CBD (cannabidiol) is one of approximately 85 cannabinoids found in cannabis plants, the most well-known of which is THC. CBD is an amazing compound; it can be used to treat chronic pain, anxiety and other mood disorders, as well as being a neuro-protectant and a very promising anti-cancer drug. CBD’s value in treating chronic pain is enhanced over THC because it is non-psychoactive.
CBD works against pain primarily in the peripheral nervous system. It does not work like typical pain meds by effecting the central nervous system; it works at the neuro-synapse. When we sustain injuries, often the pain is acute and disappears completely. Other times we have persistent or intermittent pain; however, with many disorders the pain is either part of the underlying problem itself (multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.) or the pain becomes a syndrome of its own.
In a recent Scientific American article, chronic pain and CBD is discussed; when an injury takes place, increased glial cell production forms around the neuro junctions. These glial cells produce cytokines which are the chemical transmitters that spread inflammation and signal pain. When a molecule of CBD binds to the glial cell, the cytokine production decreases and the patient feels a marked decrease in pain. This would also explain why some patients have pain relief that lasts far beyond the theoretical effect of the CBD.