Can CBD help with neuropathy, and if so, how? Are there any risks?
- Anxiety, vomiting, nausea, and pain are typical neuropathic symptoms, as reiterated in a study on painful peripheral neuropathies, which was published in Current Neuropharmacology(1).
- CBD may possess some anti-anxiety and anti-emetic (anti-vomiting) characteristics, according to a report in the Journal of Psychopharmacology(2). Meanwhile, a study published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine demonstrated one mechanism by which CBD inhibits inflammatory and neuropathic pain(3).
- Muscle spasms can be symptoms of neuropathic damage, which often manifests in painful, uncontrolled muscle twitches(4). A study has demonstrated that medicine containing CBD and THC in a 1:1 ratio may help with pain management in people with spasticity, chronic neuropathic pain, severe pain due to nerve damage, and peripheral neuropathic pain(5).
- It is essential to conduct research into the safety and effectiveness of cannabis products and consult with a doctor experienced in cannabis use before consuming or using these products as treatment options or part of a health regimen.
Best CBD Oils For Neuropathy
1. Editor’s Pick: Spruce 750mg Lab Grade CBD Oil
2. Best Organic: NuLeaf Naturals 900mg Full Spectrum Hemp CBD Oil
3. Best Customer Service: Sabaidee Super Good Vibes CBD Oil
4. Best Natural Alternative: cbdMD CBD Oil Tincture Natural 1500mg
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Each bottle of the 750mg CBD oil tincture contains 25mg of CBD per dropper full. The oil is peppermint flavor to mask any unpleasant tastes related to CBD.
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Natural remedy for various illnesses. NuLeaf Naturals’ CBD oil is a whole-plant extract containing a full spectrum of naturally occurring synergistic cannabinoids and terpenes.
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Super Good Vibes CBD Oil provides the purest and highest quality Cannabidiol (CBD) on the market as well as other high quality phytocannabinoids, terpenes, vitamins, omega fatty acids, trace minerals, and other beneficial for your health elements, which all work together to provide benefits.
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Uses USA hemp that is grown on non-GMO farms, and is both vegan and gluten-free
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cbdMD’s CBD oil tinctures are made using only CBD sourced from medical hemp and MCT oil as a carrier oil. Tinctures are offered in orange, mint, natural, and berry flavors. Safe for daily use, the oil tinctures are packaged with a built-in rubber dropper to adjust CBD dosage easily. The packaging is made to be easy to transport and discreet to use.
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Why Some People are Turning to CBD for Neuropathy
Neuropathy, often called peripheral neuropathy, is a medical condition characterized by a problem in the peripheral nervous system, which is found outside the spinal cord and the brain(6).
Some cases of neuropathy can be easily treated and sometimes cured. If neuropathy cannot be cured, the treatment is aimed at preventing further nerve damage and controlling and managing symptoms(7).
Fortunately, CBD has been shown to possess some therapeutic characteristics that might help with symptoms linked to neuropathy.
CBD vs. Chronic Pain, Anxiety, and Vomiting
The American Chronic Pain Association describes neuropathic pain (also known as nerve pain) as chronic pain that occurs when the nerves in the peripheral nervous system are injured or damaged(8).
Anxiety, vomiting, nausea, and pain are typical neuropathic symptoms, as described in a study on painful peripheral neuropathies, which was published in Current Neuropharmacology(9).
CBD has been shown to possess health benefits that may alleviate these symptoms.
CBD may be useful in treating different types of chronic pain(10). Chronic pain, particularly neuropathic pain, is a major clinical problem that is difficult to treat, according to the author of a study on neuronal mechanisms for neuropathic pain(11).
CBD vs. Inflammation and Muscle Spasms
There are many causes of neuropathy, and diabetes (an inflammatory disease) is the number one cause in the United States(13).
Neuropathy can also be caused by autoimmune diseases, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis(14). Autoimmune diseases are linked to an increased risk of high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease(15).
