CBD for Chronic Neck Pain (Cervicalgia)
The bones, ligaments, and muscles of your neck support your head and allow for motion. Any abnormalities, inflammation, or injury can cause neck pain or stiffness. Many people experience neck pain or stiffness occasionally. In most cases, it’s due to poor posture or overuse. Pain in the neck can vary in intensity, and may feel achy or like an electric shock from the neck to the arm.
Neck pain may be categorised as acute – the pain comes on suddenly and lasts a few months at most – or chronic, wherein the pain slowly worsens over time; and either persists for more than a few months or comes and goes in “flare-ups”.
Chronic neck pain
Your neck is made up of vertebrae that extend from the skull to the upper torso. Cervical discs absorb shock between the bones.
The bones, ligaments and muscles of your neck support your head and allow for motion. Any abnormalities, inflammation, or injury can cause neck pain or stiffness.
Many people experience neck pain or stiffness occasionally throughout their lives, often due to poor posture or over exertion. At other times neck pain can be caused by injury from a fall, contact sports, or whiplash.
Most of the time neck pain isn’t a serious condition and can be relieved within a few days, but in some cases, neck pain can indicate a serious injury or illness and require long term care.
If you have neck pain that continues for more than 7 days, is severe, or is accompanied by other symptoms, seek medical attention.
Common Causes of Neck Pain Include…
Muscle Tension & Strain This is often due to activities and behaviours such as poor posture; working at a desk for too long without changing position; sleeping with your neck in a bad position; jerking your neck during exercise.
Injury The neck is particularly vulnerable to injury, especially in falls, car accidents, and sports, where the muscles and ligaments of the neck are forced to move outside their normal range. If the neck bones (cervical vertebrae) are fractured, the spinal cord may also be damaged. Neck injury caused by a sudden jerking of the head is commonly called whiplash.
Heart Attack Neck pain can also be a symptom of a heart attack, but it often presents with other symptoms of a heart attack such as shortness of breath; sweating; nausea; vomiting; arm or jaw pain.
Meningitis is an inflammation of the thin tissue that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. In people who have meningitis, a fever and a headache often occur with a stiff neck. Meningitis can be fatal and is a medical emergency.
Fibromyalgia is a name given to a group of symptoms marked by generalised pain and muscle stiffness.
Rheumatoid Arthritis causes pain, swelling of the joints, and bone spurs. When these occur in the neck area, chronic neck pain can result.
Osteoporosis weakens bones and can lead to small fractures.
Spondylosis (or osteoarthritis of the neck) As you age, the cervical discs can degenerate. This can narrow the space between the vertebrae and add stress to your joints.
Osteoarthritis neck pain
One of the most common conditions that patients seek medical marijuana treatment is for chronic pain, which can make even the most basic daily functions difficult for those suffering.
Whether its chronic pain related to inflammation, headaches, neuropathic pain, muscle soreness, spinal injury, or fibromyalgia, cannabis has been found to have a high rate of success.
Can cannabis help chronic neck pain?
Although cannabis has recently exploded onto the mainstream medicine scene, evidence suggests that people have used cannabis for medical purposes for more than 5,000 years. Common uses for medical marijuana include treatment for chronic neck pain. More recently, people have sought out cannabis and CBD products as alternatives to opioids, which have been linked to addiction and death.
Overall, the evidence is mounting that shows CBD and THC may play a greater role in managing chronic neck and spine pain, whilst curbing opioid-related risks. Evidence has also found that CBD is a safe, effective addiction therapy, leading CBD to rise in popularity for its potential to treat opioid abuse and prevent it, as a viable chronic pain-relieving alternative.
CBD will not cause any intoxicating effects. The “high” resulting from marijuana use is caused by THC, which is just one of the many cannabinoids in cannabis. CBD is also a cannabinoid in cannabis, but it doesn’t cause any “high”. Some CBD products may contain a trace amount of THC, but the levels are too low to cause any psychoactive effects.
For people looking for a more natural alternative to extended use of over-the-counter painkillers and opioids, cannabis can provide immeasurable relief.
One of the major ways cannabis can help alleviate neck pain is by relaxing the painful spasms that often shoot through a “kinked-up” neck. The plant’s intensely relaxing effect has had a proven effect on the seized muscles. Cannabis can also reduce inflammation in the tissues, reducing pressure and pain.
Many individuals find they can completely cease the use of pharmaceuticals once they begin cannabis treatment. Even supplementing your prescribed medication with cannabis products can make a positive difference. You will be able to ease back on the former, which, in the case of opioid drugs, have many dangerous side effects including the potential for addiction and overdose. In addition to easing the pain itself, cannabis can help you manage the side effects of severe long-term pain, like dizziness and nausea.
