Living with pain can bring about some serious FOMO. It can limit us in simple activities like playing with our kids or cooking a tasty meal for our loved ones to enjoy.
There are loads of pain relief strategies for sufferers of neuropathy out there, and cannabidiol (CBD) is quickly becoming one of them. In this article, we will discuss the use of CBD oil for neuropathy whether you're ordering it from us or making it at home.
Peripheral neuropathy, often shortened to neuropathy, is characterized by nerve damage to the peripheral nervous system. The peripheral nervous system is a communication network that passes messages from the brain and spinal cord (a.k.a. central nervous system) to the organs, limbs, and skin.
The nerve damage to this system can be caused by one of the following:
- Physical injury or trauma
- Certain cancers and their treatments
- Hormonal imbalances
- Nutritional imbalances
- Medications like anticonvulsants
- Vascular issues
- Alcohol and toxins
- Autoimmune diseases
- Kidney disorders
- Liver disorders
Symptoms of Neuropathy
Quality of life can easily deteriorate when you are living with peripheral neuropathy. Depending on which nerves were damaged will indicate what sort of symptoms one experiences.
Neuropathy can cause:
- Painful cramps
- Muscle twitching
- Muscle loss
- Bone degeneration
- Changes in skin, hair, and nails
Damage to the motor nerves, or motor neuropathy, can cause:
- Weakness of muscles
- Impaired balance and coordination
Additionally, damage to the sensory nerves, or sensory neuropathy, can cause:
- Poor balance and coordination due to reduced position sense
- Numbness to touch and vibration
- Reduced sensitivity to temperature change
- Spontaneous tingling or burning
- Skin allodynia
And when the autonomic nerves have been damaged, this can cause autonomic neuropathy:
- Excess sweating
- Abnormal blood pressure
- Abnormal heart rate
- Poor bladder control
Diabetic neuropathy affects as many as 50% of those with diabetes. The symptoms will manifest initially as pain or numbness in the limbs, hands, or feet. The affected nerves can cause motor, sensory, or autonomic neuropathy. Eventually, this condition may also affect the heart and sex organs.
Additional consequences of neuropathy may include anxiety and depression. There is often a direct relationship between pain and anxiety. Not only can anxiety and depression be caused by the presence of chronic pain, but the pain can also be exacerbated by these mood disorders.
Living with anxiety and depression can hinder the treatment process as well as hinder pain perception. This can cause a vicious cycle that contributes to the worsening of these conditions.
Possible Treatments for Neuropathy
Once you’ve been diagnosed with neuropathy by your doctor, the next step is identifying and treating the underlying cause to help prevent any further nerve damage. He or she will help you determine what caused the nerve damage and set you up with a treatment plan for it. At this point, you can think about how to treat the symptoms of neuropathy.
Here are some possible solutions that may help treat neuropathic pain:
- Ergonomic casts or splints for your limbs, hands, or feet
- Over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription pain medications
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)
It is important to be aware that both OTC and prescription pain medications can have dangerous consequences. Pain medications can be addictive and cause overdose, an epidemic that has been growing steadily in the U.S.
For this reason, utilizing any solution that can deter the use of opioids or other addictive medications can be potentially lifesaving. Repeatedly relying on OTC drugs like Tylenol and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) has its own set of consequences.
They can affect the functioning of the liver and stomach if used regularly. NSAIDs may increase the risk of peptic ulcer disease, stroke, myocardial infarction (heart attack), or acute renal failure in older adults.
To avoid some of the disastrous effects of some of these neuropathy treatments, it can be beneficial to explore more natural options. These solutions will most likely not trigger a negative health spiral. You may be able to lessen neuropathic symptoms with the following:
- Chiropractic care
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Cutting back or quitting smoking or alcohol
- Regular exercise
- Herbal medications like CBD oil
CBD Oil for Neuropathic Pain
One possible herbal medication that may be used for neuropathy is CBD oil. Cannabidiol comes from the cannabis plant (Cannabis sativa L.) which is known for its psychoactive effects.
However, CBD oil does not produce a high and has minimal side effects. Cannabidiol is typically extracted from hemp plants, which are characterized by low amounts of psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
CBD is best known for its variety of potential health benefits such as:
- Chronic and acute pain relief
- Inflammation relief
- Treatment of seizures: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Epidiolex, a pharmaceutical drug containing CBD. It is used in the treatment of seizures caused by two rare forms of epilepsy.
- Anxiety relief
- Neuroprotective benefits, showing promise in the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders
- May be helpful in the treatment of diabetes.
- Nausea relief
The top reasons many users swear by CBD oil is its efficacy in their treatment of chronic pain, anxiety, or depression. Which kinds of CBD may be best for these issues?
Varieties of CBD
The hemp extracts coming from cannabis can have a mix of different compounds. There are three variations of hemp extracts in CBD products on the market today:
Full-spectrum CBD: Containing the full spectrum of cannabinoids and terpenes from the cannabis plant, this variation is the most potent. This is due to the entourage effect of the synergized compounds. This extract contains THC, which is thought to make a more powerful impact on symptoms when combined with the rest of the entourage.
- Broad-spectrum CBD: This form of hemp extract includes all the same compounds as full spectrum, minus THC. However, it can still have a powerful effect with the combination of the remaining compounds, though not as potent.
- CBD isolate: This extract only contains CBD and no other cannabinoids or terpenes. It will be much less potent than the other two extracts.
