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Cannabidiol (CBD) holds great promise as a treatment for a number of medical issues, including inflammation.
For all of CBD’s known benefits, it’s unclear how much impact CBD can have on nerve pain. Why? Few studies have looked at CBD by itself and nerve pain specifically.
How CBD might help with pain
Limited studies on both rats and humans show that CBD may help reduce inflammation and reduce the buildup of immune cells in spinal fluid. This may, in turn, reduce some degree of pain.
What’s different about nerve pain
But nerve pain, or neuropathy, is a different issue altogether. Neuropathic pain is a pain condition that affects the body’s nervous system. It may cause burning, stinging, and shooting pain throughout the body or in particular areas, such as arms and hands.
It’s usually chronic and may grow progressively worse. Certain conditions, like diabetes, may increase your risk for nerve pain.
How CBD might help with nerve pain
With neuropathy, CBD research is even more limited. However, there’s some promise that CBD can help with neuropathy pain. And because CBD has relatively mild side effects, using CBD to help ease this type of pain may be an acceptable alternative to other potential pain relievers, like opioids.
You’ll see the following terms on CBD product labels and in the product information below. Here’s what they mean.
- Cannabis: also called marijuana, cannabis is a plant that contains dozens of different compounds called cannabinoids
- Cannabinoids: naturally occurring plant compounds that have many benefits; the most popular cannabinoids are cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)
- Full-spectrum CBD: contains all of a plant’s cannabinoids, including THC
- Broad-spectrum CBD: contains most cannabinoids, but often not THC
- CBD isolate: a highly purified cannabinoid extract that contains just CBD
- THC: the most well-known cannabinoid; responsible for psychoactive effects of marijuana
CBD is one of the cannabinoid compounds found in the marijuana or hemp plant. These compounds interact with our endocannabinoid system. This interaction leads to many of the positive benefits associated with all types of cannabinoids, from boosting calmness to pain management.
Several studies have looked at the impact of CBD and other cannabinoids on pain, and the results have shown great promise.
Most studies have multiple cannabinoids
Keep in mind, there are few studies that have looked at CBD alone and its impact on nerve pain. Indeed, many of the studies involving cannabinoids and pain have used a mixture of CBD and THC together. Some other cannabinoids in studies have also included dronabinol, a synthetic form of THC.
One study in rats found that CBD may provide neuroprotective benefits by reducing inflammation in the brain. CBD may also reduce how many immune cells build up in the spinal column, which can reduce inflammation and pain as well.
Reducing nerve pain from chemotherapy
More research needed for neuropathy
But the research is so limited that it’s not yet clear what benefit CBD has on nerve pain in humans. Indeed, the
The CBD world is filled with a lot of claims and terms that may be a bit confusing when you’re first shopping for CBD. This list of basics can help you make an informed decision.
Doses in CBD products vary widely, and the true amount of CBD in each serving may be hidden on the back of a label. Don’t confuse the number of doses per bottle with the size of individual doses. The smallest amount of CBD per serving is typically 5 milligrams (mg).
Start low, at a smaller dose, and build to higher dose products as you begin to feel comfortable with the product.
Types of CBD
A full-spectrum CBD product is likely to produce more effects than a CBD isolate. That’s because the full-spectrum product includes CBD, as well as dozens of other cannabinoids and the benefits they bring. To be federally legal, these products can’t contain more than 0.3 percent THC.
A CBD isolate, on the other hand, is a highly purified form of the cannabinoid. It contains no THC, cannabinoids, or beneficial organic compounds, like terpenes.
If you choose an isolate and don’t experience results, consider a full- or broad-spectrum product. Likewise, if a full-spectrum product feels too powerful, an isolate may be better tolerated.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t approve CBD products, so there’s no agency verifying the claims these products and companies make. For that reason, it’s important to look for third-party testing and verification.
Reputable CBD companies will promote the testing they do by clearly providing a certificate of analysis (COA) either on their website or by email. These results will confirm the claims the product makes and also list any other findings, such as impurities or unnecessary ingredients. If a product or company doesn’t provide a COA, be wary.
You may want to scan labels for additives like artificial flavorings, preservatives, and colors. Gummies and flavored CBD products may contain these, but outside of flavoring, these additives may be unnecessary.
It’s also useful to read the ingredients label since certain non-CBD ingredients and methods for having CBD may also be useful for pain management.
