The Case for CBD Oil and Nerve Pain

by Simy Wandering Turtle

When pain ‘is getting on your nerves’

Nerve pain is nothing short of debilitating.  Its roots are found in many conditions, it may present itself in many forms and many treatments are available for it.  But whilst many may advocate conventional treatments, alternatives such as CBD oil are gaining traction as options.

The nervous system governs a great deal of the body’s optimal functioning.  So, when nerves are damaged and pain is the result, it is no wonder that the health of the sufferer is compromised.

Medical conditions most commonly associated with nerve pain include (but are not limited to):

  • Injuries that result in pinched or damaged nerve endings.
  • HIV (pain caused by the virus itself and sometimes also by the antiretroviral medication administered to treat the disease).
  • Diabetics are prone to nerve pain as high glucose levels compromise the integrity of nerves (especially in the extremities, i.e. hands and feet).
  • Degenerative neurological diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis and Motor Neuron Disease can cause severe nerve pain.

It is noteworthy to remember that, in many patients experience nerve pain with no verifiable justification for it.  Such ‘phantom pain’ is very common.

Nerve pain is often described by those who have experienced it as a tingling (pins and needles) sensation or sharp, shooting pain.  The sensation of electric shocks and total numbness are also common.

The Health of the Nerve Pain Sufferer

As with any pain, continued episodes can have a detrimental impact on the health of the sufferer.  Severe changes to the lifestyle, relationships, and environment of the sufferer can cause anxiety, depression and other related emotional disorders.   Patients describe a sharp decline in their quality of life once they begin to experience chronic pain.

Continued chronic pain can also lead to severe bouts of fatigue exhausting the body as it tries to cope with the sensory overload caused by nerve pain.  A vicious cycle ensues where the sufferer is fatigued by the pain but unable to sleep properly due to it.  Then after a sleepless night caused by pain, increased pain levels the next day become inevitable.

Permanent damage to the nerves by a medical condition such as those described above can render the sufferer unable to use certain body parts which will directly impact their self-sufficiency.  For instance, a diabetic who has experienced severe nerve pain in their feet may suffer permanent nerve damage which will compromise their mobility.  An experience like this can trigger a descent into depression and fatigue as described above.

Treatment of nerve pain with strong pain medication can lead to dependency and eventually addiction.  Overuse of prescription and over the counter painkillers can damage the liver and kidneys, negatively affecting their ability to function properly.  There is also the risk that the sufferer will turn to narcotics to ease their pain.

CBD Oil and Nerve Pain

The use of cannabis products such as CBD oil to treat chronic pain such as nerve pain is gaining increasing popularity.  This can be largely attributed to the decriminalization of cannabis in many parts of the world as well as the debunking of the myths and taboos associated with cannabis.

There is more research on the profoundly positive results obtained by the use of CBD oil.  This is encouraging more pain sufferers to discuss it with their healthcare professionals as an alternative to so-called conventional approaches.  Many patients are putting the legality of cannabis aside from their decision-making processes when electing to try CBD oil.

CBD oil contains natural anti-inflammatories which can go a long way in treating chronic pain.  It also has muscle relaxing properties which can ease the pressure on painful nerves.  Its painkilling effect is also well-known.

Additionally, CBD oil aids the user in sleeping and reduces anxiety.  This, in turn, can have a positive effect on the mental and emotional well-being of the sufferer which will help them to cope better with the pain.

When people think of cannabis products, their minds turn to an altered mental state and long-term dependency. Cannabis is also thought to be a so-called ‘gateway drug’ which will over time cause the user to turn to stronger narcotics such as heroin.  Products containing the THC component of cannabis may lead to the much-maligned ‘high’ and addiction, whereas those containing CBD do not.

How to use CBD oil to treat nerve pain

There are four main ways to use CBD oil to treat chronic pain (including nerve pain).  They are:

  1. Tinctures: oral ingestion of CBD oil, either through a spray directed at the underside of the tongue or drops of the oil placed under the tongue.
  2. Capsules: these are capsules that contain CBD oil ingested orally with the assistance of fluid such as water.
  3. Topical treatments: these are creams which can be applied to pain afflicted areas.
  4. Vaporizing: this is the inhalation of CBD in a manner similar to the e-cigarette.

Each method has relative advantages.  Tinctures and vaporizing tend to be fairly fast-acting but not as long lasting as capsules.  Topical treatments tend to have an immediate effect on the area upon which they are applied and minimal CBD enters the circulatory system.

As with any medicine, CBD oils come with recommended doses.  However, these may not have the desired effect on the user and so some experimentation with methods and doses is inevitable in order to achieve optimal pain management.  That is why it is preferable that the user is guided by someone with relevant knowledge who can assist them in finding the balance that works for them.

Whilst the causes of chronic pain cannot always be treated, the symptoms can be managed to ensure the sufferer some quality of life.  And as more people turn to CBD oil, more research on and new innovations in its use are inevitable.  As its use becomes more prevalent and socially acceptable, the benefits thereof will reach more pain sufferers and offer them some much needed pain alleviation.

Sources:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2503660/<
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/28818631/?i=3&from=cbd%20oil%20pain
https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/marijuana/nih-research-marijuana-cannabinoids