Everything You Need to Know
Thousands of cannabis and hemp users each year opt to “go for the gummies” for chronic conditions, sleep issues, mood issues, inflammation, and especially for pain. Here is everything you need to know to get started using gummies, including what science says about its effectiveness, how to determine how much to take, and more.
How Do CBD Gummies Work for Pain?
The first step in learning the basics about gummies is to know a little information about CBD in general.
You can think of the endocannabinoid system as a “helper” for all other systems in the body. Endocannabinoids are produced internally and basically function as neurotransmitters. It is the job of endocannabinoids to send signals and carry messages so that balanced and healthy functioning can occur. This is why there are cellular receptor sites for endocannabinoids all over the body. Endocannabinoids and the entire endocannabinoid system play a vital role in metabolism, appetite stimulation, cardiovascular health, blood pressure, memory and cognition, immune system responses, and the regulation of pain receptors.
Endocannabinoids are sometimes produced in insufficient quantities or their signaling mechanisms may be poor. This often happens as one ages or as a result of chronic stress, poor diet, or disease. When the endocannabinoid system is off, inflammation (and pain) is often the result. Substances found in medical marijuana and hemp provide support for what is missing. CBD in particular plays the major role in the many medical marijuana health benefits that have helped people for centuries.(1)
So how can CBD in particular help with the most common sources of pain?
One investigation found that CBD helped to reduce sciatic nerve pain and inflammation.(2) A 2018 study in Finland found that CBD gave significant protection for those who had migraine pain.(3) Many studies have also found that people with arthritis can greatly benefit from CBD. A 2006 UK investigation discovered that “a significant analgesic effect was observed and disease activity was significantly suppressed” in rheumatoid arthritis for those who used CBD. The researchers in this study were also impressed with how both CBD and THC work together to help calm muscle spasm.(4)
CBD stands for Cannabidiol. Along with THC, it is the substance that has the most influence on the endocannabinoid system. In fact, the body needs both CBD and THC to gain a healing effect from hemp or to experience medical marijuana health benefits.
Don’t worry, however, if hemp-based gummies are your go-to for pain. You only need a tiny amount of THC to activate the amazing benefits of CBD. Most CBD gummy products made from hemp have less than 0.3% THC per dose. This is not enough to produce a psychoactive effect, but it is enough to work in tandem with CBD to influence the endocannabinoid system and help ease headache, joint stiffness, muscle spasms, and more.
How Do You Use CBD Gummies for Pain?
The best way to use CBD gummies is to make sure that you get a product that contains full spectrum hemp plant, not broad spectrum nor CBD isolate. Full spectrum means that the product is using the whole plant and not just extracted CBD.
Did you know that there are between 400-500 different kinds of phytonutrients in a single cannabis leaf? These include terpenes, antioxidants, flavonoids, fatty acids, detoxifying agents like chlorophyll, vitamins, minerals, and hundreds of other kinds of cannabinoids too. Using full spectrum hemp will ensure that the hundreds of substances within the plant can work together in a synergistic way in what is known as the “entourage effect.”
For example, besides CBD and THC, CBC (Cannabichromene) is a cannabinoid found in cannabis that has been shown in studies to be a strong analgesic effect.(5) And the terpene Beta Caryophyllene found in cannabis has proven to work directly within the endocannabinoid system to activates specific receptors which can ease pain.(6)
How Long Does It Take For CBD Gummies to Work for Pain?
Consuming CBD in gummy form is a lot different than getting it by other means. When you smoke cannabis, CBD (as well as THC and other cannabinoids) enters your bloodstream through the respiratory system. When you use a tincture sublingually (or suck on a CBD-infused lollipop or candy), CBD enters the bloodstream through tissues under the tongue that connect with major arteries. When you use a topical CBD product, it enters the body through the skin.
When you consume a CBD gummy, however, you are eating it as food. This means that, just like other kinds of edibles such as cookies, the CBD has to process through the digestive system before it can enter your bloodstream. This may take anywhere between half an hour to 90 minutes or longer.
There are several factors that can affect the amount of time that it may take for that gummy to “kick in” for pain. Body weight, metabolic factors, and how long it has been since your last meal all play a part.
Also keep in mind that it may be harder for you to determine when a CBD gummy has started to work for pain, versus a gummy that has both CBD and THC. A good observational strategy is to evaluate your pain level on a scale of 1-10 before you take the gummy and then every fifteen minutes or so thereafter. When you notice the pain has subsided by 2 or more levels, then you know that the gummy is doing its job.