CBD works naturally with your body to reduce neck pain. It interacts with your endocannabinoid system to handle two common causes of pain:
Overactive Pain Signals: Certain conditions cause pain receptors to create feelings of pain for no reason. While pain helps us detect when we get injured, pain that has no cause only creates discomfort. CBD activates the CB1 and CB2 receptors, which not only respond to cannabinoids but also regulate pain signals. Many chronic pain patients show irregular CB1 and CB2 signaling, that balance out when exposed to CBD.
Inflammation: Swelling and inflammation have helpful traits, but they turn into a big problem when they happen often. Our body creates inflammation as an immune response. It usually protects damaged tissue from infection. However, the immune system can also make too much inflammation, causing pain and damaging healthy tissue. CBD reduces the immune response and soothes inflamed tissue.
How do people use CBD?
For people who have struggled with chronic neck pain, the list of treatments tried is likely long! Some traditional therapies for pain, (namely opioid medication), pose significant risks. Seeking safer alternatives, people are increasingly using CBD to manage chronic neck pain.
Products containing CBD are exploding. Some people prefer to smoke cannabis, but manufacturers are getting creative when it comes to producing products containing cannabis and its related compounds. Food, beverages, dietary supplements, oils, topicals, and bath soaks are just a few of the applications consumers can use.
When it comes to neck pain issues, cannabis topicals are the star of the show. Though most often recommended for chronic pain, topicals can help with alleviating stiffness and pain, and promoting relaxation. Essential oils often added to the balm or salve can provide further relief. If you’re seeking cannabis purely for its therapeutic benefits and would prefer not to feel the well-known psychoactive side effect, topicals are precisely the treatment you need. Whether the topical is made with CBD or THC, when absorbed through the skin, no mental effects are felt.
Key Definitions regarding marijuana…
The terms surrounding medical marijuana can be confusing, below are some basic definitions:
Cannabis sativa: The plant that produces both CBD and THC
Cannabinoid: One of the more than 100 compounds that exist in cannabis
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC): A cannabinoid known for producing an intoxicating “high”.
Cannabidiol (CBD): A cannabinoid known for its non-intoxicating, non-psychoactive medicinal effects.
How can I find a high-quality CBD or THC product?
It can be challenging to know whether a product is safe or contains the ingredients promised on the label. Products containing synthetic cannabinoids (e.g. “spice”) are especially concerning, as they have been linked to serious complications.
To narrow your options, iCannabis recommend you ask the following questions:
1. Does it meet quality standards outlined by a credible certification body under Australian law?
2. Does the manufacturer report adverse events tied to its products?
3. Is the product certified organic?
4. Does the product undergo laboratory testing to confirm THC levels?
At iCannabis, we are a group that specialises in educating and helping Australian patients gain access to Cannabis for medical purposes, through education and real-life experiences with the healing powers of this plant.
Once you discover the documented benefits tens of thousands of patients around the world have received, you too will realise how this can potentially change and improve the quality of life for you and your family.
The positive impact this plant has already had on the quality of life for patients and their families is nothing short of miraculous.
At iCannabis, we are committed to establishing an Australian medical cannabis community, comprised of passionate and caring people, focused on the highest quality organic medicine, made with love and integrity.
If you need any advice or help with CBD for Chronic Neck Pain care, please contact us and we can help connect you with an Authorised Medical Cannabis doctor in Australia.
Since 1930, Publix has grown from a single store into the largest employee-owned grocery chain in the United States. We are thankful for our customers and associates and continue remaining deeply dedicated to customer service and community involvement, and being a great place to work and shop.
Currently, we are not able to service customers outside of the United States, and our site is not fully available internationally. (Our apologies!) But, the next time you travel to Florida, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, or Virginia—make sure you visit the store “where shopping is a pleasure” during your stay.
CBD oil products abound, but do they really work? Some say yes while experts urge caution
The pain in Andy Arnold’s neck had grown so severe that it radiated down his left side, leaving his hand numb.
Unable to turn his head or even lay flat in bed, the Greenville attorney missed more than a week of work.
He was sent for an MRI, underwent chiropractic treatments and even ultrasound therapy. But the pain persisted.
“I have some pretty significant neck issues,” he told The Greenville News. “I had a terrible time with it.”
Finally, his doctor advised him to give up his martial arts classes.
So a year ago, he decided to try CBD oil, an increasingly popular product proliferating on store shelves everywhere.
“It worked,” Arnold said. “There was a clear difference. Not even a doubt.”
Greenville businesswoman Liz Daly-Korybski, owner of Liz Daly Designs and Eisch USA, had been seeing two specialists for agonizing shoulder pain.
