CBD : A Natural Alternative For Chronic Illness?

A photo of a black CBD bottle next to it's cylindrical packaging, sat on a tree stump, with green leaves in the background. The post title is overlaid to the left.

Most people will have heard of it, some will have tried it, and others are curious, but what can CBD mean for chronic illness? Today I’m excited to share a fantastic guest post from Reakiro on how CBD works and how it can be a natural supplement to managing chronic pain and illness.

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Living with a chronic illness is not easy, that goes without saying. It changes the way that you approach everyday tasks and the way that you experience the day, compared to others around you. Accepting and adapting is one of the key ways to manage your chronic illness, but what if there was a natural ingredient which could help manage those day-to-day pains and issues. 

People with chronic illnesses have been coming forward with testimonials of how CBD has helped improve their lives. But what is CBD and how exactly can it help?

A photo of a woman's arms outstretched on a pine table, holding four bottles of CBD oil in cupped hands.

How CBD Works

CBD is the shortened three letter acronym for cannabidiol. This is a natural compound, extracted from the hemp plant which has hoards of natural benefits. Often people can get CBD confused with marijuana, but it’s very important to distinguish that they are different and separate substances. While marijuana is known to get people ‘high’, CBD-based products do not have this same effect. Consequently, people with chronic illnesses can use them confidently without mind-altering effects.

CBD works by interacting with receptors in our bodies which make a system called the endocannabinoid system. This system interacts with a wide range of enzymes and hormones affecting how our bodies and minds feel throughout the day, from mood to aches and pains.

If you’re living with a chronic illness, there’s probably a few things you would like to change about how you experience your day. Chronic illnesses can differ in their effects day-to-day, but on a bad day it can really take it out of you. So how might CBD help you as a natural alternative?

Pain Management

Did you know that CBD has natural anti-inflammatory properties? This means when it is applied, particularly as a cream or balm, it works to soothe and relieve inflamed areas. This is great for pain management for sore joints and muscles.

A photo of a bare-chested man rubbing his right shoulder with his left hand, holding a white bottle of CBD gel in his right hand.

Anti-anxiety & Anti-stress

Maintaining a healthy and positive mental state consistently is a full time occupation in itself. Combine this with living with a chronic illness and whatever else the day might throw at you, well you’ve got yourself quite the headache. CBD works in a somewhat similar way to anti anxiety medication in terms of calming anxiety, but seeing as it is all natural there are none of the side effects of chemical pharmaceuticals – which your body may already have enough of to process. Keeping healthy mentally is key to the best quality of life.

Better Sleep

CBD acts as a mild sedative, which can help you nod off to sleep at night. But aside from this, one of the key ways that it helps people sleep is by calming anxiety and stress and by easing soreness in the body. By taking away these potential stressors you are much more likely to drift off to sleep quicker and stay asleep, leaving you feeling more rested and restored the next day.

A photo of a woman asleep in bed, with white pillows and sheets.

Improved Appetite

A big side effect of chronic illnesses is decreased appetite, which can be debilitating when energy levels are low to begin with. CBD promotes a sense of internal balance, through the endocannabinoid system, which can help relieve nausea and calm the nervous system and digestive tract. Additionally, as mentioned, CBD can relieve pain – so if you have been unable to eat due to pain, this may be the solution to making your appetite return.

A photo of a bowl of food, a smoothie, a bottle of CBD and a woman holding a spoon.

If you’re interested in trying CBD to help you manage your chronic illness, it is important to find the correct product for you and your condition. For example if you’re looking to address something internally, like stress and anxiety, CBD oil may be best. But if you’re looking for something like relieving sore muscles, CBD creams and gels may be the way forward.

Always speak to your doctor or a pharmacist before adding CBD to your treatment plan as you need to ensure that none of the components of your prescribed medications will interact negatively with the CBD. Preventing this can be as simple as adjusting your dosage, but it is always important to consult a professional first.

A close-up photo of a woman showing a bottle of CBD oil with the dropper out of the bottle. We just see her hands in front of a pine table.
A black scroll divider.

Have you used CBD for chronic illness, pain, sleep, anxiety or other reasons? Is it something you’re interested in trying?

