In the wake of over 200,000 overdose deaths since 1999 related to the use or misuse of opioid-based drugs, the medical community has actively sought safer alternatives for treating their patients. Dr. Grewal is one of those.
Chronic pain is a condition that affects millions of Americans. It can lead to lost mobility, the inability to work or to conduct normal lives, and in some cases can result in permanent disability. Traditionally, powerful pain-relieving medications were prescribed to alleviate the pain patients experienced. However, in light of the potential dangers and high potential for abuse of these drugs, the pain management field of medicine is ready to investigate new alternatives. CBD oil may be one of those alternatives.
What is CBD Oil and How Does it Work?
One of the emerging alternatives to dangerous opioid-based prescription medications is that of CBD oil, or an oil derived from cannabis. There are hundreds of active chemical compounds in cannabis – a class referred to as cannabinoids — but the two receiving the most attention are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). THC is the psychoactive compound that creates feelings of euphoria, leading to the “high” desired by recreational marijuana users. CBD, on the other hand, is not psychoactive, and has been shown to reduce the severity and duration of pain in limited clinical trials. CBD does not appear to be beneficial in acute pain settings, but for chronic pain, it shows great promise as an alternative to opioid medications. Cannabis strains high in CBD content are being bred specifically for medical applications, and these strains have demonstrated their effectiveness both in the United States and abroad.
As patients experience chronic pain for successive months, physiological and chemical changes begin to take place in their bodies. Among these changes is the creation of specific chemical receptors. This has far-reaching implications for the pain management field. Receptors for cannabinoids increase, thereby improving the response to the analgesic effects of CBD. Pain which originates in the nervous system, called neuropathic pain, is especially responsive to CBD. Patients afflicted with neuralgia, strokes, multiple sclerosis, and a host of other pain conditions report a significant reduction in pain, both in the level of pain as well as its duration. Medical professionals, including those in the pain management and interventional pain treatment fields, believe that CBD-based pain medications may serve best as an alternative when conventional therapies have not produced the desired results, or in cases where the harmful effects of opioids outweigh their potential for mitigating pain.
Should I Try CBD Oil?
The answer to this question lies within each patient and his or her care plan developed with professional medical help. In general, however, it is useful to understand that the exact mechanisms of CBD and their effect on chronic pain are poorly understood by the medical community. Cannabis has been excluded from research for many years, and medical science is only now gaining the ability to investigate the chemical compounds in cannabis and their ultimate effects on conditions like chronic pain. As more science is conducted, a clearer understanding will be achieved.
It is also useful to know that CBD oil has been shown to be surprisingly safe. As an alternative to powerful drugs that have a high potential for abuse and for overdose complications, CBD oil may represent a safer path forward. Patients wishing to try CBD oil to overcome chronic pain should still seek the guidance and recommendation from their physician, but in general, CBD oil is safe and well-tolerated by most individuals.