Because she can’t take conventional medications, they recommended she try CBD oil.
That was two years ago and she’s been using it ever since.
“I was in excruciating pain,” she said. “And it’s done wonders.”
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What’s more, she said, she knows several other people who’ve been helped by CBD as well, including an 80-year-old with Parkinson’s disease whose tremors were markedly reduced, and two friends with anxiety so severe they were home-bound who can now function in society again.
“I feel people are really starting to go towards it,” she said, “trying to find other natural ways of getting pain free.”
More and more people are using CBD, or cannabidiol, a compound in hemp and marijuana that does not produce a “high.”
Based on a January survey of more than 4,000 Americans, the nonprofit Consumer Reports estimated that 64 million people — or a quarter of the population — have tried CBD.
In addition to oils, tinctures, salves and capsules containing CBD, the product is now being added to bottled water, soda, gummies, popcorn, candies, cakes and even shampoo, cosmetics and pet treats.
It’s become so mainstream that it’s sold at pharmacies and grocery stores in addition to health food stores and other specialty shops as well as online.
Proponents say it helps relieve pain, anxiety and insomnia, among other ailments.
Others say it can benefit everything from multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease to psoriasis and schizophrenia.
It’s been approved by the FDA to treat childhood seizures. But experts say nobody knows if the other claims are true because there’s so little research.
‘Claims outpacing the science’
“We don’t know yet what it works for,” said Dr. Peter Grinspoon, a Harvard Medical School professor on staff at Massachusetts General Hospital.
“That’s not to say it doesn’t. Just that it hasn’t been shown to do these things,” he added. “The claims are far outpacing the actual science.”
But many medications have come from plants. Aspirin from willow bark, digitalis from the foxglove and codeine from the poppy, for example. So it wouldn’t be unreasonable for hemp to have a medicinal quality.
Dr. Prakash Nagarkatti, vice president for research at the University of South Carolina, said there has been research in animals to show that CBD oil is effective in suppressing inflammation, which is the driving force behind many diseases like arthritis.
But there’s been little research in humans, he said.
“Inflammation is the underlying cause of a lot of diseases, cardiovascular disease, cancers . autoimmune diseases like lupus,” he said. “Based on our research, and a large number of publications . CBD does have the potential of treating a large number of diseases in which inflammation is the critical role.”
‘An attractive alternative’
Greenville psychiatrist Dr. Patrick Mullen agrees that CBD oil hasn’t been studied with the same kind of rigor as an FDA-approved drug and that some of the claims about it are no doubt hype.
Nonetheless, he has five patients who take CBD oil, including a veteran with PTSD, and it’s helping them, he said. It can also benefit people who are taking opioids for intractable pain, he said.
“I tell all my patients who are in chronic pain and getting dumped off their opiates . about CBD oil,” he said. “And someone who comes to me who has anxiety or depression, I tell them about CBD oil.”
And because many traditional medications for depression and anxiety are addictive and have some harsh side effects, CBD oil is a safer alternative, he said.
“If you take Xanax every day for a year, then you can’t stop it. So I’m glad we’ve got something that appears to be much less addictive and less harmful than we’ve come to think benzodiazepines are,” he said.
“With the current fear of addiction, some good, effective medications are being restricted to the point that we won’t be able to use them. What will replace them?” he added. “CBD oil is a very attractive alternative.”
Impact on public health
There are lots of testimonials from people who say they have benefited from CBD oil but scant evidence, said Dr. Henry Bynum, a physician with Keystone Family Medicine of Prisma Health-Upstate, formerly Greenville Health System.
“You hear any and every symptom and diagnosis can be improved or treated with CBD products. And we don’t have great studies to back that up,” he said. “But as it’s better studied, it’s certainly plausible we will find some good, evidence-based reasons to use CBD products.”
And studies are underway. The National Institutes of Health alone funded 330 research projects totaling almost $140 million in 2017 looking into the potential health benefits of CBD oil.
The Greenwood Genetic Center is even involved in research to see whether a synthetic CBD oil can help in the treatment of Fragile X Syndrome, a rare inherited condition marked by varying degrees of intellectual disability, anxiety, irritability and other symptoms akin to autism, said Dr. Carrie Buchanan, the developmental behavioral pediatrician heading up the study.
But it will likely be several years before these studies yield results, experts say.
In the meantime, the FDA says it recognizes the potential of cannabis-derived compounds as well as the widespread interest in them, but is concerned about the scope of CBD products being sold for therapeutic or medical uses because they haven’t been proven safe or effective. The agency also says there have been reports of adverse effects in some patients using cannabis or cannabis-derived products to treat medical conditions.
