Neuropathic pain or nerve pain can be described as a burning, shooting, or stabbing feeling associated with tingling or numbness. For some people, this pain can disrupt their quality of life. While treatment and medication for neuropathic pain are available, there may be cases where these options are unavailable or insufficient. In these situations, you may consider looking into cannabidiol (CBD) as an alternative remedy. One of the benefits of CBD is the potential to help manage nerve pain. This article discusses what CBD is and how it may help with neuropathic pain. Additionally, this article also talks about CBD’s other benefits and possible side effects.
What is CBD?
CBD is a chemical found in cannabis plants like hemp and marijuana. CBD may be seen as a promising alternative remedy to help manage pain, inflammation, anxiety, and seizures.
Most CBD products are extracted from hemp, which contains a higher CBD amount compared to marijuana. In addition, hemp is no longer a controlled substance as defined by the Controlled Substances Act.
While there may be hundreds of cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, its two primary components are CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is a psychoactive component of cannabis, which gives individuals a high feeling. However, CBD does not have those psychoactive effects.
Several studies on humans and animals suggest that CBD may help address anxiety, insomnia, addiction, and chronic pain.
Research on how CBD helps with nerve pain
A review in Frontiers in Pharmacology published in 2020 mentioned that CBD may help manage chronic pain, especially in cases where primary treatment is insufficient or unavailable. The same study also suggested that CBD may be used in specific contexts and must not be used indiscriminately. Specifically, access to unregulated CBD products may be growing, and people need to be educated about its benefits and adverse effects.
A 2019 study stated that CBD may also help improve the quality of life of individuals experiencing chronic pain. In addition, more than half the patients who underwent the study reported reduced or discontinued opioid use after taking CBD extract to their regimens.
In another study involving patients with neuropathic pain, individuals who received selective cannabinoids reported reduced pain. Selective cannabinoids were also associated with improved sleep and quality of life without adverse effects. The selective cannabinoids used in the study were synthetic cannabinoids containing THC only and cannabis-based extracts with THC and CBD.
Multiple sclerosis or MS is an autoimmune disorder that can also cause nerve pain. Some symptoms of MS include muscle spasms, loss of balance, fatigue, and numbness or tingling in the arms or legs.
Recent research shows that individuals experiencing MS are seeking alternative methods such as cannabis to address the symptoms of MS.
In a 2017 review, short-term oral cannabinoid use was associated with a greater numerical average improvement in spasticity rates among individuals with MS. Several studies have been conducted suggesting CBD’s potential to help with neuropathic pain. However, additional research regarding benefits, risks, and the recommended dosage is still needed.
Other benefits of CBD
Aside from nerve pain, CBD may provide other benefits, such as:
- Seizures and epilepsy – Studies showed that CBD may help reduce seizures associated with epilepsy. Epidiolex is the first cannabis-based medicine containing CBD approved by the Food and Drug Administration specifically for treating these conditions.
- Anxiety – CBD may help manage multiple anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety disorder (SAD), panic disorder (PD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
- Schizophrenia – The results of several studies suggest CBD may be used as a potential therapeutic option for managing psychosis, particularly schizophrenia.
- Diabetes – CBD may help individuals with type 1 diabetes by managing inflammation markers in the pancreas. The study was conducted on non-obese diabetic mice. Additional studies on human subjects are needed to confirm further CBD’s potential in managing diabetes.
- Addiction or drug withdrawal – CBD’s anxiolytic properties may support its potential as a viable remedy for helping with symptoms associated with drug addiction.
- Cigarette smoking – Preliminary findings showed that CBD may help manage nicotine addiction and reduce the number of cigarettes smoked. Additional clinical trials and studies are needed to solidify CBD’s potential to address smoking and nicotine addiction.
Dosage and side effects
To date, there is no FDA-approved CBD dosage guide for helping with neuropathic pain.
Various studies and clinical trials mentioned administering CBD sublingually as a tincture or orally as an oil solution or capsule. Researchers reported using a wide range of doses in these trials, mainly within the 100-800 milligrams per day (mg/day) range.
CBD is shown to be well-tolerated among humans and has a good safety profile. To date, there are no reports of abuse or dependence associated with using pure CBD.
However, CBD use may also cause side effects, such as dry mouth, appetite loss, diarrhea, fatigue, and drowsiness. Caution is advised, especially when taking CBD in large doses.
Some CBD products have a grapefruit warning too. That means they may interact with other medications and prevent or limit their effectiveness.
As a safety measure, consult your doctor about your current medical condition before considering taking CBD.
CBD’s purported health benefits may help alleviate pain associated with neuropathic or nerve pain. However, further studies are needed to ensure that the benefits are grounded in scientific evidence to back up the claims.
Additionally, despite CBD being readily available in the United States and no longer a controlled substance, state laws regulating CBD consumption have varying restriction levels. Review your state laws before purchasing or consuming CBD products.
Finally, talk to your physician about your medical condition, especially when you are experiencing nerve pain. Doing so gives you an idea of whether CBD is the correct alternative remedy for your condition, or it will interact with any medication you are currently taking.