Cannabidiol (CBD) is widely reported to be useful for pain relief. Although research is still ongoing, cannabidiol is already popularly used to manage chronic and neuropathic pain.
Nerve pain can feel differently from person to person. It can appear without any apparent cause and can affect practically any part of the body. Since nerve pain is on a case to case basis, no one treatment addresses all kinds of nerve pain.
One particular area of interest is using CBD oil for sciatica nerve pain. There is much anecdotal evidence that CBD may help relieve symptoms of nerve damage and reduce pain. Initial research using an animal model also suggests CBD’s effectiveness for sciatica.
What is sciatica?
The sciatic nerve spans the length of the lower back, hips, buttocks and runs down each leg. Since it covers such a large area, even the slightest irritation to this nerve can radiate pain. This pain can be debilitating to many individuals.
Sciatica refers to the pain felt along the path of the sciatic nerve. Typically, sciatica is felt in only one side of the body, and the pain can range from mild to severe. The problem can range from a mild ache to a sharp, burning sensation or even excruciating pain though usually only one side of your body is affected.
Sometimes sciatica pain manifests as a jolt or electric shock. Sciatica pain can also worsen whenever you cough or sneeze. Prolonged sitting can aggravate symptoms. Others also report numbness, tingling, or muscle weakness in the affected leg or foot. Sciatica can even appear as pain in one part of the leg and numbness in another region.
Herniated discs or bone spurs can cause sciatica. It can be further aggravated by risk factors like obesity, prolonged sitting, older age, and diabetes. Other medical conditions, like spinal stenosis, can also complicate sciatica nerve pain.
Sciatica pain can be severe though most cases can be resolved using non-operative treatments in just a few weeks. Cases of severe sciatica are commonly associated with significant leg weakness and bowel or bladder changes. For cases like this, surgery may be the best option.
CBD for neuropathic pain
Neuropathy is one of the most painful sensations experienced by humans. It occurs as a result of damage, dysfunction, or injury to nerves. Neuropathic pain can feel like tingling, numbness, and more severe cases, shooting, and burning pain.
Sciatica has a few treatment options, but one of the most common prescriptions is pharmaceutical painkillers. However, there are health risks in relying on opioids for pain management.
Cannabis is safer than most painkillers
Cannabis had been a traditional medicine for thousands of years before it was outlawed. When compared to the preferred treatments of today involving opioids, it is also much safer.
Did you know that between 1999 to 2018, more than 232,000 people died in the United States from overdoses involving prescription opioids? The number of painkillers prescribed and sold since the 90s has also since quadrupled.
The side effects of CBD include fatigue, diarrhea, changes in appetite, and weight changes. CBD may also interact with medications, especially those with grapefruit warnings. But even these undesired side effects appear to be well-tolerated by most people.
Studies suggest CBD is useful for sciatica
In this study, researchers examined the effectiveness of THC and CBD in reducing sciatica pain in mice. They found that these cannabis compounds were useful in providing relief of chronic neuropathic pain.
There is a need for further studies since rodent sciatic nerve injury models are not the same as sciatica’s human condition. The findings of the study, though encouraging, are not enough to conclude human sciatica.
CBD may be better than opioids
Opioids are one of the best ways to relieve chronic pain. However, they come with severe risks, including drug addiction and fatal overdose. The early evidence that CBD and THC may be useful for neuropathy suggests that CBD oil for sciatica nerve pain may be better than opioids.
From what researchers can tell, CBD produces significantly fewer side effects in treating sciatica. Also, there is no shortage of anecdotal evidence supporting CBD oil for sciatica nerve pain. For instance, this article details a woman’s success in using topical CBD to relieve her sciatic pain.
Experts are optimistic about full-spectrum CBD
Formulations like this feature an “entourage effect.” This means that the various cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes interact to produce heightened therapeutic effects.
In theory, since CBD is an anti-inflammatory, it should reduce swelling and therefore reduce pain.
The sparse data available suggests that full spectrum CBD oil for sciatica nerve pain is better than broad-spectrum CBD. The latter formulation is THC-free but contains CBD and almost all other naturally-occurring cannabis compounds.
The lack of THC in broad-spectrum CBD means there is no possibility to get high by ingesting it. However, evidence that supports CBD, when taken alone to treat sciatica, is unfortunately weak. It may be better to use a full-spectrum CBD oil if the goal is to relieve sciatica nerve pain.
Ideal CBD dose for sciatic nerve pain
CBD has an excellent safety profile, and most people can tolerate large doses of it. But since there are no regulations on CBD doses and each person has different tolerances, it is best to start with small, once-daily doses to find the ideal CBD amount for you.
You should assess your symptoms after a week of trial. If you find your CBD dosage to be lacking or not provide a significant enough impact, you can increase your dosage by 5 mg per day. Continue this rate of increase until you find your ideal dosage.
If you have any doubts, consult a healthcare professional on the capsules, tinctures, gummies, or even CBD flowers you plan to take. Each has a different ingestion and bioavailability method, or how much CBD is absorbed into your bloodstream.
These factors will influence your preferences. Ingesting CBD means it has to go through your digestive tract first, and you will need more CBD to feel its effects. This method of delivery is generally preferred by people managing chronic pains.
The best treatment for sciatica
In many cases, sciatica is made worse by lifestyle choices. It is recommended to see a physical therapist and other interventions you are currently taking to address your sciatica effectively.
For example, you may benefit significantly from using a standing desk in addition to taking CBD oil for sciatica nerve pain. Also, most people will already feel improvements with regular stretching and exercise.
A physical therapist’s assistance provides you with targeted movements to address the exact areas where your nerves are pinched. The worst cases of sciatica may require surgical intervention for long-lasting pain relief.
Using topical CBD oil for sciatica nerve pain
One of CBD’s newer formulations is an infusion of CBD oil into topical products like lotions, salves, and creams. In addition to the full-spectrum CBD, these topical products also contain other ingredients that provide heating and cooling sensations.
CBD oil for sciatica nerve pain is an exciting possible treatment for this painful condition. Much more research is needed into the extent of its effectiveness, but many people already use CBD in various forms to alleviate their neuropathic pain.
From ingesting CBD to using topical lotions, you can try these different CBD formulations to see which works best for you. At the very least, CBD is a lot safer than traditional opioids, causing a wide variety of undesirable side effects, including death.
CBD is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It is not intended to treat, diagnose, or cure any medical condition, sickness, or symptom. It is designed to be used as a supplement only.
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