Is CBD Safer & More Effective Than Tylenol or Advil?
In the United States alone, an estimated 50 million people suffer from chronic pain or experienced “pain on most days or every day in the past 6 months.” Nearly 20 million (about 7.5%) experienced high-impact chronic pain, defined as “limiting life or work activities on most days or every day in the past 6 months.”
Analgesics, also known as painkillers, fall under three main categories: Opioid Narcotics, Non-Narcotic Analgesics and Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs). Each year, millions of prescriptions are written by doctors for pain relief. Far too many of them are for dangerous opioid narcotics, resulting in a national crisis of abuse and misuse. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates around 12.5 million people misuse opioid medications. Around 90 Americans a day die – 33,000+ people annually – and nearly $80 billion is spent annually on the U.S. opioid epidemic. But that’s not the only crisis.
A January 2018 study by a Boston University School of Health researcher showed Americans aren’t just abusing prescription opioid painkillers, they’re also taking too many and too much of over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications like Tylenol and Advil, raising their risk for serious health problems.
Millions of people pop these commonly used OTC pain relievers like candy without really thinking about potential side effects, or worse – combining them with other pain relievers. The bottom line is that people are exceeding the recommended dosages for pain relievers far too often.
How Popular Analgesics Work in the Body
Tylenol’s active ingredient is acetaminophen, a non-aspirin pain reliever. It’s used to relieve fever and headaches plus other aches and pains. However, it does not reduce inflammation, which is often an underlying issue. Acetaminophen is processed through the liver, which is why it’s not recommended for use by those who regularly drink or abuse alcohol.
Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) are processed differently by the body. NSAIDs include medications like aspirin, ibuprofen – the main ingredient in Advil and Motrin – and naproxen, found in Aleve® and Anaprox®. For certain conditions, NSAIDs may be more effective than acetaminophen because they reduce inflammation and ease pain. However, many people have sensitivities to NSAIDs, which can cause bleeding of the stomach lining. Another issue? Long-term, high dosages use of ibuprofen and other NSAIDs raises the risk for developing heart problems, kidney disease, gastrointestinal bleeding and hearing loss, among others.
CBD: A Safer Option
CBD is short for cannabidiol, which is one of hundreds of compounds found in both cannabis (marijuana) and hemp plants. Cannabis and hemp are closely related. The cannabinoid CBD extracted from hemp has some structural similarities to THC found in cannabis. The difference between the two is marked by their psychoactive properties (cannabis) or lack of them (hemp).
CBD oil has therapeutic properties that are commonly used for medical purposes. Research indicates that the compound seems to work much like opioids do in the brain – by blocking pain at the neurological level. Unlike opioids, studies have shown that CBD reduces inflammation and relaxes muscles at the actual location of pain, and promotes a state of relaxation overall.
CBD oil can be incorporated into a number of products from edibles to topical creams and lotions. The most common forms:
- CBD Oil & CBD Tinctures
- CBD-Infused Health & Beauty Products
- CBD Vape Pens
- CBD- Infused Edibles
Studies show that whether taken internally or applied topically, CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system., which receive chemical signals from stimuli and help cells respond to those signals. Receptors react with CBD, creating anti-inflammatory effects that reduce pain.
Based on the research, it seems as though the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD oil mean that people can use CBD products for managing pain and discomfort, without getting ‘high’ or fear of failing a drug test. As CBD popularity and a yearning of the public to disassociate with common pain relief products rises, CBD products becoming an option for people choosing to real relief with less potential for side effects. High CBD oils have been used to treat anxiety, depression and to help ease stress, making it an effective treatment option for a variety of conditions. The benefits of using CBDs continue to spark new research into these promising compounds.
Although CBD seems to be effective for pain relief, every patient and their unique endocannabinoid system is different. After doing their research on CBD products, patients should consult a medical professional before making any choice that leads them towards a more pain-free lifestyle.
In closing, any opportunity to decrease reliance on prescription or OTC painkillers like NSAIDs is one that should be embraced. The benefits of living a healthier life with less pain and potential side effects are well worth the effort and research into whether CBD products are optimal.