How to Manage Chronic Pain with Cannabis

As cannabis legalization continues to spread around the world, CBD-based products are becoming more and more available. And by far the biggest symptom being treated by cannabis – especially CBD, the non-psychoactive ingredient – is chronic pain.

According to research published earlier this year in The Journal of Headache and Pain, 73 percent of chronic pain patients with access to cannabis substitute opioid medications with cannabis.

CBD For Pain Management

Another study, led by GW Pharmaceuticals in 2008, assessed nearly 20 years of data and determined that CBD was an effective pain management tool. However, despite its growing popularity, federal regulators in the states have yet to approve a CBD product for any medical condition. The downside to the patchwork of state and federal laws – with little oversight – is that products not only differ from state-to-state but, according to a 2017 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, 26 percent of CBD products bought online “contained less CBD than labeled, which could negate any potential clinical response.” The researchers noted that the mislabeling was “less concerning” because “CBD appears to neither have abuse liability nor serious adverse consequences at high doses.”

The study underscores the need for consumers to buy products from trusted and reviewed sources.      

Unlike THC, CBD does not get a user high. Many CBD proponents report that their mood is elevated after CBD use, but it’s not the same euphoria as when they use THC-rich products. Because of this, CBD products aren’t as risky to use during the day and tend not to interfere with daily tasks such as working and driving. Individuals with chronic pain might want to dose throughout the day – much as they would using other over-the-counter pain relief products.  

CBD also plays a role in inflammation reduction – and chronic low-grade inflammation is directly linked to chronic pain. A 2014 study published in the Journals of Gerontology coined the term “inflammation” which describes chronic low-grade inflammation as humans age. In June, the AARP published a story outlining the trend of senior citizens using CBD for inflammation. In that report, Dr. Mikhail Kogan, of the medical director of the George Washington University Center for Integrative Medicine, called CBD “safer than Tylenol or caffeine by tenfold” and “10,000 times safer” than opioids.              

Best CBD Products For Pain

CBD products take many forms: tinctures, topicals, capsules, vape cartridges, edibles, patches, waxes and oils and flower. The biggest difference, however, is full spectrum versus isolate products. Full-spectrum CBD products contain additional cannabinoids – such as CBG and CBN – and terpenes which have shown to work together to provide better healing performance. Full-spectrum products are popular in states with robust industrial hemp industries. Isolate products contain only CBD and often require doses more often than the full-spectrum counterparts.    

CBD Dosage

Using CBD for pain is not a one-size-fits-all approach, due to a host of factors including: full-spectrum or isolate and the type of pain and weight of the individual. Inexperienced users should, of course, consult a physician prior to taking any cannabis products for pain or any medical condition, but should also make sure to record their doses to find out what works for them. Such logs should include the individual’s current weight, what they ate, how and the amount of CBD used, and any other relevant information that could interact with the dosage. Over time, an individual could develop a tolerance and should adjust the dosage accordingly.

However, despite the relatively low risk for side effects, inexperienced individuals should always be conservative with their first doses.  

Greenlight Approved is a consumer education platform dedicated to “guiding the cannabis curious.” We believe when you start something new, it’s best to start slow. Gather all the information you can to make a safe informed decision. Let Greenlight Approved be your guide so your first experience with cannabis is an educated, safe and positive one. Let us direct you to premium product and brand options as well as participating retailers near you, at

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