CBD works on the body by reducing the metabolic breakdown of endocannabinoids, which our bodies make naturally. These endocannabinoids are involved in modulating the pain pathway. By slowing this breakdown process, CBD indirectly increases the amount and activity of endocannabinoids at the CB1 and CB2 receptors. This, in turn, causes the diminishing of the pain sensation.
Generally, the effects that people have experienced from CBD products are a calming in mood, relief from pain and anxiety, and an easier time getting to sleep for those that struggle with insomnia.
When left untreated, nerve pain can be incredibly hard to bear. It can also worsen and spread. It often starts at the outer extremities, i.e., the hands or feet, and then progress up to the arms and torso.
CBD for Nerve Pain: How Does It Work?
When possible, treatment of the underlying problem causing the pain is the most critical action. For example, treating high blood sugar in diabetics, or relieving a pinched nerve.
While FDA-approval and clinical trials are still lacking, the initial investigations into CBD for nerve pain have been promising.
With chronic pain, getting to sleep can often be a real struggle. Another serious side effect of nerve pain is that it can mask new pain, causing you to miss new injuries. For example, if the pain has caused foot numbness, one might not notice stepping on something sharp.
In some cases, it may be triggered by certain body positions or activities, such as waiting in line for an extended period. After a certain point, chronic pain can lead the body to become overly sensitive. This condition is known as hyperalgesia, where something as simple as the touch of a bedsheet can trigger pain.
Dr. Laszlo Mechtler, medical director of the Dent Neurologic Institute in Amherst, New York, served as senior researcher for a study of 204 adults ages 75 and older who took cannabis to ease various aches and pains. Seventy percent of the patients experienced pain relief, while one-third of the patients also reported reduced dependency on opioid painkillers.
In a 2018 article for Harvard Health Publishing, Dr. Peter Grinspoon, a Boston-based primary care physician and Harvard Medical School professor, discussed prior research on CBD for pain relief in conditions related to inflammation.
Neuropathic pain is a component of osteoarthritis. In an animal model of arthritis, researchers showed that when taken prophylactically, CBD can prevent the pain and nerve damage produced by arthritis. These results were published in 2017, also in the academic journal Pain.
What the experts say
Neuropathy is among the symptoms that lupus sufferers commonly experience. LupusCorner, a website for patients with the condition run by health-care technology developer Progentec Diagnostics, conducted an online survey in 2016 asking readers about cannabis use. Of the 781 respondents with lupus who reported using cannabis for various reasons, including as a treatment for their autoimmune disorder, 36% said they were using cannabis, either through smoking, topical application, or another method such as ingesting edibles.
“Medical marijuana, in my opinion, is an excellent choice for patients with chronic disease, including chronic pain,” Mechtler said in a March 2019 interview with the Chicago Tribune.
CBD may also relieve neuropathic pain by activating the brain’s serotonin receptors. Neuropathic pain disrupts normal serotonin function, and a 2019 study in the journal Pain demonstrated the ability of CBD to relieve neuropathic pain in animals, due to CBD’s ability to restore serotonin function. Authors of a similar study published in Brain Research concluded that the interaction of CBD with serotonin receptors could potentially be helpful for people with diabetic neuropathy.
A 2012 literature review published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine examined at least one way that cannabinoids suppress inflammatory and neuropathic pain, by targeting alpha-3 glycine receptors. Citing the difficulty of treating neuropathic pain, the researchers also noted that CBD might be able to address the persistent discomfort associated with a range of diseases.
CBD oil is a natural alternative that can also be used. While CBD oil for neuropathy has not officially been approved, data from many studies have shown that using CBD and other hemp and cannabis-derived cannabinoids can be used to improve symptoms of neuropathy  . Read on to find out the best CBD oil for nerve pain in 2021!
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