Cannabis and Health

1 April 2019

Is CBD a good substitute for Ibuprofen?

How to relieve pain, fever and inflammation without negative side effects.

By Mell Green

Pain can and will likely affect all of us at some point in life. This is a natural reaction triggered by the body’s attempt to heal itself, which it does successfully, most of the time. However, when the body fails to do so, a person may look for external help. Painkillers are easily available and readily prescribed over the counter for controlling pain. But, is there a natural alternative we could possibly trade-in for popular painkillers such as Ibuprofen? Well, current CBD researchers seem to think so.

Early phases in clinical studies have proven the pain-control effects of cannabinoids, suggesting that cannabis derivatives may prove helpful in treating pain, even in conditions that are often refractory to conventional therapies. If you have found these conventional methods to be ineffective, it’s possible that CBD could help treat pain, fever and inflammation.

Fevers, Migraines, and Related Pains

A migraine isn’t just any ordinary headache. It’s a severe headache with extreme pain that usually affects both sides of the head and is often accompanied by a number of uncomfortable symptoms including, throbbing pain, blurred vision, tingling, light and sound sensitivity, nausea and vomiting, and lightheadedness. Bacteria-induced fevers, on the other hand, cause an elevated body temperature, somewhere around 38°C (100.4° F) or higher and can cause excessive sweating, dehydration, muscle aches, appetite loss, general weakness, headaches, and chills and shivering. Furthermore, whether you are suffering from a bacterial or viral infection, CBD in particular, is an anti-bacterial and can help fight the source of fever.

All in all, just what do they both have in common? The short answer is, pain. However, headaches and migraines seem to be the most common plagues of pain.

When a pain stimulus is present in the human body, it will activate the cells to fire off pain-causing chemicals. These chemicals will journey from one cell to another until they reach the spinal cord and then the part of the brain responsible for pain perception. Once the brain receives this signal, it will cue the body how to react. Once the stimulus has passed, chemicals are then reabsorbed by the human body, causing pain to diminish. Several other triggers have been identified to contribute to chronic and persistent headache and migraine pain including:

  • Physical Injury
  • Fatigue and changes in sleep patterns
  • Mood issues such as stress, anxiety, and depression
  • Pharmacologic agents (postmenopausal hormones, oral contraceptives, nitrates, etc.)
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Changes in air pressure, altitude, or weather
  • Hormonal shifts
  • Diet changes or consumption of vasoactive substances
  • Environmental factors such as noise, glaring, or flickering lights

Furthermore, many of these conditions, too, are aggravated by inflammation, as chemokines and cytokines (inflammation-causing proteins) that immune cells produce also stimulate pain receptors in the body. As it stands, current symptom treatment options generally include conventional painkillers, with Ibuprofen as one of the most commonly used.

CBD and our immune system
How chemokines and cytokines interact with our immune system and stimulate pain receptors in the body. CBD can help to inhibit this process.

Discovered in 1961, Ibuprofen is available under several trade names. It works to inhibit the release of these chemical compounds called prostaglandins, which are produced by our body following an infection, trauma, or injury. Although commonly used, one must consider the ingredients and side effects of taking Ibuprofen. Taking this drug could cause a range of allergic reactions, including shortness of breath, swelling, itching, mood changes, and runny nose. However, gastrointestinal bleeding (by damaging the protective barrier of the stomach lining) is perhaps one of the most extreme complications commonly caused by overdose or prolonged use of Ibuprofen.

For some, CBD might be a viable option to relieve headaches and migraines

CBD (one of the most important chemical compounds found in cannabis) has the ability to help reduce the process of pain and inflammation in the body. This is largely due to their interactions with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Our ECS is mainly engaged in our pain control center, located in the central nervous system, but it’s also active in the peripheral systems against the frequency of acute migraine pain and its disruptive symptoms. In a 2017 study, it was found that a combination of CBD and THC (through what is called the Entourage Effect) significantly reduced pain intensity in chronic migraine sufferers by 43.5 percent, as opposed to, commonly used antidepressants such as amitriptyline. By lowering the production of cytokines and chemokines by the immune system and also inhibiting firing by pain receptors, these cannabinoids rid pain and inflammation.

CBD, by contrast, does not pose the same dangers as painkillers. In fact, the chances of an overdose consuming the cannabinoid is even lower than many of the everyday drugs we don’t even think twice about. CBD is non-toxic and comes with zero long-term side effects, if any at all. Therefore, its use is not only safer on the kidneys, GI tract, and liver, but it won’t negatively affect your digestion, heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, nor your appetite or mood.

CBD as an alternative for Ibuprofen

The potential of CBD medicine is emerging, and so far, it appears to be proven as a safe and useful alternative for pain management. The best part? There are many options to choose from when it comes to addressing bouts of pain with CBD, including topicals, edibles, tinctures, and vaporizers. If you are interested in trying CBD as an alternative for Ibuprofen, take a look at the wide selection of top quality CBD products in our shop. As always, consult your physician to see what dosage is right for controlling your pain.

Post author
Mell Green
Mell Green is an enthusiast of all things cannabis and writes content that represents some of the best things that we as a people can strive for: good health and happiness.
See more from Mell Green

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