How Long Do CBD Gummies Last for Pain?
As mentioned above, once you eat that gummy, it has to go through all the phases of the digestive process. Then it has to pass by the liver, where the CBD concentration will lessen a little. After these and a few other steps, the CBD will begin to enter the bloodstream in measured amounts. While smoking or tincture may produce a rush of effects caused by the rapidity in which it hits the bloodstream, the long, slow journey that a CBD gummy has to make will instead produce a “slow drip” of pain-reducing effects that often lasts a lot longer than any other method.
This is why many people choose CBD in gummy form specifically for pain during their workday or at night for sleep. In fact, studies that go back to the early 1990’s have found that CBD can significantly help individuals who suffer from insomnia.(7)
How Many CBD Gummies Should I Take for Pain?
In order to find just the right amount of gummy for you, you have to determine what your Minimum Effective Dose (or M.E.D.) is. This is the smallest amount of CBD you can ingest that will have the desired result of significantly reducing pain. Finding your M.E.D. not only allows the CBD to work with your body in a gentle way. It can also save you money too!
Be sure to look at the label first of all to determine how much CBD is in each gummy, gumdrop, or square. Many low-cost products contain very little CBD (7 mg or less per serving) while the higher quality CBD gummies may have up to 30 mg per serving. The average is about 10 mg per serving.
Studies have shown that roughly 30-33 mg of CBD is a great amount for most people to feel the calming and pain-reducing effects of CBD. That being said, there are a lot of factors that you must consider when determining the right amount for you. The CBD works through its interaction with the body’s pain receptors and the endocannabinoid system. Every person has a unique make up in this regard. Other disease conditions, metabolic rates, and genetic factors, as well as the actual quality and characteristics of the product you are taking, will all play a part.
The key is to start with a recommended dose (around 10-30 mg for most people), be patient, monitor your reaction, and adjust either up or down in dosage as you go. The really good news is that CBD is relatively safe for most people, so experimenting on your own (or with the guidance of a professional) is likely to do no harm.
What to Look for when Buying CBD Gummies For Pain
When shopping for a CBD gummy for pain, you may be confused by the wording for products on sites like Amazon or even on the labels of products at your local health food store. The hemp gummies vs CBD gummies confusion, for most CBD products, is simply a result of savvy marketing strategy in response to current cannabis regulation. Many selling platforms still do not allow sellers to use the word “CBD” when advertising their products. If a formula is made from hemp and has CBD in it (which most hemp products do) then a particular seller may use the phrase “hemp gummies” instead of CBD.
Be sure that the amount of CBD per serving is clearly marked on the label of any product that you are interested in. In addition, besides choosing “full spectrum,” make sure that your CBD gummies are 100% organic and have been third-party tested for pesticides, mycotoxins, and other toxins. Your quality CBD product should be free from all unnecessary fillers, preservatives, artificial flavorings, and colorings. At the moment there is no FDA regulation for CBD so it is really important that you purchase your product from companies that do third-party testing on their own and have the test results accessible to the general public.
Finally, if you are vegan, make sure you find a gummy that uses pectin in lieu of gelatin. In addition, some formulas are specially blended with other herbs or substances to boost the effectiveness of the CBD for pain relief and lowering inflammation. Medicinal mushrooms, vitamin C, ginger, and turmeric are all common natural substances that many quality companies elect to add to their formulas. These added natural ingredients can create a great synergy to enhance the effects of your CBD gummy.
Whether your quality CBD product has added natural substances or not, CBD gummies in general are an excellent, safe, and reliable choice to help you stay pain-free for years to come!
- Pharmacotherapeutic considerations for use of cannabinoids to relieve pain in patients with malignant diseases
- The non-psychoactive cannabis constituent cannabidiol is an orally effective therapeutic agent in rat chronic inflammatory and neuropathic pain.
- Emerging Role of (Endo)Cannabinoids in Migraine
- Randomized controlled trial of cannabis‐based medicine in spasticity caused by multiple sclerosis
- SCLabs- Cannabinoids
- β-Caryophyllene, a Natural Sesquiterpene, Attenuates Neuropathic Pain and Depressive-Like Behavior in Experimental Diabetic Mice
- Hypnotic and antiepileptic effects of cannabidiol.
Photo Credits – Elsa Olofsson – Thank you Elsa!