If you’ve gotten in the habit of using over-the-counter painkillers, you’ve probably heard all the warnings that come along with the habit. The FDA and health officials have been warning us for over two decades that ibuprofen use is associated with increased risk of heart attack, stroke, clotting, dehydration, kidney problems, and stomach ulcers.
So it makes sense that athletes and those with long term health conditions are turning away from ibuprofen and opting for CBD-based treatments. Many want to know: just how effective is CBD at treating pain and inflammation? Additionally, are there any long term side effects associated with CBD use?
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol, better known as CBD, is one out of over one hundred different cannabinoids that constitute hemp and cannabis plants. Before you ask – no, CBD is not the same as THC at all. In fact, CBD itself has no potential to get you high or drug-dependent and can even mitigate the risk of drug abuse.
CBD oils are a highly-concentrated form of the CBD gathered from the cannabis resin on hemp flower buds. Aside from oils, there are many different kinds of CBD products available on the market: tinctures, drinks, gummies, topical creams, and even protein powder.
Can CBD Relieve Pain Better Than Painkillers?
Both cannabis and hemp have been used for centuries as nutritional foods and natural pain relievers. Some communities in Central Asia and Africa, where hemp grows naturally, have configured hemp-derived extracts in their medical health practices for over one thousand years.
CBD acts very distinctly from traditional painkillers. Ibuprofen inhibits the release of chemical compounds in the body that respond to injury and infection sites. Though this pain reliever is almost immediately effective, it ultimately inhibits the activity of very important enzymes (COX-1 and COX-2) in a way that can cause a whole host of long term health effects.
By contrast, CBD functions by binding to receptor sites along the endocannabinoid system, also known as the ECS. The ECS is a regulatory body in every mammal on earth, working to promote homeostasis in a diverse set of biological functions.
Cannabinoids like CBD can modulate the release of inflammatory compounds right at the source of production – the ECS. Even better, CBD binds to sites in both the brain and the peripheral nervous system, helping to stabilize mood and reduce anxiety in addition to reducing pain-causing inflammation.
Researchers are now studying the effects of CBD for use in long term, chronic conditions like arthritis, cluster migraines, neuropathy, and other autoimmune disorders. Unlike ibuprofen, CBD can actually decrease high blood pressure and work synergistically with the whole body.
Are There Any Side Effects of Regular CBD Use?
Some users experience side effects from regular CBD use that include nausea, dizziness, vomiting, diarrhea, and excess fatigue. Typically, this is because the user is routinely using too large of a dose beyond the therapeutic threshold.
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