Pain is an important sensation our body uses to protect itself. Although it may sound wonderful to not feel pain, the physical existence of biological life depends on it. Research has shown us two primary types of pain: nociceptive – pain caused by damage to body tissue (stubbed toe, burnt hand, pulled muscle) and chronic – pain resulting from dysfunction of the nervous system, such as damage to nerve cells, often caused by an initial injury or by disorders such as shingles, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Fibromyalgia, or diabetes.
Types of Pain and Our Endocannabinoid System
Nociceptive pain diminishes as an injury heals, while chronic pain can continue even after tissue healing has finished. Although we are still learning the intricacies of our nervous system and how it relates to pain, we do know about another system in our body that does help to manage pain, the endocannabinoid system or ECS. Research (click here) suggests that the ECS is involved with regulation of feeding behavior, drug addiction, mood, and anxiety, learning and memory and managing our body’s pain levels.
The ECS involves four main components: cannabinoid receptors, endocannabinoids, transport proteins and enzymes involved in either the synthesis or breakdown of endocannabinoids.
CBD + Our ECS
Research into use of the endocannabinoid system for pain management is ongoing, but one emerging treatment has been the use of CBD topicals. CBD works within the ECS to help manage pain, by utilizing our existing cannabinoid receptors. Topicals do not cross into the blood stream but are absorbed by our skin to react with our ECS.
Much more research is needed to continue understanding the benefits of CBD, but people with chronic pain are not waiting, as they seek alternatives to NSAIDS or opioids for pain management.