Cannabidiol (CBD) is a chemical compound made from cannabis. CBD isn’t psychoactive, unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the other famous byproduct of marijuana.
CBD is thought to activate serotonin receptors, and plays a role in pain perception, maintaining body temperature, and reducing inflammation. It also breaks down a chemical in the brain that affects mood and mental function. This reduces psychoactive symptoms.
These benefits are what make CBD an appealing alternative treatment for pain disorders.
It’s important to note that CBD isn’t yet approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a regulated treatment option.
Cannabidiol products are used for the therapeutic benefits without experiencing psychoactive symptoms of medical marijuana. However, it can sometimes be difficult to find a product that only has CBD without THC. In this case, cannabis products that have both CBD and THC can still treat pain effectively.
You can consume CBD in a number of forms including:
- Smoking or vaping. If you want to relieve immediate pain, smoking CBD-rich cannabis is the quickest way to reduce symptoms. Effects can last up to three hours. Smoking or vaping allows you to directly inhale CBD from the cannabis plant, absorbing the chemical into your bloodstream and lungs.
- Edibles. Edibles are foods cooked with the cannabis plant, or cannabis-infused oil or butter. It will take longer to experience symptom relief, but the effects of edibles can last for up to six hours.
- Topicals. CBD cannabis oils can be infused into topical creams and balms to apply directly to the skin. These CBD products can be an effective option for reducing inflammation and helping with external pain.
- Oil extracts. Oils can be applied topically, taken orally, or dissolved under the tongue and absorbed in mouth tissues.
There may be respiratory risks to smoking or vaping marijuana. People with asthma or lung conditions shouldn’t use this method. You should also follow dosage instructions carefully, especially with edibles, to avoid negative side effects of taking too much.
Cannabidiol is thought to be safe with minimal side effects. However, some have noted experiencing the following symptoms after using CBD:
Researchers are still testing the effectiveness of CBD to treat chronic pain disorders and further research is needed. There are some success stories with using CBD as a treatment option, but it’s not FDA approved and research has yet to show us the long-term effects of CBD on the body.
Until the FDA approves this treatment, traditional fibromyalgia treatment is recommended.
If you decide to use CBD products for pain management, be sure to consult with a doctor first to help avoid harmful interactions with your current medications and treatments, along with negative side effects.
Is CBD Legal? Marijuana-derived CBD products are illegal on the federal level, but are legal under some state laws. Hemp-derived CBD products (with less than 0.3 percent THC) are legal on the federal level, but are still illegal under some state laws. Check your state's laws and those of anywhere you travel. Keep in mind that nonprescription CBD products are not FDA-approved, and may be inaccurately labeled.