CBD For Neuropathy: Does CBD Help With Pain?

cbd and neuropathy pain

CBD may be a good alternative treatment for neuropathy pain. CBD may have the ability to lower pain which is linked to its potent effect as an antioxidant and ability to lower inflammation significantly, and quickly. CBD and neuropathy treatment go hand in hand. In fact, when put head to head against the other well-known antioxidants alpha-tocopherol (Vitamin E) and ascorbate (Vitamin C), cannabidiol beat out both of them in effectiveness with regards to lowering glutamate toxicity in neurons.1

Cannabinoids have been well-studied as a target for treatment of neuropathic pain in the medical literature. According to some researchers, they hold the most potential as a natural solution since nearly all pharmaceutical treatments fall short and have caused researchers to conclude that pharma “treatment options for neuropathic pain have limited efficacy and use is fraught with dose dependent adverse effects.”2

Due to this extreme shortcoming of Western medicine treatment for neuropathy, many neuropathy patients are understandably curious about cannabis, namely cannabidiol, as a potential option for pain management. Nature provides us with many healing plant compounds that don’t have adverse side effects, and many people are starting to wake up to that fact.

Relief From Chronic Pain Is Here: CBD and Neuropathy

Chronic pain has become an epidemic, especially as the Boomer generation approaches old age. In Europe, chronic pain effects 1 in 4 elderly people.3

In Australia, this epidemic is of massive proportions, extending to over half of the elderly population, and as high as 80% of patients in nursing homes.4

In the US, responses to an ABC News poll indicate that as many as 38 million adults in the US deal with chronic pain on a daily basis, and as many as 12 million US citizens have used cannabis to help alleviate this pain.

To this point, the available medications for attempting to treat this pain are limited to anti-steroidals, opiates, and anti-depressants – all hardcore drugs with harsh side effects of their own, and limited effectiveness. It’s almost as though the patient is trading a half-cure for being put on even more drugs to deal with the debilitating side effects. My opinion here, but this system is fucked up.

What Causes Neuropathy?

It’s probably pertinent to give a quick background with regards to exactly what is neuropathy. I find that it always helps to understand the underlying causes of health issues if you have any intention to solve the problem and not just put a band-aid on it.

Peripheral neuropathy has many causes. At its core, it is nerve damage due to chronic inflammation in the body. I’ve discussed inflammation at length here on the blog already, but essentially what it is is your body’s natural warning response that is triggered due to behaviors and incoming stimuli that threaten your health, put simply. Most people ignore this inflammation and develop chronic health issues over years of abusive habits. It is only after the diseases and health problems arise and becoming nagging that they seek a solution.

Neuropathy symptoms can arise due to inflammation related to:

  • Alcoholism: nutrient deficiencies, stress, excess estrogen, and liver complications
  • Autoimmune diseases: these typically develop due to chronic inflammation that goes unaddressed
  • Diabetes: a vast majority of diabetics develop neuropathy
  • Exposure to toxins: environmental toxins, pesticides, plastic polymers, and other endocrine disrupting chemicals can cause inflammation in the body
  • Nutrient deficiencies: key micronutrients are needed for proper nervous system health, namely B vitamins, antioxidants like Vitamin E and C, and minerals like the electrolytes Calcium, Sodium, Magnesium, and Potassium
  • Trauma: accidents or traumatic injury can cause nerve damage that leads to neuropathy

These are just a few of many potential causes of neuropathy, albeit the most statistically common.

cbd and neuropathy

Cannabidiol, CBD May Aid In Calming Neuropathic Inflammation

An oromucosal spray named Sativex was approved back in 2005 by the Canadian government for use in treating neuropathy.5 While Sativex itself is a brand name and must be obtained with a prescription, the important thing to note is that it is essentially just a combination of THC and CBD, cannabidiol, not much different than just using a full spectrum hemp extract in combination with THC. Let’s be real: it literally is just a full spectrum cannabis extract, extracted with ethanol, packaged up and branded by GW Pharmaceuticals. This is something you could buy yourself.

Sativex (THC + CBD) was found in multiple clinical trials to be extremely effective in controlling neuropathy pain in MS patients, as well as arthritis. It was later approved by the United States FDA in 2006 for trials to control cancer related neuropathy.

Historically, and quite ironically, Western understanding of the biological underpinnings of the pain system in the body was originally glimpsed through the lens of studying the plants Cannabis, opium poppies, Willow bark, and chile peppers.

