Pain is a complex condition. Even though nobody wants to be in pain, pain does serve an important function: to signal to your brain via your nervous system that there may be something wrong within your body. While pain can help identify an immediate or ongoing problem, it can also become the problem, particularly when it is chronic.
There are several types of pain including Nociceptive pain often stemming from injury; neuropathic or nerve pain; and inflammatory pain that can be caused by an overactive immune system. Inflammation can be a feature of the various types of pain and can be a culprit in an increased feeling of pain or in ongoing or chronic pain while, at the same time, is part of your body’s healing process. How is that possible?
Inflammation mostly occurs when your white blood cells release chemicals into your bloodstream or into your body tissue in order to send blood flow into the injured area. While the reason for the blood flow is to promote healing, the immediate result can be redness, heat, swelling and pain.
If you’ve ever experienced chronic pain, such as from a workout injury, your healthcare provider may have recommended that you temporarily take larger doses of a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) ibuprofen in order to break the pain cycle. Breaking the pain cycle can potentially give your nervous system a chance to work on healing without the distraction of pain.
Cannabidiol or CBD and Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol or THC in topicals and tinctures could address both irritating inflammation and a chronic pain cycle. Addressing inflammation could potentially fill the gap between treating localized pain and reducing the deeper inflammation that tends to aggravate that pain. CBD has been found to reduce different kinds of pain and inflammation. (1,2, 4,5) THC has been found to have analgesic effects (2,3) or a reduction in the perception of pain (6,7), while also contributing to inflammation reduction. (8)
The combination of THC and CBD taken internally, with drops or capsules, could potentially address systemic or internal inflammation while also addressing pain. The ratio of CBD to THC can produce different effects. Understanding ratios helps you to choose the most relevant ratio. Here’s what some ratios could mean:
18:1 - 18 parts CBD to 1 part THC. With a higher CBD content compared to the THC content, this ratio tends to be low on psychoactivity and may be a good starting point for someone new to CBD or THC.
b8 parts CBD to 1 part THC which is more of a mid-range amount of CBD to low THC. Again, the CBD content dominates the THC content for a tempering effect that minimizes overt psychoactivity.
4:1 - 4 parts CBD to 1 part THC. This ratio still has a CBD content higher than the THC, also in the mid-range, but the THC will produce a little more pronounced psychoactive effects.
2:1 - 2 parts CBD to 1 part THC. There could be more overt psychoactivity depending on a person’s THC tolerance level since this ratio contains less CBD to temper the THC.
1:1 - 1 part CBD to 1 part THC. This ratio will produce more of an overall psychoactivity and may be better suited for a person with a higher tolerance to THC.
Because pain relief is complex, the use of CBD with THC can be part of an overall approach to pain management. In combination, CBD and THC could reduce the perception or sensation of pain while reducing the inflammation, providing both relief and an opportunity for repair.
- The Effectiveness of Topical Cannabidiol Oil in Symptomatic Relief of Peripheral Neuropathy of the Lower Extremities (Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology)
- Cannabinoids in the management of difficult to treat pain (Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management)
- The analgesic effect of oral delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), morphine, and a THC-morphine combination in healthy subjects under experimental pain conditions (Pain)
- Cannabidiol: A Brief Review of Its Therapeutic and Pharmacologic Efficacy in the Management of Joint Disease (Cureus Journal of Medical Science)
- Cannabinoids and Pain: New Insights From Old Molecules (Frontiers in Pharmacology)
- Delta‐9-THC based monotherapy in fibromyalgia patients on experimentally induced pain, axon reflex flare, and pain relief (Current Medical Research and Opinion)
- Cannabinoid Analgesia as a Potential New Therapeutic Option in the Treatment of Chronic Pain (Annals of Pharmacotherapy)
- Prostaglandins and cannabis. II. Inhibition of biosynthesis by the naturally occurring cannabinoids (Biochemical Pharmacology)