Cannabidiol (CBD) oil is a product that is derived from cannabis plants. CBD oil uses the stalks, leaves, and flowers of the cannabis plant in its production.
Some studies suggest that CBD oil could play a vital role in relieving pain associated with chronic conditions, such as arthritis. What are the benefits of CBD oil, and are there any side effects that people should be conscious about before using?
This article looks at the scientific evidence behind the benefits of CBD oil, its uses, side effects, and its legality in India. It will also discuss whether or not it can treat other chronic pain without any complications. Let’s get a brief overview.
What is CBD Oil?
CBD oil is extracted from the leaves of cannabis plants. Unlike other cannabinoids such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD does not affect the specific receptors of the brain that are the targets of stimulant or depressant drugs in general. CBD does not produce a euphoric “high” which means a person using it cannot get high.
There are many CBD oil products available, and the amount of CBD in them can certainly vary. Since people use cannabis as a recreational drug, there is some controversy surrounding the medicinal use of products containing ingredients from cannabis plants.
Use CBD oil has been mainly found in relieving pain and reduce inflammation like acne. CBD oil has been studied for its potential role in easing symptoms of many common health issues, including anxiety, depression, and heart disease. For those with cancer, it may even provide a natural alternative for symptom relief.
Is CBD Oil Legal in India?
The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS Act), 1985 outlaws the recreational use of cannabis plants. The Act, however, does not apply to the leaves of cannabis. So if, the CBD oil is extracted from the leaves of the cannabis, then technically it is not illegal. CBD oil manufactured under a license issued by the Drugs and Cosmetics Act can be legally used.
As discussed earlier, CBD oil is extracted from the leaves of the cannabis plant. So, just the way consumption of bhang is not prohibited under any law in India, the use of CBD oil is also not prohibited.
CBD compounds contain less than 0.3% of THC. Therefore, a person consuming it does not get ‘high’. Also, CBD only stimulates our body cells to generate health responses, unlike recreational drugs that directly bind with specific receptors located on body cells to generate any adverse effect.
Presently, no case of violence or abuse relating to the use of pure CBD has been reported, according to a WHO report. Hence, the licensed sale of CBD oil and cannabinoids is permitted in India under the NDPS Act & the Drugs and Cosmetics Act.
According to a report from Grand View Research (a market research firm in Maharashtra), CBD is an industry worth ₹797 crores with its products ranging from oils and tinctures to edibles, beauty products, bath bombs, and consumer beverages.
CBD Oil Aid Arthritis Pain Relief
Two of the most common types of arthritis are Rheumatoid arthritis and Osteoarthritis. The most prevalent form of arthritis, Osteoarthritis has been affecting 15 million adults in India annually with a prevalence ranging from 22% to 39%. Other common joint conditions affecting Indians are gout and rheumatoid arthritis.
Osteoarthritis is more commonly observed in women and more prevalent with aging. It often affects the hip, knee, and thumb joints.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a painful autoimmune condition wherein a person’s immune system attacks their joints, causing inflammation. It commonly affects the hands and feet and leads to stiff and swollen joints.
According to the Arthritis Foundation Of India, there are some informal shreds of evidence to suggest that some people with arthritis who use CBD oil report noticeable pain relief, improved sleep, and reduced anxiety.
A 2006 study revealed that a cannabis-based mouth spray called Sativex helped relieve arthritis pain. However, the cannabis plant extracts that the company uses to make the spray contain both CBD and THC. Successful testing and studies on the effect of CBD on animals were conducted. Findings so far have been in favor, still more research is necessary to confirm the effectiveness of CBD oil for the treatment of arthritis pain.
CBD Oil For Other Chronic Pain
CBD interacts with receptors that influence pain and inflammation in the body. CBD may block certain receptors that allow for levels of an endocannabinoid (signaling molecules that help regulate various processes, such as pain, memory, mood, immunity, and stress) called anandamide to increase in the body.
Scientists believe that CBD affects the way that these receptors respond to the signals that they receive, which possibly reduces inflammation and pain.
The Public Health Foundation in India state that CBD could have modest benefits for persistent pain. Much of the research into CBD for chronic illness has looked at neuropathic, i.e, nerve-related pain.
A 2020 trusted source report speaks that CBD not only treats chronic illness but is also beneficial in inducing better sleep. Over the last few years, proponents have claimed CBD to be effective in treating everything from chronic pain and anxiety to epilepsy (a neurological disorder) and schizophrenia (a brain disorder that affects a person's ability to think, feel and behave).
What Kind Of CBD-based Product Should I Consider?
CBD-based products can be taken orally, applied directly to the skin, or inhaled.
1. Oral Use
CBD that is swallowed, in capsules or liquid, is absorbed through the digestive tract. Absorption is slow; might take one or two hours to show any significant difference.
Capsules can show their effect after a safe dose has been established over the passing days. Experts discourage taking CBD via edibles like gummies and cookies since that way, the dosing is unreliable and packaging might seem appealing to children.
In liquid form, the dose can be swallowed with a dropper under the tongue. Liquid CBD is absorbed directly into the bloodstream. The taste may not be pleasant, but the effects can be felt within 15 to 45 minutes.
2. Superficial Use
CBD products for arthritis are also found in the market in the form of like lotions, sprays, and balms, that can be applied directly to the skin over a painful joint. Topical (intended to use on body surface only) CBD products also include common ingredients such as menthol, capsaicin, or camphor that create relieving sensations and treat swelling in joints.
CBD can be inhaled via a vaporizing pen (vape) or inhaler. Since nasal spray products are not readily available in the market, it is highly suggested to purchase joint sprays, balms, or oral medications only.
Common Side Effects of CBD
Studies have found that people generally tolerate CBD well, but some individuals may experience these mild side effects:
- changes in appetite
- changes in weight
Clinical trials under Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have approved CBD to treat rare forms of epilepsy and did not find any indications of adverse physical problems.
BUT, there are concerns that CBD might interfere with an enzyme called cytochrome P450 complex. This enzyme is responsible for supporting the liver’s ability to break down toxins. CBD may therefore increase the risk of liver toxicity. It’s highly recommended that people consult their doctor before taking CBD. It may interact with certain over-the-counter dietary supplements, aids, and prescribed medications.
Certain Complications & Risks To Observe Before Using CBD
The FDA has approved one form of CBD, Epidiolex, to treat two rare forms of epilepsy and to treat seizures caused by a rare condition called tuberous sclerosis complex.
The Arthritis Foundation Of India cautions that CBD could interact with the following arthritis drugs:
- corticosteroids, such as prednisone
- naproxen (Aleve)
- tofacitinib (Xeljanz)
- celecoxib (Celebrex)
- tramadol (Ultram)
- some antidepressants, including amitriptyline (Elavil), citalopram (Celexa), fluoxetine (Prozac), and sertraline (Zoloft)
People should exercise caution when taking CBD products while eating high-fat meals. High-fat meals can increase blood concentrations (Polycythemia) under the effect of CBD. Some people may have an allergic reaction to CBD oil, so it is best to do a patch test. Just apply the oil to a small area of skin first and observe any reaction.
As with any alternative treatment, people should talk to a doctor before trying CBD oil.
To Summarise -
CBD oil shows promising results in treating arthritis-related pain. If it really affects the brain receptors and immune system in the way that researchers believe, it may work to reduce inflammation and pain as it is meant to be.
There is limited evidence from human studies to support the benefits of CBD oil, as the use of cannabis is still restricted in many parts of the world. But as of now, cannabis is becoming legalized in various regions. Research on cannabis is gaining momentum and showing some encouraging outcomes. You can find an online store for CBD-based products by following the link, if required under consultation.