CBD Oil for Neuropathy: Can It Help with Nerve Pain & Damage?
Neuropathy involves not only pain but also other pesky symptoms such as anxiety, nausea, and vomiting, as shown in studies on painful peripheral neuropathies. If nerve pain plagues every day of your life, things like muscle spasms, joint inflammation, and stiffness can become unbearable.
People who used up their conventional treatment options, but to no avail, have recently started switching to natural resources, such as CBD oil, for their nerve pain. According to recent studies, CBD may ease neuropathy and help individuals manage their symptoms in a safe and effective way.
These findings are promising for people with neuropathy, even though it’s too early to make definite statements. In this article, we’ll present the data from the current research on this subject on top of our industry overview, where we give our recommendations on the best CBD oil for neuropathy.
Best CBD Oils for Neuropathy
The quality of CBD oil is paramount for your results with neuropathy. Unfortunately, no two CBD oils are made the same; in fact, there’s a large degree of difference in quality between brands. There are many great companies committed to quality, but there’s an equal number of fly-by-night brands preying on uneducated customers.
Having been in the business for 7 years, we’ve tried a plethora of CBD oils from dozens of different brands. This year was even more demanding in terms of the tested products considering the continuously rising popularity of CBD.
We’ve selected the top 5 CBD oils for neuropathy from over 40 companies that offer CBD oil in three different types: full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolate. Our ranking is based on the quality criteria such as hemp sourcing, extraction methods, third-party testing, and customer service.
1. Royal CBD (Best CBD Oil for Neuropathy)
Get 15% off all Royal CBD products. Use code “CFAH” at checkout.
|Potency||250 mg –2500 mg|
|Available Flavors||Natural, Berry, Mint, Vanilla|
|CBD per serving||8.3 mg – 83.3 mg|
Why Royal CBD is the Best CBD Oil for Neuropathy
Royal CBD was launched in 2018 in California by a group of cannabis aficionados with a vision to elevate the quality standards and customer service on the market after collecting their own experiences from the customer’s side. This premium brand offers full-spectrum CBD oil sourced from organic hemp and extracted with supercritical CO2. This method of extraction allows even high-potency oils to maintain the plant’s original chemical profile due to lower temperatures.
Royal CBD oil comes in four different strengths, including 250 mg, 500 mg, 1000 mg, and 2500 mg. For potencies between 250 mg and 1000 mg, you can choose between three flavored options, such as Mint, Berry, or Vanilla. The strongest version (2500 mg) is only available in the natural flavor, as adding flavorings would negatively impact the potency of CBD.
Speaking of high-potency oils, the 2500 mg bottle is my favorite product from Royal CBD. The hemp aftertaste is surprisingly mild because the oil has been infused into food-grade coconut-derived MCT oil. This adds another benefit because MCT oil also enhances the absorption of CBD.
If you experience nerve pain — whether regularly or from time to time (like me) — this potency will probably be your go-to choice. It has a deeply relaxing effect and can reduce inflammation for quite a long time after ingestion. I take it under the tongue, wishing the extract around my mouth to increase the surface area for absorption and minimize the amount of oil that passes through the gut.
- Sourced from non-GMO, Colorado-grown hemp
- Extracted with supercritical CO2
- Contains full-spectrum CBD
- Available in 4 strengths and 3 flavored options
- Up to 2500 mg of CBD per bottle
- Lab-tested for potency and purity
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Slightly more expensive than the competition
- No vape products available
2. Gold Bee (Best Organic)
|Potency||300 mg – 2400 mg|
|Available Flavors||Natural, Honey-Kiwi|
|CBD per serving||8.3 mg – 33.3 mg|
About Gold Bee
Our second-best CBD oil for neuropathy comes from Nevada, but Gold Bee is a true maverick among other brands due to the unique honey flavor of its full-spectrum CBD oil, which the company produces from locally grown, non-GMO hemp.
The quality of ingredients — just as the honey flavor — are award-winning in my opinion. This CBD oil has a very natural flavor, with an actual honey aftertaste, which makes this product particularly enjoyable to use. There’s no tart, earthy taste that you can feel with the majority of CBD oils.
