Cannabis For Pain and Inflammation: Confessions of a CBD Nurse Educator

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There has been an explosive discussion of cannabidiol (CBD) and product distribution of CBD on the market. So many people out there, whether an individual, health care provider, patient, or client, are curious about what CBD hemp oil is and how it can be useful for their personal health and wellness.  As a CBD nurse educator, I am writing this to share, educate, and debunk the myths of CBD and cannabis for pain and inflammation relief.

Curious How to Use Cannabis For Pain and Inflammation Without Getting High?

First, lets distinguish the main differences of the cannabis plant vs. the hemp plant. Cannabis sativa L., such as delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are a part of the same plant (Pellati, 2018). The difference is that unlike Δ9-THC, which is psychoactive, C. sativa (hemp) such as CBD, is nonpsychoactive and does not get you “high”. Both have medicinal effects that are supportive of various conditions in health and wellness.

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) currently recognizes C. sativa as an effective treatment modality for various cancer-related symptoms such as pain, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, anxiety, and so much more (2). The focus in this reading will be about the medicinal effects of CBD hemp for pain and inflammation.

CBD Hemp and the Endocannabinoid System

All humans and over 400 different types of animal mammal species have a unique balancing regulator call the Endocannabinoid System. This system is a regulator for creating balance or homeostasis in the body for our organs and body systems.

The endocannabinoid system has receptor sites called CB1 and CB2 that are all over the body. CB1 receptors are located mostly in the brain and spinal cord regions having a greater relationship with the psychoactive cannabinoid THC. THC has pain-relieving properties due to the interaction with nociceptive receptors or pain receptors in many tissues within the body (2). CB2 receptors are located all through out the body, with the majority located in the immune system and the peripheral tissue cells of the body.

CB2 receptors have a greater relationship with the non-psychoactive cannabinoid CBD. CBD has high antioxidant properties, anti-inflammatory activity, provides neuroprotection, anti-anxiety properties, and anticonvulsant properties; CBD also supports cardiac health and bone remodeling (2).

The endocannabinoid system supports the regulation of many processes making a promising therapeutic treatment for various health related fields such as pain, neuroprotection, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial activity (1). When receiving the hemp plant cannabinoid CBD into our body, we allow the endocannabinoid system to up-regulate while restoring balance in our organs and body system functioning.

How to Take Cannabis For Pain and Inflammation

Taking CBD hemp for pain and inflammation is offered in various route of administration. Theses routes include inhalation, oral, topical, and rectal. Within these categories individuals can choose smoking or vaporization, capsule pills, sublingual sprays, edibles, transdermal patches, lotions, salves, oils, and rectal suppositories. All of these routes have different onset and duration times, so depending on the ailment and severity will be supportive on which route is best for pain and as a holistic inflammation treatment.

How Does CBD Oil Help with Pain and Inflammation?

Over 50% of patients have neuropathic pain from diabetes complications and the quality of life in these pain patients are disturbed by secondary conditions such as sleep disorders, depression, and anxiety (1). Understanding the type of pain you have is helpful when deciding the best routes of administration for your pain. Various types of pain include cancer, nerve, joint, arthritic, acute or chronic, breakthrough, bone, soft tissue, referred, and phantom pain.

When we have pain and inflammation, our body is responding either to tissue injury, infection, or genetic changes (1). There are many conventional medications that support the inhibition of inflammatory processes such as the nonsterioidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Aleve, Motrin, and Aspirin. However, these drugs have common side effects like stomach bleeds, kidney and liver failure, ulcers, asthma exacerbation, and skin rashes. NSAIDs are a class type called cyclooxygenase (COX inhibitors). COX-1 and COX-2 inhibitors reduce pain, inflammation, and fevers however can cause severe side effects in the stomach and heart.

Research and pre-clinical data supports the potential effects of anti-inflammatory properties of endocannabinoids that fight and block pain and inflammation from the CB2 receptors (1). Cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) becomes CBD when heated during the extraction process, cooking, or smoking.

CBDA has natural medicinal properties of relieving pain and inflammation. CBDA has been found to be supportive as a natural and pure COX-2 inhibitor but without the harmful side effects in the body (2). In general, CBD is drawn closer to the CB2 receptors allowing for support in individuals with pain and inflammation.

Preventing inflammation can be difficult, however, the use of CBD hemp oil, incorporating holistic healing and nutrition, exercising, and managing stress with mindfulness stress reduction techniques are all cost effective and natural ways to reduce inflammation. Overall, taking CBD hemp oil has promising effects for pain and inflammation in various types of pain.

Sage Tips From the CBD Nurse Educator

Finding the right company that offers CBD for your health and wellness as well as selecting the best CBD product can get overwhelming and dangerous if you are not familiar with what to look out for. CBD is every now that we are able to know all the amazing healing properties it offers through evidence based research. The average consumer is left playing the guessing game on what CBD company to use and what CBD products to use when it comes to accessing CBD. Here are some top sage tips when looking to incorporate CBD into your health and wellness:

  • Self reflect why you want to use CBD and if CBD is right for you
  • Research the CBD company, their federal certifications, and standardization of CBD products
  • Look for the Certificate of Analysis to view your CBD test results
  • Review the CBD testing lab that is doing the third party testing of the CBD products from the CBD company
  • Invest in a CBD and cannabis expert that can support you throughout your CBD journey for your health and wellness

Don’t know where to start or have questions? Book a consultation with our integrative nurse coach or CBD nurse educator and lets start a conversation on how we can to support your health and wellness needs on utilizing cannabis for pain and inflammation.


  1. Bruni, N. C.-B. (2018, September 27). Cannabinoid Delivery Systems for Pain and Inflammation Treatment. Molecules , 1-25.
  2. Pellati, F. B. (2018, December 4). Cannabis sativa L. and Nonpsychoactive Cannabinoids: Their Chemistry and Role against Oxidative Stress, Inflammation, and Cancer. BioMed Research International , 1-15

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