Pain and inflammation are tell-tale signs that something isn’t right in our body.
And while they are very common symptoms, pain and inflammation can be difficult to treat, especially when they become chronic.
Luckily, CBD gummies can help.
Read on for a detailed look at how CBD gummies can help curb inflammation and pain.
Understanding the Role of Pain and Inflammation in the Body
Before we look at CBD in particular, it’s important you understand that pain and inflammation aren’t inherently negative symptoms.
Both pain and inflammation are mechanisms designed to help us detect injury and protect ourselves.
Acute nociceptive pain (like the kind you feel after stubbing your toe, for example), sends a very clear message to your brain that a certain part of the body is injured and needs protection.
When we feel this kind of sharp, acute pain, our first instinct is to protect the affected area and take the necessary steps to avoid any further injury.
Inflammation plays a similarly important role in the body:
When we get injured, our body’s inflammatory responses help fight off pathogens and bacteria that could possibly cause further injury and infection.
When you cut your finger, for example, you may notice the cut getting red and swollen over a couple of days before healing.
This is a sign that your body’s immune system has kicked into gear and is using its inflammatory responses to kill off any harmful bacteria around the cut.
The same happens when we get a cold or flu.
The telltale symptom like a runny nose, a sore throat, and clogged, stuffy sinuses are all caused by inflammation as the body fights off the cold/flu virus.
Most acute cases of inflammation and pain are no big deal and should resolve quickly once the underlying tissue damage or bacterial/viral threat has been dealt with.
Unfortunately, pain and inflammation can also become chronic, in which case they usually need to be treated with some kind of medical intervention.
When Pain and Inflammation become Chronic
Chronic pain and inflammation are serious symptoms that accompany a wide variety of conditions.
And while they might seem like simple symptoms, identifying the right cause and treatment of chronic pain and inflammation is challenging.
Below I’ll take a closer look at the complex nature of chronic pain and inflammation:
The Complexity of Chronic Pain
Pain can be diagnosed differently depending on the area it affects and the way a patient experiences it.
And even once it’s been correctly diagnosed, identifying the underlying cause of a patient’s pain can still be challenging.
In fact, some kinds of pain have no clear underlying cause at all.
Fibromyalgia, for example, is a disease characterized by extreme pain sensitive and debilitating “flare-ups” of severe musculoskeletal pain with no detectable cause.
Some studies suggest that fibromyalgia could be caused by chemical imbalances that affect the way a person perceives and processes pain signals, but the medical community is still very much in the dark about the cause of this condition.
Countless other conditions can also cause chronic pain, and chronic pain is the single most common cause of long-term disability according to the US National Institute of Health.
And while it’s extremely common and a seemingly simple symptom, treating chronic pain can be very challenging.
That’s because there isn’t really one single case of chronic pain.
Instead, each patient can experience and process pain differently.
Similarly, every patient can have a different experience with the various pain treatments available to them.
What works for one person’s pain simply isn’t guaranteed to work for another patient.
Moreover, chronic pain signals tend to be more intense and less localized than the pain signals caused by an acute injury, making them only more difficult to treat.
An article for The Conversation, Professor Caudle from the Neuroscience Division at the University of Florida, explains that the body processes chronic pain signals in this way to make them seem more urgent.
“If there is a threat to survival, the increasing intensity and unpleasantness of pain serve a purpose,” writes Caudle.
“But if the pain signal persists from, let’s say, arthritis or an old injury, the increased intensity and unpleasantness is unwarranted. This is what we define as chronic pain.”
Chronic pain is a dense topic in the medical community.
To have a better understanding of how it works, check out some of the following resources:
Chronic Inflammation: The Root of Chronic Disease?
Chronic inflammation can have many different causes.
Sometimes it can be caused by a build-up of pathogens in the body that the body cannot process or breakdown.
This can happen in people who eat a lot of processed foods, for example.
Highly processed foods contain compounds that the body doesn’t know how to process and can trigger inflammatory responses.
Diets rich in processed foods can increase the concentration of these compounds, leading to a constant state of inflammation that can lead to other serious conditions, such as insulin deficiency and type 2 diabetes.
Sometimes, however, chronic inflammation can be caused by unregulated immune responses.
This is believed to be the main cause of the chronic inflammation caused by Crohn’s Disease, for example.
