Oil for pets. So, how exactly do these endocannabinoids actually relieve the body of pain and inflammation? Well, CBD oil has as additional role in the body, and this role directly influences inflammation.
First, CBD oil affects cytokine production. Cytokines are the modulating factors that both initiate, and resolve inflammation. So for example, if you are out hiking on an icy path, and end up taking a spill on your elbow, it would be the cytokines’ job to signal the production of inflammation for your now injured elbow. In this sense, inflammation itself is not inherently bad, but part of a natural process within the body related to healing. Without the initiation of positive inflammation, our bodies wouldn’t be able to recover properly.
However, sometimes cytokines get out of control with their signalling for inflammation. The root of this issue is overactive immune cells. This is because cytokines are secreted by immune cells. Immune cells secrete cytokines in situations as in the above example, where the immune cell registers that something has happened to a particular area of the body, and then the cytokines proceed to signal the onset of inflammation in that particular area of the body.
When an immune cell becomes overactive, the inflammation that results from this can build up unnecessarily in our joints, and brain. High amounts of inflammation in any joint can lead to swelling, pain in that joint, or even a disabling effect, or loss of function. However, CBD oil can be used to directly mitigate the inflammation built up by overactive immune cells, and cytokines, simply by enabling the body to utilize its endocannabinoids more effectively. But moreover, CBD tincture and creams can reduce the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, like cytokine TNF-a.
So, the less pro-inflammatory cytokines being produced, coupled with the increased efficiency with which the body is using its own endocannabinoids will result in less unnecessary inflammation, and the pain associated with this inflammation.
This is especially apparent when another of the body’s cells, its T-Cells, become overactive. The body has two kinds of these T-Cells: T-Helper Cells, and T-Killer cells. The role of the T-Helper cells is to simply label anything in the body that is particularly unwanted, unneeded, or potentially harmful. As suggested by their name, the T-Killer cells then move out to destroy anything with a T-Helper label on it.
However, much like immune cells, T-Helper cells can be overactive. When this happens, the overactive T-Helper cell will label things to be destroyed that are actually benign, or even potentially helpful to the body. Whenever the body goes through a phase of massive labelling, and destroying within itself, incredible amounts of inflammation is created as a consequence. This inflammation will infiltrate the body’s joints, and/or brain, leading to discomfort, and even brain fog. CBD oil will then limit the production of these T-Helper cells -- limiting the T-Helper’s labelling to things that should be destroyed, and defusing any rogue T-Helper cells that over-labelling, and creating inflammation.
So, to conclude: when you purchase CBD oil in Canada it increases the effectiveness of endocannabinoids, and limits the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines. This pairing allows the body to handle inflammation, and any pain associated with it, in a much more healthy way.
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The Endocannabinoid System as an Emerging Target of Pharmacotherapy
Medical Cannabis and Pain Management: How Might the Role of Cannabis Be Defined in Pain Medicine?
Cannabis and the endocannabinoid system - English
Cannabinoids as novel anti-inflammatory drugs
Cannabinoids as novel anti-inflammatory drugs
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