CBD is growing in popularity as a natural pain-relieving alternative to medication, particularly for managing joint and nerve pain.
In the UK alone, more than 10 million people have arthritis or other conditions that affect the joints and peripheral neuropathy, while nerve damage affects at least 10% of people over the age of 55 in the UK.
Both conditions can have a devastating impact on your health and your quality of life, and can be difficult to treat with medication. So, how does CBD help in relieving the symptoms of these conditions? And, how long does it take to work?
CBD oil for joint pain
Osteoarthritis is the most prevalent form of arthritis, although there are more than 100 different known types. Symptoms of arthritis are swollen, stiff or red joints that are warm to the touch. The condition is often characterised by chronic pain which impacts the individual's ability to go about their daily life.
Many people who suffer from joint pain are turning to CBD, a cannabinoid that interacts with cannabinoid receptors in the body, as it alters the perception of pain, as well as working to reduce inflammation. Research shows that in addition to impacting the way we process pain, other areas such as mood, sleep quality and immune system function are affected by CBD – all of which provide welcome relief for arthritis patients. CBD has been linked to a reduction in inflammation and pain, with one study concluding that “topical CBD application has therapeutic potential for relief of arthritis pain-related behaviours and inflammation without evident side-effects.”
CBD oil for nerve pain
If you experience weakness, numbness and pain due to nerve damage, CBD may be able to offer some relief. One source of nerve damage is peripheral neuropathy, which develops when nerves in the body’s extremities are damaged. Nerve damage, in addition to reducing the sense of touch, often increases pain sensation in response to stimuli that would not normally be painful as well as impacting your ability to control the pain, making pain management more difficult.
To treat nerve damage effectively, it is important to identify the cause in order to manage the underlying condition effectively. But even in cases where the root of the issue is known, many choose to use alternative or complementary therapies to reduce nerve pain. CBD is one of the most popular natural alternatives as it works by interacting with your endocannabinoid system, which plays an important role in regulating the body and maintaining homeostasis. It supports the proper functioning of your immune system and creates an anti-inflammatory response through its interaction with CB1 and CB2 receptors.
CBD’s interaction with the receptors stimulates positive responses within your peripheral and central nervous system, thereby offering pain relief. Research shows that CBD products can help with nerve pain, specifically “difficult to treat pain”. A perfect example of this is the cannabis-derived nasal spray Sativex that relieves central neuropathic pain in people with multiple sclerosis. In addition, research is being conducted into its ability to help treat cancer pain.
One of the main reasons that CBD may be a good option for managing neuropathic pain is that it reduces reliance on other pain medication, specifically opioids (which can be addictive and lead to overdose), and over-the-counter pain medication. Anti-inflammatories, in particular, can have harmful side effects if used long-term, increasing the risk of peptic ulcer disease, myocardial infarction and acute renal failure. NSAIDs may also exacerbate chronic diseases and interact with prescription medications. Because CBD is natural and safe to use, it means that you can avoid these potentially dangerous issues.
How should you take CBD?
For the best pain-relieving effects, CBD oil should be taken sublingually as a tincture. This method offers among the highest levels of bioavailability (how well your body is able to absorb and use the CBD) as the CBD is not broken down or metabolised by the digestive system. It enters the bloodstream faster, and you will typically feel the effects within half an hour.
How long does CBD take to work for nerve and joint pain?
Many arthritis patients and those with nerve pain are concerned about finding the right CBD dosage. This is quite often because they associated CBD with marijuana and worry about “getting high”. The good news is that no amount of CBD will make you high because the levels of THC are restricted to under 0.2% according to the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, and CBD oil is therefore not psychoactive. Marijuana (or medical cannabis), in comparison, can have up to 35% THC.
While CBD oil taken sublingually takes around 15 to 30 minutes to work, you might not experience the results you are looking for immediately. You may need to experiment to find the correct dosage, starting with a low dose and slowly increasing until you experience relief for your arthritis-related and nerve-related pain. This process can take a month or two as you try different dosages.
The right dosage will vary from person to person, so the guidelines generally suggest starting from a low dose (somewhere between 5 and 10 mg) and gradually working your way up over a few weeks. In most cases, people will experience pain relief at a level of between 20 and 35 mg of CBD per day. This dosage can be taken at once, or broken up into smaller doses throughout the day, depending on what works for you.
You should be able to see improvements in your pain levels almost immediately, and more noticeable effects will become apparent after two weeks. Depending on the individual, you may need a higher dose, so don’t give up if you don’t experience the benefits immediately.
How do you make sure that you get the best results?
If you don’t select the right brand of CBD oil, you could be waiting forever for it to relieve your pain. There are many counterfeit and poor-quality CBD products on the market that don’t contain the advertised level of CBD and may even be harmful.
To ensure that you are using a product that will give you results, ensure that:
- There are third-party lab reports available
- It is full-spectrum, so you also experience the entourage effect
- It has been produced by a reputable brand with a strong track record
- The CBD concentration contained in the bottle is as advertised
- The production process is transparent and carefully managed
- The CBD has been extracted from organically grown hemp
- It is free from harmful chemicals and other dangerous compounds
Both arthritis pain and nerve pain are common across the UK, affecting millions of people and impacting on their quality of life. CBD offers a natural, safe alternative that has shown to be effective in relieving pain with very few side effects. It’s also fast-acting, and the pain-relieving effects can be felt within 30 minutes of taking the drops sublingually, although it can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to feel the full effects as you experiment with dosage.