As recent stories about the extent of the opioid crisis in the United States make clear, Americans are in a world of hurt.A recent government study found that approximately one in five US adults suffers from chronic pain. Click To Tweet
For 8% of the population, that pain is so severe it interferes with their ability to work or live a normal life.
Fortunately, there are natural ways to deal with pain. One of the most promising is hemp and its best-known extract, CBD.
Hitting the Pain Off Switch
CBD and the other beneficial substances in hemp, known collectively as phytocannabinoids, act in a manner similar to the body’s own endocannabinoids, or endocannabinoid system (ECS). Cells contain endocannabinoid receptors; this allows the ECS to act as a master switchboard, helping to keep the body in a healthy state of balance.
Things don’t always run smoothly, however. Endocannabinoid deficiency can occur for reasons ranging from stress to poor diet.
Researchers believe that deficiencies in the ECS are linked to fibromyalgia, migraines and other painful conditions. Poor ECS function may also account for ongoing low-level inflammation, a contributing factor in arthritis and overall achiness.
That’s where hemp comes in. CBD and the other phytocannabinoids can fit into the ECS receptors on cells in joints and other tissues, which helps to regulate the perception of pain. What’s more, hemp affects the activities of other receptors and enzymes as well, enhancing its effectiveness.
Phytocannabinoids have been found to ease mild to moderate pain, especially when inflammation is present. Hemp may even help reduce the need for the kinds of powerful painkillers that can foster drug dependency.
Hemp and Friends
One principle of natural medicine is that plant-based compounds work best when used with other complementary therapies, and that holds true for hemp phytocannabinoids.
India’s Ayurveda has long used boswellia, a tree resin, to support healthy blood flow to the joints. Today, we know it is a potent anti-inflammatory agent.
In a similar manner, turmeric has been a staple in both Ayurvedic medicine and Indian cooking for thousands of years; its main compound, curcumin, is also an inflammation fighter with cardio- and neuroprotective effects. Longvida is a patented form of optimized curcumin; in one study published earlier this year, Longvida was able to ease symptoms of knee arthritis as well as ibuprofen (Journal of Inflammation Research).
AmLexin, another patented formulation, combines extracts from white mulberry and acacia, both of which help fight inflammation. AmLexin has shown an ability to reduce cartilage breakdown and post-exercise muscle soreness.
A hemp-based pain formula should provide a full spectrum of phytocannabinoids. In addition to substances that help ease discomfort and inflammation, it should also contain substances that promote hemp absorption and support the endocannabinoid system.
Chronic pain can rob life of much of its joy. But hemp and CBD have shown the ability to help people push past the hurt.