Is CBD an effective substitute to Ibuprofen?


For many centuries, cannabis has been utilized to ease the pain. Studies are now suggesting the interaction between cannabinoids and their anti-inflammatory and anti-analgesic effects on the body. This could only mean that CBD is a potential healthy option to ibuprofen and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Discovered in 1961, Ibuprofen is available in various trade names and is today’s one of the most popular NSAIDs. Others include diclofenac, aspirin, ketoprofen, and many more. While they can help reduce or ease inflammation, pain, fever, rheumatoid arthritis, headaches, and more, these NSAIDs come with adverse side effects, like heartburn, ulcers, headaches, kidney or liver diseases, dizziness, high blood pressure, stroke, and heart attack.

Compounds known as prostanoids are produced when the body suffers an injury. They include thromboxane, which is involved in blood clotting and prostaglandins, which are involved in inflammation. They are produced by COX-1 and COX-2, well-known cyclooxygenase enzymes.

Ibuprofen, similar to other pain-control and anti-inflammatory drugs, hampers the production of these compounds that the body generated as a response to infection, trauma or injury. Just like aspirin, it decreases the activity of cyclooxygenase enzymes and is a non-selective COX inhibitor. It suggests that Ibuprofen and aspirin inhibit both the cyclooxygenase enzymes, and could thereby cause more side effects than other NSAIDs. Despite its potential side effects, a lot of folks still largely use this drug without knowing the risk.

New Pain Control Alternatives

The body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) is active not only in the peripheral systems against itchy and painful inflammatory systems generated by allergies and dermatitis but likewise largely active in controlling pain at the central nervous system. Just like ibuprofen, cannabinoids can modulate pain ceilings and hamper the production of pro-inflammatory molecules through their action on ECS. Furthermore, they produce synergistic effects with other body systems modulating pain, like the endogenous opioid system.  The pain control and anti-inflammatory potentials of cannabinoids have been proven in various pre-clinical and clinical studies. This only suggests that compounds derived from cannabis may have the potential to treat diseases related to chronic or acute pain, even in refractory cases to traditional therapies. CBD, in particular, can moderate the inflammatory process by hampering the immune system’s production of cytokines, and by impeding several of the receptors in charge with pain perception.

Plenty of clinical trials have shown the efficacy and safety of CBD and THC in treating cancer pain, rheumatoid arthritis, and peripheral and central neuropathic pain. Consequently, CBD has been recently removed by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) from its list of controlled substances. The removal has enabled a lot of professional athletes to join other patients in giving CBD a try as an alternative for ibuprofen and other anti-inflammatory and pain-control drugs.

How does CBD benefit the body?

Despite a growing number of studies about cannabinoids and its unique analgesic mechanism as compared with prescription medicines like ibuprofen, its multiple interaction dynamics with the body remain not completely understood. Laboratory research on the interaction of cannabinoid receptors with pain mechanisms is advancing, yet clinical trials are slowly progressing.

Meanwhile, the scientific evidence of the various health benefits of CBD has attracted a number of patients to use them to reduce their dependence on pain killers. Unlike several prescription medicines, the side effects of THC are well-tolerated in general, while that of CBD are limited. CBD for one does not alter blood pressure or heart rate. It does not bring about adverse gastrointestinal effects. It is unable to cause any kind of temporary physical or mental impairment the way THC does. Regardless of it, CBD strongly interacts with receptors, and thereby affecting our pain perceptions, leading to a relaxing and effective analgesic effect.