Hemp Oil For Pain

Hemp Oil for Pain

Hemp Oil For PainMuch has been written about the benefits of hemp oil for pain, with many studies having been performed on this exciting area of treatment.

It is important to recognize that clinicians are more at the beginning of this process given that hemp oil became fully legal just in 2018[1]. We can now expect a plethora of studies to be initiated over the next several years.

However, the medical community has been attuned to cannabinoids and pain management for nearly two decades, and research has been performed with some very promising studies.

Just to reiterate before we get started, the cannabinoids discussed below are all found in full spectrum hemp oil, not hemp seed oil.

Full spectrum hemp oil differs from CBD oil in that CBD oil may contain only CBD, whereas full spectrum hemp oil includes CBD, CBC, CBG, CBN, CBDa, and over 100 other cannabinoids.

Hemp Oil for Migraines and Headaches

Hemp Oil For MigrainesLet’s take a look at a study which had a goal to determine which cannabinoids might be most helpful in migraine or headache pain management:

Migraines and Headaches – In May, 2015, Dr. Barron[2] evaluated all clinical research to date in an effort to provide the best guidance for the use of cannabinoids for migraines and headaches.

He found ample research that pointed to CBD as the primary helpful cannabinoid, but made it a point to note that the other cannabinoids likely amplified the benefits: “Cannabinoids appear to modulate and interact at many pathways inherent to migraine, triptan mechanisms of action, and opiate pathways, suggesting a potential synergistic or related benefit.”

This points to the Entourage Effect[3,4] noted by many researchers, implying that a ‘full spectrum’ hemp oil may create the most therapeutic benefit.

Hemp Oil for Generalized Pain

Hemp Oil For Generalized PainThere is some valuable insight that came from recent studies on treatments for generalized pain, and it helps explain pain management from two sides of the endocannabinoid system (ECS):

General Pain – In a December, 2018 study by Dr. Guerrero-Alba[5], the clinicians noted the importance of treating pain by addressing both the CB1 and CB2 receptors: 1) Cannabinoids interacting directly with the CB1 receptor seemed very useful in treating pain; 2) Cannabinoids interacting directly with the CB2 receptor appeared to reduce inflammation.

The reason this two-fold effect with cannabinoids is important is that inflammation is often the cause of pain, or minimally a source of additional pain. Utilizing all cannabinoids (full spectrum) appears to be an effective approach as multiple cannabinoids are addressing the pain sensation (via the CB1 receptors) as well as inflammation (via the CB2 receptors), a cause of pain.

General Pain – In an October, 2015 study, Dr. Jensen[6] reviewed all available studies on using cannabinoids like CBD to help with pain management, and found that studies have “thus far shown evidence to support the use of cannabinoids for some cancer, neuropathic, spasticity, acute pain, and chronic pain conditions”.

Essentially this study was a critical review of all available studies on whether CBD and other cannabinoids actually contributed to a decrease in pain. Given the recency of this review, this study provides a very positive indication that CBD may help with a variety of pain management issues.

Hemp Oil for Arthritis

Hemp Oil For ArthritisThere are two studies that highlight not only the potential effectiveness of hemp oil for arthritis, but also in the manner of treatment:

Arthritis/Osteoarthritis – In a December, 2017 study, Dr. Philpott[7] was testing the effects of CBD on pain and nerve damage in rats with osteoarthritic joints. The results were significant.

The study found that “CBD blocked osteoarthritis pain” and that “CBD treatment prevented the later development of pain and nerve damage in these osteoarthritis joints. These findings suggest that CBD may be a safe, useful therapeutic for treating osteoarthritis joint neuropathic pain”.

Arthritis – In a July, 2016 study, Dr. Hammell[8] set out to find if a transdermal patch containing CBD would be of benefit to rats with arthritis.

The study found significant benefits with respect to pain and inflammation as they stated in their conclusion, “These data indicate that topical CBD application has therapeutic potential for relief of arthritis pain-related behaviours and inflammation without evident side-effects”.

Collagen Induced Arthritis (CIA) – In an August, 2000 study, Dr. Malfait[9] tested CBD as an oral anti-arthritic therapy in mice.

This study noted that “CBD was administered after onset of clinical symptoms, and in both models of arthritis the treatment effectively blocked progression of arthritis”.

This study also noted that “Clinical improvement was associated with protection of the joints against severe damage”, and then summarized by stating “Taken together, these data show that CBD, through its combined immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory actions, has a potent anti-arthritic effect in collagen induced arthritis”.

These studies are important as they shed light on the effectiveness of CBD with arthritis whether taken orally or applied topically.

Hemp Oil for Inflammation

Hemp Oil For InflammationThe treatment of inflammation is extremely important in pain management as swollen tissues can greatly increase the amount of pain experienced. Below is a study where it was discovered that multiple cannabinoids could play an important role in reducing inflammation:

Inflammation – In a July, 2016 study, Dr. Zurier[10] was testing a number of cannabinoids to understand their effect with chronic inflammatory diseases and conditions.

The study found that “it may be concluded that several cannabinoids can be considered candidates for development as anti-inflammatory agents”, with those cannabinoids including CBD, CBN and CBCr.