A study showed one mechanism by which CBD inhibits inflammatory and neuropathic pain(16). These types of chronic pain are two of the most challenging types of pain to treat(17).
A 2016 animal study from the European Journal of Pain showed that CBD applied on the skin might help reduce pain and inflammation due to arthritis(18).
CBD’s potent anti-inflammatory properties were also demonstrated in an in vitro 2018 study published in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics(19).
In addition, CBD may help reduce muscle spasms, which can be a feature of neuropathic damage, often manifesting in painful, uncontrolled muscle twitches(20).
Another clinical study, which was published by Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, examined Sativex, a combined cannabinoid medicine constituted by THC and CBD in a 1:1 ratio(21).
Sativex mouth spray has demonstrated some efficacy not only for helping with pain management in patients with chronic neuropathic pain, pain due to nerve damage, peripheral neuropathic pain, advanced cancer pain, and rheumatoid arthritis but also for spasticity due to multiple sclerosis (MS)(22).
Similar results were obtained from another review published in The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews in 2018(23).
The said review of hundreds of studies looked at marijuana-based medicines on neuropathic pain in adults. While not all of them were positive results, there was evidence that cannabinoids could reduce the symptoms of neuropathy.
How CBD Oil Works to Help with Neuropathy
To understand how CBD works to help with neuropathy, it is essential that one understands how the endocannabinoid system (ECS) works.
The therapeutic effects of cannabinoids, such as CBD, are realized by their interaction with the body’s ECS and its specialized cannabinoid receptors.
The ECS, integral to the body’s physiologies, is responsible for regulating a wide range of body functions, including pain sensation, immune response, anxiety, sleep, mood, appetite, metabolism, and memory.
CB1 and CB2 are the two main types of receptors found in specific parts of the human body. These receptors each have particular roles in the ECS.
CB1 receptors are mostly located in the brain and central nervous system. However, they are also found in the reproductive organs, gastrointestinal and urinary tracts, liver, lungs, and retina(24).
CB1 receptors play a role in motor regulation, memory processing, appetite, pain sensation, mood, and sleep(25).
The activation of CB1 receptors has also been related to neuroprotective responses. This activity suggests the cannabinoids with a higher affinity for CB1 receptors could help in the treatment and prevention of neurodegenerative conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and multiple sclerosis.
Meanwhile, CB2 receptors are primarily situated on cells in the immune system and its associated structures.
When CB2 receptors are triggered, they stimulate a response that fights inflammation, reducing pain, and minimizing damage to tissues.
These anti-inflammatory responses have been found to be potentially useful for treating inflammation-related conditions, such as chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP), Crohn’s disease, arthritis, and inflammatory bowel syndrome(26).
CBD acts indirectly against cannabinoid agonists, which are substances that bind to a receptor and cause the same action as the substances that typically attach to the receptor.
CBD also interacts with several other receptors in the body, such as the 5-HT1A receptor, which is linked to serotonin, a neurotransmitter found to be a contributor to feelings of well-being. It is through this interaction that these cannabinoids promote healing and balance(27).
The Pros and Cons of CBD Oil for Neuropathy
- Studies mentioned previously demonstrate CBD’s therapeutic benefits in helping alleviate neuropathic symptoms, such as inflammation, spasm, anxiety, pain, nausea, and vomiting.
- CBD has been well-received by several health agencies, like the World Health Organization (WHO), which states that CBD “is generally well-tolerated with a good safety profile.”(28). CBD oil may be safer than most over-the-counter and prescription drugs that may have many side effects.
- CBD is non-addictive, says Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) in a 2015 article (26). This characteristic makes CBD safe for daily intake(29).
- CBD oil may be purchased without a prescription in locations where they are legally available.
- Studies are too limited to determine whether or not CBD is an effective treatment for conditions other than the ones approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
- As with the use of any natural chemical compound, there are risks involved in using CBD. According to the Mayo Clinic, possible side effects include drowsiness, dry mouth, diarrhea, fatigue, and reduced appetite(30).
