CBD vs Opioids: The Pain Relief Showdown!

Opioid painkillers have been a part of medical practice for a very long time. They are used for a variety of injuries and conditions that cause pain since they have strong, numbing effects, making them very useful in certain situations.

However, their use has become indiscriminate and unnecessary in a lot of cases, and illicit production and sales have risen significantly, which has caused an epidemic of opioid addiction and several cases of overdose which result in death.

Shop-Wellbeing-Essence

What are opioid painkillers?

Opioids, or narcotics, are a type of drug that produces euphoria, drowsiness, confusion, slow breathing and pain relief. And, because they have a high potential for abuse, they are controlled substances.

They are made from components found in the opium poppy plant, or developed in labs, like fentanyl, which is a synthetic opioid.  

For decades, doctors have prescribed opioids like oxycodone or morphine to patients who suffer from strong chronic or acute pain for different reasons: from injuries, to chronic illnesses.

Though these opioids initially do their job and reduce or eliminate pain, they have terrible effects when they are taken long term, as they mostly are nowadays. They create strong dependence, making it very difficult, or even impossible for the patients to stop taking them. But the most serious issue with these painkillers is that they cause an astounding amount of deaths in the United States, and the rest of the world, due to overdose.

TheHealingMethod

CBD and Opioids

Lately, CBD has proven to be a potential substitute for painkillers as well as helpful in opioid addiction treatments, since it provides pain relief, lifts the mood and lowers anxiety, which is so prevalent in withdrawal syndrome.

Prescription Opioids vs Illegal Opioids

There really is not much difference between opioids prescribed by a doctor and the illegal ones we often hear about in the news. What sets them apart is that legal ones are prescribed and controlled, while illegal ones are sold in the illegal market and completely uncontrolled, which does make it easier for people to overdose due to the uncertainty of what exactly is in them and how strong it is.

The first opium derivative to become popularized for pain management was morphine, which is used to treat moderate to severe chronic pain. Morphine is an isolated compound found in opium poppy which is 10 times stronger than processed opium poppy on its own, which was used for pain relief in the past. And, though it was initially foreseen to have several medicinal benefits, it soon proved to be extremely addictive and dangerous if taken regularly.

Morphine isn’t the only commonly prescribed opioid. We might also know heroin, for example, as a well known narcotic that is illegally sold. However, it is commonly prescribed by doctors for pain management, under the name of diamorphine. Though the name is different, it is exactly the same chemical, and it has the same effects. So, just like a heroin overdose can cause death, so can a diamorphine overdose in a patient who has been prescribed the medication.  

Some of the most common prescription opioids are:

  • Codeine
  • Fentanyl
  • Hydrocodone
  • Methadone
  • Morphine
  • Oxycodone
  • Vicodin  

These are all controlled substances, and are very commonly used and abused by patients or by those who have a narcotic addiction. They might work well for temporary pain relief when a person has been severely injured or has had surgery, but are not recommended for long term use, since they will inevitably cause dependence and, subsequently, are very likely to be abused; or, in the best of cases, they will cause very uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.

It is estimated that, in 2017, more than 72.000 people died of opioid overdose in the united states. A shocking number, isn’t it? And Fentanyl, which is a synthetic opioid that is 100 times more potent than morphine, and 50 times more potent than heroin, seems to be responsible for the steady rise in this number. And, just like most opioids, it is marketed both illegally and under medical prescription.

Those at Risk…

In this opioid epidemic, the illegal buyers are not the only ones at risk. Even for patients to whom they have been prescribed, opioid painkillers are dangerous. If a person is feeling pain and, out of desperation, takes more than the prescribed amount, an overdose is highly probable.

The drowsiness caused by them can affect some people more than others. So even if some are perfectly able to go about their day after taking morphine, some might be at risk of fainting, falling over, or tripping. They can be seriously injured or even die for reasons other than overdose.

Because most of these are readily prescribed by doctors, addicts have taken to faking injury and severe pain in order to receive opioids in urgent care or the E.R. And, since it’s not necessarily easy to tell who’s faking and who’s not, many get away with it, which calls us to look into other non opioid pain relief for doctors to use in their practice in order to reduce the likelihood of this happening.  

CBD vs Opioids: What are the Effects?

Though they both provide pain relief, CBD and opioids work in completely different ways.

First of all, opioid painkillers are highly processed or synthetic, which means that they are no longer the poppy plant they once were; they are not at all natural, which causes them to have stronger, more dangerous effects than CBD, which is not nearly as processed and is completely natural.