When it comes to easing nerve pain, I noticed similar results to what I got with Royal CBD, but due to the lack of high-potency oils in its lineup, Gold Bee is the runner-up in this compilation.
- Made from US-grown organic hemp
- Contains the full spectrum of cannabinoids and terpenes
- Up to 33 mg CBD/mL
- Good potency range for new users
- Lab-tested for CBD content and purity
- No high-potency oils
- Honey is the only flavored option
3. CBDPure (Top Transparency)
|Potency||100 – 1000 mg|
|CBD per serving||3.3 mg – 33.3 mg|
CBDPure is one of the most reputable US brands that specialize in making low-potency CBD oil, although the company has lately expanded their line up with a 1000 mg strength. This is a nice nod towards users who want to save more money on their CBD oil but their dosage doesn’t exceed 30 mg CBD daily.
CBD pure is also one of the most transparent companies on the market. The guys at CBDPure explain every step of how their oils are made, and surprisingly for low-potency extracts, these products provide decent results when it comes to pain relief. The only reason CBDPure scores third place on this list is because of the higher prices. Some users may find these oils less affordable than other premium brands in the long run.
Want to try if CBDPure products will work for you? The brand has a 90-day money-back policy. You can return the product for a full refund within 90 days if you’re unsatisfied with the results.
- Sourced from Colorado-grown organic hemp
- Extracted with CO2
- 4 strengths to choose from
- Lab-tested for potency and purity
- 90-day return policy
- No high-potency oils
- Only two forms of CBD available
- Priced higher than competitors
4. Hemp Bombs (Best CBD Isolate)
|Potency||125 – 4000 mg|
|Available Flavors||Natural, Acai Berry, Orange Creamsicle, Peppermint, Watermelon|
|CBD per Serving||4 – 133 mg/mL|
About Hemp Bombs
When it comes to the best isolate-based CBD oil for nerve pain, Hemp Bombs offers the widest selection of products. The company has covered the entire potency range for CBD oils, offering up to 4000 mg of total CBD.
This oil is a good alternative for people with neuropathy who, for some reason, want to abstain from taking any THC in their product while getting a decent dose of CBD per serving. Full-spectrum products contain up to 0.3% THC; while this isn’t enough to get the user high, CBD isolate is completely free of THC. This trait is particularly important for CBD users who are regularly tested for drugs at work.
Because CBD isolate is made from 99% pure CBD, it has no aroma and flavor, which makes it more versatile thankful-spectrum extracts.
On the other hand, you won’t get the synergy from other cannabinoids and terpenes with CBD isolate, so this company may not have the best products if you want to benefit from whole-plant extracts in your supplementation.
- Made from organic hemp
- Extracted with CO2
- Third-party tested for potency and purity
- Up to 4000 mg of total CBD
- 5 potency options to choose from
- Flavored with synthetic ingredients
- No synergy from other cannabinoids and terpenes
- Most people don’t need so much CBD oil in their routine.
5. CBDistillery (Most Affordable)
|Potency||250 mg – 5000 mg|
|Potency||8.33 – 166 mg/mL|
CBDistillery is one of the most reputable companies in the American market. The company has been selling premium CBD oils for over 5 years, becoming one of the largest brands in the USA. Started by a group of Colorado natives with a mission to produce high-quality CBD products affordable for everyone, CBDistillery offers two types of hemp extracts: full-spectrum and broad-spectrum (pure oil). Similar to the full-spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum extracts contain CBD along with other non-intoxicating cannabinoids, but without any traces of THC. The THC is removed from the product after initial extraction.
The CBDistillery CBD oil comes in a wide range of concentrations, from 250 mg to a massive 5000 mg of CBD per bottle. The strongest version provides 166 mg of CBD per milliliter, which usually lasts for months.
As for the results, I was satisfied when it came to pain and irritation. I also noticed that my stomach was calmer than before taking this oil. However, there’s a reason why I’ve placed CBDistillery at the very bottom of this compilation. Unlike competitor brands, this one doesn’t use organic hemp plants.
So, CBDistillery may not sell the best CBD oils out there, but considering the price, these are hands down the best CBD oils for neuropathy in their range.