In Crohn’s Disease, patients can develop ulcers on the inside of the small and large intestine (particularly in the ileum and cecum).
The immune system, in turn, fights off pathogens in the area, causing the area to become inflamed.
Unfortunately, in Crohn’s Disease, the immune system isn’t able to turn itself off once the pathogens have been neutralized.
This leads to chronic inflammation around the ulcers, preventing them from healing and even leading to further tissue damage.
Chronic inflammation can also be caused by autoimmune conditions, like rheumatoid arthritis for example.
In these cases, the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue, causing it to become inflamed.
There are many other conditions related to chronic inflammation.
In fact, there’s a growing body of research into the role of chronic inflammation as a cause of chronic diseases, rather than a symptom.
Some medical papers refer to this as the “inflammation theory of disease.”
Some sources even suggest that chronic inflammation could play a key role in the development of cancer, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and more.
For a more detailed look at chronic inflammation and its effects on health, make sure to check out the following resources:
How Chronic Pain/Inflammation affect Quality of Life
Besides being hard to diagnose and treat, chronic pain and inflammation can have a big impact on a person’s quality of life.
Studies show, for example, that over 85% of patients with chronic pain have difficulty sleeping.
Chronic sleep issues, as I’m sure you know, can lead to a wide variety of other health conditions.
Some sources suggest, for example, that long-term sleep deprivation can be a risk factor for obesity, hypertension, heart attacks and stroke, diabetes, and more.
People with chronic pain are also at a higher risk of developing depression and anxiety.
According to some sources, between 25-50% of people with pain also suffer from depression.
This isn’t surprising, seeing that chronic pain is far from just a physical condition.
Both chronic pain and inflammation take a huge toll on a person’s ability to live a normal life, which ultimately also affects their mental health.
CBD: Nature’s #1 Cure for Pain and Inflammation
Today, it’s hard to remain in the dark about the health benefits of CBD.
After all, this tiny compound has received a ton of media attention recently.
You’ve probably heard, for example, that CBD can help children with severe cases of epilepsy.
But did you know that CBD is also a natural analgesic and anti-inflammatory?
By activating the endocannabinoid system in very particular ways, CBD can help reduce all kinds of inflammation pain, all without producing any of the negative side-effects produced by regular pain medications/anti-inflammatories.
The Endocannabinoid System: A New Target for Pain and Anti-Inflammatory Therapy
To understand CBD and how it works, we need to understand the system that processes CBD and other cannabinoids once they are introduced into the body.
The endocannabinoid system is a kind of communications system made up of cannabinoid receptors (CB and CB2) and endocannabinoids anandamide and 2-AG.
When the human body produces endocannabinoids, they bind to these receptors and help regulate everything from mood and memory to appetite and metabolism.
The endocannabinoid system also plays a key role in regulating inflammation and pain.
Hence, it’s become an interesting target for new pain and anti-inflammatory treatments.
And while CBD doesn’t actually bind to either cannabis receptor (unlike THC, which binds to CB1 receptors), studies show that it can indirectly activate the endocannabinoid system and thereby offer fast, effective relief from pain and inflammation.
CBD Fights Inflammation by Inhibiting COX Enzymes
You may have heard of COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes before.
Both enzymes produce chemical compounds known as prostaglandins that help protect our body against pathogens.
COX-1 prostaglandins mainly help with blood clotting and protect the lining of our stomach and intestines.
COX-2 enzymes, on the other hand, produce prostaglandins that trigger inflammatory responses.
In cases of chronic inflammation, temporarily inhibiting the COX-2 enzyme and its production of prostaglandins can help reduce the kind of harmful inflammation that characterizes conditions like IBD, rheumatoid arthritis, and more.
This is essentially how non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen work.
Unfortunately, these drugs produce serious side-effects because they also block COX-1.
These side effects include gastrointestinal ulcers, liver and kidney problems, heartburn, headaches, dizziness, high blood pressure, and much more, making them far from safe for people who need regular, daily relief.
That’s where CBD comes in:
Studies show that, just like NSAIDs, CBD and other cannabinoids can inhibit COX enzymes and their ability to produce inflammatory prostaglandins.
In 2011, for example, a study published in the Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin examined 6 phytocannabinoids from cannabis and their effects on COX enzymes.