Out of the study of these plants – and the naturally effective medicine inherent in them – pharmaceutical companies formulated synthetic, highly addictive, drugs such as morphine, codeine, oxycontin.

Due to lack of commercial feasibility and patentability, pharmaceutical companies, before the early 2000s, have not made any endocannabinoid drug-derivatives.6 Cannabinoids, however, are very well known for their analgesic effect in controlling pain in humans.7 Ask any anesthesiologist and they will agree, activation of the CB1 receptor (cannabinoid receptor 1) will lead to almost immediate alleviation of pain and inflammation.8 This pain reduction can be seen in fibromyalgia patients when treated with cannabis910 and even in cases of intestinal pain with IBS.

Cannabinoids like CBD, cannabidiol have been shown to alleviate this pain by also activating glycine receptors.11

This study found some really convincing evidence for this neuropathic pain control in rats.12 According to the researchers,

“The non-psychoactive compound, cannabidiol, or CBD, is the only component present at a high level in the extract able to bind to this receptor: thus cannabidiol was the compound responsible for the antinociceptive behaviour observed.

CBD Looks Promising As A Neuropathy Treatment

In conclusion, CBD oil is looking really promising for nerve pain and neuropathy patients. I’d say it’s definitely worth a shot, especially if you’ve been using opiates, NSAIDs, or antidepressants to try and control your neuropathy to no avail.

What have you got to lose? This also comes after a careful analysis of the clinical trials of Sativex, which just appears to be a full spectrum cannabis extract similar to the ones found on this page, in combination with THC.

Hopefully this is helpful information, I will be doing more articles here on the blog about cannabis and pain relief in the future.

Medical References

1.
Hampson A, Grimaldi M, Lolic M, Wink D, Rosenthal R, Axelrod J. Neuroprotective antioxidants from marijuana. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2000;899:274-282. [PubMed]
2.
Fine P, Rosenfeld M. Cannabinoids for neuropathic pain. Curr Pain Headache Rep. 2014;18(10):451. [PubMed]
3.
Frondini C, Lanfranchi G, Minardi M, Cucinotta D. Affective, behavior and cognitive disorders in the elderly with chronic musculoskelatal pain: the impact on an aging population. Arch Gerontol Geriatr. 2007;44 Suppl 1:167-171. [PubMed]
4.
Gibson S. IASP global year against pain in older persons: highlighting the current status and future perspectives in geriatric pain. Expert Rev Neurother. 2007;7(6):627-635. [PubMed]
5.
Russo E. Cannabinoids in the management of difficult to treat pain. Ther Clin Risk Manag. 2008;4(1):245-259. [PubMed]
6.
Pacher P, Bátkai S, Kunos G. The endocannabinoid system as an emerging target of pharmacotherapy. Pharmacol Rev. 2006;58(3):389-462. [PubMed]
7.
Walker J, Huang S. Cannabinoid analgesia. Pharmacol Ther. 2002;95(2):127-135. [PubMed]
8.
Richardson J, Kilo S, Hargreaves K. Cannabinoids reduce hyperalgesia and inflammation via interaction with peripheral CB1 receptors. Pain. 1998;75(1):111-119. [PubMed]
9.
Schley M, Legler A, Skopp G, Schmelz M, Konrad C, Rukwied R. Delta-9-THC based monotherapy in fibromyalgia patients on experimentally induced pain, axon reflex flare, and pain relief. Curr Med Res Opin. 2006;22(7):1269-1276. [PubMed]
10.
Massa F, Monory K. Endocannabinoids and the gastrointestinal tract. J Endocrinol Invest. 2006;29(3 Suppl):47-57. [PubMed]
11.
Xiong W, Cui T, Cheng K, et al. Cannabinoids suppress inflammatory and neuropathic pain by targeting α3 glycine receptors. J Exp Med. 2012;209(6):1121-1134. [PubMed]
12.
Comelli F, Giagnoni G, Bettoni I, Colleoni M, Costa B. Antihyperalgesic effect of a Cannabis sativa extract in a rat model of neuropathic pain: mechanisms involved. Phytother Res. 2008;22(8):1017-1024. [PubMed]

15 Comments

  1. Jan Stark on March 10, 2018 at 8:02 pm

    I live in CO and have tried so many strains of pot for my pain. All it did was give me anxiety. The pain was always still there. Pot like any other drug, works for some and not for others. It is not a magic pill.