- Available as full-spectrum or broad-spectrum CBD
- 5 strengths to choose from
- Up to 166.6 mg of CBD per mL
- Third-party tested for CBD content and purity
- Very affordable
- Sourced from non-organic hemp
- No flavored oils
What Causes Neuropathic Pain?
Neurons within the body carry signals to the brain, including pain signals. While this sensation is anything but pleasant, it has one important purpose — to prevent injuries. Once you place your foot on a hot surface, the painful sensation will warn your brain against the danger.
That’s how the process is supposed to work in healthy people. But with patients suffering from neuropathic pain, that nervous signaling system falls out of whack. In simple words, your brain receives pain signals, and you feel the pain, but there’s no obvious cause of that feeling. And because of this, it’s difficult to find an immediate remedy.
What’s the matter with those wayward nerves? Most of the time, it’s the result of damage from a disease or physical injury, including:
- Physical injuries: this is a very common cause of neuropathic pain, in which nerves get crushed, compressed, or severed.
- Shingles: this condition is another cause of neuropathy, one that can transform into a painful disease called postherpetic neuralgia. This type of nerve pain can be particularly severe and immediate.
- Cancer and other tumors: As they grow, tumors can constrict the surrounding nerves. Cancer cells can also grow out of the nerves on their own. Sometimes, chemotherapy or radiation can damage nerve cells too, resulting in neuropathic pain.
- HIV: this autoimmune viral condition can lead to painful nerve damage. Nerve pain actually affects around one-third of HIV patients, and nerve within the hands and feed is one of the first symptoms that occur. Antiretroviral treatments can also lead to nerve damage that triggers pain.
- Diabetes: if you have diabetes, you have a higher risk of suffering from nerve injury. At some point, consistently high levels of glucose accompanied by hypertension can damage the nerves.
These are just a few conditions that can cause nerve damage and lead to neuropathic pain. Others include vitamin deficiencies, hormone balances, constant exposure to stress, and more. In some rare cases, nerve pain can just occur without a reasonable explanation.
Experts on Neuropathic Pain and Its Prevalence
Nerve pain derives from the central or peripheral nervous system. These networks are made of the brain and spinal cord. The spinal cord runs down from the brain and through the center of the spine. The nerves stretching from the spinal cord and traveling throughout the limbs and head are the peripheral nervous system. All these structures work together, constantly exchanging signals about your body.
Dr. Suraj Muley, an esteemed neurologist and director of the neuromuscular division at Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, there are several common points for patients with neuropathy. They usually include electric-like, shooting pain with an ice-cold sensation, sensitivity to touch, and feelings of numbness.
The nerves are important players for any kind of pain, as well as other types of sensations. According to Dr. Ryan Jacobs, a neuromuscular neurologist, pain messages are sent by the nerves. This often happens as a result of inflammation or injury that causes damage to body tissues such as skin, bones, or muscles. However, nerve pain refers to damage caused by an injury to the nerves on their own. He also added that in some cases, it can be damage to one significant nerve or a few minor ones that can contribute to a widespread nerve injury.
How Can You Determine the Cause of Neuropathic Pain?
Doctors first conduct an interview with their patients, asking about the symptoms, history of medical conditions, and running a short examination. A physician may check for such things as sensory loss using a pinprick on different parts of the body. If the patient doesn’t feel the impulse from the pinprick or other things, that could indicate neuropathy, as said by Dr. Eva Feldman, a professor of neurology at the University of Michigan.
Aside from the interview and initial examination, your doctor may recommend conducting additional testing, such as bloodwork, to gain a bigger picture of what’s the reason behind the neuropathic pain in your case. You may be asked to run a test called hemoglobin A1C to check your average blood sugar levels and exclude the possibility of diabetes. The doctor may also check if you have sufficient vitamin B12 levels; deficiencies in this vitamin can lead to nerve damage and numbness.
Treatment Options for Nerve Pain
Treating neuropathy is tricky due to its specific nature and the exact cause of the problem. When nerve pain is triggered by a condition such as HIV, diabetes, or cancer, tackling the underlying disease is undoubtedly the priority. However, this treatment won’t necessarily help with your neuropathic pain. Nerve pain may require a dedicated treatment, one that is different from the treatment for the disease that’s causing it.