- CBD has been shown to interact with other drugs and alter how the body metabolizes certain medications, as a 2017 research revealed(31). Consult with a doctor experienced in cannabis use before starting a CBD regimen or combining it with current prescription medications.
- Dr. Doris Trauner, professor of neurosciences and pediatrics at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine and a physician at San Diego’s Rady Children’s Hospital, cautions that CBD products marketed online and in dispensaries are mostly unregulated(32).
The lack of regulation makes it difficult to determine whether the CBD gummies, tinctures, patches, balms, and gelcaps contain what the product label claims.
A 2107 review published in the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed labeling inaccuracies among CBD products. Some products had less CBD than stated, while others had more(33).
How CBD Oil Compares to Alternative Treatments for Neuropathy
Alternative treatments for neuropathy include the use of capsaicin, amino acids, and primrose oil(34).
- Capsaicin is a substance found in hot peppers. A study looked into the use of an 8% capsaicin dermal patch and found that almost 71% of those who had cancer-associated neuropathic pain experienced 90% pain relief(35).
- Amino acids, such as acetyl-L-carnitine, may benefit people who have undergone chemotherapy and people with diabetes, says Mayo Clinic(36).
- Primrose oil may help reduce neuropathic pain in people with diabetes, according to Mayo Clinic, in an article on peripheral neuropathy diagnosis and treatment(37).
Meanwhile, CBD has been shown to possess some characteristics that may help with neuropathy.
- Some CBD products come in the form of creams and transdermal patches infused with capsaicin. The capsaicin in these CBD creams and patches combine with CBD’s natural pain-relieving benefits to target specific areas in the body.
- Hemp oil produced from cannabis seed is an excellent source of essential amino acids and fatty acids(38).
- CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties have been shown to potentially help with Type 1 Diabetes, according to a 2016 study published in Clinical Hemorheology and Microcirculation(39). Some CBD topicals also come infused with primrose oil.
How to Choose the Right CBD for Neuropathy
Studies cited previously show that CBD is not the only cannabinoid found in cannabis that can help alleviate neuropathic symptoms, such as inflammation, spasm, anxiety, pain, nausea, and vomiting. Hence, when choosing a CBD product, it may be best to opt for one that contains full-spectrum CBD oil.
Full-spectrum CBD oil contains all phytonutrients from hemp, including trace amounts of THC, terpenes, flavonoids, amino acids, and essential oils. These compounds work together to intensify the therapeutic benefits of each cannabinoid, resulting in the “entourage effect”.
Those with allergies to THC may opt to use broad-spectrum CBD oil, which is like full-spectrum CBD but without the THC that makes the user high.
However, regardless of the form of CBD product of choice, careful consideration must still be employed in selecting the best CBD oil to help with the immune system, inflammation, pain, and anxiety.
The following factors are essential to ensure the safety and reliability of the CBD products purchased:
- Research on the exact legal stipulations applicable to CBD in the area where it would be bought and used.
- Purchase only high-quality CBD products from legitimate and reliable brands. The majority of companies that manufacture the best CBD oil products grow their hemp from their own farm, or they purchase from licensed hemp producers.
- Research product reviews before buying from an online store. When purchasing from a physical store or dispensary, check whether the store is authorized by the government to sell CBD.
- One important thing to look for in CBD products is certification codes. Several certification authorities approve certain products only after some thorough screening tests.
- Compare company claims about their products’ potency with that of the third-party lab reports. Look for a certificate of analysis for every product purchased.
- Consulting with a trusted medical professional experienced in CBD use is ideal before one purchases his or her first bottle of CBD.
Best CBD Creams For Neuropathy
Maximum Strength Formula, Great For Pain Relief
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Each of Spruce’s two-ounce containers of cream contains a total of 300mg of CBD. Users can apply this cream to painful areas as many times as needed. The cream is completely plant-based with moisturizing ingredients such as paraffin and mineral oil.
