[This article originally appeared on The Alternative Daily here.]
If you’re one of the millions of Americans suffering from chronic pain, you’re probably at your wits end about how to help your poor body cope. The good news is, there are several foods that can be as effective as over-the-counter pain medications, without all those nasty side effects. And when these superstar ingredients are combined, you’re looking at one seriously powerful elixir.
How CBD oil (from cannabis) can control pain
When you think of weed, you probably think of the smokeable flower that gets you high, as a result of the rich tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content. Marijuana in this form has loads of health benefits. But, if you’re wary about psychoactive effects, there’s another way to get a relaxed body high without altering the mind: CBD oil.
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of 85 active cannabinoids in a humble little weed plant. This compound works to relieve pain and anxiety by interacting with the body’s own endocannabinoid system, which regulates mood, sleep, appetite, hormones, immune response and more. Studies have found that CBD oil has antibacterial, antidepressant and anti-inflammatory properties, and it even kills cancer cells.
Even the National Institute Of Health (NIH) has indicated that CBD has the potential to treat neuropathic pain, epileptic seizures and several other issues. “There is significant preliminary research supporting the potential therapeutic value of CBD. And while it is not yet sufficient to support drug approval, it highlights the need for rigorous clinical research in this area. There are barriers that should be addressed to facilitate more research in this area,” said the NIH.
How to get CBD oil
If you’re lucky enough to live in Britain, your government has already determined that CBD oil is a safe medicine. However, if you live in the U.S., you may have a few hoops to go through to get your hands on some.
Because it’s derived from marijuana, CBD oil is still classified as a Schedule I drug, up there with heroin and LSD. So, in order to obtain CBD oil, you’ll need to live in a state where medical marijuana is legal. Next, you’ll need to check in with a local marijuana clinic about how to obtain a prescription from a doctor.
Once you’re inside a dispensary, ask a sales clerk to direct you towards tinctures that are comprised of majority CBD oil. Most will list the ratio of CBD to THC, something like 8:1 or 16:1. The higher the number, the more CBD oil it has.
Is CBD oil safe to mix with turmeric?
Now that we’ve gotten all that legal stuff out of the way, let’s talk about how CBD oil and other foods can help you manage pain. Our golden milk recipe (featured below) contains another ingredient with a well-deserved reputation: turmeric.
Turmeric’s active compound, curcumin, is perhaps best known for its ability to reduce inflammation. This is vital, as inflammation affects every aspect of your health. While a little bit of inflammation is a good thing, chronic inflammation is dangerous. A sedentary lifestyle and poor diet can create chronic inflammation, which is linked to serious conditions like heart disease, cancer, diabetes and more.
Fortunately, the combination of turmeric and CBD oil addresses both inflammation and muscle tension, which are often the precursors to chronic pain, said Dr. Josh Levitt of UpWellness.“When administered orally, both CBD and turmeric are exceedingly safe,” he said. “Although I am not aware of any studies that directly assessed the safety of this combination, the safety profile of each ingredient in this golden milk recipe makes me very comfortable approving of the use of this formula for people who are looking for natural ways to manage chronic pain.”
Here are a few more body-boosting ingredients to throw into the mix:
This is one oil to include in your diet every day. Coconut oil contains a high amount of essential fatty acids, making it a good binding agent for cannabinoids. It also has some amazing health properties. These include antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal effects. Multiple studies in humans and rats have shown that coconut oil can:
Lower blood pressure
Reduce oxidative stress
Increase cognitive function and memory
Decrease body fat, particularly in the abdomen
Increase HDL “good” cholesterol for better heart health
Improve sleep, sexual function and appetite for breast cancer patients
“Liquid gold,” a.k.a. raw honey, is known to reduce levels of an inflammatory marker called homocysteine. This is an important indicator of protection against chronic inflammatory illnesses, such as heart disease. But the benefits don’t just stop there. Raw honey also improves digestion, heals wounds, boosts the immune system, treats allergies and more.
Ginger has been used in Indian and Asian herbal traditions throughout history. Among other things, it’s an anti-inflammatory food that can help reduce chronic and acute inflammation. In one study, published in Arthritis and Rheumatism, researchers found that ginger was an effective remedy for symptoms of osteoarthritis and that ginger extract may someday substitute NSAIDs for pain relief. Wow!
Sweet Golden Milk with CBD Oil
Now that we know all the health benefits, let’s tie these ingredients together into a sweet golden milk recipe. If you don’t know how CBD oil works for you yet, try easing in. Use a 1/4 dropper of the tincture, or even 1/2 a dropper. That way you can determine the right dose for you, then add it to the golden milk as needed.
1 cup almond (or coconut) milk
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp ginger powder
1 tablespoon raw honey
1 tablespoon coconut oil
Drops of CBD oil
Add all ingredients into a high-speed blender.
Blend on high until smooth.
Pour mixture into a saucepan and heat on medium for five minutes until warm.
Pour into a cup and drink immediately.
Try nature’s own remedies, first
In this American culture of overmedication for every little thing, the side effects are almost as scary as the chronic conditions themselves. Remember: drugs are meant to heal, not harm. So, is there a better way?
The importance of natural remedies (like our yummy golden milk) cannot be overstated. “Although medication may provide some relief, they do not address the underlying causes of the pain, and many of the common medications are associated with a host of potential adverse effects including the potential for addiction,” said Dr. Levitt. “Using a naturopathic approach that includes a focus on the underlying causal factors of the chronic pain and utilizes safe and effective natural treatment options should always be considered in cases of chronic pain.”
To truly repair damage from the inside out, look to your diet, sleep, workload, relationships and daily habits. And when it comes to healing, always trust in nature — it’s got your back.
— Hilary Lebow