Doctors typically use prescription painkillers depending on the type and severity of neuropathic pain. However, people can build a tolerance to the active ingredients in these medications, let alone the risk of addiction and several dangerous side effects, including lethal overdose.
Experts believe that 40 million Americans struggle with nerve pain. The impact of neuropathy on modern society is enormous, and for many of us, the potential side effects of pharmaceutical medications outweigh their benefits. It’s totally understandable that people have started to look for natural alternatives such as CBD oil.
Using CBD is an option for treating many types of pain. Studies have already highlighted a few mechanisms responsible for the versatility of CBD in mitigating pain signals. But can it help with neuropathic pain?
Why Some People Are Choosing CBD Oil for Neuropathy
Some forms of neuropathy can be easily treated and sometimes cured. If neuropathy is incurable, the treatment should aim at preventing further damage to the nerve and controlling symptoms.
CBD has been shown to have some therapeutic qualities that might assist patients with neuropathic pain and other symptoms linked to neuropathy such as suppression of the nerves like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
CBD vs Anxiety, Chronic Pain, and Vomiting
According to the American Chronic Pain Association, neuropathic pain is the type of chronic pain that occurs in the nerves in the peripheral nervous system due to injury or damage.
Anxiety, nausea, pain, and vomiting are telltale neuropathic symptoms, as noted by a study on painful peripheral neuropathies that was published in Current Neuropharmacology.
Research has shown that CBD may be useful in easing different types of chronic pain. Neuropathic pain falls into this category, but unlike other chronic pain conditions, neuropathy is particularly difficult to treat, according to the author of a paper on neuronal mechanisms of neuropathic pain.
On top of acting as a neuroprotectant, CBD also has some other therapeutic properties, including antiemetic and anxiolytic effects.
CBD vs Inflammation and Muscle Spasms
Neuropathy often results from chronic inflammation, such as in diabetes, which is the number one cause of neuropathic pain in the United States.
Neuropathy can also derive from autoimmune diseases, such as arthritis or lupus. Autoimmune diseases are linked to a higher risk of hypertension and cardiovascular problems.
CBD can inhibit inflammatory and neuropathic pain caused by autoimmune diseases. In a 2016 animal study published in the European Journal of Pain, topical application of CBD helped reduce pain and inflammation triggered by arthritis.
CBD’s remarkable anti-inflammatory effects were also demonstrated in vivo in a 2018 study published in the Journal of pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.
Moreover, CBD may help relieve muscle spasms, which is a common feature of nerve damage, often marked by uncontrolled and painful muscle twitches.
Sativex, a combined oral spray consisting of THC and CBD in a 1:1 ratio demonstrated high efficacy in helping with pain management in patients with neuropathic pain caused by nerve damage, peripheral neuropathic pain, rheumatoid arthritis, advanced pain, and spasticity from multiple sclerosis. The results were published in Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment.
Similar results were observed in a review of similar studies published in The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews in 2018.
The above review examined hundreds of studies on using cannabinoid-based medicines on neuropathic pain in adults. While not all of them turned out positive, there was significant evidence that cannabinoids could reduce nerve pain and other symptoms of this condition.
How Could CBD Oil Help With Neuropathy?
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is essential for understanding how CBD works to relieve neuropathy. The health benefits of CBD and other cannabinoids result from their interaction with the body’s ECS, which is the major regulatory network in all mammals.
The ECS controls a wide range of biological processes, including immune response, sleep, mood, appetite, metabolism, memory, and pain sensation.
This system consists of two types of cannabinoid receptors — CB1 and CB2 — which are found in specific parts of the body.
CB1 receptors are mostly found in the brain and central nervous system, but there are some concentrations of these receptors in reproductive organs, lungs, liver, retina, and urinary tracts.
CB1 receptors are involved in-memory processing, pain sensation, mood, sleep, and motor regulation. Their activation is linked to neuroprotective responses, suggesting that the cannabinoids acting on CB1 receptors could help in the prevention and treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis.
When it comes to CB2 receptors, these are primarily located on the surface of the immune system cells and their associated structures. The activation of CB2 receptors is said to produce an anti-inflammatory response, minimizing damage to nerves and reducing pain.
