How does CBD help manage pain?
We hear about people using CBD for sleep all the time. But how? If CBD isn’t a sedative, how do people use it to improve their rest?
The Endocannabinoid System
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) impacts our body’s homeostasis: our inner physiological balance. It helps regulate many vital functions, like appetite, mood, sleep, memory, and reproduction.
Research shows CBD and other cannabinoids interact with the ECS, binding to receptors throughout the body that influence important communication between different systems.
Even though people use CBD for sleep, the compound is not a sedative. In fact, it’s also popular for alertness, mental clarity, and chronic fatigue.
Poor sleep and fatigue is linked to stress and numerous health conditions. With how CBD influences the body’s stress response and immune system, people often use it to pinpoint what’s preventing relaxation. It makes sense sleep comes more easily after removing those factors.
Physical issues now linked to anxiety include:
- Nausea & digestive troubles
- Muscular tension & contractions
- Heart rate
- Blood pressure
- Migraines and headaches
- Chronic pain
Research shows CBD activates the 5-HT1A serotonin receptor, well-known for reducing anxiety. This receptor also influences addiction, appetite, sleep, pain perception, vomiting, and nausea.
Further study shows CBD impacts serotonin flow, reducing stimulation of the vomiting center in the brain.
Most lesions include nerve growth and pain. Some people deal with an even higher, more painful density of nerves.
The ECS helps regulate nerve growth, and CB1 receptors are found on the nerves innervating lesions. Interfering with nerve innervation can prevent receptor activation and future painful growths.
The ECS plays a big role in the reproductive tract. The endometrium has a significant source of cannabinoids, and AEA levels are high in the uterus.
Endocannabinoids are involved in regulating/preventing cell-migration. Research explores CBD and its ability to block the activation of the GPR18 receptor. GPR18 receptor activation can lead to migrating, nutrient-sucking cells.
Those with menstrual disorders like endometriosis, fibroids, PCOS, or ovarian cysts are turning to CBD more for relief.
CBD binds to the TRPV1 receptor, which controls pain perception, body temperature, and inflammation.
Activation of this receptor is common in the treatment of headaches and migraines. When CBD binds to TRPV1, it can influence pain perception and headaches caused by restricted blood vessels.
Research furthermore suggests many chronic migraine sufferers have clinical endocannabinoid deficiency.
Muscle and back pain
CBD is often used as a relaxant and antispasmodic for muscle spasms. It’s also regularly used as an anti-inflammatory. Some muscle and back pain is caused by spasms and other conditions. Sometimes it’s caused by inflammation, whether from nutrition, poor posture, stress, or more.
All of these issues can be very painful during the day and night. Severe pain is one of the most popular thieves of rest and sleep.
Other conditions associated with lack of sleep include thyroid disorders, heart disease, arthritis, gastrointestinal disorders, Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis, restless legs, anxiety, depression, and hormonal issues.
Research is exploring the use of cannabinoids for many of the above and more.
CBD and the Nervous System
CBD for anxiety is nothing new.
Anxiety preventing sleep is also nothing new. Who hasn’t lied awake at night worrying?
A constant state of anxiety puts the body’s nervous system into “fight-or-flight”, known as our sympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system activates our adrenal gland, releasing hormones into the blood. This accelerates and tenses our body, making it alert. Non-essential systems like digestion and immunity partially shut down, while that energy directs to the muscles and heart.
Our body does this as protection from danger. However, people with anxiety and repetitive stress can remain in this state. This could be caused by a number of factors, such as C/PTSD, chronic illness, and other health issues.
The nervous system has cannabinoid receptors in the brain and spine, controlling the release of neurotransmitters. Many studies explore CBD’s ability to connect to the parasympathetic nervous system. This is known as “rest or digest”, where we feel safe and can properly digest & absorb nutrients.
Receptors are also scattered throughout the body’s ECS, including the immune system, reproductive system, digestive tract, and many major organs.
This means people not only use it for nervous system regulation, but for the many symptoms and conditions associated with anxiety.
Countless studies explore the use of CBD and these issues. Many users find relief.
The conditions and factors affecting rest can seem endless.
But so do the potentials of CBD.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.