Of all of the reasons for which we take cannabinoids, one of the biggest remains pain relief. Part of the ongoing legalization process of cannabis throughout individual states in the country comes from scientific claims that this plant can, in fact, help a person manage pain in a way that makes it appropriate for medicinal use. It’s the direct result of the unique class of compounds for which cannabis is known, which are cannabinoids.
Cannabinoids and Pain Relief: What we Know
To grasp the role that cannabinoids may play in pain relief, we first have to understand how cannabinoids work in the body.
Cannabinoids are found in hemp and marijuana, both belonging to the cannabis genus. Each plant boasts its own configuration of these compounds. Most notably, hemp is not psychoactive due to its low levels of THC. Marijuana on the other hand, possesses high amounts of this intoxicating cannabinoid.
They’re also used in the body by the endocannabinoid system. Many are surprised to learn that our bodies know how to produce their own cannabinoids, and this is because of the important role that the endocannabinoid system plays in overall wellbeing. This system, which is in all mammals, is in charge of balancing the overall function of the body to induce a state of full equilibrium known as homeostasis.
What this system consists of is individual cannabinoid receptors found in all areas of the body. These include every bodily system and tissue. Each receptor has the job of regulating a specific process of the body. It can be anything from immune function to emotional state. But it cannot fulfill this task on its own. It requires cannabinoids, which we can easily get from cannabis.
When we administer cannabinoids to the human body, they bind to cannabinoid receptors to regulate specific processes. Internal methods like tinctures, smokable products, vapes, and edibles allow cannabinoids to be dispersed to different regions of the body as needed. Topical cannabis products supply only the localized area with cannabinoids. These absorb easily through the skin but don’t spread throughout the body.
Cannabinoids Can Fulfill a Few Different Roles
There’s something called cannabinoid receptors, which have the ability to regulate pain. How? By balancing inflammation levels, lowering our sensitivity to pain, and regulating the nervous system to become less reactive.
Many of us feel that only a couple of the more well-known cannabinoids like CBD and THC are specifically useful for pain relief. That likely isn’t the case, however. Each cannabinoid has its own properties due to how it binds to different cannabinoid receptors. Hence, the more we learn about each cannabinoid, the more we are finding that there are others that may help with pain as well.
How Delta 8 and Delta 9 May Offer Relief from Pain
Delta 8 and delta 9 are two different THC compounds. Although delta-8 is, in fact, delta-9 that has degraded as it has aged. As a result, its psychoactive effects are milder. Delta8 is a fairly new discovery in the industry, and so we don’t have tons of access to research as it simply hasn’t been widely studied like other cannabinoids.
- Delta 9 THC has been linked to pain relief, which explains why so many people dealing with chronic pain seek out medical marijuana, which is high in this compound.
- Delta 8 may offer the same level of relief, which comes from the unique way in which it binds to CB1 receptors in the nervous system that relate directly to pain.
Other Compounds in Cannabis and Their Effects on Pain
THC compounds aren’t the only cannabinoids capable of providing potential pain relief.
- CBD has been widely studied for its unique effects on pain. This non-psychoactive compound is enormously popular largely because of this specific property. Like other cannabinoids, CBD seems to regulate pain through a number of means including inflammation reduction and pain threshold regulation.
- CBD (cannabigerol) is already demonstrating through clinical studies that it may offer particularly strong anti-inflammatory activity.
Delta 8 and Delta 9 THC vs. Other Cannabinoids: Which Could Potentially Alleviate Pain More Effectively?
So, the big question is whether THC or other cannabinoids like CBD are more useful for dealing with pain. One thing to note is that everyone’s body is different, so there is no way that we can say that one compound will totally be more effective than another.
What we can say, however, is that all of the cannabinoids described above have been shown in studies to offer particularly promising properties that may relieve pain.
We are now finding that due to the synergistic nature of cannabinoids, pain relief may be more accessible when we combine these compounds together. This is why you’ll see more whole-plant products that incorporate the full chemical composition of the plant, along with formulations that combine different isolates of pain-relieving cannabinoids, such as delta 8 tinctures infused with CBG extract.
Factors to Consider
How much cannabinoids can relieve pain can depend on specific factors relating to the product you use.
Products with a higher potency level will be more likely to give you the potential pain-relieving properties of cannabinoids, so be mindful of the milligram strength that you choose.
Higher-quality products are made using more advanced extraction and purification methods, resulting in a more chemically stable product that is more likely to maintain its effectiveness. Choose your product wisely by selecting from a reputable brand.
Different delivery methods produce unique levels of potency and activation time in the body. Inhalation methods are fast and potent, but not long-lasting. Edibles and capsules take a while to peak and are gentler, but long-lasting. Tinctures are somewhere in the middle, and topicals work fast but only offer properties to the area of application.
It’s likely that combining different cannabinoids can produce stronger effects due to the synergistic relationship between these compounds.
The size of your dosage will, obviously, play a role in how effective the cannabinoids may be.
Consistency of Your Dosing
Taking cannabinoids daily seems to make them more effective over time. It’s due to the manner in which the endocannabinoid system accumulates and utilizes these compounds.
Cannabinoids for Pets
As a final note, although our pets have endocannabinoid systems, you should never give them delta 8 or delta 9 THC in an effort to control their pain. These compounds are intoxicating and may produce negative effects in your pet. Stick to your veterinarian’s advice and go with hemp-based compounds that are not psychoactive, like cannabidiol.
What We Overall Currently Know
Cannabinoids have potential pain-relieving properties thanks to how they work with cannabinoid receptors in the body that regulate the pain response. This means that CBD, CBG, delta 8 and delta 9 could all possibly help a person manage their pain. If you are able to, consider experimenting with different combinations of cannabinoids until you find the level of relief that you’re looking for with cannabis.