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CBD (cannabis) versus Ibupofen, how effective are they for pain

CBD (cannabis) versus Ibupofen, how effective are they for pain

Can CBD replace ibuprofen against pain and inflammation?

Cannabis has been used for centuries to relieve pain. Science is now beginning to understand the interaction between cannabinoids and their analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects in the body, confirming that CBD is a great alternative to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen.

Pain and inflammation are part of our lives. They are natural reactions of our body initiating a self-healing attempt, usually successful. When pain increases, it is also natural to seek help outside the body. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, are the most common pain relievers and anti-inflammatories for conditions that are not too serious.

Over-the-counter medications and prescription anti-inflammatory medications are readily available, easily prescribed, and widely used. The most common anti-inflammatory drugs are called NSAIDs: non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

Ibuprofen is one of the most common anti-inflammatory medications, discovered in 1961 and currently available under several trade names. Other common NSAID drugs are aspirin, diclofenac or ketoprofen, among others. They are effective in reducing or eliminating pain, inflammation, fever, headaches, rheumatoid arthritis, and other conditions, but these medications have possible serious side effects, such as ulcers, heartburn, headaches, dizziness, liver disease or kidney, high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke.


  • When the body suffers an injury, compounds called prostanoids are produced, and these include prostaglandins, which are involved in inflammation, and thromboxane, which is involved in blood clotting. These compounds are produced by cyclooxygenase enzymes called COX-1 and COX-2.
  • Like other anti-inflammatory and pain medications, ibuprofen inhibits the release of these chemical compounds generated by our body's response to injury, trauma or infection. Ibuprofen prevents prostaglandin production by decreasing the activity of the cyclooxygenase enzyme, but, like aspirin, ibuprofen is a non-selective COX inhibitor. This means that it inhibits the COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes, which may cause more side effects than other NSAID drugs. In any case, ibuprofen is effective against symptoms of general pain, headache, joint inflammation or damage, fever, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, musculoskeletal injuries and rheumatic diseases, and many people frequently resort to this medication without being fully aware. of its side effects and health risks.


  • The endocannabinoid system acts mainly to control pain in the central nervous system, but it also acts in the peripheral systems against the symptoms of pain and itching of inflammation generated by dermatitis and allergies. Cannabinoids can modulate pain thresholds and inhibit the release of pro-inflammatory molecules, just as ibuprofen does, through its action on our endocannabinoid system. In addition, they exert synergistic effects with other systems in our body that modulate pain, such as the endogenous opioid system.
  • Preclinical and clinical studies have demonstrated the anti-inflammatory and pain management effects of cannabinoids, suggesting that cannabis derivatives may be useful in treating diseases related to acute or chronic pain, even in conditions that are often resistant to conventional therapies. In particular, CBD can reduce the inflammatory process by decreasing the production of cytokines by the immune system and inhibiting some of the receptors responsible for pain perception.
  • Several clinical trials have demonstrated the safety and effectiveness of THC and CBD in the treatment of central and peripheral neuropathic pain, rheumatoid arthritis, and cancer pain. As a result, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) recently removed CBD from its list of prohibited substances. This has allowed many professional athletes to join other patients in testing CBD as a substitute for ibuprofen or other anti-inflammatory and pain management medications.
  • Cannabinoids have different pain-relieving mechanisms than ibuprofen or other prescription medications, and despite a growing body of research, we still don't fully understand the many dynamic interactions between cannabinoids and our bodies. Laboratory research into how cannabinoid receptors interact with pain mechanisms is progressing, but clinical trials are moving slowly.
  • However, scientific confirmation of the wide range of benefits that cannabinoids provide has led thousands of patients to use them to eliminate or reduce the consumption of pain relievers, thus reducing the short and long-term side effects of ibuprofen and other NSAID drugs. Unlike many prescription medications, THC side effects are generally well tolerated, while CBD side effects are minimal. Cannabidiol does not alter heart rate or blood pressure, and does not exert negative gastrointestinal effects. It does not cause dizziness or any type of temporary mental or physical impairment that THC can generate. Despite that, CBD interacts strongly with receptors that affect our perception of pain, resulting in an effective and relaxing analgesic effect.


  • We can find many products with CBD on the market. Along with CBD oils, there are capsules, sublingual tinctures, edibles, creams, vape liquids, and of course, CBD-rich cannabis strains. Smoking, vaporizing, and sublingual administration are the fastest ways to reduce pain with CBD. Some patients even combine several methods, such as several oral applications per day, steam inhalation when necessary, and application of a topical cream to the affected areas to relieve local pain.
  • There is no risk of overdose associated with CBD, and this cannabinoid is well tolerated even at high doses. However, most users start with low doses, slowly increasing intake over a period of days or weeks until they reach a dose that can control their particular type of pain. You can start with a dose of 2.5mg of CBD per day, and normally increase to 20mg of CBD per day. The main precaution to take when using CBD is to understand that it can affect the way other medications are metabolized, increasing or decreasing their effectiveness. If you are currently taking medications and want to start consuming CBD, consult your doctor first.

CBD replaces medications.

  • Some medical cannabis users report that marijuana varieties, or derivatives, with high THC content work better against pain symptoms, while others prefer products that contain little or no THC, or a balance of CBD and THC. Cannabis terpenes also exhibit qualities that can be complementary to pain management, which is why a full-spectrum extract is typically preferable to a single isolated cannabinoid, according to the “entourage effect” theory.
  • When ibuprofen is replaced by CBD, therapeutic success is assured, since the patient experiences similar relief but without risks, in addition to additional health benefits that go beyond the analgesic effect. Among them are antiemetic effects, neuroprotective effects and improved sleep quality. Furthermore, thanks to the antioxidant properties of CBD, this cannabinoid can protect cells against the action of free radicals while reducing pain and inflammation.

You may also like: What is CBD oil, also known as hemp, hemp, cannabidiol or cannabis, and what is it for? 🍁

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