  2. jennifer brown-froehr on March 15, 2018 at 12:02 pm

    I’ve had idiopathic peripheral neuropathy for close to 10 years. Mobility and balance problems coupled with numbness which started in my toes and has now reached my-calf in both legs. Until
    recently, thank God, no pain. In the last couple of months I have developed full–body pain at night, making sleep very difficult. I have been using CBD oil for anxiety for about a yrar now, with generally good results. Decided a couple of weeks ago to give it a try for this pain. The results have been extraordinary. Rapid relief that lasts all night long!
    I am a true believer!

  3. James Jenkins on March 30, 2018 at 10:07 am

    My 75 yr. old sister is suffering from neuropathy of both legs due to diabetes and brain surgery 3 yrs. ago. She is in agony 24 hrs. a day with no relief provided from her doctors. Cannot walk without a walker which is painful with every step. She also suffers from alien hand syndrome which involves violent and painful epoleptic like attacks weekly. Can you provide us with more information directly related to these two symptoms? It drives me to tears to watch her struggle with these ailments!

  4. Jose Leon on March 31, 2018 at 11:48 pm

    Hello Christopher, I was wondering if Sativex would be helpful for my mother, from what I read in your blog I feel like she has developed neuropathy, she is a diabetic and shes explained to me that she feels pain in her legs like a burning sensation. Shes also been telling me that over the counter pills like Tylenol and Advil dont work for her. Her doctor is currently prescribing her medication for this, but I would rather her take a natural product than to keep taking those damn pills anymore. I appreciate your information on this blog it was very helpful.

  5. Alfred G. Williams on April 2, 2018 at 4:21 pm

    Has this product been helpful in the treatment of neuropathy numbness?

    • Alfred G. Williams on April 2, 2018 at 4:31 pm

      I don’t have neuropathy pain, I have neuropathy numbness in my feet. So, I’m interested in knowing if this product has been successful in the treatment of neuropathy numbness.

  6. Kyle Gauvin on April 17, 2018 at 2:40 pm

    To Whom it May Concern,

    I was wondering what type of CBD cream would be recommended for Diabetic Foot Pain?

    I would like to avoid THC in this cream as well.

    Regards,

  7. Harriet DiMarzo on April 18, 2018 at 11:05 am

    Trying to get a cbd capsule for my husband’s neuropathy. It was recommended by a relative that uses it for his pain and said it did wonders for him. Thank you

  8. LISA M KISER on April 28, 2018 at 9:06 pm

    Has anyone had any success when using this for neuropathy pain?

  9. LISA M KISER on April 28, 2018 at 9:08 pm

    How long until you start to feel/notice a difference? Was it significant or minimal?

  10. A Edwards on May 5, 2018 at 1:19 pm

    Are any clinical trials running in UK? I had a SCI in 2007 which has left me disabled with chronic neuropathic pain. I’m prescribed opiates yet still live with pain. I’ve used CBD oils with good effect but it’s strength and cost means I can’t completely come off the opiates. Any trials out there?
    A Edwards

  11. Kathy Davies on May 15, 2018 at 2:57 pm

    I contracted polio in 1953. Now suffering with Post Polio Syndrome. Pain, fatigue and muscle loss, amongst general ill health. I’m on Longtec 10mg modified-release tablets x2 per day. Naproxen 500mg x2 a day
    Oxycodone 5mg/5ml, 10ml x2 a day as needed for breakthrough pain. And Paracetamol. These are just my pain meds. I’d really like to cut down / out these if possible. I did occasionally smoke cannabis for pain relief, some years back. I’m wondering if you could advise me on what CBD I would need and how to use it. Which medication should I cut down /out first ect.

  12. Kathy Davies on May 15, 2018 at 2:58 pm

    Thanks in advance.

  13. John Carway on May 20, 2018 at 7:34 pm

    How does this work with diabetic neuropathy?, Numbness and pins and needles pain that is often severe in the feet and numbness in the hands. Numbness extends from the feet to the waist.

  14. Pam on May 30, 2018 at 4:50 pm

    Hello,
    I have a constant itch in the middle of my back and it is my spine that feels like it is itching. I looked it up and it show something called Notalgia Paraesthetica, I have the symptoms of this, but my doctor does not know what it could be because I have no rash. Do you think a CBD lotion would help this? I have tried all kinds of lotions and I am looking into acupuncture now. Any info would help.
    Thank you
    Pam

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