Choosing Pain Relief…Naturally. It’s easy to swallow a pill to stop arthritic pain…it’s too easy. A sip of water, a quick swallow, and a few minutes later there is relief. But it’s not the wisest way to handle pain, because one risks becoming dependant on medications to relieve discomfort. Then, before we know it, taking drugs to ease even mild discomfort has become a habit. And that’s not good for the body, the mind or the soul.What’s the best way for us to manage pain?
What’s the best way for us to manage our pain?
There are a lot of people who automatically turn to meds when their arthritis flares up. It’s understandable, in some ways; that is what 20th century medicine encouraged, and doctors were happy to oblige patients who needed help managing chronic pain. Hand over a prescription, the patient pops a pill, and the cycle continues.
But this is the 21st century, and much has changed about what we know about arthritic pain, and how people can deal with it without the use of prescription drugs. A lot of research has gone into the use of CBD – cannabidiols – to manage pain, and it is opening up a new world of treatment for patients, and new options for doctors seeking a way to help those patients without getting them dependant on habit-forming drugs.
The image of marijuana only as a recreational drug persists in our culture, and in society at large. Think of all the popular movies and TV shows that include “stoner” characters using bongs, rolling joints, and lolling around on couches like half-asleep fools. It’s no wonder that the idea of cannabis and its legitimate, medical benefits are still viewed so skeptically in some quarters.
But modern medical researchers are learning that cannabis – without the mind-altering ingredient THC – can offer an effective way to help your chronic joint pain. Many studies have been done in recent years that have shown that CBD can be a helpful way to ease people’s pain, whether it’s with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) or Osteoarthritis (OA). The former is an immune disease; the latter a disease of bone and cartilage disintegration. Either way, the person’s suffering is real, and using CBD cream or oil is a healthy alternative to traditional drugs.
How do CBD salves work?
CBD interacts with the brain – not by getting it “high” — but by changing the way it responds to pain. Usually CBD is available in an oil or powder, which is then used to make cream, or even mouth spray. The cream is then applied to the swollen, aching joint. Even the act of massaging it in can offer some relief, but the the real easing of pain comes when CBD filters into the body. One of the brain’s receptors – known as CB2 – plays a part in the way our immune systems work. Some researchers believe that when CBD enters the bloodstream through the skin, it attaches to those receptors and changes how we respond to pain.
While CBD is not psychoactive, it’s best to consult a doctor before using any product made with it. Not because it is risky – its side effects are minimal – but because it can replace traditional drugs as therapy. And that means stopping those meds slowly, rather than suddenly. Any person doing that needs to do so under the care of his or her physician.
CBD vs. pharmaceuticals
The chief downside of most medications that are commonly used to treat chronic RA and OA pain is dependency, and the collateral damage that dependency causes to the human body, to say nothing of the damage it causes to society as a whole. Being on pain meds like opiates, can damage the liver and kidneys, in particular, but all the major organs, really. If we can use a cream instead, one that gives us true relief from chronic pain, why would we not explore that option?
People as a whole have a tendency to resist change, to want to stay with what they find familiar, and what they know works for them. But CBD is offering, potentially, a whole new world of natural pain management. Medical practitioners, the public who are their patients, and governments – local, state and federal – have to find the will to make changes for the benefit of everyone. CBD may offer patients a way of managing pain at a lower cost, and not just cost to their bank accounts; to their bodies and spirits and minds, too.
CBD is legal in nearly all 50 states, and knowing the laws where you live is an important piece of the puzzle no matter where you live. And like all big changes you hope to make in your life, it’s one that should be thoroughly researched and explored before you commit to it.
Is CBD a legitimate alternative to prescription medication?
CBD has the potential to solve the pervasive problems that often come along with people using drugs to manage pain. If they would be better off turning to a natural substance, a natural product, for relief, why wouldn’t we look to CBD for relief? Doing so just makes good medical, economic and societal sense. And that means that we are all better off.