So the FDA is holding a public hearing next month to gather information related to product safety and has formed an internal working group to explore the potential for supplements and conventional foods containing CBD to be lawfully marketed — including any potential statutory or regulatory changes — and the impact on the public health.
Among the concerns is purity of the product and the dosage.
Grinspoon said studies have shown that CBD oil can contain more or less of the product than advertised. Others say that since CBD oil is not regulated by the FDA, there’s no telling what’s in some of the products.
So consumers should only purchase CBD products that have certificates of quality from independent third-party labs that show they’re not only free of pesticides, heavy metals and other chemicals, but that they contain the amount of CBD that’s on the label, Grinspoon said.
“The stuff . at Joe’s Souvenir Shop,” he said, “who knows what’s in it?”
Bynum and Nagarkatti agree.
“I tell patients I don’t recommend for or against it . and to take it at their own risk,” Bynum said. “But if you wish to try it, do your best . to find a reputable company.”
“If somebody wants to cheat and mislabel it, consumers won’t know,” said Nagarkatti, adding that there are reputable producers.
“But that’s true with dietary supplements too.”
CBD is the in thing
Arnold and Daly-Korybski say they use only products from reputable companies that are certified through a third-party lab.
“We all trust labeling,” Arnold said, “and I don’t know any reason why CBD would be much different.”
“I would not use any CBD oil that is not third-party verified. You don’t know what you’re going to get without that,” said Daly-Korybski, noting that the vendors she uses support regulation.
While quality reports could be faked, Grinspoon said that would attract the attention of regulators.
And although health claims not supported by data can be dangerous to certain patients, CBD is “pretty non-toxic,” Grinspoon said.
Nagarkatti said there is no data to support claims that personal care products or cosmetics that contain CBD have any beneficial properties.
“It’s a fad,” he said. “It’s the in thing right now.”
The real problem, Grinspoon said, is that like with a lot of health fads which go in and out of fashion, it’s a false promise and an unnecessary expense.
And cost is a problem, he said, because CBD products can be very expensive.
But with passage of the federal Farm Bill last December — which meant hemp containing less than 0.3 percent of THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, is no longer considered a controlled substance — more companies are making CBD oil, so the price should come down, Grinspoon said.
“I have a lot of patients who try it,” he said. “Some have some benefit and some have no benefit and felt like they wasted their money.”
It’s unknown why some patients feel no relief, he said. It could be they’re getting low-quality CBD, that CBD might not be strong enough for the intensity of their pain, or because not all drugs work for all people.
Cost could play a role in that as well, said Arnold.
“One thing I think most people is do is take too little because it’s so expensive,” he said.
Bynum says he’s had a handful of patients who’ve tried CBD oil, usually for anxiety, depression or pain. And an equal number report they are getting relief as aren’t.
“It could be a placebo effect,” he said. “We just don’t know at this point.”
Daly-Korybski, 49, said she doesn’t believe it’s placebo effect because she’s tried some products that worked well and others that didn’t.
“When I’m using it, the joints tend to work really well,” she says with a chuckle.
Like one in seven users, according to the Consumer Reports survey, Arnold, 51, uses CBD oil every day. When he runs out, he sometimes wonders whether he should get more.
“And then my neck starts acting up,” he said. “And it always helps.”
Nonetheless, Arnold said there has been “a gold rush-type mentality” when it comes to CBD oil and that there should be questions about it.
In addition to only using products with third-party testing, Grinspoon said his best advice for consumers wanting to try CBD is to discuss it with their doctor because it can interact with other medications. And because dosing is trial and error, start low and go slow, he said.
While every drug has side effects — some that can be serious – Grinspoon said CBD is generally well-tolerated. Arnold and Daly-Korybski say they’ve experienced no side effects.
But Bynum said the long-term effects are yet to be determined.
“Before we dive in and start using these products,” he said, “we ought to do a little more research to see how this will impact us long-term.”
Another potential impact of using CBD oil is testing positive for THC, he said.
Arnold, an employment attorney, said potential employers have no way of knowing whether it was from CBD oil or from smoking marijuana.
“There are possible legal claims that can arise out of that,” he said. “How do you deal with a company that says it won’t hire someone who tests positive for THC?”
Too early to tell
Despite the lack of evidence, Grinspoon said there is intriguing research that CBD could be helpful in treating psychosis and addiction.
“It does have promise for these things,” he said. “And there’s some good evidence that it does help people with anxiety.”
As the government relaxes restrictions on research, the answers will come, Grinspoon said.
“It was just approved for childhood epilepsy,” he said. “And if the U.S. government approved a medication for seizures, it can’t contend it has no medical utility.”
Bynum said that in time, research may show that CBD is safer and more effective than some of the medications used regularly today, like opioids.