This is once again a situation where the optimal treatment is likely a full spectrum hemp oil that contains all cannabinoids including CBD, as well as CBN, CBC, CBG and over 100 other cannabinoids.

Hemp Oil for Fibromyalgia

Hemp Oil For FibromyalgiaThe effects of cannabinoids have not been as thoroughly studied as other areas of chronic pain. However, two studies (an initial study and then a follow-up study) that did focus on fibromyalgia can give us a glimpse into possible effective treatments:

Fibromyalgia – In an April, 2004 study and follow-up July, 2016 study, Dr. Russo[11,12] established a benchmark in our understanding of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) and chronic pain conditions.

The significance of these studies cannot be understated as they found a direct link between chronic pain and the deficiency of cannabinoids in the system.

The study also found (from previous studies that were less rigorous or complete) that fibromyalgia patients may benefit from cannabis use, and that the combination of THC and CBD could be effective in pain management.

The primary evidence in the study does indicate that endocannabinoid deficiency may explain the cause of various chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia, migraines and irritable bowel syndrome.

This would suggest that full spectrum hemp oil may provide the most effective relief for endocannabinoid deficiency.

Final Notes on Hemp Oil for Pain

One of the main finding in these studies is that multiple cannabinoids appear to show greater promise in the treatment of a variety of pain conditions – as opposed to a single cannabinoid.

CBD (cannabidiol) appears to be a consistent treatment candidate in studies evaluating migraines, headaches, arthritis, inflammation and general pain. CBC (cannabichromene) and CBN (cannabinol) also appear to show great promise in the treatment of inflammation, arthritis, migraines and generalized pain.

One of the important takeaways in these studies is that positive results were experienced whether the cannabinoids were taken orally or topically. The success of the topical treatments in one study is especially encouraging for those suffering from arthritis.

Perhaps the most important common denominator that was revealed in these studies is that multiple cannabinoids appeared to be at work to relieve pain, with some working on the CB1 receptor (think: pain) and the CB2 receptors (think: inflammation).

Given that pain management intimately involves both receptors, it can be safely concluded that treatment with a full spectrum hemp oil (as opposed to CBD oil) would provide all the treatment benefits and ‘entourage effects’ found in the studies.

1. https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/5485
2. Baron EP. (2015, May) Comprehensive Review of Medicinal Marijuana, Cannabinoids, and Therapeutic Implications in Medicine and Headache: What a Long Strange Trip It’s Been …. Headache, 55(6):885-916.
3. Ben-Shabat S, Fride E, Sheskin T, Tamiri T, Rhee MH, Vogel Z, Bisogno T, De Petrocellis L, Di Marzo V, Mechoulam R (1998, July) An entourage effect: inactive endogenous fatty acid glycerol esters enhance 2-arachidonoyl-glycerol cannabinoid activity. Eur J Pharmacol, 17;353(1):23-31.
4. Ethan B Russo (2011 August) Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects. British Journal of Pharmacology, 163(7): 1344–1364.
5. Raquel Guerrero-Alba, Paulino Barragán-Iglesias, Abimael González-Hernández, Eduardo E. Valdez-Moráles, Vinicio Granados-Soto, Miguel Condés-Lara, Martín G. Rodríguez, and Bruno A. Marichal-Cancino1. (2018, December) Some Prospective Alternatives for Treating Pain: The Endocannabinoid System and Its Putative Receptors GPR18 and GPR55. Front Pharmacol, 9: 1496.
6. Jensen, B., Chen, J., Furnish, T., and Wallace, M. (2015, October). Cannabinoids and Chronic Pain: a Review of Basic Science and Clinical Evidence. Current Pain and Headache Reports, 19(10), 524.
7. Philpott HT, OʼBrien M, McDougall JJ. (2017, December) Attenuation of early phase inflammation by cannabidiol prevents pain and nerve damage in rat osteoarthritis. Pain, 158(12):2442-2451.
8. Hammell DC, Zhang LP, Ma F, Abshire SM, McIlwrath SL, Stinchcomb AL, Westlund KN2. (2016, July) Transdermal cannabidiol reduces inflammation and pain-related behaviours in a rat model of arthritis. European Journal of Pain, 20(6):936-48.
9. Malfait, A.M., Gallily, R., Sumariwalla, P.F., Malik, A.S., Andreakos, E., Mechoulam, R., and Feldmann, M. (2000, August). The nonpsychoactive cannabis constituent cannabidiol is an oral anti-arthritic therapeutic in murine collagen-induced arthritis. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 97(17), 9561–9566.
10. Zurier, R.B., Burstein, S.H. (2016, July) Cannabinoids, inflammation, and fibrosis. The FASEB Journal, 30:3682–3689.
11. Russo EB (2004, April) Clinical endocannabinoid deficiency (CECD): can this concept explain therapeutic benefits of cannabis in migraine, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome and other treatment-resistant conditions? Neuro Endocrinol Letters, 25(1-2):31-9.
12. Ethan B. Russo (2016, July) Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency Reconsidered: Current Research Supports the Theory in Migraine, Fibromyalgia, Irritable Bowel, and Other Treatment-Resistant Syndromes. Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, 1;1(1):154-165.
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