pain managementPhysical Therapy

CBD and Physical Therapy

By January 7, 2020 May 1st, 2020 One Comment
medical professional holding a tincture of CBD

CBD and It’s Use In Physical Therapy

The sale and consumption of marijuana (and it’s extracts/derivatives like CBD) for both medical and recreational uses are growing rapidly. It’s estimated that the market for legal cannabis in the United States grew by 74% from 2013 to 2014 alone—up to $2.7 billion in sales, from $1.5 billion. In 2016, sales exceeded $6.7 billion.  What’s more, the total market value if all states were to legalize marijuana could top $36.8 billion. That’s more than $3 billion more than current sales for the organic food industry. The entire market for marijuana in 2016—legal and illegal—was estimated at $53.3 billion.

Medicinal use for Physical Therapy Patients

A growing number of PTs are looking at (or revisiting) the use of MMJ by patients, based on published evidence and patient experiences. An increasing number of PTs and PTAs also are advocating for its use in some instances. Many favor it due to it’s favorable safety profile compared to  drugs such as opiates, muscle relaxants, and anti-inflammatory.

What is CBD?

About 85% of Americans support legalizing medical marijuana, and it is estimated that at least several million Americans currently use it, it’s least controversial is the extract from the hemp plant known as CBD (which stands for cannabidiol) because this component of marijuana has little, if any, intoxicating properties. Marijuana itself has more than 100 active components. THC (which stands for tetrahydrocannabinol) is the chemical that causes the “high” that goes along with marijuana consumption. CBD-dominant strains have little or no THC, so patients report very little if any alteration in consciousness.

Patients do, however, report many benefits of CBD, from relieving insomnia, anxiety, spasticity, and pain to treating potentially life-threatening conditions such as epilepsy. One particular form of childhood epilepsy called Dravet syndrome is almost impossible to control, but responds dramatically to a CBD-dominant strain of marijuana called Charlotte’s Web. The videos of this are dramatic.

Still, both medical professionals and patients are questioning whether cannabis and cannabinoids are the solution. They’re asking “Can it really help?” “What are the side effects?” “Is it safe?” and “Is it legal?” As a PT these are all questions for which you should be prepared for.

CBD, 1 of many cannabinoids found in marijuana that exhibits medicinal properties, is nonpsychoactive and legal to use.  The 2 most common forms of CBD are, CBD Oil and CBD-based pain creams.

Topicals that contain CBD could be great for pain relief and possibly a good alternative to typical massage creams because these have a medicinal property to aid in healing and pain reduction.

CBD oil has in some instances helped with issues such as seizures and pain, but without the hallucinogenic and altered state properties that may accompany THC.


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