For neuropathy sufferers, CBD has come as something of a breakthrough in recent years.
Victims of chronic pain caused by nerve damage or high blood sugar have found that CBD can provide great relief for the symptoms of their condition.
Sometimes this is in combination with the pharmaceutical medicines they have been prescribed. CBD is often seen as a supportive or synergistic way of treating chronic pain (as a review by the AMA Journal of Ethics concluded after analyzing several recent studies).
Other times, it’s instead of that pharmaceutical – often opioid – medication altogether, doing away with the significant downsides of using that sort of medication.
But can you really use CBD for neuropathy? How does it work? Let’s find out:
What is CBD?
CBD is the common abbreviation used for cannabidiol. Cannabidiol is a type of organic compound known as a cannabinoid. This compound is found in high quantities in many strains of the cannabis plant. It is extracted and then used for medical relief and relaxation purposes by people around the world.
In fact, a great deal of the CBD you can buy in stores is extracted from the hemp plant. This is a particular strain of cannabis which is usually grown for industrial purposes and contains very little of the other well-known cannabinoid in cannabis, THC.
There are several reasons why CBD is currently being researched – and is often already used – as either a supplement to or in place of pharmaceuticals such as opiates when it comes to pain relief:
- Non-addictive – unlike opiates, there is no risk of the patient becoming addicted to CBD. It is not chemically addictive in any way.
- Aids anxiety and depression relief – common side-effects of chronic pain such as depression can also be relieved by CBD.
- Anti-inflammatory – just what you need to help act against the pain and tissue damage which long-term chronic pain is a symptom of.
- Helps you sleep – CBD is often taken by people suffering from insomnia and other conditions which make it difficult to sleep. Chronic pain is one of these, where CBD works to help sufferers achieve some healing rest.
- Non-psychoactive – one added advantage of CBD products over medical cannabis taken as a whole is that it is non-psychoactive. This means it does not get you “high”.
What is neuropathy?
Neuropathy is caused by nerve injuries or dysfunction. Often said to be one of the most excruciating types of pain a person can experience, it can cause nerves to send pain signals to the brain when there is no real injury.
Sufferers describe these pain signals as ranging from numbness to painful prickles. Chronic conditions are long-lasting and can result in even more painful sensations.
Neuropathic pain comes in two different types:
- Peripheral neuropathy – is a result of damage to the nerves.
- Diabetic neuropathy – is caused by overly high blood sugar.
Using CBD for diabetic neuropathy is just as common as using it for peripheral neuropathy.
How does CBD reduce pain?
Recent research seems to show that CBD reduces pain in a number of different ways:
1) Through your endocannabinoid system
Your body contains something known as an endocannabinoid system. This internal system can be pictured as a series of “locks” which guard certain effects. Your body produces its own endocannabinoids which are the “keys” to those locks.
But cannabinoids (cannabinoids from outside the body) also exist. When you take them into your body, they too can “unlock” different effects by interacting with your body’s endocannabinoid system.
Specifically, in this case, CBD – cannabidiol, a cannabinoid from the cannabis plant – appears to attach to the CB2 receptors in your brain. One of the results of this receptor being interacted with is reduced pain sensation. This is because when CBD activates this receptor, it does so along various pathways which ease pain.
2) Through your glycerin receptors
Glycerin receptors are part of your central nervous system – in your brain and spinal cord. CBD seems to engage your glycerin receptors. This is a direct obstruction to chronic pain, which can disable those receptors.
When those receptors are disabled, an increased pain sensation can be created. By reactivating them, CBD may counteract this effect.
How to use CBD oil for neuropathy and nerve pain
You can get CBD in various types of product. Which will be best or most attractive to you will depend on your personal preferences and the kind of relief you are looking to achieve. For example, many people have a preference for:
Because the nature of chronic pain often makes it affect different regions of the body, many people prefer to apply CBD cream for neuropathy directly on the suffering areas.
The relief which CBD creams, bath salts, bath bombs and other topical methods can provide can take a little while to arrive (the CBD needs time to penetrate the skin) but it can also be long-lasting.
Those who prefer to take CBD oil for diabetic neuropathy often prefer to consume it by vaping. Using a vape is easy and convenient, not to mention being increasingly socially acceptable in many places.
CBD oil doesn’t usually have the distinctive aroma of cannabis, meaning no one can tell what is in your vape. Plus, the relief it provides is fast-acting.
CBD tinctures are usually taken sublingually. This means you place a couple of drops beneath your tongue, allow them to sit for around 30 seconds or a minute, and then swallow.
Because a tincture does not need to pass through your digestive system, it provides incredibly fast-acting, powerful relief.
CDB edibles are things like gummies, capsules or tablets – or homemade concoctions like brownies containing a few drops of CBD tincture – which are consumed by swallowing.
Many people prefer edibles because taking them is simple. The only downside is that, while the relief they provide tends to be the longest-lasting of all the methods suggested here, it does take a little time for the CBD to work its way through your digestive tract.
CBD oil for neuropathy – dosage
Using CBD to address pain, you might be experiencing should always be done with care. The simplest solution is to start with a small dose and work your way up until you get the level of relief you need.
It’s also a good idea to consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before adding cannabidiol to your pain relief regimen. They should know everything there is to know about tailoring your relief to your condition.