Some of the differences in effects are:

Opioids

  • Cause drowsiness and confusion
  • Slowed breathing and hypoxia (not enough oxygen reaching the brain)
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Euphoria
  • Death (caused by overdose)
  • Tolerance, which causes the person to need higher doses or a stronger opioid

CBD

  • Doesn’t cause drowsiness or confusion; it has even been shown to improve concentration and alertness during the day
  • Doesn’t affect oxygenation, but might reduce blood pressure during stressful events
  • Is often used to reduce nausea
  • Doesn’t cause constipation, but in extremely high doses, it might cause diarrhea in some people
  • Improves mood, but doesn’t produce euphoria
  • Has never been observed to cause death, even in extremely high doses
  • Hasn’t been shown to produce tolerance

It is important to point out that this list of effects is for CBD on its own, it doesn’t take into account the effects that supplements that include THC might have.

Opioids, regardless of them being illegally taken or prescribed, shouldn’t be taken by pregnant women, since they could cause miscarriage, low birth weight, and even cause the baby to develop dependence and withdrawal symptoms after birth.

Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome

Sometimes, people who use marijuana consistently (daily) in high doses, begin experiencing something called cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, which causes vomiting and severe stomach cramping, which are only relieved by hot baths. In these cases, the only solution is to stop consuming marijuana.

This syndrome is believed to be caused only by THC, since it hasn’t been observed to occur in people who use high doses of CBD on a daily basis (like children and adults who suffer from epilepsy), only by frequent high THC marijuana consumption.

Is CBD addictive?

This is an interesting question. CBD on its own has not shown any potential for dependence. However, when it comes to THC, or marijuana, about 9% of people who use it regularly develop something called “marijuana use disorder”, which is not necessarily an addiction, but a form of dependence.

Since THC produces psychoactive effects, it is likely the reason marijuana causes dependence, particularly if the habit of consumption begins before the age of 21, when the brain is more susceptible to alterations. However, this dependence and its withdrawal symptoms are usually very mild and go away fast, compared to those of strong opioids like morphine, oxycodone, and others.

CBD derivatives have not been shown to cause dependence, but since they have mood lifting effects, people might report not feeling as uplifted when not using them. In this sense, CBD can be compared to antidepressants: used on their own, they might keep you afloat, but stopping them would cause you to sink back into depression. However, if they are taken along with a disciplined therapeutic and growth process, there might come a time when you can decide, along with your doctor, to stop taking them without issues.

Facts!

Is cannabis an opioid?

No! Cannabis is not an opioid. Opioids are drugs (legal or illegal) derived from the opium poppy plant, or made in a lab to enhance some of its properties (like fentanyl). Cannabis is a different plant entirely.

Are there CBD withdrawal symptoms?

CBD has not been observed to produce withdrawal symptoms when suspended, but changes in dosage might cause different effects, and some people might miss the benefits and take a little while to adapt to not taking it.

CBD helps with withdrawal symptoms…

When you’re wondering how to get off opioids, it is important to work with a healthcare professional. Effects can be varied and hard to deal with, so you’ll need support, and your doctor might recognize CBD as a valid option to facilitate the process. It all depends on the type of opioid you’ve developed dependence to, the dosage you’re currently taking, and the way your body reacts to it. It’s different for everyone.

However, CBD has shown to be helpful for opioid withdrawal in most cases, since it reduces anxiety, improves mood, enhances sleep, and reduces pain, which are all issues that are encountered during the process.

CBD vs Opioids What’s the best option?

Though many would prefer certain opioids, like morphine, since they lack the social stigma that cannabis comes tied to, the truth is that:

  • CBD is not addictive, while opioids are
  • You cannot die of CBD overdose, but you can easily die of opioid overdose
  • CBD hasn’t been shown to produce withdrawal symptoms, while opioids produce plenty, which disable the person suffering from them
  • CBD can be used long term without causing the patient to develop resistance to its effects, while opioids do, and eventually results in the need for a stronger version

Clearly, CBD is the least harmful option of the two. And, though it might not have the numbing effects that opioids are capable of producing, if CBD turned into a routine, along with other small life changes, like exercise, meditation and healthy eating, the effects are likely going to be even better and less risky than those of opioids, at least when it comes to long term use.

When it comes to short term use, like after an accident, or surgery, opioids do have their benefits and, as long as they are carefully administered can be a good option, but should not become a habit, or they will surely generate life threatening addiction.

