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Elena Smuseva

Learn | 05.28.2022

Can Cannabis Help With Nerve Pain?

Cannabis-based treatments might be the new norm for neuropathic pain.

Nerve pain is one of the most difficult conditions to treat. 

Most prescription medications and topical treatments don’t seem to fully relieve patients of pain, inflammation, and other neuropathic symptoms. 

With the rise of cannabis legalization, even medical cannabis legalization, researchers suggest that cannabis-based treatments could be an effective alternative to over-the-counter and prescribed neuropathy medications. 

What Is Neuropathy?

Photo by Vladimir Konoplev

Neuropathic pain, also known as neuropathy, is a group of conditions that stem from damaged nerves. These conditions can cause the following in the hands and feet

  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Stabbing sensations
  • Freezing
  • Burning
  • Pain

Most neuropathic problems arise from;

  • Injuries
  • Accidents
  • Surgery
  • Underlying illnesses like diabetes

Because these conditions are difficult to treat and lie within the complex nervous system, studies have looked at if cannabis-based treatments could help ease that pain. 

THC & Neuropathic Pain

Photo by Vladimir Konoplev

One study looked at a collection of scientific research from randomized controlled studies. These studies evaluated the efficiency of medical cannabis with THC for treating neuropathic pain. All individuals were administering their medical cannabis differently;

  • Smoking
  • Vaping
  • Edibles
  • Capsules

The study found that “multiple” randomized controlled studies presented a positive reaction in terms of using cannabis to treat neuropathic pain. 

The researchers noted that the sample size was small, but evidence proves that short-term, low-dose cannabis use with THC can offer relief to chronic neuropathic pain. 

The study suggested that medical cannabis may be “as tolerable and effective as current neuropathic agents.”

CBD & Neuropathic Pain

Research surrounding CBD and neuropathic pain are limited. 

However, based on the research we know about CBD, we can guess that it would also help reduce chronic neuropathic pain. 

Our bodies make chemicals called endocannabinoids that bind to our brain’s cannabinoid receptors like CB1 and CB2. These endocannabinoids are responsible for controlling many key bodily functions like

  • Immune system response
  • Inflammation
  • Pain sensations
  • Appetite levels

CB1 receptors are responsible for nerve pain and other nerve-related sensations. These receptors are in the brain and sit on nerve endings that produce bodily sensations like tingles, numbness, pain, etc. 

So, when we dose an external cannabinoid like CBD, it links to the CB1 receptors and helps reduce the pain these receptors create. CBD can help 

  • Reduce inflammation
  • Lessen pain sensations
  • Relax the body’s muscles, joints, and nerves

This works by altering that pathway that sends pain and inflammation signals throughout the body. 

Therefore, it’s safe to say that any cannabis-based product could help treat nerve pain. 

Although research is scarce on the CBD side, medical cannabis with THC is just as effective as current pharmaceutical prescriptions. 

On the other hand, CBD is popular in the medical community for its anti-inflammatory and anti-pain properties

Choosing CBD or THC-based products to treat your chronic nerve pain is up to you and your tolerance to both cannabinoids. 

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