Can CBD Aid Recovery Following an Injury or Surgery?
Updated: Feb 24
By Keith Alban
Surgery and injuries can be followed by some of the most devastating, trying times we face during our lives. Recovery is often a slow, arduous, draining process that leaves you feeling weak and depleted. The pain is not only physical but seems to spill over to the mind and emotions when having to live and function at far less than your optimal self on a daily basis. The burden of responsibilities we have in this world can pile up quickly while in recovery from an injury or surgery. With the opioid crisis already out of control and only increasing, over the counter NSAIDs are being overused and causing serious long-term damage that can sometimes be life-threatening.
Many people feel pressure to get on their feet as soon as possible and turn to heavy, dangerous drugs that are commonly used for pain. Compromising long term health for short term comfort seems to be a common theme when it comes to pain relief. What options are you left with? NSAIDs, prescription drugs, and street drugs used for pain relief have all been responsible for many preventable deaths all around the world, yet they’re still some of the most popular methods of pain management.
A Rising Star in the World of Natural Health
CBD has emerged as one of the most prominent supplements in the natural health world for pain, but what does the research say? Oftentimes in the natural, alternative and holistic medicine field, fads, trends, and clever marketing can be the driving force behind a product that experiences growth and sales. That doesn’t appear to at all be the case for CBD. A study published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine suggested that CBD can reduce pain and inflammation. (1) It seems to work regardless of the cause of inflammation and pain, although some may not respond as well as others. Bioavailability can vary depending on the delivery system of each product and a variety of personal factors.
Research published by the British Journal of Pharmacology points to CBD working on pain via TRPV1 receptors and by inhibiting glutamate levels in the brain and spinal cord. (2)
One of the great things about CBD is that it can be used both topically and internally for more thorough and direct pain relief. New research has emerged on the protective and healing benefits CBD may impart to traumatic head-based injuries. CBD may upregulate certain protective mechanisms in brain cells, quiet and calm some of the inflammation, ease some of the pain associated with the injury, and possibly hasten recovery. (3)
CBD may also have a place for neuropathy and nerve based pain. Nerve damage and nerve pain is a common side effect of many injuries and surgeries. Research has alluded to CBD helping to stimulate antinociceptive and analgesic effects on certain types of nerve pain. (4) The best part is that it seems to do so without building tolerance or causing any side effects. CBD is definitely something worth incorporating after any type of surgery where you're left with pain, swelling, or low mood.
Feeling Down During Recovery
While CBD is gently helping to facilitate and support recovery, it may also help with the emotional lulls that can sometimes occur when we're incapacitated. Many people feel very depressed, worried, anxious, fearful following an injury or surgery and CBD may be an ideal tool worth incorporating into your healing protocol. (5)
The beauty of this multifaceted cannabinoid is its range of therapeutic properties that can potentially impact our mental, emotional, and physical health. CBD is an adaptogenic compound in many ways, so it helps the body and brain to maintain homeostasis and balance. This is something that’s crucial following any type of injury or surgery.
CBD can be effective as a stand-alone product, but is ideally meant to be used as part of a program with other nutrients that can supercharge the body's innate healing mechanisms. The pain-relieving effects of CBD may not be on par with strong opioids or medications that often cause horrible side effects, but it is still powerful enough to make a positive difference in most cases. Unlike medication and over the counter NSAIDS, tolerance doesn't build with CBD, which eliminates the potential for addiction or health problems to occur.
There are many other safe and natural compounds that can help aid recovery and synergize well with CBD. Unfortunately, doctors and other practitioners don't inform their patients of options that are free of potentially harmful side effects. Pain-relieving medication and NSAID abuse have done more damage than is often acknowledged by the medical community. Feel free to take a look at our article on “The Top 10 Ways To Maximize CBD for Pain” for more tips. (link article please) We hope this article helps those struggling and going through tough periods following surgery and injuries, it will get better!
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