Doping and drugs have always had a bad reputation among the general public, and that’s why people usually get a lot of questions after hearing about cannabis strains in oils, gels or creams.
This mystery product is generally called CBD oil, and it has been on the news lately, slowly becoming a trend on the internet. However, does it really work? Is there any authoritative study to back it up? Is it legal?
Which one is the best strain for arthritis?
The controversial substance CBD in many flavors…
Cannabis or marijuana are both popular names we usually give to a naturally growing plant called Cannabis Sativa. This wonderful herb has small glands called trichomes, which contain a substance called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). However, the same plant has many different varieties. Some of them contain more THC than others, and some of them contain more Cannabidiol (CBD) than THC.
That’s why we have Hemp oil, cannabis oil, and CBD oil, which are not necessarily the same thing. But which one is the best for arthritis pain? To understand the answer to that question, we will make a contrast between THC and CBD first, and then we will compare the different strains we have available in order to make an educated choice. Here is what Harvard Research has shown about CBD.
THC vs. CBD
THC and CBD are both cannabinoids, which are substances found in cannabis adding up to the effect we feel if we get high on marijuana. However, not all cannabinoids work the same magic, and by understanding each of them, we might be able to choose which type of cannabis to cultivate or select depending on its therapeutic applications.
First off, let’s start by saying that THC is the substance behind most of the psychoactive properties of cannabis. In other words, THC is the one that gets you high. THC is received by two different receptors in the brain: CB-1 and CB-2. CB-1 has a very potent influence on appetite, memory, focus, and the sensation of pleasure. CB-2 inhibits pain and improves the function of certain organs such as the kidneys and liver. Thus, THC increases your appetite, makes you sleepy and gives that pleasant sensation that keeps people coming back.
Conversely, CBD is not psychoactive, which means it does not cause noticeable alterations in the central nervous system, but it contributes to the effect of cannabis by reducing the anxiety THC would usually cause by itself. It also reduces the memory problems THC would give you when it is consumed in a higher proportion. Outside of the brain, CBD has a strong anti-inflammatory potential, and it is the one component that would improve muscle and articular pain in arthritis and rheumatic diseases.
There are over a hundred cannabinoids in Cannabis sativa plants, such as cannabinol, cannabigerol, cannabichromene, and many others. However, THC and CBD are the most important for their psychoactive and anti-inflammatory effects respectively. So, if you want to relieve pain only without traveling to a distant world from your seat, you might want a higher proportion of CBD.
Cannabis, hemp, and CBD oil
You’re about to buy CBD oil, and you come across “Hemp oil,” “CBD oil” and “Cannabis oil.” Isn’t it the same thing? You might feel a bit confused when looking at the terms, which is why we want to make it clear for you. Cannabis and hemp are both the same plant species, but they are not the same thing. They are different strains.
In simple words, the one called Cannabis is simply marijuana, with all of the psychoactive effects of THC and the anti-inflammatory and anxiety-relieving effects of CBD. Instead, hemp oil is a very special type of Cannabis sativa that contains only traces of THC and much more CBD. Hemp is usually cultivated in industrial settings to create ointments, oils, and many other products, and it is the one people often use when trying to get the pain-relieving properties of cannabis.
However, you might come across CBD oil and CBD hemp oil, and it might get confusing at times. Which one is better? CBD oil only contains cannabidiol, and it is created by extracting CBD from hemp and adding up coconut oil or another carrier. But sometimes you might want to read the label through because the term CBD oil also applies to a CBD-dominant oil, one that has more CBD than THC but still has a trace amount of the latter.
Does it really work?
There’s a clear answer to that, and it is a resounding yes! There is enough scientific evidence to say that medical cannabis improves the pain in cancer patients and the musculoskeletal pain in fibromyalgia, both of them challenging medical conditions associated with pain.
As for arthritis pain, a study published in the European Journal of Pain showed that applying a topical gel with CBD improves the inflammation in arthritis and reduces the pain with no visible side effects. A more recent study from the Pain journal shows that local application of CBD in the articulations may also serve as a preventative measure to reduce the risk of nerve damage and progression of osteoarthritis.
The scientific evidence so far points out that herbal cannabis reduces joint pain, even when applied as a topical gel, oil or cream. It has been used for this purpose since very ancient times, and even if there’s more evidence and human trials to perform, the preclinical data available so far points out CBD is the best cannabinoid for arthritis pain. Possible side effects are nothing compared to the pain in arthritis, and they include diarrhea, appetite changes, weight changes, and tiredness, especially in cannabis oil and CBD oil with a considerable trace of THC.
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Philpott, H. T., O’brien, M., & McDougall, J. J. (2017). Attenuation of early phase inflammation by cannabidiol prevents pain and nerve damage in rat osteoarthritis. Pain, 158(12), 2442.
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