The above qualities have been found to be potentially helpful for treating autoimmune conditions, such as Crohn’s disease, arthritis, inflammatory bowel syndrome, and chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP).
CBD doesn’t bind to any of the cannabinoid receptors; it does, however, act indirectly on them, causing similar actions as the substances that typically stimulate the receptor.
CBD also has more than 65 molecular targets. It can interact with other receptors in the body, such as the 5-HT1A serotonin receptor. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that controls feelings of well-being and emotional stability. It can also modulate nausea, anxiety, and pain.
Pros & Cons of Using CBD Oil for Neuropathy
- Can help with symptoms such as inflammation, anxiety, pain, nausea, vomiting, and muscle spasms
- Has been recognized as safe by major health agencies including the WHO
- Can be purchased without a prescription (locally and online)
- Not approved as an official treatment by the FDA
- Can interact with 70-80% of prescribed medications
- Side effects include dry mouth, drowsiness, fatigue, and changes in appetite
- Products sold online and in local stores are mostly unregulated
CBD vs Other Alternative Treatments for Nerve Pain
Alternative treatments for patients with neuropathy include the use of capsaicin, primrose oil, and amino acids.
Capsaicin is an analgesic compound found in hot peppers. A study examining the use of an 8% capsaicin dermal patch found that almost 71% of participants with cancer-related neuropathic pain experienced 90% relief.
Primrose oil may help ease neuropathic pain in people with diabetes, as stated by Mayo Clinic in an article regarding peripheral neuropathy diagnosis and treatment.
According to the same clinic, amino acids, such as acetyl-L-carnitine, may help people after chemotherapy as well as patients with diabetes.
Is there a way to combine the benefits of the above compounds with the analgesic effects of CBD?
Some CBD products come in the form of salves infused with capsaicin. In these CBD products, the capsaicin supports CBD’s natural pain-killing benefits to help with problematic spots on the body.
As for hemp oil, which is often added to CBD topicals, it’s an excellent source of essential fatty acids and amino acids. You can also look for topicals infused with primrose oil for enhanced anti-inflammatory effects.
How to Use CBD Oil for Neuropathy?
Figuring out how to use CBD oil for neuropathy can help you maximize your results. Sometimes, cream or gel maybe is your best option if you want to completely avoid ingesting the oil.
However, if you want to approach the problem from two different angles, we recommend that you use full-spectrum CBD drops as your primary means of CBD oil.
CBD oil should be applied under the tongue for approximately 60 seconds before swallowing. This method of administration ensures that the CBD absorbs into the bloodstream through sublingual capillaries, avoiding the first-pass effect in the liver.
Alternatively, you can take capsules or edibles if you have problems holding the oil in your tongue, but CBD taken orally takes more time to kick in. Capsules and edibles are a great option if you want to ease nerve pain in social settings, or when you need longer-lasting relief at the cost of delayed onset.
If you need something to help with localized pain, then a topical such as warming salve could provide some relief. Usually, people who take CBD for neuropathy combine the oil (or edibles) with topical products.
CBD Dosage for Neuropathic Pain
Everybody will react to CBD differently because we’re not made the same. You need to ask yourself a few questions.
How much pain am I in?
Is it chronic pain or does it just happen randomly throughout the day?
Do you want to take CBD oil to function better or take the nerve pain away entirely?
Other important considerations for CBD dosage include your weight, age, metabolism, overall health, and prior experience with CBD oil.
Customers usually take CBD oil as well as use a topical about 1–3 times a day. In order to find the right dose and strength for yourself, you’ll need to go through some trial and error, starting at the lower end of the recommended serving size, and slowly making your way up to the point where you experience a significant difference in your symptoms.
Safety and Side Effects of CBD Oil
CBD has a well-established safety profile. It can be taken under the tongue in doses of 300 mg – 1500 mg daily for up to several weeks. Dosage recommendations for prescribed cannabidiol (Epidiolex) range from 10 to 20 mg per kg regularly.
Some rumored side effects of CBD oil include dry mouth, dizziness, changes in appetite, and sedation resulting from a temporary drop in blood pressure. Signs of diarrhea have also been reported in some patients, but this is a very rare adverse reaction.