RELATED ARTICLES

Have you ever given a thought to those pieces of bone on your back, just below your shoulders? Probably not. And what does it mean when they’re hurting…

Epilepsy can be a devastating diagnosis for children and families alike. Feeling like your child’s life has been interrupted and they can no longer enjoy the activities they once had is heartbreaking…

Has a doctor ever asked you to rate your pain from 1 to 10? Well, the number is hard to decide, and the more we try, the more annoyed we get, until we just settle for one that doesn’t quite represent how we feel…

CBD Oil for Autism: Does it Work?

April is world autism awareness month, and every year has brought with it more progress in terms of knowledge, representation and new treatments for those who live with autism.  

This campaign aims to raise both awareness and funding for medical research in hopes of discovering new treatment options, like CBD, or possible ways of preventing this disorder by identifying risks factors more clearly, which are thought to be a mix of genetic and environmental conditions.

Shop-Wellbeing-Essence

Hopefully, now that worldwide cannabis legalization is looming above us, it serves as an opportunity to contribute to the different treatments that are currently available for autistic children and adults.

What is Autism?

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurobehavioral disorder with a wide spectrum of severity.

Characteristically, those who suffer from autism, have impaired social, communication, and language skills; and it is generally characterized by rigid, repetitive behaviors and movements.

Around 1% of children in the US are diagnosed with some form of autism: 1 in every 37 boys, and 1 in every 151 girls. Though it is more likely to be diagnosed in boys than girls, that gender gap is beginning to diminish, since there is more awareness of how it can manifest differently in girls.

In 2014, it was estimated that more than 3.5 million people in the US live with autism spectrum disorder. The diagnosis of the disorder is increasing quickly, but it is thought to be more due to awareness and better diagnosis criteria, rather than due to an “epidemic” many fear.

Complications…

Around 30% of cases of autism are accompanied by seizures and epileptic disorders, which makes them harder to manage. And the condition may also be complicated by learning disabilities and other disorders, both neurological and physiological.

Adulthood comes with a whole new set of challenges for patients, even those with high functioning autism. For instance, around 35% of young adults with autism haven’t had a job or received further education after high school.

Fortunately, there is constantly more information and scientific research being carried out that could help people and families better cope with this disorder. For example, currently, the University of North Carolina is working on a study that will establish a way of determining if a baby will eventually grow to be diagnosed with autism.

This particular study will allow children to receive therapy and treatment in an early stage, which is likely to result in a better prognosis. Currently, by looking at a brain scan, autism can be predicted and, so far, 8 out of 10 predictions are accurate.

CBD Oil for Kids with Autism

Though at the moment it might seem a little controversial, these past few years, doctors and parents have been turning to cannabis, specifically CBD, in hopes of improving the quality of life of children with autism.

CBD shows promise as a treatment for behavioral symptoms, including violent outbursts, hyperactivity, repetitive behaviors, and hypersensitivity to physical contact; not to mention it can do a lot for autism that is accompanied by epilepsy, reducing seizures and cognitive decline.

Because traditional treatments are limited, parents have begun exploring alternative treatments such as CBD, and some are beginning to see it as a first option, even before any other medications are tried.

TheHealingMethod

Clinical Trials…

In 2016, Israeli doctors began carrying out a medical trial with 120 low-to-medium functioning autistic children and young adults, in order to evaluate the behavioral effects CBD could have on their condition.

The supplements that were used were completely free of THC, since the purpose of the study was to determine the properties of CBD alone, and THC still comes with a lot of legal, social and medical baggage that they weren’t prepared to deal with.

During this trial, some patients who were 100% non communicative, started speaking after being given CBD.

At the end of this year, 2019, The Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research at the University of California, San Diego, will be launching a trial with the aim of looking into CBDs effects on severe forms of autism in children.

Why does CBD Oil for autism work?

It has been theorized that the reason CBD reduces self harming behavior in autistic children, is that it improves their communication skills, reducing the frustration that they feel when they’re unable to express ideas and feelings.

Parents have reported a significant improvement in behavior and mood alterations when using CBD Oils or Sprays. It suddenly becomes less stressful and risky to have people over, and it becomes easier to show affection and communicate in a clear way.

A lot of parents report more eye contact, less anxiety at being in an educational setting, and even openness to accepting new foods, which is often an issue.