One thing that users may want to watch out for is that this cream does contain some THC. At 0.3 percent THC, it is a very small amount and unlikely to be absorbed in the body for long. However, users who must go through routine drug tests may want to avoid this product.
Made with all-natural plant-derived scents  Available in single size only  Pleasant scent  Very affordable  Made from 100% organic and natural ingredients
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For skin restoration and daily relief
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Comfort Cream is a silky and soothing lotion formulated with natural skin relief botanicals and infused with over 500mg of sustainably grown broad spectrum CBD from Hemp Extract. It leaves the skin moisturized with a slight shine, and no greasy residue after.
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Enriched with CBD, arnica, vitamin B6, and MSM for a full profile of topical properties, this product was designed with one goal in mind: recovery.
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This product features a broad-spectrum cannabinoid extract which contains other natural phytocannabinoids, such as cannabidivarin (CBDV) and cannabigerol (CBG).
This cream contains 1500 mg of USA Grade-A premium CBD, together with some supplemental natural compounds that have pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory characteristics.
cbdMD products are THC-free and sourced from USA hemp. They are also third-party, ISO-certified lab-tested to ensure safety and effectiveness.
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CBD Dosage for Neuropathy
There is no prescribed CBD dose specific for neuropathy. However, there was a review on the use of Sativex for treating neuropathic pains of different origin(40).
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, through its ClinicalTrials.gov website, Sativex may be used in both cases as pain medication(41):
- For palliative care (an approach that improves the quality of life of individuals with a life-threatening illness, such as cancer), Sativex may be administered at low doses, with a range of 1 to 4 sprays per day. Each actuation of the spray delivers 2.7mg delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and 2.5mg cannabidiol (CBD). The maximum daily dose is 10.8mg THC and 10mg CBD.
- For pain, Sativex may be administered at medium doses, with a range of 6 to 10 sprays per day. Each actuation of the spray delivers 2.7mg delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and 2.5mg cannabidiol (CBD). The maximum daily dose is 27mg THC and 25mg CBD.
How to Take CBD Oil for Neuropathy
A topical CBD cream or CBD patch is ideal when dealing with inflammation or pain in a specific area of the body. When applied on the skin, the CBD cream or patch can interact with local clusters of cannabinoid receptors, instead of the ECS as a whole.
Many CBD creams and patches are also infused with other elements, such as essential oils, that may supplement CBD’s therapeutic benefits.
Neuropathic pain also disrupts sleep, as the pain is sometimes worse at night. When orally consumed before bedtime, through a tincture or a capsule, CBD may help influence physiological functions throughout the whole body through an interaction with the ECS.
CBD oil capsules and edibles, such as brownies, gummies, and lozenges, are a convenient and straightforward way to take CBD oil, especially for beginners.
Meanwhile, CBD oil tinctures or drops may be a practical option for those who seek fast results and maximum dosage control.
Sublingual application allows for results to be experienced within 30 to 60 minutes after its use, and the effects can be felt for 4 to 6 hours.
Medical cannabis (also called medical marijuana) is defined as a herbal drug derived from the cannabis plant that is used as part of the treatment for a specific symptom or disease(42).
Cannabis sativa L. (Cannabaceae) is a type of cannabis that is one of the most recognized ancient plants. Sativa is Latin for “useful”, and it is a term that is commonly used in plant names.
CBD oil may be derived from either a hemp plant or marijuana plant, although most CBD oil products in the market are hemp-derived.
CBD is non-psychoactive, making it favorable to those who want to experience its health benefits without the ‘high’ induced by tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). In general, a level of about 1% THC is considered the threshold for cannabis to have an intoxicating effect(43).
There has been an intensive search for new pain-relieving remedies in the last several decades. However, every successful drug for the treatment of chronic pain produces aversive side effects(44).
CBD is not a cure-all. However, CBD has been shown to possess great potential to help with symptoms of peripheral neuropathy.