Final Thoughts on Using CBD Oil for Neuropathy
CBD has demonstrated the ability to reduce neuropathic pain in many studies. Not only that, but CBD can also help with other neuropathic symptoms, such as anxiety, nausea and vomiting, spasms, and inflammation.
As more studies are being conducted in this area, CBD may become the go-to treatment option for neuropathy in the future. However, CBD isn’t the only cannabinoid found in cannabis that can help alleviate neuropathy.
Full-spectrum CBD oil contains all phytonutrients naturally found in hemp, including terpenes, flavonoids, and trace cannabinoids. These compounds work together to amplify the health benefits of each cannabinoid, producing the “entourage effect.”
This is the best type of CBD for neuropathy. However, regardless of the product choice, make sure to check all marks on the quality checklist, including the source of hemp, extraction method, and third-party lab testing. If you don’t have the time to do your own research, you can use our recommendations from above.
Let us know in the comments if you use CBD oil for neuropathy — and how it works for you!
Nina created CFAH.org following the birth of her second child. She was a science and math teacher for 6 years prior to becoming a parent — teaching in schools in White Plains, New York and later in Paterson, New Jersey.
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Medical Cannabis, CBD, and Nerve Pain: What You Need to Know
Nerve pain is a condition that continues to mystify scientists. It affects people in many different ways, with no real rules as to how it might manifest itself in any given person.
Moreover, the sensation of pain can feel completely different from one sufferer to another. It can affect different parts of the body or may develop randomly with no apparent underlying rationale. As it has proved to be a difficult condition to pinpoint, no treatment thus far has been deemed suitable for all nerve pain.
By no means does this mean nerve pain cannot be targeted. One option that is becoming increasingly popular is the use of hemp-derived cannabidiol oil or CBD oil.
CBD is one of the main active ingredients in the cannabis plant, along with THC. However, it does not have any psychoactive effects. For centuries, people have used cannabis plants to medicate their pain, and now science is backing this up.
Patients have reported great success in relieving their nerve pain when using CBD-based treatments. Some research suggests it could potentially be the future in terms of chronic nerve pain treatment.
We will take an in-depth look at nerve pain, providing an overview of the symptoms, potential causes, and traditional treatment regimens. Next, we will look at how CBD oil works as both a prevention and a treatment option, and discuss the science behind it.
What Is Nerve Pain?
Pain is our body’s way of sending us a warning that something has gone wrong. For example, put your hand too close to the stove, and the pain will cause you to pull it away.
Our nerves relay these signals to our brain, creating the feeling of pain. Unfortunately, in the case of damaged nerves, this warning system can go haywire, receiving pain warnings for no apparent reason. This type of nerve pain is also known as neuropathic pain.
Common Nerve Pain Symptoms
The symptoms of nerve pain can be different from patient to patient. Some of the most common descriptions reported are stabbing, burning, tingling, or prickling. You may experience it all or most of the time. Or, it may only affect you during certain spells, most commonly at nighttime. Nerve pain may affect any area, with the hands and feet being the most common.
Often, sufferers can find no obvious cause of the pain and will wait weeks or months before finally seeking evaluation.
In some cases, it may be triggered by certain body positions or activities, such as waiting in line for an extended period. After a certain point, chronic pain can lead the body to become overly sensitive. This condition is known as hyperalgesia, where something as simple as the touch of a bedsheet can trigger pain.
As it most commonly affects the hands and feet, nerve pain can cause numbing and a loss of sensation. This can make simple tasks extremely difficult to do. People report that it feels like they are always wearing a pair of gloves and struggling with activities such as knitting, typing, tying shoelaces, and even walking.
Causes of Nerve Pain
With chronic pain, getting to sleep can often be a real struggle. Another serious side effect of nerve pain is that it can mask new pain, causing you to miss new injuries. For example, if the pain has caused foot numbness, one might not notice stepping on something sharp.
An incredibly wide range of conditions can cause nerve pain. Some of the most common causes include injury or trauma, cancer, shingles, and diabetes. Also, nerve pain can arise from anything from kidney disease to toxin exposure, as well as from inherited genetic diseases or even infections like HIV.
