The Power of CBD, a Marijuana Derivative, in Chronic Pain Management

CBD
Print icon

Connecticut might not yet be a state where you can legally buy marijuana, but a derivative known as a good way to relieve chronic pain is readily available.

Dr. Jonathan Kost, medical director of the Hartford Hospital Pain Treatment Center and the Spine and Pain Institute at MidState Medical Center, recommends 100 percent cannabidiol, or CBD, to some of his patients. Marijuana contains both CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), while 100 percent CBD from hemp lacks THC’s psychoactive element so users do not get the “high” feeling they would after using marijuana.

“Research has begun to indicate that CBD may have strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant, antidepressant, antipsychotic, antitumoral and neuroprotective qualities,” said Dr. Kost, who also serves on the Connecticut Advisory Board for the Department of Consumer Protection overseeing medical marijuana.

CBD extract, taken from marijuana or hemp plants, can be used topically, sublingually (under the tongue), inhaled through vaporization or eaten. When used, he said, CBD products may help with a variety of conditions, including:

  • Chronic pain from various causes.
  • Cancer.
  • Crohn’s disease/ulcerative colitis.
  • Diabetes.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • Anxiety.
  • Multiple sclerosis.
  • Schizophrenia.

“Academic research centers around the world are currently studying the effects of CBD on these and other ailments,” says Dr. Kost. “CBD may even change gene expression and may be helpful in removing beta amyloid plaque, the hallmark of Alzheimer’s, from brain cells.

“Although all of this may seem too good to be true, we do need more research. This is an absolutely fascinating molecule.”

The only side effects from using CBD could be tiredness and diarrhea.

“CBD,” says Dr. Kost, “has no adverse effects upon physiological parameters, including heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, psychological and psychomotor functions, gastrointestinal transit or food intake.”

Dr. Kost, who referred to the 2018 U.S. Food and Drug Administration decision allowing CBD for treatment of a severe seizure disorder in children age 2 and older as evidence of its safety, still recommended trying other safe options for easing pain first.

“Risk vs. benefit and ‘do no harm’ are practitioners’ guidelines when selecting any and all treatments,” he says. “Simple and safe treatments should be initially trialed. If they are not effective or side effects develop, CBD may be an option.”

That said, he urged anyone using CBD to find out where and how the product is made. CBD products are not regulated and can vary in potency based on the origin of the CBD itself. CBD from hemp, he said, has extremely low quantities of THC (less than .3 percent) and, therefore, no resulting psychoactive effects. Medical marijuana dispensaries have more recently begun to offer strains with CBD percentages almost as high as hemp, but they still possess a higher percentage of THC and, therefore, a greater chance of a psychoactive “high” effect.

“It’s situation of buyer beware with hemp-based CBD products,” Dr. Kost said.

For more information on pain management at the Hartford HealthCare Pain Treatment Center, click here.


What's New

Exercise and Your Heart

February Walk to Wellness: The Best Exercises for Your Heart

The heart is a muscle and needs exercise just as much as other muscles in the body, but just how much exercise is enough to maintain good health? Similar to a prescription for any medication, exercise can be prescribed for the prevention, treatment and/or control of almost any chronic condition,...

"Colorectal Cancer' in dictionary.

January Walk to Wellness: Colorectal Cancer Prevention

A family history of colorectal cancer may increase your risk of developing colorectal cancer.  An estimated 5 percent to 10 percent of colon cancers have a hereditary component. Other factors that increase colorectal cancer risk: Overweight or obese. Physically inactive. Eating a lot of red or processed meats. Overcooking meats...

Aging Eyes

Walk to Wellness: Aging and Your Eyes

It’s no surprise if your eyesight isn’t what it used to be. That’s what happens as we age. Cataracts, a clouding of the natural lens of the eye, is common. So is dry eye, decreased tear production from the lacrimal gland. Other structural changes include reduced pupil size, a decrease in...

November Classes, Events

A Healthier You: Upcoming Classes, Events in December

Don’t slow down, just because winter’s coming. Learn about joint replacement, art therapy, grief self-care and Medicare 101. That’s only a sample. Find a support  group that might help you, too. For a complete schedule of the rest of this month and December, click here.  

Exercise Program

September Walk to Wellness: Exercise and Parkinson’s

Exercise is good for your health. That goes for people with Parkinson’s disease, too. Those who exercises at least 2.5 hours a week had a better quality of life than those who either didn’t exercise or started exercising later, according to the Parkinson’s Outcomes Project, the largest clinical study ever on the...

Walk to Wellness July

July Walk to Wellness: Back, Neck Pain

Back pain is universal. It’s the leading cause of disability around the world. When, sooner or later, your back (or neck) causes enough irritation that it requires medical assistance, you’ll find some healthy advice at The Hospital of Central Connecticut Spine Center. Sarah Bussolari, an APRN at the Spine Center, will...