Cannabis has been used for thousands of years to treat pain conditions including menstrual cramps, headaches, inflammation, and neuropathic pain.
While the pain-killing effects of THC have long been known, recent studies show that CBD can reduce pain too.
One study investigating the ability of a CBD ointment to treat pain in arthritis found that the drug reduced both joint inflammation and spontaneous pain. The study also found that CBD was better absorbed into the blood when it was applied as an ointment, since it avoids being metabolized by the body.
CBD works to manage pain by acting on the CB2 receptor. CB2 receptors are found on immune cells throughout the body and brain, and are responsible for controlling important cellular functions.
One of these functions involves suppressing the inflammation response produced by the immune system. This reduces the amount of inflammatory molecules, such as cytokines and chemokines, that occur at sites of inflammation.
By reducing inflammation peripherally, CBD is able to block pain signals from being sent to the brain.