Also, since epilepsy is a common issue with severe forms of autism, the benefit doubles. Parents use CBD oil for autism and epilepsy, and it has shown a lot of effectiveness, since CBD is better known for its anti-seizure properties and is now being used for epilepsy in children and in adults. This means it can potentially improve the lives of those who suffer from both conditions significantly.

Though doctors know of the many benefits it provides, they want to know exactly how CBD works and why it improves autism symptoms before they “go wild” and prescribe it to every kid that comes to their office. However, there are some who have already begun recommending and prescribing the component.

CBD Oil for High Functioning Autism

Since autism is a spectrum disorder, it varies in severity and need for support. A lot of autistic children grow up to be fully functioning adults. However, they still have difficulties with social interactions, depression and anxiety.

Even for high functioning autism, and what was formerly known as Asperger’s syndrome, CBD oil has been known to help with social anxiety, which is prevalent for those who suffer from the disorder; depression; and even helps reduce repetitive movements.

Autism and the CB2 Receptor

In 2013, a study was conducted in order to identify physiological differences between autistic and non autistic children, in hopes that the origin of the condition could be targeted and life skills improved.

It was discovered that there is a significant difference between autistic and non autistic children when it comes to CB2 receptors.

CB2 receptors, one of the two types of receptors that conform the endocannabinoid system, respond to CBD. The component stimulates them and balances different systems and functions.

Hopefully, in the near future we manage to figure out what exactly is affected when a child suffers from autism, and how CBD targets that alteration.

CBD Oil Dosage for Autism

When it comes to dosage, it is extremely important to consult with a healthcare professional and take into account the child’s age, weight and condition.

Generally speaking, the initial dosage is the same as the one normally used for childhood epilepsy, which is 1mg per kilogram, 3 times a day.

Starting from there, the dosage can be slowly increased until positive changes are seen. Though, again, medical supervision is advised.  

So, is CBD Oil for Autism a Good Idea?

If you compare CBD to medication like Risperdal, which is often given to patients, there really is no question that CBD is the better option.

Psychiatric medication often causes significant side effects that can harm the body and mind permanently, while CBD causes virtually none, and it’s completely natural.

Parents, experts and patients themselves don’t report any negatives when it comes to CBD oil for autism. Probably the only issue they’ve expressed is having trouble finding the product.

Just like it occurs with epilepsy patients, CBD usually allows autistic children to lower the dosage of other medications they’re taking, or to stop taking them completely.

Healthwise, CBD is a really good option. However, Child Protective Services is still an issue parents sometimes have to deal with, since it’s not yet a recognized treatment. So, legally, when it comes to minors, it’s still a very delicate territory and parents should be well informed before making the decision to give their child CBD supplements.

Here’s to CBD being standardized as a medical treatment!

RELATED ARTICLES

Fibromyalgia is a mysterious illness that causes sufferers to feel pain in their body for no apparent reason. It has plagued the lives of many, but its cause remains a mystery to sufferers and doctors. Could science be close to…

For the first time ever, we can say that several medical trials are being carried out to determine the benefits of CBD. A few years ago, these components were only considered for terminal patients, but now…

How many times have you stared at the ceiling, shifted around and flipped the pillow over in an effort to fall asleep? Here’s how CBD, along with some other small changes, can help you sleep better and defeat insomnia…

The New Medical Discovery Unlocking Full Body Harmony that is Changing the way Doctors See Cannabis

Explaining the Endocannabinoid System in the Human Body

As more people learn about the positive therapeutic effects of cannabis, the role of the endocannabinoid system will also become more relevant in the lives of everyday people. Endocannabinoid system research is already becoming quite a popular topic in scientific circles. We can definitely expect to see more of this research in a mainstream light as the politics of cannabis becomes more popular.

One of the hidden benefits of introducing cannabis into the world of legitimate medicine goes beyond its personal benefits. As scientists began to understand how cannabis can help the body balance itself, naturally a new question began to arise: why is the body so receptive to the substance? There must be something within the body itself that allows it to respond positively.

Shop-Wellbeing-Essence

Endocannabinoids and the Systems of the Body

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) acts a lot like cannabis does. It supports the major body systems, including immune, circulatory, nervous, and GI. It acts like a police officer might, directing and monitoring many of the chemical responses and processes. When it works correctly, the body feels healthy and rested. The blood flows to the organs. The bones stay strong and healthy. The mind is relaxed. But, the body’s systems can sometimes fail from time to time. From diet to pollution, exposure to stress, they may start to break down. When one system isn’t working properly, it can cause a chain reaction that affects the other systems.

