I just took my dose of CBD oil for my chronic back pain. Four droppers full should deliver about 16-20 milligrams of full-spectrum CBD derived from the industrial hemp plant. Is CBD oil for back pain? It doesn’t taste terrific. It tastes like marijuana, although there is no THC, so no high. It could be the placebo effect, but it might just be working for me. And I know that a lot of other people claim that it helps with their back, and other chronic pain too.

CBD use is booming, according to CBS News. New Frontier Data, a firm that tracks cannabis data, is predicting that CBD sales will QUADRUPLE over the next four years. It will be a $1.9 billion industry by 2022!

What is CBD Oil?

CBD is the acronym for cannabidiol. It is a phytocannabinoid extracted from cannabis plants. The CBD oil that is most prominent comes from the industrial hemp plant, therefore contains no THC (the psychoactive part of marijuana). Cannabidiol is one of 113 cannabinoids found in hemp plants. The rising popularity and anecdotal claims have prompted several clinical research studies on its effectiveness for treating anxiety, cognition, seizures, and of course, chronic pain.

I am using straight up CBD oil that I take by mouth. For those put off by the taste, there are many other ways that suppliers are creating such as capsules, gummies, lotions, aerosol spray, chocolates, and so on. I got the oil, in part due to my skepticism of this rapidly growing industry. The taste of the plant, although terrible, gives me some peace of mind that I’m getting what I paid for.

And CBD isn’t cheap! In fact, it might be cost-prohibitive for the average chronic pain sufferer. The average 30-day supply of a trusted brand can cost $60-$80. I would be wary of anything cheaper since you might not be getting what you’re paying for. The FDA has already called out four CBD manufacturers for selling products that do not contain the advertised amount of CBD. A brand that I trust is Nganic. Their products are organic, high potency, and lab tested. They are a family run business and also offer regular sales and discounts to help ease the cost.

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CBD Oil for Back Pain

Cannabinoids including CBD are named after our bodies own endocannabinoid system. This is the system in our bodies that cannabinoids are known to affect. The endocannabinoid system consists of nerve signaling pathways and receptors in the brain that regulate mood, stress, pain, and metabolism.

CBD works by encouraging the body to produce natural cannabinoids, inhibiting pain transmission signals, and reducing inflammation. All of this works to decrease the amount of pain being experienced. The oil is also said to inhibit the body from absorbing anandamide, which is an agonist of the endocannabinoid system. In a nutshell, the more anandamide in the body, the less perceived pain.

Pharmaceutical pain medications work similarly but come with much higher risks and side-effects. CBD’s side effects are minimal if any. Drowsiness, gastrointestinal complaints, and some concern about damage to the liver are the most common side effects according to Tim Welty of Drake University’s Clinical Science department.

I personally have not experienced the drowsiness nor gastrointestinal issues Welty mentions. I had some blood work done on my liver recently due to a drug that I take for cholesterol, and the results came back normal. Of course, this is just my experience. But it is also the experience of many others. Doctors are even starting to recommend it to their patients for anxiety, pain, and the FDA has approved CBD for the treatment of epilepsy.

Effects of CBD on Degenerative Disc Disease

One of my back-pain issues is degenerative disc disease. A study was published in 2014 that suggested CBD may reduce damage from disc degeneration. The research was done on a small population of rats, so the results aren’t conclusive for humans yet. But the review was very encouraging and hopefully inspires further research. Basically, rats that were given the highest concentration of CBD experienced reduced damage within 48 hours of treatment!

“Considering that cannabidiol presents an extremely safe profile and is currently being used clinically, these results suggest that this compound could be useful in the treatment of intervertebral disc degeneration… Although further research is necessary to clarify the mechanisms involved in CBD effects, the present results suggest the possibility of its use for disc degeneration treatment.” (Silveira, et al., 2014)

Conclusion

Is CBD oil for back pain? While the research isn’t fully developed yet, I think that using CBD oil shows a lot of promise in the treatment of chronic-pain and even degenerative disc disease. In my own research of mostly anecdotal evidence and personal use, the side effects of CBD are minimal if at all when compared with pharmaceutical pain relievers. With CBD’s many other known benefits, you will undoubtedly find it helpful on a holistic level, at a minimum. The cost of good CBD can be expensive for those of us on limited budgets. Finding cheaper brands may only mean that you aren’t getting what is promised on the label, so be careful.

Reference

Silveira, J. W., Issy, A. C., Castania, V. A., Salmon, C. E., Nogueira-Barbosa, M. H., Guimarães, F. S., Defino, H. L., … Del Bel, E. (2014). Protective effects of cannabidiol on lesion-induced intervertebral disc degeneration. PloS one, 9(12), e113161. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0113161