At least 20 million people in the United States experience neuropathy or nerve pain. A few prescription medications reduce symptoms, but some people are searching for reliable natural methods, like CBD, to ease or heal their nerve pain or neuropathy.
This article looks at common types of nerve pain and neuropathy and what research reveals about how CBD can help. But, first, let’s review how our nervous system works.
Our Amazing Nervous System
Centered in the brain and spinal cord, our nervous system is comprised of many billions of nerve cells, or neurons, distributed throughout the body.
They allow us to see, feel, hear, smell, and taste and then react to that sensory input. Sometimes our reactions are conscious and voluntary, and sometimes they happen faster than we can think.
Nerves make our hand pull back when it touches a hot pan or reflexively reach out to catch something falling. This is because our nervous system uses electrical and chemical signals to respond faster than our brains can.
Our nervous system regulates our body temperature, helps with digestion, tells us when it’s time to go to the bathroom, and sends pain and pleasure signals to the brain.
Most neuropathy and nerve pain happens when a peripheral nerve cell, nerve type, or a combination of nerve cells in an area of the body are damaged or destroyed. As a result, the communication along the nerve path is disrupted, and the brain receives incorrect and confusing signals.
Sometimes the condition is temporary, and the nerve cells can heal. Other times, doctors prescribe a combination of nerve-inhibiting and pain-relieving medications to manage the sensations.
The conditions that caused the nerve damage would need to be eliminated for the nerves to heal. For example, someone with prediabetes would need to change their diet and movement habits to manage glucose levels. Someone with a B12 deficiency would have to work with their doctor to restore normal levels. Someone receiving chemotherapy or taking a medication causing neuropathy would need to consult their doctor about altering their treatment plan to avoid making the situation worse.
Other types of neuropathies can only be managed and not cured, at least at this time.
Benefits of CBD for Nerve Pain and Neuropathy
Studies show that CBD oil and topicals can both help relieve neuropathic pain.
Scientists’ current understanding of why CBD is proving effective against nerve pain is how it interacts with the human endocannabinoid system (ECS).
The ECS influences both immune response and pain management. CBD acts as an indirect antagonist to CB1 and CB2 receptors, and researchers think the presence of CBD protects the nervous and immune systems by preventing the receptors from being overly activated.
CBD is different than typical pain relief medication. It can take some time to build up in your system before you experience results. Researchers found that most patients saw a reduction in symptoms of both pain and anxiety after seven days. The general wisdom is to start with a lower dose and increase slowly if needed.
When taking full-spectrum CBD oil for neuropathic pain, you can take it orally, use it topically, or both. If you consume the oil, it’s best to apply it under your tongue and allow your body to absorb it from there. Taking it sublingually increases the bioavailability to give you the most benefits from each dose.
If you already take a medication with a grapefruit warning on the label, talk to your doctor before adding CBD to your pain management system. It may increase or decrease the effectiveness of your other medications.
Although side effects are rare, they include dry mouth, diarrhea, reduced appetite, or drowsiness. If you notice these side effects, reduce your dose or stop taking CBD for a while.
Natural But Powerful
CBD is gaining attention for its ability to reduce neuropathic pain by interacting with neurotransmitters and reducing chronic inflammation.
Healing and pain management are complicated paths. It’s challenging to know who to trust and what medicines are best for your body. The good thing about CBD is it has no psychoactive effects, it’s non-addictive, and it’s made from plants.