And when this happens, the ECS may not function the way it should. It may stop reacting to certain events or it may overreact to certain stimuli. For example, people who have an autoimmune disorder. The immune system mistakes the healthy cells and tissues for illness or injury. This makes it more difficult for the body to handle external and internal stress.

Cannabinoids and endocannabindoids also work to synthesize the various systems of the body. Because of these two systems, cell types that would otherwise have difficulty coordinating with each other able to communicate. For instance, when the body is injured, cannabinoids help to stabilize the nerve cell. This is also the system that will help to prevent excessive firing and call in immune cells so that the injury does not become too inflamed. Without the cannabinoid system on the job, the body would have to spend a great deal more energy calling three systems together in order to address a simple injury.

The endocannabinoid system actually works as a bridge between the mind and the body. It performs incredibly complex actions within the body’s immune system, organs and nervous system. The study of endocannabinoids in the body actually helps researchers understand how different states of consciousness can promote faster healing of certain diseases.

Cannabinoids also influence the way that the body behaves within the environment that surrounds it. Obviously, cannabinoids have the ability to alter human behavior. This is where you will find the stereotypes of weed smoking – open-mindedness, different patterns of thought, happiness and sharing with others. We are just beginning to find out why the body responds in this way, and the best part about the research is that all that happiness will soon be quantified scientifically.

Sometimes the ECS can get back on track with little more than a few days rest. But, if it’s taxed, a person will start to see long-term effects over time. Depression, digestion, or autoimmune disorders are just a few possibilities. If the ECS starts to break down, it can result in general pain or unexplained discomfort. When people take cannabis, it can have the effect of managing the ECS so that the user can get back to normal.

What are the Cannabinoid Receptors?

The word ‘cannabinoid’ refers to the active parts of cannabis. A cannabinoid receptor refers to the part of the cell that responds to the cannabinoid. The cannabinoid system in the human body consists of two main types of receptors: CB1 and CB2. These receptors refer to how the cells react to the two main parts of the cannabis: THC and CBD.

Cannabis consists of both CBD and THC. It’s possible to extract either one from the plant (either in part or completely). This is how the public ends up with a variety of cannabis products. CBD is the non-psychoactive part of cannabis, meaning it won’t make a person feel ‘high’. It may help relieve stress or depression, but it does not affect a person’s mental state.

THC is the psychoactive part of the plan and can make users feel anything from paranoid to silly. This is the most common stereotype associated with cannabis. But it is not always the one that people should remember. People use cannabis for a variety of reasons. They use it to relieve chronic pain or to help their anxiety.

The CB1 receptors are those that respond to THC, and the CB2 receptors are those that respond to CBD. Neither THC or CBD is addictive. Both can have positive results if taken in the right dosages. If there are more CB2 receptors in a specific part of the body, then it will react to CBD. If there are more CB1 receptors, then it will react to THC. The central nervous system is more likely to respond to THC. This makes THC a solid choice for people who suffer from PTSD or anxiety. The cannabinoids bind to the amygdala. The amygdala is the part of the brain that’s responsible for emotions.

The nerves that lie outside the brain and spinal cord have both types of receptors. In this case, it’s the receptors that are strongest that will determine if CBD or THC are appropriate. These special nerve cells (called the peripheral nervous system) favor CBD over THC. Many children and adults will take CBD to control seizures. That’s because CBD can regulate the nerves that cause the convulsions. A person can also find both types of receptors in the actual brain, though there are more CB1 than CB2 receptors. This fact explains why THC causes psychoactive effects in the brain.

Cannabis research is not complete by any stretch of the imagination. We still need a lot more information about what the ECS does and how cannabis can alter it. But, from what we can tell, cannabis has very positive effects on the ECS of many people. This can lead to positive results when taking it for a variety of conditions. As researchers learn more about the ECS, they’ll tell t how to use it to benefit the human body.

RELATED ARTICLES

When it comes to the effects of cannabis, women and men are worlds apart. Though there is scientific research about how cannabis affects and interacts with our bodies, few of those clinical or preclinical studies analyze male and female subjects separately…

Recent studies suggest there might be a condition related to long-term use of cannabis. People all around the United States are experiencing nausea, persistent vomiting, abdominal pain, and dehydration. Patients also have a compulsive tendency to…

Marijuana have many different chemical compounds. Each of these handles a particular characteristic of the plant. You’re probably familiar with one compound, chlorophyll. It’s what makes plants, including marijuana, green. Another…