Nerve pain is also referred to as neuropathy or peripheral neuropathy, which is defined as “any condition that affects the normal activity of the nerves of the peripheral nervous system,” 1)https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/14737-neuropathy.
The network of nerves in the human body known as the peripheral nervous system connects the central nervous system, the spine, and the brain, to the rest of your body. It is made up of three kinds of nerves including, motor nerves, sensory nerves, and autonomic nerves.
Due to how painful neuropathy is, CBD oil for nerve pain research and studies may discover how this treatment may relieve neuropathy.
About Nerve Pain
Neuropathy happens when the body’s neurons or nerve cells become damaged or destroyed. The most common causes are a traumatic injury, autoimmune disorders, infections, diseases like diabetes, vascular disorders, medications, poison, vitamin deficiencies, or alcoholism.
According to the Cleveland Clinic2)https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/14737-neuropathy, neuropathy is quite common, affecting between 25 and 30 percent of Americans. The percentage of people with diabetes is between 60 and 70 percent. Healthengine.com.au3)https://healthengine.com.au/info/neuropathic-pain reports that one in five Australians suffer from chronic pain and that many of these individuals have some form of nerve pain associated with their chronic pain.
Symptoms of Nerve Pain
The symptoms of nerve pain vary somewhat between the type of nerves that are affected. The common symptoms of each of the three types of nerve pain include:
- Muscle weakness and/or twitching.
- Difficulty with moving your arms or legs or walking
- Loss of muscle tone and control.
- Loss of manual dexterity.
- The inability to move a body part.
- Numbness and/or tingling in their hands and feet.
- Changes in sensations varying from being unable to feel pain, temperature, touch, or pressure to suffering severe pain in the evening and night.
- Loss of reflexes and coordination.
- The feeling that you are wearing gloves or socks when you are not.
- Issues with urination.
- Digestive problems.
- Sexual dysfunction.
- Decreased sweating.
- Abnormal heart rate or blood pressure.
- Nausea or vomiting.
- Unintentional weight loss.
- Feeling faint or dizzy when standing up.
When medical science cannot find the cause for nerve pain, they refer to that as idiopathic neuropathy. Between 30 and 40 percent of Americans suffer from idiopathic neuropathy4)https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/14737-neuropathy.
The FDA5)https://www.fda.gov/files/about%20fda/published/The-Voice-of-the-Patient–Neuropathic-Pain-Associated-with-Peripheral-Neuropathy.pdf has an overview of neuropathy, nerve pain, that comes from the perspective of the patient.
Research regarding CBD oil for nerve pain is still in its infancy, but some promising reports along with the problems of using cannabis for nerve pain have been made6)https://www.mdedge.com/ccjm/article/189782/drug-therapy/cannabis-peripheral-neuropathy-good-bad-and-unknown. This study includes the use of CBD oil and THC cannabis.
What is CBD oil?
Before learning how CBD oil for nerve pain works, you first need to know some things about CBD oil. A common misconception about CBD oil is that it is just like marijuana or medical marijuana.
Cannabidiol and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol are two of the several types of cannabinoids found in marijuana. The biggest difference between the two is that Cannabidiol (CBD) produces no psychoactive effects whereas, THC does. In other words, THC is the active ingredient that gets you “high”, but CBD offers similar results without the “high”7)https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/10/181024163625.htm.
The main reason for this is that while both CBD and THC interact with CB1 and CB2 receptors in the human body, they interact with different receptors in the human brain8)https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325871.php.
What are some benefits of CBD oil for nerve pain?
CBD oil is believed to help people in a variety of ways. 9)https://www.openaccessgovernment.org/uses-of-cbd-oil/70200/
- Keeps you calm during undue stress.
- Aids in the navigation of everyday stress.
- Reduces inflammation after working out.
- Reduces insomnia and sleep disruptions.
- It helps combat cold weather dry skin.
Is CBD oil for nerve pain legal?
Currently, in most of the United States, the legal status of CBD oil is constantly changing. While all 50 states have different levels of restriction, the federal government still has CBD oil in the same illegal category as marijuana, but they don’t often enforce it.
It was only at the end of 2015 that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) eased up on their regulatory requirements so that CBD trials can be conducted. Most of the legality of CBD oil in the United States revolves around which plant is used in the manufacturing of CBD oil.
It is believed that the United States government will make hemp crops legal, which would open the doors for CBD oil since the hemp plant is high in CBD and very low in THC.
Are there side effects of using CBD oil for nerve pain?
CBD oil may cause fatigue, irritability, or nausea or vomiting, but these side effects are considered mild. However, if you take a blood thinner like coumadin, it may increase its effect. It may also raise the levels of other medications, which is one reason to consult with your doctor before trying CBD oil.
If you are not already a label reader, become one. The FDA does not regulate the purity or safety of supplements, so you cannot know whether the CBD oil for nerve pain is pure10)https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/cannabidiol-cbd-what-we-know-and-what-we-dont-2018082414476.
What studies have shown promise for using CBD oil for nerve pain?
What is known about CBD oil is that it is effective for reducing or preventing seizures in epilepsy patients with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) and Dravet syndrome, which are types of epilepsy known to not respond to conventional antiseizure medications. Epidiolex, a cannabis-derived medication, has recently been approved by the FDA for these seizure disorders11)https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/cannabidiol-cbd-what-we-know-and-what-we-dont-2018082414476.
That is good news for people suffering from anxiety, insomnia, chronic pain, arthritis, and even neuropathy. While more human studies are needed for the efficacy of CBD oil for nerve pain, there are some that show promise in the area.
This article, “Cannabis for peripheral neuropathy: The good, the bad, and the unknown” in the Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine authored by Vania Modesto-Lowe, MD, MPH; Rachel Bojka, MS, PA-C; and Camille Alvarado, DO, MPH, points out some of the research and studies performed on CBD oil for nerve pain.
“Cannabinoids suppress inflammatory and neuropathic pain by targeting α3 glycine receptor”, an article written by Wei Xiong, Tanxing Cui, Kejun Cheng, Shao-Rui Chen, Dan Willenbring, Yun Guan, Hui-Lin Pan, Ke Ren, Yan Xu, and Li Shang and published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, addresses how non-psychoactive cannabinoids interact with the α3 GlyRs12)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3371734/.
These two studies could be the start of future studies that may give hope to those suffering from nerve pain.
Until more human studies and clinical trials can be conducted, CBD oil for nerve pain will likely remain up for debate between medical professionals and scientists. Dr. Rachna Patel reported some positive results for her own patients in this answer she wrote to a person with diabetic neuropathy13)https://www.drrachnapatel.com/cbd-for-neuropathy-nerve-pain/:
While there are some known benefits, as discussed in this article, of CBD oil, there is still much to be learned before CBD oil for nerve pain can be considered a viable alternative to opioids.
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