Cannabidiol, commonly sold as CBD hemp oil, is the major non-psychoactive component of cannabis and the major chemical component of hemp that has many medical benefits. CBD popped onto the map when it stopped an epileptic seizure on national television. Since then, researchers have been studying all the benefits of this plant-based chemical. Cannabidiol is a growing contender in new treatments, such as anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anxiolytic, antidepressant, antipsychotic, and even neuroprotectant drugs.
Instead of simply documenting the positive effect of medical marijuana on chronically ill patients as in past AIDS studies, researchers are now able to isolate these chemicals and see how each counteracts different bodily imbalances. That said, medical researchers are still working to figure out exactly how and why cannabidiol has such a positive effect on the body. There have been numerous studies on cannabidiol in the past four decades, especially in the field of chronic inflammation and neuropathic pain.
CBD for Chronic Pain & Inflammation
What is GlyR Dysfunction & Neuropathic Pain?
GlyR is a glycine receptor that is the most widely distributed in the central nervous system. These receptors have an important role in neurotransmissions in the spinal cord and brainstem. This particular receptor is found on the surface of nerve cells concentrated in the spinal cord and the lower brain. Even though they’re not present in the nerves of limbs, the glycine receptors have a hand in neuropathic pain.
Neuropathic pain is pain caused by lasting damage or disease that affects the nervous system. This kind of nerve pain can also present as abnormal sensations or pain from non-painful stimulation. Descriptions of this type of pain range from stabbing or electric shocks to burning, coldness, and itching, because nerves are misfiring or sending incorrect signals. Central neuropathic pain can be found in people suffering from spinal cord injury, strokes, and multiple sclerosis. If the glycine receptors are damaged, they can send wrong messages along the nerves in the spine and motor control systems, causing tremors.
Treatment for neuropathic pain is slim, because many pain drugs don’t target the nervous system. Also, not all analgesic drugs are anti-inflammatory as well. Many traditional pharmaceuticals for pain are also highly addictive, which is troublesome for chronic pain patients. Without a lot of successful options, neuropathic pain can be difficult to treat. Sadly, only 40-60% of chronic neuropathic pain is partially relieved from the symptoms.
The current treatments for neuropathic pain are antidepressants, anticonvulsants, and lidocaine. Opioids can be helpful in treating neuropathic pain, but doctors don’t recommend it because of addiction dangers. The use of opioids in the U.S. has led to a new epidemic of opioid addiction. Because of this bleak prognosis for neuropathic pain, researchers are looking toward plant-based medicines like CBD hemp oil.
CBD & GlyR: A Study
Cannabidiol is the emerging new treatment option with lots of potential for many symptoms, but neuropathic pain is the newest focus of medical researchers. Because CBD has receptors in the nervous system and has been shown to support neurotransmitter function, researchers thought it would be prudent to observe the interactions between cannabidiol, the glycine receptors, and the nervous system.
This study tackles the task of narrowing down the benefits of cannabidiol in cases of chronic inflammation and neuropathic pain. Medical researchers examined the effects of CBD in the spinal cords of rats. The research showed CBD to significantly suppress chronic inflammatory and neuropathic pain. It also found that the rats never developed a tolerance to the dosage of cannabidiol. Scientists also discovered that the analgesic effects of cannabidiol aren’t correlated with how cannabinoids bond with CB1 and CB2 receptors. They’re also not correlated with psychoactive side effects. The analysis found a direct connection between CBD and A3 glycine receptors, because the analgesic effects weren’t present when the A3 glycine receptor was absent.
So what were the results for CBD, chronic pain and inflammation?
There are two main parts to this study. The first part is where the cannabidiol was tested on the spinal cords of rodents. The second part involved narrowing down what part of the neural system is directly affected by cannabidiol. To do this, they need to use knockout mice, which are rodents bred to lack certain receptors. In this case, the rodents tested were bred to lack glycine receptors. This means that scientists can know if CBD affects those receptors or not.
In the first part of this test, cannabidiol was administered systemically to rodents. The results of this part of the study showed that cannabidiol had positive effects in providing relief from the symptoms of chronic inflammatory and neuropathic pain. In addition to this exciting news, rodents also didn’t develop a tolerance to the drug. Researchers found no connection with cannabinoid receptors in the brain, the spinal cord, and all over the body. While this sounds like bad news, it only means that cannabinoids are being used in other receptors in the body such as neurotransmitter receptors for pain and, yep, our friends the glycine receptors.
The second part of the test narrowed down the exact explanation for those results. For this part of the test, researchers utilized mice that had been bred to lack certain receptors, called knockout mice. In this case, the mice lacked glycine receptors. When the cannabidiol was administered to these knockout mice, the analgesic effects were absent. Just as the scientists expected, this means that CBD was being used by the GlyR to calm the inflammatory response and neuropathic pain.
The ultimate conclusion is that cannabidiol can be a viable treatment for diseases involving glycine receptor (GlyR) dysfunction, resulting in anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects.
Cannabidiol doesn’t just suppress the symptoms of chronic inflammation and neuropathic pain. It’s an anti-inflammatory and a neuroprotectant. This means that cannabidiol works to repair the damage done by inflammation and protect the body’s neurons from firing the wrong signals. The best part about potentially using cannabidiol to treat these issues is that your body will never grow immune to the dosage.
There are more ways to get CBD as a supplement to treat many diseases. There are even drugs in the works today, such as Cannabinor, that are synthetic cannabidiol used to treat — you guessed it — neuropathic pain and chronic inflammation. Many synthetic cannabinoids are also used for nausea. However, you can also purchase CBD hemp oil online and take it just like any other vitamin supplement. Taken with Omega-3 fatty acids, CBD hemp oil can be very effective as an anti-inflammatory and analgesic treatment.