Sciatica can be excruciating and debilitating. It can include symptoms that are severe enough to cause temporary or permanent disability.
Recently there have been claims from sciatica sufferers that CBD oil has provided some relief for their symptoms. This presents an appealing offer - a cost effective, zero side-effect and all-natural solution.
So can CBD Oil really help with this condition? Is it effective and strong enough to actually do the job? Or is it all too good to be true?
I wrote this article to share with you some of the scientific research that may back up these claims from users, to give you the information you need to decide if CBD oil is worth a try in your case.
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What is CBD oil?
Before getting into how CBD oil may help with pain from sciatica, you may have a few questions about this natural supplement. CBD is one of over 100 compounds found in cannabis plants called cannabinoids.
CBD oil is also known as hemp oil or cannabidiol, and it is usually derived from industrial hemp plants. These strains of cannabis, unlike marijuana, contain less than .3% of THC which is the primary psychoactive compound that is responsible for the “high” of marijuana. This means that CBD oil DOES NOT have any mind-altering properties.
In addition, CBD is legal in all 50 states. Unlike medical marijuana, hemp oil does NOT require a prescription. It is not regulated by the FDA, and it sold as a food supplement.
What is Sciatica? Causes and Symptoms
The sciatica nerve is a long nerve that originates in the lower back and goes down each leg into the feet. If the nerve gets pinched or compressed, it can cause a dull aching, burning, tingling or sharp pain that can be felt at any point along the path of the nerve.
There are several potential causes for the initial compression on the sciatic nerve including a herniated disk, injury, surgery, bone spurs and spinal stenosis.
In some cases the pain will resolve within a few days, in other cases it can become chronic, requiring medical treatment from a doctor.
Sciatica and CBD: Treating Mixed Pain
One of the things that makes pain from sciatica so difficult to treat is that it is often a combination of two different kinds of pain, nociceptive and neuropathic.
Nociceptive pain is caused when nerves are reacting to tissue damage, sending signals to the central nervous system that something is wrong. Neuropathic pain is when the nerves themselves are damaged, usually through disfunction, damage, or compression.
The first line of treatment for sciatica is often NSAIDs, a class of drugs that reduces inflammation. Unfortunately, they are widely known to only reduce nociceptive pain. Neuropathic pain, on the other hand, is often treated with antidepressants and anticonvulsants.
Both classes of drugs have significant side effects, particularly when used over the long term to treat chronic pain. These can include increased risk of heart attack, liver damage, ulcers, and other significant negative health outcomes.
CBD, on the other hand, has few known side effects, and there is scientific research that supports its ability to alleviate both neuropathic and nociceptive pain, as well as reduce inflammation.
It does this by working with the body’s endocannabinoid system, a series of receptors that work with the central nervous system to regulate a large number of natural processes including pain, skin health, and digestion to name just a few.
However, I want to emphasize that the research is still in the early stages, and the role of other cannabinoids such as THC in the modulation of pain remains an active area of study. And, although the endocannabinoid system is clearly implicated as one factor in the modulation of pain in the body, CBD may work best in combination with traditional medications.
In addition, sometimes a surgical option is the recommended course of treatment for some kinds of sciatic pain, potentially preventing further degeneration. That is why working with a doctor to develop the best overall pain management plan for you is the first thing to do if you are experiencing pain from sciatica.
Reducing Opioid Use
One of the most interesting research findings is that cannabinoids may enhance the pain blocking power of topically applied opioids such as morphine. This may allow some folks that have been prescribed topical opioids to treat Sciatica to potentially reduce the amount of this addictive narcotic while still getting significant relief from spinal pain.
While the FDA has not yet approved prescription CBD cream for Sciatica, some people may find that a high-quality CBD oil for sciatica helps with pain management. As always, it is important to work with your doctor for any serious medical condition.
How to Take CBD for Sciatica Pain
If you decide to try CBD sciatica products, you have a few options on how to take it. There is no “one-size-fits-all” solution.
The three most common ways to take cannabidiol include dropping a few drops of the oil under the tongue (sublingual tinctures), CBD capsules which are taken orally, and CBD creams, lotions or salves which are applied to the skin at the sit of the pain.
My review of the best CBD oil for sciatica includes my top selection of each of these three ways to consume CBD, including the advantages of each. However, it should be noted that everyone can experience the effects differently, so it may be worth experimenting to learn what method works best for you.
CBD Dosage for Sciatica
Dosing CBD products can be tricky because the effective dose can be impacted by several different factors including your body size, experience using CBD, other medications you are taking as well as the types of relief you are looking for.
The general wisdom is to start low and increase the dose slowly. Keep in mind that it is very common for new users of CBD oil to take it for several days before it starts to work. This is because if you have never used cannabis based products, your body may not have enough of the receptors ready to make use of the cannabinoids found in hemp.
Reputable manufacturers of CBD products will provide general dosing guidelines that are representative of the concentration of their product and the average CBD user. Start on the lower end of their dosage guidelines, increasing to the higher end over the course of several days.
Always work with your pain management doctor to make sure you won’t be interfering with the action of the other medications you are taking. In addition, pregnant and nursing women should avoid using CBD oil until more research can establish its safety in these contexts.
I wrote this article to help my readers not only learn more about the latest research on CBD and sciatica pain, but also to help you find CBD products from trusted manufacturers so you can start your CBD oil journey with confidence.
Please consider bookmarking this page and checking back to let other readers know about your experiences with these or other CBD products and your sciatica pain.
So many people are looking for healthy, natural alternatives to pharmaceuticals with dangerous addictive properties or serious side effects. Your story might help someone else looking for natural relief from sciatica pain.
Will is the editor here at CBD Oil Geek. He is passionate about CBD and other natural alternatives to dangerous prescription medicines. He lives with his wife in Brooklyn, New York.