The CBD industry is now on the roll. With over 30 US states legalizing medicinal marijuana, the CBD industry is believed to be worth somewhere over $200 million today, and reach as much as $1.8 billion by 2020. This trend is not without merit. Numerous scientific studies have shown the benefits of CBD and its equally many applications.
Being used in a wide range of applications, CBD can help treat various symptoms including anxiety, strokes, epileptic seizures, various psychotic disorders, high blood pressure, different pains, PTSD, liver injury, etc. What most people don’t know about CBD, however, is that it can be administered in more ways than only by ingesting it.
CBD for Joint and Muscle Pain Relief
Statistics show that nearly 50 million Americans over the age of 18 were diagnosed with arthritis between 2007 and 2009. That represents 22.2% or almost a quarter of the adult population. What’s more, that number is projected to reach 67 million by 2030.
The most effective treatment for rheumatoid arthritis is injectable fusion-proteins. But while these can halt the progression of the disease, some of their side-effects may include immune suppression and can even contribute to the severity of the inflammation or its reoccurrence.
It is, thus, no surprise that chronic pains and arthritis are among the most common uses for medicinal marijuana, particularly its active ingredient, cannabidiol (CBD.) Direct application of CBD to muscles and joints has been shown to reduce inflammation and other pain-related symptoms. What’s more, the research also concluded that CBD doesn’t have any adverse effects.
How CBD Works
CBD and other such cannabinoids work by attaching themselves to specialized receptors in the brain and immune system. The CB2 receptor, in particular, plays an essential role in the immune system by managing pain and inflammation. When CBD enters the body, it attaches itself to the CB2 receptor, also stimulating it to produce naturally-occurring cannabinoids, and help reduce pain and swelling.
CBD is available in several forms, including capsules, oral sprays, oils, or powders. The last two can be turned into gels, creams, and tinctures that people can apply to the skin of the area directly affected by arthritis. Since these are applied directly to the troubled region, they will have a much better effect than if it was administered orally – which is better for more general uses.
Tackling a Nationwide Epidemic
As most of us know, the United States is in the grips of a nationwide opioid epidemic. In 1992, there were 112 million opioid prescriptions dispensed by doctors, but that number doubled to more than 236 million in 2016.
Hydrocodone (Vicodin) and oxycodone (Percocet) are semi-synthetic opioids with a high addiction level. In 2016, alone, there were over 6.2 billion hydrocodone and 5 billion oxycodone pills sold, respectively. The International Narcotics Control Board said that Americans represent 99.7% of the entire world hydrocodone market.
What’s more, there were over 63,000 overdose deaths in the United States in 2016, 42,000 of which involved an opioid, either legal or illegal. At that rate, there were roughly 115 opioid-related overdose deaths per day, on average.
Most of these prescribed opioids are explicitly for joint and muscle pain relief. Nevertheless, a study concluded that medicinal marijuana could be as effective, if not more so, for managing joint and muscle pain, meaning that sufferers now have an alternative to opioids.
In another study from 2014, it was revealed that opioid-related deaths were lower by as much as 24.8% in states that already had enacted medical cannabis laws.
While experts still call for more research on the matter, the results provided by the many scientific studies can speak for themselves. In short, CBD is a well-documented pain relief medication, which can also be a replacement for opioids.