Does CBD Really Work for Pain?
The best way to understand the effects of CBD on your body is to know the basics of your body’s endocannabinoid system, or ECS. Opened in the 90s, ECS is a cellular level communication network. It is responsible for maintaining the homeostasis of all organs and physiological functions of the body, including resistance to stress, mood, sleep, appetite, inflammatory balance, and pain modulation.
The ECS consists of cannabinoids, cannabinoid receptors, and specific enzymes. Cannabinoids can be produced by the body (called endocannabinoids) or administered from plants. The latter are called phytocannabinoids. CBD is just one of over 100 cannabinoids found in the hemp plant.
Each cannabinoid interacts with the body differently; THC is thought to bind directly to your cannabinoid receptors, so it can have psychoactive effects.
Researchers are still working to understand how CBD interacts with cannabinoid receptors. Modern theories1 CBD is thought to inhibit the breakdown of the body’s natural cannabinoids.
This is important because low levels of cannabinoids have been linked to various health problems, including migraines. (Read more about endocannabinoid deficiency here.)
External factors such as nutritional deficiencies, stress, and environmental toxins can cause low cannabinoid levels. For example, stress causes the body to produce an enzyme that breaks down cannabinoids.
Administering phytocannabinoids is a helpful way to support your body’s natural levels of cannabinoids so that it continues to perform at its best, which means supporting your body’s inflammatory response.
Of course, we’re still in the early stages of truly understanding how CBD helps manage pain, and the science (and theories) are sure to evolve as research continues.