Further studies on CBD could help provide individuals with a way to manage their pain more effectively. Participating in clinical trials in the pursuit of a cure for peripheral neuropathy is an invaluable way to get actively involved. For those interested to find and take part in a clinical trial on peripheral neuropathy, click here(45).
- Marchettini P, Lacerenza M, Mauri E, Marangoni C. Painful peripheral neuropathies. Curr Neuropharmacol. 2006;4(3):175–181. doi:10.2174/157015906778019536.
- Crippa, J. A. S., Derenusson, G. N., Ferrari, T. B., Wichert-Ana, L., Duran, F. L., Martin-Santos, R., … Hallak, J. E. C. (2011). Neural basis of anxiolytic effects of cannabidiol (CBD) in generalized social anxiety disorder: a preliminary report. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 25(1), 121–130. https://doi.org/10.1177/0269881110379283; Parker LA, Rock EM, Limebeer CL. Regulation of nausea and vomiting by cannabinoids. Br J Pharmacol. 2011;163(7):1411–1422. doi:10.1111/j.1476-5381.2010.01176.x.
- Xiong W, Cui T, Cheng K, et al. Cannabinoids suppress inflammatory and neuropathic pain by targeting α3 glycine receptors. J Exp Med. 2012;209(6):1121–1134. doi:10.1084/jem.20120242.
- NINDS. (2018, Aug). Peripheral Neuropathy Fact Sheet. Retrieved from https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Fact-Sheets/Peripheral-Neuropathy-Fact-Sheet.
- Perez J. Combined cannabinoid therapy via an oromucosal spray. Drugs Today (Barc) 2006;42:495–503.DOI: 10.1358/dot.2006.42.8.1021517.
- Cleveland Clinic. (2019, Dec 16). Neuropathy (Peripheral Neuropathy). Retrieved from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/14737-neuropathy.
- The American Chronic Pain Association. Neuropathic Pain. Retrieved from https://www.theacpa.org/conditions-treatments/conditions-a-z/neuropathic-pain/.
- Marchettini P et al. op. cit.
- Grinspoon, P. (2019, Aug 27). Cannabidiol (CBD) — what we know and what we don’t. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/cannabidiol-cbd-what-we-know-and-what-we-dont-2018082414476.
- Zhuo M. Neuronal mechanism for neuropathic pain. Mol Pain. 2007;3:14. Published 2007 Jun 6. doi:10.1186/1744-8069-3-14.
- Crippa et al. op. cit.
- Cleveland Clinic. op. cit.
- Mayo Clinic. (2019, May 22). Peripheral neuropathy. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/peripheral-neuropathy/symptoms-causes/syc-20352061.
- Wolf VL, Ryan MJ. Autoimmune Disease-Associated Hypertension. Curr Hypertens Rep. 2019;21(1):10. Published 2019 Feb 2. doi:10.1007/s11906-019-0914-2.
- Xiong W et al. op. cit.
- Grinspoon, P. op. cit.
- Hammell DC, Zhang LP, Ma F, et al. Transdermal cannabidiol reduces inflammation and pain-related behaviours in a rat model of arthritis. Eur J Pain. 2016;20(6):936–948. doi:10.1002/ejp.818.
- Petrosino S et al. Anti-inflammatory Properties of Cannabidiol, a Nonpsychotropic Cannabinoid, in Experimental Allergic Contact Dermatitis. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics June 2018, 365 (3) 652-663; DOI: https://doi.org/10.1124/jpet.117.244368.
- NINDS. op. cit.
- Malfitano AM, Proto MC, Bifulco M. Cannabinoids in the management of spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis. Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2008;4(5):847–853. doi:10.2147/ndt.s3208.
- Perez J. op.cit.
- Mücke M, Phillips T, Radbruch L, Petzke F, Häuser W. Cannabis-based medicines for chronic neuropathic pain in adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2018;3(3):CD012182. Published 2018 Mar 7. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD012182.pub2.
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