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Can CBD Help Relieve Toothache?

There is little research into the applications of cannabinoids in dentistry, but as studies continue to unveil CBD’s effects on the body, it’s worth taking a look at how it may impact dental health conditions like toothache.

There is a growing body of preclinical and early clinical research exploring the impact of CBD on numerous bodily functions and conditions. With specific studies citing the anti-inflammatory , antioxidant, and bone-stimulating [1] potential of cannabinoids, might tooth and gum conditions like toothache be addressed by the pharmacological effects of cannabinoids? Given that there is no clinical evidence to draw upon, we must dig a little deeper into associated research.

WHY DO WE GET A TOOTHACHE?

Most toothaches happen because of an infection. The inner part of our teeth contains nerves and blood vessels that make us feel heat, cold, touch, and pain too. This inner part is named dentine, and just like any other part of our body, it hurts when infected.

The clear, sticky film left on your teeth by the food you eat, particularly by starch and sugar, starts up a bacteria farm, which spreads to both the visible and invisible parts of your teeth. Infrequent or improper brushing helps the farm thrive. In the next step, cavities can form and grow deeper into your tooth, causing an infection, a toothache, and eventually the destruction of your tooth. Before that, if the bacteria and their acidic environment are able to reach the dentine, infections can enter the bloodstream, causing swelling, pressure on the nerves, and consequently pain.

Another reason for toothaches is periodontal disease and its related painful abscesses, which affect the gums and bones where the teeth are grafted, resulting in a hollow space between each tooth that becomes deeper over time. Crooked, overlapping, rotated teeth can also cause pain, together with hormonal changes, stress, or a poor diet.

Whatever the cause of pain might be, it is always recommended to visit a medical professional if you have a long-lasting or a severe toothache. Moreover, a professional check-up and cleaning every 6 months or 1 year is always advisable as a method of prevention for any dental disease.

CBD AND OUR TEETH

We know that a combination of analgesic, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory agents are needed to kill toothaches. Effective anti-inflammatory action is even more desirable than a mere analgesic effect. A bunch of prescription pills and topicals are available for this purpose, some of which come with severe side effects, but what about a natural remedy?

Our body creates inflammation for immune purposes, usually to fight bacteria, a viral attack, or trauma. Although in most cases an active inflammatory response is beneficial, there is such a thing as too much. When inflammation persists, despite the threat passing, the body becomes vulnerable to the onset of several damaging health conditions. Here is where topical antibacterial, antiseptic, and analgesic action might be effective.

In this arena, a 2008 study [2] published in the Journal of Natural Products cites CBD, among other cannabinoids, as “show[ing] potent activity against a variety of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus” bacteria.

A 2009 study [3] , performed at the Laboratory of Molecular Biology, University of Uberaba, Brazil, looked into CBD for an experimental model of periodontitis in rats. Periodontitis is a painful infection that causes the bone and soft tissue that supports the teeth to degrade. Thirty days after rat subjects were administered CBD, researchers assessed tissue samples to find that CBD inhibited proinflammatory cytokine production and decreased bone resorption by inhibiting RANK/RANKL proteins.

SHOULD YOU USE CBD FOR TOOTHACHE?

Oral consumption of CBD is considered generally safe according to the World Health Organisation. Given the compound’s apparent lack of serious side effects, there’s no research that suggests applying CBD directly to the teeth and gums when you have a toothache will do you any harm. The problem is, there also isn’t enough research to say that it will do you much good either.

Different types of CBD products are processed by the body at varying rates according to their respective bioavailability. Oral sprays, oils, and tinctures can be applied right to the affected area, using your (thoroughly cleansed) finger to gently spread the solution on the tooth and nearby gums. You can also empty a CBD capsule and apply the gel to the affected area. Alternatively, you could try a tea bag with high-CBD flowers.

Sometimes, it might be better to not even touch the affected or painful area. CBD capsules, oils, and edibles can be consumed to avoid making direct contact, but these methods take longer to take effect than sublingual administration. Cannabis-infused toothpastes are starting to enter the market, and, of course, you can create your own CBD-rich formula by adding a drop of your preferred CBD oil to your regular toothpaste. Furthermore, you can even prepare a homemade toothpaste with ingredients like baking soda, peppermint oil, coconut oil, and CBD oil.

CBD oils, tinctures, and capsules may soon be used as analgesic, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory agents in dentistry.

