Are you living with chronic pain? You’re not alone. Chronic pain is one of the most common health-related complaints in the country, affecting 11-40% of Americans. Yet despite being such a widespread issue, chronic pain is poorly understood.
Treatment options can be limited, especially for severe chronic pain, leaving many people desperate and frustrated. Worst of all, many common medications for pain relief – both prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) – can be accompanied by all kinds of unwanted and unpleasant side effects.
Take ibuprofen, for example. It’s one of the most common pain relief medications, and it’s considered to be very safe. However, regular and long-term ibuprofen use is associated with many side effects, some life-threatening, like increased risk of heart attack and stomach bleeding. It’s also unsafe to use for those with certain gastrointestinal problems, like stomach ulcers.
Thankfully, there are alternatives, such as cannabidiol (CBD), which is quickly becoming a popular option for those seeking daily pain relief without the health risks.
What is CBD?
CBD is a cannabinoid, meaning that it comes from cannabis (either hemp or marijuana). It’s a remarkable substance that can relieve pain and anxiety, reduce epileptic seizures, improve sleep and digestion, and more. When extracted from hemp, CBD oil contains little to no THC, and won’t get you high.
What is Ibuprofen?
One of the most popular OTC drugs for pain relief, ibuprofen belongs to the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) class, and it’s used to reduce inflammation, fever, and pain. Other NSAIDs include aspirin, celecoxib, and naproxen. These drugs come in varying strengths, with some only available by prescription.
Which is More Effective in Dealing with Pain?
CBD reduces pain by stimulating CB2 receptors in the body, which modulate inflammation and pain. Through this interaction, CBD encourages the production of neurotransmitters called endocannabinoids that are involved in various processes, including pain. It’s speculated that many conditions may involve an endocannabinoid deficiency, including fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and migraine.
Ibuprofen relieves pain by inhibiting cyclooxygenase (COX) enzymes and decreasing the production of compounds called prostaglandins, which are involved in regulating inflammation, fever, swelling, and pain. There is also some evidence that ibuprofen decreases pain by increasing endocannabinoid levels – specifically an endocannabinoid called anandamide.
Uses & Benefits
Though it hasn’t yet been approved by the FDA for treatment of pain, studies show that CBD may be effective at reducing inflammation and different types of pain, including muscle pain, nerve pain, and joint pain.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that CBD may relieve pain associated with fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), chronic migraine, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), cancer, endometriosis, back pain, and old injuries. CBD may also be helpful for other issues, such as anxiety disorders, sleep disorders, depression, epilepsy, acne, psoriasis, and more.
As an NSAID, ibuprofen is used to reduce fever, inflammation, mild to moderate pain, and swelling. It is inexpensive and easily accessible as an over-the-counter drug. It’s recommended to use the lowest dose of ibuprofen necessary to experience relief, due to the many potential side effects and health risks.
Side Effects & Safety of CBD vs Ibuprofen
CBD typically has no side effects and is considered safe with no potential for addiction. For those that do experience side effects, they are typically mild, such as sleepiness, dry mouth, dizziness, or upset stomach. So far, no maximum dose has been established for CBD, meaning that you can’t overdose on it.
However, CBD can affect how the body metabolizes some other medications, including ibuprofen. This can lead to higher levels of ibuprofen in the blood as a result of combining the two. Currently, it is unknown whether it’s safe to take CBD and NSAIDs together, including ibuprofen.
While ibuprofen is usually safe, there are many possible side effects, including:
- Bloating and gas
- Nausea or vomiting
- Blurred vision
- Tinnitus (ringing in ears)
Ibuprofen can also lead to serious and life-threatening health issues, especially at higher doses and/or resulting from long-term use, such as:
- Stomach ulcers
- High blood pressure
- Stomach bleeding
- Liver failure
- Kidney failure
- Heart attack
In addition, some people can have allergic reactions to ibuprofen, and those with asthma are especially at risk of such reactions. Older adults in particular are at an increased risk of certain side effects, including stomach bleeding, which can be fatal. In fact, ibuprofen leads to approximately 41,000 hospitalizations and 3,300 deaths annually among older adults. Overdoses are also common with ibuprofen. The maximum safe dose is 1200mg/day.
Final Thoughts on CBD vs Ibuprofen
Research is still being conducted on exactly how effective CBD is for reducing chronic pain, and it’s still not FDA-approved for such use, but one thing is clear: it’s helping many people find relief, and without any of the serious health risks associated with long-term ibuprofen use.
If you’re interested in trying CBD for yourself, make sure to purchase only from trusted vendors, like Every Day Optimal. Every Day Optimal offers THC-free CBD tinctures, capsules, and more, so you’ll be able to find the perfect product to suit your lifestyle. All of our products are available in a wide range of doses, and with zero pesticides, herbicides, or heavy metals.
CBD vs Ibuprofen FAQ
CBD has natural anti-inflammatory properties, making it excellent at reducing inflammation throughout the body.
CBD may be able to reduce inflammation and pain caused by tendonitis.
Studies and anecdotal evidence show that CBD may be an effective painkiller for various types of pain, including muscle and joint pain, headaches, back pain, and stomach pain.
If you’re seeking pain relief, you’ll want to buy genuine CBD oil. Though it’s made from hemp, CBD oil is different from hemp oil, the latter of which is made from hemp seeds, which contain no CBD. While it contains heart-healthy fats, hemp oil contains no CBD and therefore has no pain-relieving properties.
Research indicates that CBD is a powerful anti-inflammatory that can effectively reduce inflammation, including inflammation caused by arthritis.
Currently there is no established maximum dose of CBD, though higher doses may lead to sleepiness, dizziness, or upset stomach.
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