[ This is a collaborative guest post & as such the ideas expressed here are that of the author. I personally feel CBD will could be considered more a complimentary management tool and may not necessarily replace medical or professional help and intervention. Many use CBD with good results but keep in mind possible interactions with other medications or side-effects. If you have any concerns or queries, please speak to your care team. ]

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35 Comments

  1. April 23, 2020 / 3:27 pm

    I’m assuming you’ve used it. I’ve thought of using it before but decided against it at the time.
    Thinking of you Caz
    You’re awesome and worth it 💕💕💕

    • April 25, 2020 / 1:42 pm

      I’ve not tried this one yet but I’m testing it out so I can review it soon… watch this space! CBD works differently for everyone and although many find it very beneficial, you only really know if/when you try it. If you do ever try it, obviously keep in mind the instructions, check with your doc regarding current medications you’re taking etc. Thanks for the comment Eliza, you rock! xx

  2. April 23, 2020 / 3:45 pm

    I live in California, where marijuana is sold legally. I have two friends who use it for medicinal purposes and they swear by it: relieving aches and pains, helping with sleep and anxiety. I have read studies that marijuana is a perfect way to help with meth addiction…terrific post!

    • April 25, 2020 / 2:00 pm

      I’m glad your friends find the actual marijuana so helpful, it’s always amazing when you get stories like that. I wish the UK would follow suit or at least make some changes so people can access medicinal marijuana. I hadn’t heard of it helping with meth addiction – the potential positives just keep on comin’! Thanks for sharing, John. Stay safe & have a good weekend 😊

  3. April 23, 2020 / 3:47 pm

    This is a godsend for many. I would use it if I needed it.

    Have a fabulous day, Caz. Big hug. ♥

    • April 25, 2020 / 2:01 pm

      You’ll never find one thing that works for everyone but CBD does seem to help a lot of people. Thanks for the comment, Sandee. Stay safe 🌷 xx

  4. April 23, 2020 / 4:04 pm

    Now that my husband went through about 4 months of chronic pain related to needing a catheter, I have a greater appreciation for you and your willingness to share your story and to collaborate with others on HOPEFUL alternatives to chronic issues.

    • April 25, 2020 / 3:35 pm

      I’m sorry for what your husband had to go through. Four months of catheter-related pain sounds intense. How’s he doing since..? Thank you for the comment, Debbie. I really appreciate it  ♥ Stay safe & I hope you and your hubby are having a restful weekend xx

  5. Ashley
    April 23, 2020 / 4:13 pm

    Argh. This isn’t frustration with you Caz, it’s with Reakiro. I drives me bonkers when I see companies trotting out lines like “CBD works in a similar way to anti anxiety medication, but seeing as it is all natural there are none of the side effects of chemical pharmaceuticals – which your body may already have enough of to process.” Simply because something is “natural” does not in any way, shape, or form mean that it has no side effects, and there are plenty of things that are naturally occurring that can kill people. Reakiro really should be able to do better than that kind of nonsense.

    • April 25, 2020 / 10:36 am

      I agree with you on this one Ashley. My stepson also sells this stuff from Spain and I’ve tried every different oil he’s produced and not one of them work for my pain or mental state. The only thing that happens is that I feel lethargic and slow. If and when my GP prescribes me one that works, I’ll take that, but not until then.

      • April 25, 2020 / 3:40 pm

        Like anything I think, CBD will work differently for everyone and there’s no way of knowing unless/until you try it, and even then people often need to try different strengths to see what helps them the most. Of course many also won’t find any benefit, even though a lot of people do. I’m sorry you’ve not found it to help you. Does your stepson use it and find it helpful, or does he only sell it? It’s also worth noting how different it is to marijuana and how some people find CBD doesn’t help but marijuana does. Of course not everyone can try the latter as it’s still illegal in most countries, including the UK. Thanks for the comment xx

    • April 25, 2020 / 3:37 pm

      Ashley – Thank you for such an honest comment, it’s much appreciated. I’ve adjusted the post written by Reakiro slightly just to say it works in a ‘somewhat similar’ way for anti-anxiety effects and have fleshed out my intro & info underneath to reiterate a few, as you quite rightly pointed out, important aspects to keep in mind. xx

  6. April 23, 2020 / 7:10 pm

    So glad you shared this guest post, Caz! As you know from one of my recent comments, I have recently been using CBD oils and gummies. I knew it couldn’t be a placebo effect, because I wasn’t expecting much! “Trendy” reports of all CBD could do had me feeling suspicious at best. Then….I tried it! I can honestly say with certainty – it IS helping! There have been a few moments of feeling like I had a mild headache and I think the two are related. It could be that I’m needing to adjust the dosage, though. Hemp (and CBD) products are natural alternatives to pharmaceuticals. There is always a risk with anything – natural or Rx – but the likelihood of side effects is almost always less with plant-based medicine. (We also have to take into consideration whether or not anything was ADDED that isn’t so natural!)