The cannabinoids tested where THC, CBD, CBG, as well as their acidic precursors THCA, CBDA, and CBGA.
All of the compounds were shown to inhibit COX-2 enzymes and their production of inflammatory prostaglandins.
An earlier study, published in 2008 in the journal Drug Metabolism and Disposition, specifically tested the anti-inflammatory effects of CBDA, the acidic precursor to CBD found in high concentrations in fresh cannabis and hemp.
The study specifically compared the effects of CBDA to those of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana that makes us feel high.
It found that CBDA was able to selectively inhibit COX-2 activity by up to 50%.
THC, on the other hand, was far less effective as an anti-inflammatory agent and was also less selective (meaning it inhibited both COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes).
In 2014, some of the authors of this study published a follow-up paper in The Journal of Toxicological Sciences.
This time, the authors tested the anti-inflammatory effects of CBDA on specific breast cancer cells.
COX-2 enzymes, despite playing a key role in inflammation, also directly affect the metastasis of breast cancer cells.
The study found that CBDA helped down-regulate COX-2 enzymes and their production.
The authors of the study also mentioned that CBDA could help suppress genes that aid in the metastasis of breast cancer cells.
CBD can Reduce Inflammation by Modulating the Immune System
As I mentioned earlier, a lot of chronic inflammatory conditions are caused by an overactive immune system.
Luckily, CBD can help calm this kind of autoimmune inflammation as well.
Studies show that CBD is the most effective of all the cannabinoids in suppressing Interleukin 2.
Interleukin 2 is a type of protein made by white blood cells and can be used in a clinical setting to boost the immune system when need be.
By suppressing Interleukin 2, CBD can help suppress the immune system and thereby reduce autoimmune inflammation like that caused by conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, autoimmune pancreatitis, Crohn’s Disease, and more.
Studies also show that CBD can suppress the production of Interferon, or IFN, a type of signaling protein produced by white blood cells in the presence of a virus.
Both interleukin 2 and IFN are classified as cytokines, a special group of proteins that help regulate the immune system.
Cytokines are used by immune cells in order to communicate and mediate their defenses in order to fight off pathogens that threaten the body.
Some of the symptoms we experience when we’re sick, such as muscle pains, fever, a runny nose, sore throat, and congestion are all caused by our immune system producing more cytokines in order to fight off a viral or bacterial infection.
Suppressing the immune system and its production of some of these cytokines can potentially help protect the body from the damage of constant inflammation.
CBD can Help Reduce Pain via 5-HT1A Serotonin Receptors
Serotonin, sometimes called the “feel good” or “happiness” hormone, is a neurotransmitter that affects everything from mood to motor skills.
Recently, researchers are exploring the role of this neurotransmitter in chronic pain.
Some research, for example, suggests that serotonin imbalances could be the cause of fibromyalgia.
More specifically, research suggests that boosting serotonin levels can alleviate pain flare-ups and heightened pain sensitivity in fibromyalgia patients.
Hence, supplements that increase serotonin levels or help regulate serotonin imbalances may be attractive treatment options for chronic pain conditions.
In doing so, CBD can lower pain sensations, improve sleep, lower symptoms of anxiety and depression, all of which are problems for patients with chronic pain.
Beat Chronic Pain and Inflammation with CBD Gummies
In this article, I’ve taken a detailed look at the anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties of CBD.
If you or a loved one is looking for a natural, effective way to relieve chronic pain and inflammation without the harsh side effects associated with NSAIDs and other medications, I highly recommend trying CBD.
More specifically, I recommend looking into CBD gummies and chews.
While there are many different ways to take CBD, I really like gummies because they offer a slow, long-lasting release of CBD via the digestive system.
While I don’t suffer from chronic pain or inflammation, I definitely use CBD to treat acute cases of both of these symptoms.
Plus, I’ve also seen CBD work wonders for my father-in-law, Reggie, who suffers from chronic inflammation and pain from arthritis.
While Reggie uses a variety of CBD products, he also specifically likes gummies and chews for their slow release and long-lasting symptoms.
To learn more about the benefits of CBD gummies, make sure to check out some of the reviews on my homepage.
Also, make sure to keep reading my blog for more general information about the benefits of CBD.