One of these extracts is then combined with MCT, coconut, olive oil, or hemp oil to form CBD oil and can even be made into CBD gummy bears! It is evident these CBD users have found precious relief from their issues. Read on to learn more about this promising cannabinoid.
When learning about a new possible treatment for your condition, it is helpful to have an understanding of the pharmacology of its use. With that being said, how does CBD have the ability to fight pain in our body?
How CBD Fights Pain
CBD’s effects are caused by its interaction in our endocannabinoid systems (ECS). The ECS moderates many functions such as pain, inflammation, appetite, sleep, mood, and more. Homeostasis of these functions is achieved through the balance of the endocannabinoids, cannabinoid receptors, and enzymes that synthesize and break down these endocannabinoids.
CBD can create an anti-inflammatory response when it interacts with both cannabinoid receptors and non-cannabinoid receptors. This interaction activates these receptors in a way that produces many of the health benefits listed above. Here are a few of the receptors that are thought to be activated by CBD:
- CB1 receptors: Mostly found in the central nervous system, these cannabinoid receptors help manage coordination, movement, pain, appetite, memory, and more.
- CB2 receptors: Located mostly in the peripheral nervous system, these cannabinoid receptors influence pain and inflammation.
- 5ht serotonin receptors: The interaction with these non-cannabinoid receptors may influence mood disorders.
- TRPV1 receptors: These non-cannabinoid receptors are influential on pain and inflammation in our body.
Let’s take a look at some of the evidence out there of CBD’s efficacy with neuropathic symptoms.
We have seen evidence of CBD’s positive effects on symptoms of neuropathy in the following research studies:
2020: This study showed that the effects of CBD and CBD/THC spray made a difference in both chronic and neuropathic pain over the placebo.
2019: This study showed that CBD was able to prevent allodynia (the experience of pain from unusual stimuli) and anxiety-like behavior in rats with neuropathy. The effects on allodynia were achieved through the TRPV1 channels and the 5-HT1A receptors provided anxiety relief.
2018: This review assessed the existing studies on cannabinoids and chronic pain. It was concluded that cannabis was a legitimate method in the treatment of pain conditions.
2012: This study showed that CBD could suppress chronic pain and inflammation in rodents with neuropathy. It was able to achieve this without causing a tolerance buildup.
2012: These clinical trials indicated the THC/CBD spray could be helpful in the treatment of cancer-related pain.
2011: This review confirms the fact that cannabinoids like CBD can ease nausea and vomiting. This may be helpful for those suffering from autonomic neuropathy.
- 2006: This study mentioned the efficacy of a Canadian nasal spray called Sativex which includes equal parts THC and CBD. The spray was shown to help people with “intractable pain (chronic neuropathic pain, pain due to brachial plexus nerve injury, allodynic peripheral neuropathic pain and advanced cancer pain), rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis (bladder problems, spasticity, and central pain.” The research mentions that while these cannabinoids do have some side effects, they are so minimal as to not deter the use of them.
How to Use CBD Oil for Neuropathy
Your head may be spinning by this point. With all of the CBD wellness products out there (CBD creams, gummies, tinctures, lotions, oils, vape cartridges), what is the best way to treat neuropathy?
It is important to understand the quickest way CBD oil helps address your painful symptoms. Depending on the method you take CBD will determine how quickly you will feel effects. Oral methods like consuming gummies or capsules may take the longest time to take effect. For this reason, we recommend the following methods:
Sublingual Use of CBD
Taking CBD oil sublingually means using the dropper to apply the dosage under the tongue. This allows it to dissolve and absorb through the tissue directly into the bloodstream.
The sublingual method works quicker than oral supplements, which means it doesn’t have to go through the long, winding journey through the stomach and digestive system. It also allows for more bioavailability, which means more of the nutrients can be absorbed into the body.
When CBD supplements go through the digestion process, some of the helpful substances are lost and thus unused by the body. The sublingual method can allow CBD to take effect within about 15 minutes. This is ideal for those suffering from neuropathic pain. Try a full-spectrum oil like Ease for sublingual use.
CBD as a topical cream, oil, or lotion is easy and quick to administer to the site of your pain. Topicals are more helpful for pain management and can have a more localized and targeted effect where you need them.
Dosage of CBD for Neuropathic Pain
Once you have decided on the right CBD product for you, as well as its application method, the question remains, what is the right amount of CBD for your pain?
Regardless of the intensity of neuropathic pain, we believe it may be best to start with low doses. This allows you to notice the effect of CBD oil without taking more than you need. If you start with a large dose, you may be overshooting the mark and thus wasting some of the product.
Slowly get to know CBD’s effect on the symptoms of your medical condition. Once you’ve established the effect on each dose, you can up your dose depending on what you need.
Talk to your healthcare provider that you’re interested in using CBD for your neuropathy. He or she will have a recommendation on the right dosage for you, as well as make you aware of any drug interactions that might occur.
Less Pain, Less FOMO
The journey to find relief from your neuropathic symptoms can be frustrating. Little by little, try things that you think may work for you. It is our hope you can also find the same relief that CBD has had on other chronic pain and anxiety sufferers.
Living with less neuropathic pain allows less FOMO, allowing you to chase after your dreams again.
Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only. It is not provided to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or ailment. It should not be interpreted as instruction or medical advice to displace the advice of your doctor or other medical professionals. We recommend talking to your doctor to prepare a treatment plan for any disease or ailments.