Active ingredients in marijuana found to spread and prolong pain

Imagine that you’re working on your back porch, hammering in a nail. Suddenly you slip and hit your thumb instead — hard. The pain is incredibly intense, but it only lasts a moment. After a few seconds (and a few unprintable words) you’re ready to start hammering again.

How can such severe pain vanish so quickly? And why is it that other kinds of equally terrible pain refuse to go away, and instead torment their victims for years?

University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston researchers think they’ve found at least part of the answer—and believe it or not, it’s in a group of compounds that includes the active ingredients in marijuana, the cannabinoids. Interestingly enough, given recent interest in the medical use of marijuana for pain relief, experiments with rodents and humans described in a paper published in the current issue of Science suggest these “endocannabinoids,” which are made within the human body, can actually amplify and prolong pain rather than damping it down.

“In the spinal cord there’s a balance of systems that control what information, including information about pain, is transmitted to the brain,” said UTMB professor Volker Neugebauer, one of the authors of the Science article, along with UTMB senior research scientist Guangchen Ji and collaborators from Switzerland, Hungary, Japan, Germany, France and Venezuela. “Excitatory systems act like a car’s accelerator, and inhibitory ones act like the brakes. What we found is that in the spinal cord endocannabinoids can disable the brakes.”

To get to this conclusion, the researchers began by studying what happened when they applied a biochemical mimic of an endocannabinoid to inhibitory neurons (the brakes, in Neugebauer’s analogy) on slices of mouse spinal cord. Electrical signals that would ordinarily have elicited an inhibitory response were ignored. They then repeated the procedure using slices of spinal cord from mice genetically engineered to lack receptors where the endocannabinoid molecules could dock, and found that in that case, the “brakes” worked. Finally, using electron microscopy, they confirmed that the receptors were in fact on inhibitory, not excitatory neurons. Endocannabinoids docking with them would suppress the inhibitor neurons, and leave pain signals with a straight shot to the brain.

“The next step was to make the leap from spinal slices to test whether this really had anything to do with pain,” Neugebauer said. Using anesthetized rats, he recorded the spinal cord electrical activity produced by an injection in the hindpaw of capsaicin- a chemical found in hot peppers that produces a level of pain he compared to a severe toothache. Although the rats were unconscious, pain impulses could be detected racing up their spinal cords. What’s more, formerly benign stimuli now generated a significant pain response — a response that stopped when the rats were treated with an endocannabinoid receptor blocker.

“Why was this non-painful information now gaining access to the spinal “pain” neurons?” Neugebauer said. “The capsaicin produced an overstimulation that led to the peripheral nerves releasing endocannabinoids, which activated receptors that shut down the inhibitor neurons, leaving the gates wide open.”

Finally, the researchers recruited human volunteers to determine whether a compound that blocked endocannabinoid receptors would have an effect on the increased sensitivity to pain (hyperalgesia) and tendency for normally non-painful stimuli to induce pain (allodynia) often reported in areas of the body near where acute pain had been inflicted. In this case, the researchers induced pain by passing electricity through the volunteers’ left forearms, with the intensity of the current set by each volunteer to a 6 on a scale of 1 to 10. At a second session a month later, the volunteers who had received the receptor blocker showed no reduction in perceived acute pain, but had significantly less hyperalgesia and allodynia — a result that matched up well with the endocannabinoid hypothesis.

“To sum up, we’ve discovered a novel mechanism that can transform transient normal pain into persistent chronic pain,” Neugebauer said. “Persistent pain is notoriously difficult to treat, and this study offers insight into new mechanisms and possibly a new target in the spinal cord.”

It also raises questions about the efficacy of marijuana in relieving acute pain, given that endocannabinoids and the cannabinoids found in marijuana are so biochemically similar. “If you had a toothache, you probably wouldn’t want to treat it with marijuana, because you could actually make it worse,” Neugebauer said. “Now, for more pathological conditions like neuropathic pain, where the problem is a dysfunction within the nerves themselves and a subsequent disturbance throughout the nervous system that’s not confined to the pain system, marijuana may be beneficial. There are studies that seem to show that. But our model shows cannabinoids over-activating the pain system, and it just doesn’t seem like a good idea to further increase this effect.”

Source: University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (news : web)

Active ingredients in marijuana found to spread and prolong pain Imagine that you’re working on your back porch, hammering in a nail. Suddenly you slip and hit your thumb instead — hard. The pain