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Does CBD work for CRPS?

Cannabidiol (more commonly known as CBD oil) is an extract of Cannabis indica and Cannabis sativa, the same plants used to make marijuana. From oils and nasal sprays to sweets and soft drinks, CBD is becoming increasingly popular in the UK for treating and helping to relieve various conditions.

CBD is said to provide relief for anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as pain relief, and there are said to be some key benefits that CBD oil may have when incorporated into your daily life.

CBD and pain relief for CRPS

Formerly known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) is caused by an injury to the sympathetic nerves resulting in severe pain. The definition of CRPS has changed regularly through the years and there are now two separate recognized types:

  • Type I – is often known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy and shows no evidence of nerve lesions
  • Type II – often known as causalgia and has clear evidence of nerve lesions and damage

CRPS is a chronic condition that is typically triggered by a traumatic injury to a limb, but the pain does not subside as would usually happen during a usual recovery. Those suffering from CRPS tend to experience pain that is greatly amplified and disproportionate to the severity of the injury itself and it can be catastrophic for many.

Cannabis has been used to treat pain for thousands of years, and in more recent history, scientists and researchers have uncovered that there are specific components of the marijuana plant, including CBD that is responsible for the pain-relieving effect that CBD can have.

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Many people use CBD to relieve pain. CBD works in three main ways:

  • reducing inflammation by decreasing the production of inflammatory chemicals called cytokines;
  • by binding to and blocking receptors in the central nervous system that are associated with pain; and
  • reducing anxiety associated with pain by binding to serotonin receptors and giving a natural anti-depressant.

There are few studies that have specifically explored the relationship between CBD and CRPS itself, however, there have been a number of promising studies that have looked into cannabis and its ability to provide pain relief to sufferers of CRPS.

CRPS is a poorly understood condition and therefore difficult to treat. There is no known cure for CRPS, however, a combination of physical treatments, medication, and psychological support can help to manage symptoms.

Is CBD legal?

CBD is legal in the UK, however, the law states that the product has to meet certain criteria to be lawfully available for human consumption. Primarily CBD oil must not contain any trace of THC to be legally sold in the UK (it’s the THC that’s present in the cannabis plant that gets you high). Many CBD products on the high street aren’t always properly authorized, therefore it’s best to buy them from trusted websites, pharmacies, or stores and to speak to your doctor before taking CBD products.

To be legal in the UK CBD products must have no THC so that they’re not psychoactive and won’t get you high. They are becoming increasingly popular for those suffering from various medical conditions, however, with all supplements, there are possible side effects that could affect you. Our understanding of the role of CBD in pain management continues to evolve and it is important to read the product information and packaging so you’re aware of what could happen and to speak to your doctor before starting to take CBD products to help relieve CRPS symptoms.

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