Research shows that complaints of lower back pain in primary care range between 6.8% and 28.4% in high-income countries, making it a significant health problem. Although the causes of lower back pain can vary, it is commonly associated with physical and psychological stressors, making it difficult to identify effective treatment options.
Due to the complex nature of conditions such as low back pain, interdisciplinary action is often required. This may include the use of drugs, including opioids and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), in combination with behavioural/conversational therapies. However, the long-term effectiveness of these treatment options is often unreliable, making the search for alternative treatment options an important area of research.
While whole-plant medicinal marijuana has promising potential for treating some pain conditions, the psychoactive properties of the product mean that it is often considered a last resort or wholly ignored in many countries.
On the other hand, cannabidiol (CBD) - the second most abundant cannabinoid produced by the cannabis plant - is an interesting product thanks to its ability to communicate with our body through numerous pathways and the degree of safety in taking it. The World Health Organization recommends that CBD is safe and well-tolerated by adults and children.
Recent scientific thinking aimed to understand how these interactions could make CBD an exciting product for treating low back pain.
To understand cannabidiol's potential for low back pain, researchers reviewed current evidence of CBD's analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and anxiety-reducing properties.
Functioning endocannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) may play a role in important pain mediation and neuroinflammatory modulation processes. CBD may also affect specific central dopaminergic pain neuronal circuits and activate serotonin and the vanilloid receptor (TRPV1) - a complex mechanism likely responsible for decreasing pain control and perhaps the placebo effect (through reduction of anxiety).
Furthermore, previous studies suggest beneficial interactions between endocannabinoids and inflammatory joint disease. The authors of this research suggest that these CBD interactions, "A potential three-in-one solution to treat chronic pain and improve quality of life", could do.
Anecdotal evidence also suggests that "CBD may reduce acute anxiety, impair the consolidation of anxiety-inducing memories, and facilitate the expulsion of previously acquired anxiety-related impressions." These properties make the compound a promising compound for the treatment of anxiety, fear, and pain-related conditions.
Overall, current research shows that patients report beneficial effects on chronic pain using CBD treatments, which researchers suggest is likely due to improvements in insomnia, anxiety, cognition, and mood. Although preliminary evidence from in vitro and animal studies suggests that CBD may be an important area of research for treating lower back pain in the future, more clinical evidence is needed to get a clearer picture of the potential of this fascinating compound.
The researchers recommend that future intervention studies evaluating the potential of CBD versus opioids and NSAIDs should consider evaluating multiple modalities of low back pain versus just one outcome.
Did you learn about a way to get rid of lower back pain? You can check some of these benefits and others in terms of cannabis consumption in some other of our posts. Read on right here: