CBD can alleviate muscle pain, naturally. This article will walk you through the potential causes of muscle pain, how CBD can bring relief and why CBD might be a better option over traditional painkillers.
Muscle pain occurs due to a combination of physiological processes that result from various factors, such as exertion, overuse, injury, inflammation, or other underlying conditions.
What is Actually Happening in our Muscles that Leads to Pain?
A few factors can come into play:
Microscopic Damage: When muscles are subjected to excessive strain, overuse, a hard workout, or trauma, they can experience microscopic damage to their fibers. This damage can disrupt the standard structure of muscle cells. This is painful, and the pain level can vary depending on the degree of microscopic tears.
Inflammation: In response to muscle damage or other irritants, the body's immune system releases inflammatory chemicals, such as cytokines, into the affected area. Inflammation is part of the body's natural healing process but can also contribute to pain and discomfort.
Swelling: Inflammatory responses can lead to swelling or edema in the affected muscle tissue. This swelling can pressure surrounding structures, including nerves, leading to pain.
Nerve Sensitization: Inflammation and damage can sensitize nerve endings in and around the muscles. This heightened sensitivity can cause even minor stimuli to be interpreted as pain by the nervous system.
Nerve Impingement: In some cases, muscles may become tight or swollen, leading to compression of nearby nerves. Nerve compression can radiate pain beyond the immediate area of muscle discomfort.
Acid Buildup: Intense or prolonged muscle activity, such as during strenuous exercise, can lead to lactic acid buildup and other metabolic waste products in the muscles. This can contribute to muscle soreness and discomfort.
Nervous System Sensitization: Chronic pain conditions or ongoing inflammation can change the nervous system's processing of pain signals. This can result in a heightened sensitivity to pain, even when the initial cause of the pain has subsided.
Psychological Factors: Emotional stress and anxiety can influence the perception of pain. Stress can lead to muscle tension, which can contribute to muscle pain.
The Good News is CBD Can Help with Muscle Pain
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a naturally occurring compound in the cannabis plant. It is one of many cannabinoids, active compounds that interact with the human body's endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS regulates various physiological processes, including pain perception, immune response, mood, and inflammation.
While the exact mechanisms of how CBD works on muscle inflammation are not fully understood, there are several ways it may contribute to reducing inflammation and providing potential relief:
Anti-Inflammatory Effects: CBD is thought to have anti-inflammatory properties. It may interact with receptors in the ECS, such as CB2 receptors found mainly in immune cells. When CBD binds to these receptors, it can modulate immune responses and reduce inflammation.
Endocannabinoid System Modulation: CBD may indirectly affect the ECS by influencing the production and breakdown of endocannabinoids, cannabinoids naturally produced by the body. By modulating the ECS, CBD might help regulate immune and inflammatory responses.
Neurotransmitter Regulation: CBD can impact various neurotransmitter systems, including serotonin and anandamide. Serotonin plays a role in mood and pain perception, while anandamide is the "bliss molecule" involved in pain regulation and mood. CBD might contribute to pain relief and anti-inflammatory effects by affecting these neurotransmitter systems.
Pain Perception: Besides its anti-inflammatory properties, CBD may also influence how the body perceives pain. It could interact with receptors involved in pain signaling, potentially reducing the perception of pain associated with muscle inflammation.
Oxidative Stress Reduction: CBD has antioxidant properties, which can help reduce oxidative stress in the body. Oxidative stress can contribute to inflammation and tissue damage. CBD might indirectly reduce inflammation and promote muscle recovery by reducing oxidative stress.
Which Type of CBD Should I Use for My Muscle Pain?
CBD comes in topical and ingestible forms, such as a freeze roll-on stick, a warming stick, gummies, and oral tinctures. Experimenting with different combinations of these forms is an excellent way to determine which treatment is best for your unique type of pain. For example, a topical CBD cream can be applied to a sore muscle, providing targeted pain relief, while CBD oil can be taken orally for general pain management. Below are some common forms of CBD.
