The older you get, the more the daily bumps and bruises stick with you. It’s true for everyone, and sooner or later most people look for some form of regular pain control for those bad days. Sometimes it’s arthritis in the hands or other joints that pops up after years of activity, other times it’s in the knees or even in recurring headaches. Often, especially for those with chronic pain conditions, it moves from site to site, and the best treatment is one that can knock down your discomfort no matter how it pops up.
In recent years, there has been a lot of buzz around the use of cannabis products to control pain, both acute and chronic. THC and CBD are the two molecules that have been linked the most to pain treatment. Independently, they each provide pain dampening, but in different ways. When used together, they tend to work synergistically, but not all patients find that useful. For some, the side effects associated with THC are undesirable enough that partial pain control is preferable. For others, CBD alone can provide enough relief, allowing them to save THC for recreational use or forego it altogether. If you’re considering cannabis products for pain, there are a few good reasons to use CBD at least part-time, even if THC tends to provide greater relief for your specific combination of pain and body chemistry.
1. CBD Moderates the Euphoria From THC
One of the reasons THC is often undesirable for full-time pain relief is the euphoria associated with its effects. While relaxing with some extra THC onboard can help muscles loosen up while treating pain with its main therapeutic effects, it also changes your judgment and provides a high that is inappropriate to most work environments, as well as many situations where you need to be clearheaded and sure of your choices. CBD moderates those effects, meaning you can use a light dose of THC while experiencing more control over the side effects if you need to do so. Since the two molecules are more effective when combined, it might reduce the amount of CBD you need in a single dose as well.
2. CBD Does Not Cause Intoxication
Used on its own, cannabidiol provides fairly powerful pain relief without any of the euphoria or other signs of intoxication associated with THC. Some users do describe a light sedative feeling, but it is usually characterized as very mild. Most of the time, user reports indicate it is a feeling of strong relaxation but not drowsiness or fatigue. Some people report it makes sleep easier, so it is also used quite a bit by insomnia patients. While there’s always the possibility someone could have an extreme reaction to it, it would likely be due to an allergy and not a property of CBD’s effects.
3. CBD Does Not Show Up on Drug Tests
In many areas, using THC even medicinally requires a lot of documentation, because most of the country doesn’t have legalized recreational cannabis. Even in some areas where medical access is easily obtained, patients may not want to disclose certain aspects of their health or strategies for maintaining it to employers. Unfortunately, current labor law allows employers to test for cannabis even in areas where it is recreationally legal, and to choose to end relationships with employees who use it. When cannabis is tested for, it is THC, the intoxicating substance, that drug tests are concerned with.
Other cannabinoids can also show up in people taking federally legal hemp-based health supplements or people who consume other plants with cannabinoid chemicals, like tea or hops. Since they don’t cause a high and they’re often present in people who don’t use cannabis at all, it doesn’t make sense to test for them. CBD is one of these cannabinoids, and as such it can be used in extract form without tripping a standard employment drug test. That makes it a safer option for many people who are trying to control pain specifically for the purpose of being able to do more work more consistently.
Additional Uses for CBD
In addition to pain control and insomnia, CBD has been used by some people to treat inflammation and the joint stiffness that comes with it. Chronic fatigue patients also report it has a role in reducing fatigue, which can result in an odd feeling of being slightly sedated but also more energetic than before using it. More and more research is being done into other uses for CBD, but people treating pain alongside one of these other conditions should really think about the benefits of adding it to their routine.