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While research into the effects of CBD on nerve pain is still ongoing, there have been some promising results. The best CBD products for nerve pain may include balms, ointments, and creams.
Cannabidiol (CBD) holds great promise as a treatment for a number of medical concerns, including inflammation.
For all of CBD’s known benefits, it’s unclear how much CBD can do for 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 of 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 commonly referred to as “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 cannabis
CBD is one of the cannabinoid compounds found in the cannabis 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, a few studies 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.
A 2020 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 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says there is a “lot of uncertainty” around the use of cannabis or cannabinoids and chronic pain.
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 doses 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
- $$ = $30–$60
- $$$ = over $60
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.
This broad-spectrum CBD cream contains white willow bark and caffeine, and menthol for a cooling effect. The cream is also vegan and cruelty-free. Each container either comes with 500 mg, 1,000 mg, or 3,000 mg of CBD.
You can use between a dime-sized and a quarter-sized amount of cream on your body, depending on the size of the area that you are treating.
|CBD potency||500 mg, 1,000 mg, or 3,000 mg per 50-mL container|
|COA||Available on product page|
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 potency||100 mg per 1-oz. bottle|
- CBD type: Hemp extract
- CBD potency: 200 mg per 40g tube
- COA: Available online
The Charlotte’s Web Pain Relief Ointment uses hemp-extracted, THC-free CBD to help with joint pain and stiffness. The cream is also made with all-natural ingredients. The company recommends applying this product directly to painful areas for temporary relief. Each tube contains 200 mg of CBD.
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 that 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 with 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?The 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the legal definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act. This made some hemp-derived CBD products with less than 0.3% THC federally legal. However, CBD products containing more than 0.3% THC still fall under the legal definition of marijuana, making them federally illegal but legal under some state laws. Be sure to check state laws, especially when traveling. Also, keep in mind that the FDA has not approved nonprescription CBD products, and some products may be inaccurately labeled.