CBD has exploded into the mainstream in recent years and there has been a lot of information published regarding its health benefits – though we should mention that making health claims about CBD is prohibited, since there isn’t sufficient research into the compound. But one of the main reasons CBD (and by extension, cannabis) has become popular is its pain-relieving properties, and its use in physical therapy.
First off, what is CBD?
For those new to the world of cannabinoids, CBD is a hemp or cannabis extract that is believed to have a variety of therapeutic effects such as pain relief, anti-anxiety, anti-inflammatory, and relief from nausea. The compound itself was discovered decades ago but its use in the health sector didn’t come until recently when the demand for ‘alternative’ medicine increased. Cannabidiol works by engaging cannabinoids released by the human endocannabinoid system, and basically targeting the endocrine system to deliver a variety of medicinal effects.
The endocannabinoid system is responsible for regulating hormone function, managing pain, sensitivity, mood, appetite, and many more processes. By introducing CBD into your body, you may be able to improve the results from your physical therapy, but this is only a case of supplementing with a natural extract, and is NOT a declaration that CBD is medicine.
Can CBD be used in physical therapy?
Physical therapy’s primary function is to treat injury, disease, or other conditions that affect mobility. So by using methods like stretching, myofascial release techniques, heat, cold, and exercise, individuals who previously found it difficult to work out may recover muscle function and heal painful joints. The fact that CBD works within the endocananbinoid system means it may be used in physical therapy to minimize pain, enhance mobility, and to speed up recovery in the case of joint pain or other injury.
What are the benefits of CBD oil for physical therapy?
Since physical therapy is essentially a method of speeding recovery, it can go hand in hand with CBD oil. Topical balms are easy to use and can be applied directly to the affected area for quick relief. This may help to reduce pain, relax the muscles, and encourage movement. Here are a few more benefits to using cannabidiol in physical therapy:
– Relieve Pain
Pain relief is one of the main reasons people use CBD which has been shown to reduce pain sensitivity and can trigger the release of anandamide, serotonin, and other hormones that reduce the experience of pain.
– Reduce Anxiety and Depression
Mood regulation works pretty much the same way as pain relief, in the sense that CBD encourages the endocannabinoid system to block stress hormones and release those “feel good” hormones. Anxiety levels tend to be high when suffering from pain or other ailments; but CBD may help to reduce stress and anxiety by lowering cortisol levels in the blood, and also by increasing the presence of calming hormones. CBD also helps to relax the muscles, which increases blood flow and speeds up healing.
– Relieve Chronic Pain
When used in combination with physical therapy, CBD can be an effective treatment for long-term pain such as arthritic pain or back pain. The challenge with other forms of pain medication is that they are highly addictive and almost always present the risk of unpleasant side effects such as reduced energy and lowered libido. Having an alternative way to treat chronic pain can lead to higher quality of life and reduce the risk of dependency – which is a real concern for many people.
– Helps the Heart to Function Well
Another less mentioned benefit of CBD is the effect it may have on cardiovascular health. Cannabidiol has unique properties that may promote heart health and reduce high blood pressure. The anti-anxiety effect also helps with high blood pressure, though CBD has to be used daily – and perhaps even a few times a day – for it to have a long-lasting effect on conditions like hypertension.
Potential side effects of CBD
CBD doesn’t usually present any severe risks to users, but there has been some mention of side effects. Should you experience any of the following side effects, it’s wise to stop using immediately and seek medical advice before continuing.
- Changes in Appetite
- Weight Gain or Weight Loss
- Anxiety (very uncommon)
Keep in mind that using more of the compound won’t automatically have the same therapeutic effects: cannabinoids can actually have the opposite effect if taken in large doses.