    I am in 100% agreement with this post. I’m not familiar with Reakiro but will look into them more. I’ve found a few USA suppliers that are making pure products in safe facilities. It has done everything listed here & then some. My pain level is far less, I sleep better, am able to exercise longer with less after pain effects, and I feel calm – much more able to take on the daily stressors in life. As someone who is prone to entirely too much worry – this is a God-send!

    I hope everyone takes the time to look into CBD or Hemp benefits. Chronic illness is bad enough. Everything that comes with it can be debilitating. I pray this works for everyone who tries it! Have you had the chance to try it on a consistent basis yet, Caz? I’m curious how much/if at all that it helps you?

    • April 25, 2020 / 3:47 pm

      Unless it’s our brains using some kind of sneaky reverse psychology, I’m the same with having no expectations or even outrightly thinking things aren’t going to help and would imagine the placebo effect therefore wouldn’t likely apply! It’s amazing that you’re finding CBD helpful. I think even if it’s just a teeny bit beneficial that’s better than nothing because chronic pain, anxiety, insomnia etc are no picnic and we need all the help we can get.

      I wouldn’t want to use anything that I wasn’t convinced was quality, made safely, thoroughly tested etc. As you say, you also want a natural product with no added nasties so it’s important to check. I’d steer clear of a lot of stuff out there at the moment. Especially the more ‘trendy’ stuff and things like CBD water, or products that have so little CBD in and yet cost a small fortune!

      I’m not sure what strength you’re using or how many drops, but I hope you can keep feeling the benefit and maybe make any adjustments needed to get it best suited to you. I imagine it’s all trial and error for everyone when first trying it or starting on a new product.

      I’ve got some Reakiro products to try which I’m really excited about so I’ll be testing and reviewing them here soon. Watch this space!
      Thanks for another amazing comment, Holly – very much appreciated!
      Stay safe & I hope you’re having a restful weekend 🌻 xx

  7. April 24, 2020 / 11:57 am

    I have friends who swear by this! Absolutely! 🙂

    • April 25, 2020 / 4:28 pm

      I’m glad your friends have found it so helpful! It’s always great to hear positive stories with CBD being able to help people 😄 Stay safe & have a restful weekend lovely x

  8. April 24, 2020 / 3:45 pm

    I think with anything, it works for some and not for others. As long as it doesn’t cause adverse effects with other medications, then it’s always worth trying (after checking with your doctor first as you say). I tried CBD oil for pain and anxiety (not from Reakiro) which did nothing for me. Others I know swear by it.

    But as you know I’ve tried muscle rubs with CBD in and they did help to relieve the pain.

    • April 25, 2020 / 4:30 pm

      Absolutely agree, Jo. Works for some, not for others, and like anything it’ll affect people differently so you don’t know until you try. It’s always important to check against other medications or supplements you’re taking and to ask your doc, too. It’s also interesting to keep in mind, like with your experience, different products, different brands, different formats, can all have different results as well. Trial and error! Thanks for the comment, Jo. Hope you’re having a relaxing weekend. Stay safe xx

  9. April 24, 2020 / 7:02 pm

    Thank you for explaining this. I have had CBD water but I didn’t notice any difference unfortunately. That, of course, doesn’t mean it wouldn’t work for someone else. This is good information.

    • April 25, 2020 / 4:34 pm

      I’m sorry the CBD water didn’t make any difference. If I’m honest, I’ve always thought CBD water was a fad and likely wouldn’t contain anywhere near enough quality CBD while being very expensive. I imagine some people find benefit from having CBD oil as part of a regular routine, so that probably goes against a one-off water product too. I don’t know, you may find a different format (like an oil, gel rub etc) could be helpful where the water was not. Is it something you’d want to try in a different version any time? Thanks for sharing your experience, Kymber. I hope you can have a restful (preferably low pain!) weekend. Stay safe  ♥ xx

      • May 5, 2020 / 12:46 am

        Thank you, Caz! Those are good points, and I am open to anything that helps or takes the edge off. So, yes, I’ll definitely try a different method. I so appreciate you suggesting that. xoxo I hope you are safe.

