The nervous system is involved in almost everything your body does, so if it isn’t working as it should, then it can affect your quality of life. Patients with nerve damage are offered a range of prescription drugs to manage their pain, but it's not always enough. It’s no surprise that people are looking for alternative ways to treat nerve damage, so in this blog, we look at how to use CBD for nerve pain.
About nerve pain
Nerve damage can occur anywhere in the body, but sensory nerve damage is mostly located in the peripheral system. Sensory nerves carry information from your skin and muscles back to your brain, so it can process feelings of pain and other sensations.
Damage to these nerves can cause:
- Pain (burning, stabbing, or shooting)
- Numbness and tingling
- Itching or prickling
- A burning sensation
Peripheral neuropathy is one of the most common types of nerve damage - it's estimated to affect one in ten people aged 55 or over, in the UK¹. Neuropathic pain usually occurs in the hands, feet and arms and is often caused by diabetes.
Nerve damage can also result from injury, chronic alcohol abuse, an infection such as shingles, an inflammatory disease, or as a side effect of certain medications.
Treatment usually starts with the underlying cause before moving on to address the symptoms. A treatment plan might include prescription medications, over-the-counter painkillers, and complementary therapies, like acupuncture or hypnosis.
Prescription medications and painkillers are not always successful, so patients who have exhausted all options are turning to CBD oil to help manage their pain.
CBD oil and neuropathy
Early research shows promising signs that CBD oil may be able to help treat chronic pain in people with neuropathy and sensory nerve damage.
In 2020, a clinical study looked at the effects of CBD oil on 29 people with peripheral neuropathy². Two groups were given either a topical CBD oil or a placebo in a randomised test over four weeks. Participants, who were given CBD, tolerated it well and showed a significant reduction in pain compared with the placebo group.
CBD is thought to have anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain relief) properties. It's already used widely by people with arthritis and multiple sclerosis to help manage pain, as well as improve mobility, mood, and sleep, but how exactly does it work?
How does CBD oil work?
CBD (cannabidiol) is an organic compound found in the cannabis plant. Unlike other similar compounds found in marijuana, CBD isn't psychoactive. This means it won't give you the 'high' feeling associated with cannabis, and it’s not addictive.
It works by interacting with the body's endocannabinoid system (ECS), which helps to regulate key functions, including sleep, appetite, mood, fertility, and memory.
The ECS uses two types of receptors to move signals round the body:
- CB1 receptors - found in the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord)
- CB2 receptors - found in the peripheral nervous system, such as your organs
Phytocannabinoids, like CBD, are thought to interact with CB2 receptors.
CBD comes in many different forms - it can be ingested, inhaled, or applied to the skin, as in the clinical study of neuropathy patients above. Applying CBD to the skin targets receptors at the site of the pain for immediate and effective relief.
Using CBD oil products for nerve pain
There are several types of CBD products, and which one you choose will mostly come down to how you prefer to take cannabidiol. You can choose from:
- Oils and sprays
- Edibles (gummies, tea, chocolate, mints)
- Muscle rubs, joint gel, and salves
- Skin care
- Bath products
- Vapes and e-liquids
CBD oils and sprays are a popular choice for customers with chronic pain. Most oils come with a built-in pipette for easy application under your tongue, and a simple way of controlling your dose.
This is crucial when you're just starting out with CBD because, for a while, you'll need to adjust your daily dose until you find what's right for you. There is no standard dose for pain management, so we recommend starting low and going slow.
You can find out more in our dosage guide.
You can expect the effects of a tincture to last between four to six hours, and because you're ingesting it, it should work across your whole body.
For something more targeted, CBD cream, muscle rubs, joint gels, and salves get to work at the site of the pain.
CBD products for pain management
For effective pain management, we recommend combining CBD oil with a topical product, like a joint gel or muscle balm.
This muscle rub from FourFive was created by professional athlete, Dom Day, to reduce inflammation and pain. It uses tea tree oil and menthol for a soothing and cool feeling - ideal if you are suffering from pain or burning in your hands, feet, or arms.
Derived from broad-spectrum CBD oil and with a peppermint flavour, this oil gets to work quickly to help manage pain. It's easy to transport, so you can take it with you and top up your dose throughout the day when you need it most.
For something different, Love Hemp's jelly domes contain 20mg of CBD, and they taste great. Gummies and sweets are a discreet way of taking CBD - keep them in your bag or your desk drawer, so you've always got some to hand.
How to buy CBD safely
Cannabidiol is well tolerated by most people with few reported side effects and a good safety profile, according to the World Health Organisation. In fact, it's considered a much safer alternative to opioids, which can cause dangerous side effects.
Hemp derived CBD products with less than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (a psychoactive compound found in marijuana) are legal to buy and sell in the UK, but not all manufacturers follow the same quality standards.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States warns that inaccurately labelled products could cause confusion among customers. Genuine suppliers will have a certificate of analysis to prove that their products include CBD.
At Origin'40, we only sell CBD products from manufacturers that use high-grade, organic hemp - free from pesticides and nasty chemicals. We always check to make sure that the label accurately reflects what is in the product.
Taking the next steps
More people are turning to nonprescription CBD products for help managing severe nerve pain. Early research and anecdotal evidence show promising signs that CBD oil could improve the quality of life for neuropathy patients.
If you need help picking the right products and establishing a CBD routine, contact the experts at Origin'40. Visit one of our stores or contact us to arrange a free consultation online - we value real world conversations, and we know you do too.
- NHS [online] Periperhal neuropathy [updated 24 Apr 2019; cited 13 Sept 2021] Available from: https://bit.ly/3tCjUo2
- Caporuscio, Jessica, Medical News Today [online] Does CBD oil help neuropathic pain? [updated 25 Feb 2021; cited 13 Sept 2021] Available from: https://bit.ly/3EghpN6