Today, we’re especially excited to share recent CBD research that offers new and fascinating insights into the placebo effect and how it affects our experience of acute pain. If you’re interested in how to leverage cannabis as a gentle and sustainable response to physical discomfort—even including acute pain—this post is for you.
UNLOCK $25 OFF
YOUR FIRST CBD ORDER
CBD for Pain Relief: The Experience of Acute Pain
Like it or not, pain is a part of life. While pain can be bothersome, it’s helpful to think of it as an essential warning system that tells us when something threatens our physical health and safety. Even so, when we’re experiencing pain—especially high-volume acute pain—it can feel like the warning came too late.
There are many pharmacological responses to pain, ranging from gentle homeopathic remedies such as massage to more intense medicines like opioids, all with their own pros and cons. The reason we focus so keenly on CBD here at Papa & Barkley is a very personal one: Our best-in-class topical Releaf Balm helped our founder’s father overcome debilitating back pain. That’s because CBD can promote our bodies’ natural ability to regulate pain, reducing pain by helping modulate the actions of signaling and repair cells. CBD also impacts pain-perception mechanisms in the brain by stimulating receptors to dampen the signals of pain.
What Is the Placebo Effect? How Placebo and CBD Work Together
A moment ago, we mentioned the placebo effect. What is the placebo effect? Simply put, it’s a phenomenon whereby a pharmacologically inert substance—such as a sugar pill—stimulates healing effects simply because the subject believes it will improve their health. It’s a fascinating quirk of our physiology, and it’s 100% real.
So, what does this have to do with CBD? As we mentioned earlier, CBD exerts effects on our experience of pain. But as recent CBD research from Syracuse University suggests, part of its efficacy also comes from the power of the placebo effect. Let us explain.
We tend to think of the experience of pain as being a single variable, like when doctors ask you to rate your pain on a scale of 1 to 10. But as Martin De Vita—one of the authors of the study—explained in an interview:
“If you think of pain as the noxious noise coming from a radio, the volume can represent the intensity of the pain, while the station can represent the quality.”
In other words, how the discomfort feels on a qualitative level is different from how severe it is. And as the study found, CBD—in addition to reducing the severity of some types of pain—had an effect on the quality of the pain, making it less unpleasant and more manageable.
Echoing the findings of other clinicians, De Vita points out that it’s important to know where your CBD actually comes from. At Papa & Barkley, we make our award-winning CBD products from 100% USA-grown hemp plants, then triple test it for purity and safety. Our complete line of Releaf products—including topicals, capsules and drops— are thoughtfully formulated to ease discomfort and support your body’s natural ability to regulate pain.
In Conclusion: More Evidence for CBD’s Ability to Soothe Discomfort
The role hemp and cannabis play in relieving discomfort is complex, and research is currently underway to illuminate how cannabis terpenes (the aromatic “essential oils” that give hemp and cannabis plants their unique aromas and flavors) and other active compounds in the plants might be impacting its efficacy. But one thing is clear: This latest study adds weight to the notion that CBD helps us manage physical discomfort in several different—but complementary—ways.
Do you have other questions about the placebo effect or using CBD for acute pain?Reach out anytime; we’re always here to help!