There are also cases where people suffer for no known reason at all. If you do suffer from nerve pain, it is crucial that you seek medical attention. It could be being caused by a serious underlying issue.
Nerve Pain Can Progress
When left untreated, nerve pain can be incredibly hard to bear. It can also worsen and spread. It often starts at the outer extremities, i.e., the hands or feet, and then progress up to the arms and torso.
With treatment, it can often be adequately controlled. What’s more, if one can successfully identify and treat the underlying cause, they may be able to halt the damage – or even reverse it.
What Are the Traditional Treatments for Nerve Pain?
When possible, treatment of the underlying problem causing the pain is the most critical action. For example, treating high blood sugar in diabetics, or relieving a pinched nerve.
Additionally, the doctor may prescribe medication to target the pain, ranging from anti-inflammatories to opiates. As no catch-all treatment has been approved for nerve pain, the treatment regimen prescribed depends on the nature and type of pain.
Unfortunately, research suggests that traditionally based nerve treatments are limited in efficacy. Moreover, traditional treatment usage is troubled with dosage-dependent adverse side effects.
Common Treatments for Nerve Pain
- Over-the-Counter (OTC) Drugs: Typically, OTC drugs are the first treatment recommended. This category includes common non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen or topical treatments like gels, patches, and creams.
There are issues with these, though, as OTC NSAIDs may not be strong enough for moderate to severe pain. Also, topical treatments are only really effective for pain isolated in specific skin and joint areas.
- Prescription Drugs: Drugs initially designed for the treatment of other conditions have been found to be effective treatments for nerve pain. Some of the most commonly used would be antidepressants and anticonvulsants (originally used to treat epilepsy). These are often used in combination to enhance their benefits.
Although helpful for some patients, they do not work for all types of nerve pain. For example, they seem to be ineffective for nerve pain caused by chemotherapy or HIV.
Another option is strong opioid painkillers. These would only be used for severe nerve pain, and they carry serious side effects such as addiction and risk of overdose.
- Interventional Procedures: Electrical impulses can be employed to block nerve pain messages from reaching the brain. This can be quite complex, however, and often requires surgery or interventional procedure.
- Alternative Therapies: These include treatments such as acupuncture, massage, meditation, or even aromatherapy, and have different levels of success. Some people find them to be effective, while others report no benefits at all.
- Surgery: As a last resort, surgical intervention may be an appropriate option to free a pinched nerve. An example of this is removing part of a bone to relieve sciatica.
CBD for Nerve Pain: How Does It Work?
The scientific explanation for using CBD as nerve pain treatment is pretty clear. Our bodies naturally make chemicals called endocannabinoids. These are involved in the whole-body system that controls various physiological processes. Such as appetite, immunity, inflammation, and pain sensation.
Endocannabinoids circulate via the bloodstream and cause their effects by binding to our cannabinoid receptors. Currently, there are two well-researched cannabinoid receptors: CB1 and CB2. The ones which are important with regard to nerve pain are our CB1 receptors. These are found in nerve endings and the brain and have been linked to the origin of the pain sensation.
CBD works on the body by reducing the metabolic breakdown of endocannabinoids, which our bodies make naturally. These endocannabinoids are involved in modulating the pain pathway. By slowing this breakdown process, CBD indirectly increases the amount and activity of endocannabinoids at the CB1 and CB2 receptors. This, in turn, causes the diminishing of the pain sensation.
What Is CBD?
CBD is one of the active ingredients in the cannabis plant family. The other main one is THC, which gives cannabis its psychoactive effects.
Although CBD is extracted from cannabis plants, the levels of THC usually vary from tiny amounts to virtually none at all (in the highest quality CBD products). Often, CBD products are made from hemp, which is a member of the cannabis family that contains virtually zero THC.
Due to the extremely low levels of THC, hemp-derived CBD products do not have any intoxicating effects. In other words, they do not get you high.
Generally, the effects that people have experienced from CBD products are a calming in mood, relief from pain and anxiety, and an easier time getting to sleep for those that struggle with insomnia.
