The uncovering of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) has been a remarkable biological revelation, which is giving medical experts new thoughts and ideas for how to improve physical health. For example, the ECS can regulate pain perception, potentially helping with chronic pain. The ECS also holds influence over immune system response, which could be used to treat arthritis, Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and other inflammatory conditions.
However, the endocannabinoid system does not always operate at 100 percent, which causes imbalance in ‘endocannabinoid tone’ and possible illness. But research into cannabis and, first and foremost, cannabidiol (CBD), has shown that this system can be regulated to provide relief from physical ailments.
Understanding CBD vape oil
CBD vape oil can offer fast relief from even the worst symptoms of chronic pain and is the quickest way to get CBD into the bloodstream where it can begin to work. After inhaling vapor into the lungs, the CBD passes through small air sacs known as alveoli and into the bloodstream. From there, CBD is transported around the body, where it can influence cannabinoid receptors in the central nervous system, the brain and other parts of the body.
CBD’s efficiency varies depending on how it is ingested into the body – a percentage of the CBD consumed will make it into the bloodstream, and this is referred to as bioavailability. Oral consumption of CBD leads to a reduced bioavailability because of the ‘first pass metabolism’ process.
When passing through the gut and the liver, some of the CBD is absorbed or broken down, which affects the bioavailability. However, when vaping CBD, the cannabinoid has a more direct path into the bloodstream, missing out the gut and liver altogether. In a nutshell, this means that 50mg of vaped CBD will have a more potent effect than 50mg of orally-consumed CBD.
Treating chronic pain
Chronic pain may not be a specific impairment, but it can have a debilitating effect on overall health. Consistent discomfort can have an adverse effect on quality of life, which can then manifest in the form of mental health disorders such as depression. But treating chronic pain has always been a difficult task.
While over-the-counter painkillers can suffice for less pertinent problems, opioid-based medication is common for those managing more severe pain. But while opioids may succeed in numbing the body’s sensitivity to pain, the chemical reactions made by such medication in the opioid system can be addictive, leading to increased dosages over time.
Unfortunately, the risk of overdosing on opioids is high, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reporting more than 42,000 opioid-related deaths in the United States in 2016, many of which from prescription meds. Moreover, opioid drugs can cause nausea, vomiting, dizziness and addictive euphoria.
Perhaps the most important advantage of CBD over opioids as a treatment for pain is its non-addictive nature. While research into the cannabinoid remains ongoing, there is plenty of evidence to support this fact, and now the World Health Organization (WHO) has also made clear that CBD has no abuse potential.
This is crucial, as it eliminates the risk of patients wanting to take higher and higher doses – to their own personal risk – in order to combat pain. Chronic pain patients can use CBD with confidence, knowing that they aren’t going to get bogged down with harmful side effects that would need further medication.
Experts are still trying to pin down why CBD and the endocannabinoid system helps to ease pain, but it appears to have something to do with the connection that anandamide makes with the vanilloid receptor, which is responsible for pain sensitivity. CBD can influence endocannabinoid production – so for pain, it may instruct for higher levels of anandamide to link with this receptor.
The scepticism of cannabis once held by older generations has been outweighed by the extraordinary therapeutic effects of CBD as a treatment for inflammatory conditions. CBD proves effective at remedying the likes of arthritis as the endocannabinoid system can have a regulatory impact on the immune system. Inflammatory conditions are caused by an overactive immune system, which essentially ends up attacking the body. CBD works to cool this system down.
Inflammatory pain tends to be fierce, and is often easily aggravated, especially in the case of arthritis. However, a dose of CBD e-liquid can help to calm these flare-ups down within minutes. In contrast, CBD edibles may offer lengthier relief, but the slow onset of effects that come with oral consumption may not be the best way to handle flare-ups.
The brain is surely still the most poorly understood organ in the human body. However, neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s can be very damaging, and they are often not recognized before it’s too late. Therefore, it’s important to keep our neurological health in mind, just like we do with every other part of the body.
Studies have found that CBD has some powerful neuroprotective and antioxidant properties which can be used to slow the onset of neurodegenerative diseases and keep the brain healthy generally. There is research to suggest that such diseases can be guarded against with diets that are rich in antioxidants, therefore a regular CBD supplement could have the same effect. And there’s no better way to get CBD into the system than the efficient vaping method.
In the future, we may find that CBD is not the only cannabinoid with neuroprotective and antioxidant effects. Indeed, research into the lesser-known, but also non-psychoactive cannabinoid cannabichromene (CBC) has found it to be useful in this area. Full-spectrum CBD vape oil products are made using the entire extract of the hemp plant, and therefore may contain small amounts of CBC.
CBD vape oil is sold in multiple concentrations, so that low and high dose users can medicate as efficiently as possible. In the case of pain, some people need a stronger hit than others to alleviate their symptoms. CBD vaping ensures everyone is covered.