There’s no perfect CBD product for nerve pain. We chose these products based on indicators of safety, quality, and transparency. Each CBD product in this list:
- is made with U.S.-grown hemp
- is produced by a company that provides a COA and third-party testing results from an ISO 17025-compliant lab
- contains no more than 0.3 percent THC, per the COA
Other factors we considered in making these selections include:
- product potency
- CBD type
- overall ingredient list, including ingredients that may support pain relief
- certifications and manufacturing process
- brand reputation, including:
- customer reviews
warning lettersfrom the FDA
- any unsubstantiated health claims
Most CBD products fall between $30 and $75. Anything higher than that should send up a red flag. While the product may be worth the extra expense, devote a bit more time to researching the product and its test results before you spend the extra money.
For the purposes of this review, here are the price points we used:
- $ = under $30
- $$ = $30–$100
- $$$ = over $100
Gummies may be a good introductory CBD product. They’re convenient, so you don’t have to worry about dosing with droppers. They also come in a variety of flavors. The typical gummy has about 5 mg, which makes low doses for beginners easier.
Gummies can take a few hours for full benefit, and the effects typically last 4 to 6 hours.
Charlotte’s Web CBD products are highly reviewed, and their product information is presented clearly. The Recovery Gummies were chosen for nerve pain because they include turmeric and ginger, two ingredients that have been known to reduce inflammation.
The full-spectrum, U.S.-grown hemp product is flavored with juices from fruits and vegetables, instead of artificial flavorings and dyes.
|CBD potency||10 mg CBD per gummy|
|Count||60 gummies per package|
These agave-sweetened CBD gummies contain turmeric and spirulina, two ingredients that are touted for their inflammation-reducing properties. The hemp is both organic hemp grown in the United States. With a 5-mg dose in each gummy, you can start with a low dose and build over time.
|CBD potency||5 mg per gummy|
|Count||60 gummies per package|
|COA||Available on product page|
CBD lotions, creams, and salves may help reduce aches and pains. It’s unclear how well CBD crosses the skin barrier, but the early test results are promising.
The broad-spectrum CBD product combines with organic avocado, jojoba, and safflower oils for a nourishing body oil that can be used all over. But the rollerball applicator also makes it great for targeting relief to specific areas. Made with hemp grown in the United States, the oil is designed to be deeply penetrating.
|CBD type||Broad-spectrum (THC-free)|
|CBD potency||100 mg per 1-oz. bottle|
CBD oil is often the first CBD product new users reach for, and for good reason: It’s easy to administer and you can easily adjust doses. It also goes to work quickly, producing symptom relief sometimes within minutes of a dose.
This highly-touted CBD oil is made with U.S.-grown hemp and combined with MCT oil to make dosing easier. With no additional flavorings or preservatives, this is an option for people who are looking to step up to a stronger dose from smaller beginner doses.
|CBD potency||500-5,000 mg per 30-mL bottle|
|COA||Available upon request|
How you take your CBD product will depend on the type you buy. Gummies often administer highly accurate amounts in a single dose. Topical products, on the other hand, can be less precise.
Figuring out the right dose will take time. Most manufacturers suggest beginners start with a small dose and increase over time. This way, you can get a feel for how the product works with your body and affects your symptoms. However, there’s no official recommended dose for any CBD product.
You may also choose to dose as needed, instead of on an ongoing basis. Topicals, salves, and oils may be a good option for this, as they can be used when the nerve pain is particularly sensitive. Oils, on the other hand, may be a good option for regular dosing, but you could build up a tolerance.
If you’re new to CBD, it’s important to understand the many types of CBD products, what they may do, and how they may benefit you. If you’re already taking medications, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor or pharmacist before you begin using CBD.
Some medications may interact negatively with the hemp-derived product, which could cause unwanted side effects or make certain medications ineffective.
CBD oil is relatively new as a treatment for many conditions. Research is limited. But the research that does exist shows a great deal of promise both for specific conditions, like pain, and overall health.
Is CBD Legal? Hemp-derived CBD products (with less than 0.3 percent THC) are legal on the federal level, but are still illegal under some state laws. Marijuana-derived CBD products are illegal on the federal level, but are legal under some state laws. Check your state’s laws and those of anywhere you travel. Keep in mind that nonprescription CBD products are not FDA-approved, and may be inaccurately labeled.