I am sure many of you are beginning to hear about CBD (Cannabidiol). It is one of approximately 70 Cannabinoids, the most famous being THC. CBD is an amazing compound and I will have many future blogs about the non-psychoactive properties of CBD, but also how it can and will be used to treat chronic pain, anxiety and other mood disorders, as well as being a neuro-protectant and a very help anti-cancer drug. For today, let’s talk about CBD’s value in treating chronic pain.
CBD works against pain primarily in the peripheral nervous system. It does not work like typical pain meds by effecting the central nervous system; it works at the neuro-synapse. When we sustain injuries, often the pain is acute and disappears completely. Other times we have persistent or intermittent pain, but it is still not that big of a deal. However, with many disorders the pain is either part of the underlying problem itself (Multiple Sclerosis, Rheumatoid Disease, etc ) or the pain becomes a syndrome of it’s own. In other words, the pain takes on a life of it’s own and is now crippling the patient. A certain level of pain is of course protective, but we all know the difference.
In a recent Scientific American article, chronic pain and CBD are discussed in a very creative way that fits with my clinical experience. When an injury takes place, increased Glial cell production forms around the neuro junctions. These Glial cells produce Cytokines which are chemical transmitters spreading inflammation and signaling pain. When a molecule of CBD binds to the Glial cell, the cytokine production decreases and the patient feels a marked decrease in pain. This would also explain why some patients have pain relief that lasts way beyond the theoretical effect of the CBD.
I suppose we are all just a bit low on CBD; but there is a cure.