Roll-on Freeze Gel- This topical form of CBD is known to be the fastest in providing pain relief. It’s called a freeze or cooling gel because when applied, it feels cool on your skin. It comes in an applicator similar to a roll-on deodorant. Different brands offer different formulations. What you want to look for is a high level of CBD. Weak formulations will likely do little for your pain. Each brand will have a suggested application regime, but generally, you can apply topical formulas throughout the day as needed. Repeated and consistent applications will bring the best results.
Warming Stick - A topical form of CBD with a warming sensation. This product usually comes in a giant chapstick-type applicator. It is creamy, waxy, and thicker than the liquid-based freeze gel. For best results, you are looking for products with high levels of CBD and natural ingredients. Similar to the freeze gel, repeated applications throughout the day is the best way to get results.
Oral tinctures- also known as CBD oils, can be taken throughout the day, right before a workout or right after to help muscles recover faster, reduce post-workout pain, or to alleviate pain from other strains. CBD works differently for different individuals, so finding the proper dosage that brings results requires a bit of experimentation. There are good articles on dosage suggestions, like this one. You want to look again for tinctures that are high potency. Weak formulations are just a waste of time and money. One other consideration do you want a formula with or without THC. More on this subject next.
Gummies- a good-tasting and convenient way to take CBD on the go. These premeasured dosages of CBD are preferred by many because they are easily carried in a bag and can be taken when needed. They offer a consistent amount of CBD, which helps some people figure out their best dosage. Some gummies are packed with other healthy and healing ingredients. Look for ingredients that fit your needs.
Which Oral CBD Tinctures are Better, With or Without THC?
CBD is often confused with THC, but there are very distinct differences in these two compounds. They both belong to a class of compounds called cannabinoids, but they have distinct effects and properties due to their different interactions with the body's endocannabinoid system. CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) are the most well-known and abundant compounds in the cannabis plant. A school of scientific thought believes in the power of the whole plant and the entourage effect. The premise is that the medicinal impact of the whole plant is greater than the sum of its parts. In this vein, many CBD products have a minimal amount of THC, advertised as Full. The amount of THC in Full Spectrum products is generally around 0.2% an amount normally not detectable by a drug test and under the federal legal limit of 0.3%. This negligible amount of THC offers the entourage effect but does not produce a psychoactive response in most people and is not detectable on common drug tests. However, some people are highly sensitive to THC or may be tested at work with highly sensitive drug testing equipment (like pilots). If you fall into this category, you want to look for Broad Spectrum products void of THC such as Yellow Athletics Anytime Recovery Oil.
Why is CBD the Better than Other Pain Relief Options?
While traditional pain relief methods can be effective at managing pain, they also come with potential side effects. Over-the-counter pain medications can cause gastrointestinal issues, such as stomach ulcers and bleeding as well as kidney disease and kidney failure. And this is much more common than you might imagine.
Opioid painkillers, such as oxycodone and hydrocodone, are commonly prescribed for pain management. These drugs block pain signals in the brain but also have various dangerous side effects, including addiction, constipation, nausea, and respiratory depression. In addition, long-term use of opioids can lead to tolerance, meaning higher and higher doses are required to achieve the same level of pain relief.
CBD, on the other hand, works by interacting with the body's endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a complex network of receptors, enzymes, and endocannabinoids that help regulate various bodily functions, including pain, inflammation, and immune response. CBD interacts with the ECS to help reduce inflammation and pain in the body.
In addition, one of the main advantages of CBD over traditional pain relief methods is its lack of side effects, and its non addictive nature per the World Health Organization. Unlike over-the-counter pain medications and prescription opioids, CBD is non-addictive and does not cause gastrointestinal issues or drowsiness. Many who use CBD report feeling more alert and focused.
CBD offers clear benefits for pain relief and, most importantly, is a safe option and non-addictive. CBD, in its variety of form, allows individuals to find the best application and dosage for their unique set of ailments. This gives the user the power to make the best decisions for themselves and allows for easy modifications as pain levels change, go away entirely or move.