  10. April 24, 2020 / 7:38 pm

    Good to know about this, I had heard the term on news but never really explored to find more , you have explained it well in simple terms . Glad to have learned something new .

    • April 25, 2020 / 4:36 pm

      I think CBD is becoming a lot more popular lately, hence the explosion of new companies and more attention given to CBD in the news and mass media. Hopefully there’s also more information on the important aspects of CBD, what people should know and keep in mind when trying it. Thanks for the comment, Nisha – hope you’re having a good week, stay safe! xx

  11. April 26, 2020 / 5:16 pm

    Chaplin: “Towards the end with our brother Dennis the Vizsla, when he was very sick from the inflammatory bowel disease and the osteosarcoma in his hip, Mama gave him CBD oil.”
    Charlee: “It really seemed to make him feel better. We think it helped keep him going and stay comfortable those last few months.”

    • April 29, 2020 / 5:05 pm

      I’m so sorry for Dennis, poor guy. I’m glad he had a loving home with mama & dada, and that the CBD helped to make those last months more comfortable for him ♥

  12. April 26, 2020 / 7:32 pm

    My sister swears by CBD oil!

    • April 29, 2020 / 5:24 pm

      That’s brilliant! I’m glad she’s found something that can be of benefit to her in some way  ♥ x

  13. April 26, 2020 / 11:29 pm

    I know someone who used it to help manage mild seizure like muscle spasms. (It was a weird thing she was experiencing – not quiet seizures not quite muscle spasms.)

    • April 29, 2020 / 5:26 pm

      That sounds very uncomfortable and probably quite scary, especially with it being an uncertain sort of thing between the two. I’m glad it sounds like CBD was able to help her managing what she was experiencing 🌷 x

  14. Laura Jones
    April 27, 2020 / 1:35 pm

    I’ve started a list of things I want to do over the next few weeks and I should add ‘try CBD’ because I nearly did last year. Then time went on and it never happened. I think that at the time I wasn’t sure what to get. There was already quite a lot of choice with stnreghts and products and in the end I thought id wait. I definitely want to try it, perhaps both an oil and a cream for anxiety and joint pain.. Maybe not at the same time, unless I could do that? I’m not sure. lovely to read more about it, great guest post to have.

    • May 5, 2020 / 3:37 pm

      I’m glad you liked the post, Laura. You’re right with the choices on offer now, it can make it hard to know what to go for or what may be the best quality etc. I find reviews can be really helpful – I’ll actually be reviewing some Reakiro products soon so if you’re still interested in trying CBD you might want to take a look at that. Watch this space! As for using two products together, I can’t advise as I’m not a medical professional unfortunately. All I could suitably recommend is speaking to the brand who’ve made the CBD as they may be able to guide as to usage, and run it past your GP if you’re unsure or if you’re taking other medications, including OTC meds/supplements. Thanks for the comment, stay safe 😊 x

  15. April 28, 2020 / 12:12 pm

    I know several people who use this with great results.

    • May 5, 2020 / 3:37 pm

      That’s fantastic, Mark. Always good to hear some success stories!

  16. May 3, 2020 / 12:43 am

    it’s always good to try things with an open mind, assuming they won’t harm one. CBD oil , like anything else, may or may not help, plus everyone’s different.. It’s not the same a marijuana.

    • May 5, 2020 / 3:40 pm

      I’d agree on the open-minded thing. I tend to assume things won’t work (bit of reverse psychology 😉) to avoid disappointment, then it’s nice if something does make a difference. I think with CBD, like most things, everyone’s experience will be different and it may be worth trying if it’s safe to do. I’d always say run it past your GP/specialist if you’re unsure or are taking prescribed/OTC medications or supplements just to be sure. And yes, very different to marijuana without the psychoactive component. I think some people, where marijuana is legal on medical licence, find CBD doesn’t work but marijuana does, and other people find the opposite. Trial and error! Thanks for the comment, da-AL. Stay safe lovely xx

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