Cannabis and CBD for Nerve Pain: What Recent Studies Have Said
While FDA-approval and clinical trials are still lacking, the initial investigations into CBD for nerve pain have been promising.
Here is a selection of a few of the most recent studies on CBD for nerve pain (see referenced sources below):
- Several studies have been carried out that have looked at patients with neuropathic pain caused by HIV. Participants in these studies are asked to smoke medical cannabis as a treatment.
- Ellis et al. (2009) found that 34 patients who smoked cannabis reported a significant decrease in the intensity of their pain, as compared to the effects of placebo.
- Abrams et al. (2007) used a similar model of people who suffered from neuropathic pain due to HIV. The research team had 27 patients smoke cannabis and compared them with 28 placebo patients. 52% of the cannabis group reported feeling a greater than 30% decrease in their pain. This was significantly more than the placebo group. They also reported no serious adverse side effects.
- This last study looked at the effectiveness of Sativex, which is a prescription spray (containing both CBD and THC) that some patients use for neuropathic pain. Sativex was given to 63 patients, and their responses were compared with 62 patients given a placebo. The scientists found that more people who took Sativex described a decrease in pain intensity as compared to those who took a placebo.
Final Thoughts on CBD for Nerve Pain
Nerve pain can be a very unpleasant condition. And thus far, medical science has not been able to give us a suitable treatment.
Scientists themselves state that traditionally prescribed treatments have limited effectiveness, and those treatments often come with adverse side effects.
In the end, cannabis-based treatments seem to have a promising future in terms of their potential to treat nerve pain. The science behind how cannabinoids work to counteract nerve pain is clear. Also, the current research appears to support the notion that cannabinoids can successfully treat nerve pain.
If you are suffering from nerve pain and have not been having success with traditional treatments, cannabis and CBD oil could well be worth looking into.
Understanding CBD (Cannabidiol) for Back Pain
Cannabidiol, commonly referred to as CBD, is a new and relatively understudied treatment for pain, including back pain. Studies suggest it may help relieve inflammation, which is often a factor in chronic back pain. 1
CBD is available in many forms; topical creams and gels have shown promising results for inflammation and neuropathy, which may make them a good option for back and neck pain. 2
CBD requires more research in order to prove and explain its effectiveness as well as to better understand potential side effects (especially long-term) and potential drug interactions.
What Is CBD?
CBD oil is derived from a plant called cannabis sativa. The plant has over 100 chemical compounds, called cannabinoids, that have a range of effects, including anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain relieving) qualities.
The cannabis sativa plant has two main varieties that are grown for specific purposes:
- THC content. THC is the compound associated with the “high” feeling of marijuana use.
- Industrial (non-drug) uses. This form of the plant contains trace amounts of THC (less than .03%) and can be used to make paper, clothing, and some building material. This variation of the cannabis plant is called hemp.
While CBD is present in both varieties, many of the CBD products available to consumers are from the hemp plant. CBD does not come with the high or psychogenic effects of marijuana.
Ways CBD Treats Back Pain
Research indicates that CBD may reduce back pain by:
- Reducing inflammation 3
- Combating anxiety, often associated with long-lasting or chronic back pain 4
- Helping with sleep and improving overall state of relaxation 5
Some studies suggest that CBD can have an effect on how an individual perceives pain, but more robust research is needed. CBD is generally considered a full-body treatment, which means that it does not target back pain specifically—except in the case of topical products—but contributes to an overall feeling of relaxation and pain relief.
Advocates of CBD believe it can be used to treat a range of conditions in addition to back pain, such as anxiety-related disorders. 5
Potential Risks and Side Effects of CBD
Cannabidiol, even in high amounts, is generally safe. Side effects from CBD may include:
- Dry mouth
- Low blood pressure
More severe side effects, while rare, include:
- Mental confusion
As with other natural products, there is potential for adverse reactions when taken with other medications, especially those that come with grapefruit warnings, such as certain blood thinners. These warnings indicate that certain medications should not be taken with products containing grapefruit.
CBD use prior to surgery
Before having surgery, all cannabis use, including CBD and marijuana, should be disclosed to the surgeon or anesthesiologist. A recent study suggests that cannabis use may have an effect on medications used to sedate patients. 6