Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the most abundant molecules in the hemp plant, alongside tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Unlike THC, CBD does not alter the state of consciousness and does not cause addiction. This is why it is regularly put forward as a palliative to drugs in the treatment of certain pathologies. This is because of its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties (properties nevertheless “theoretical”, i.e. not formally demonstrated to date).
Consuming cannabidiol activates the receptors of the endocannabinoid system, an endogenous network that helps the body regulate various functions and processes (including mood, appetite, pain, and inflammation). In this case, taking CBD for sciatica could act on the inflammation of the nerve and the resulting pain, and contribute to the well-being of patients. As such, CBD oil can be taken orally or applied directly to the painful area. The important thing is to choose quality CBD oils from a specialized retailer like Tilyo.
Let’s now try to understand how CBD can relieve back pain.
The mechanisms at work in sciatica
Sciatica refers to a set of painful symptoms related to the nerve of the same name. The nerve runs from the spinal cord in the lower back to the feet. Because sciatica is often associated with low back pain, it is more commonly referred to as “lumbosciatica”, the main cause of which is a herniated disc (the compression of the nerve by the herniation causes it to become inflamed), but which can have other causes (lumbar osteoarthritis, local trauma, spinal stenosis, etc.).
The pain frequently extends to one of the lower limbs – more rarely both – and its manifestations vary according to the person, from a burning sensation to a stabbing pain. Often chronic, these symptoms have a significant impact on quality of life.
Treatments focus primarily on analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs, sometimes very strong (opioids for the patients who suffer the most). With a non-negligible risk of side effects and addiction, chronic pain can last for several weeks and requires long treatment sessions. This is why patients are increasingly turning to alternative solutions, such as taking CBD for sciatica – cannabidiol has the advantage of not causing addiction or side effects.
CBD and sciatica: focus on medical studies
While no studies have specifically looked at the effects of CBD on sciatica and its symptoms, numerous clinical trials suggest that cannabinoids can relieve pain in general, and particularly chronic pain of moderate-intensity, due to their analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties.
A 2008 review of medical studies related to the “treatment of resistant pain” showed the analgesic properties of cannabinoids.
A 2010 study on the anti-inflammatory properties of cannabinoids demonstrated their ability to suppress the body’s inflammatory response and, as a result, alleviate the symptoms of the various diseases being treated.
In a 2019 study you can find out more about the role of cannabinoids in the management of chronic pain, and whether they could be used as alternatives to the more health-threatening (but still widely used) opioid-based treatments. The results indicate that 53% of CBD-treated patients reduced or discontinued their opioid use within eight weeks, and 94% of them experienced a significant improvement in their quality of life.
More specifically, when it comes to taking CBD for back pain, research has shown that cannabinoids are capable of acting on neuropathic, nociceptive, and inflammatory pain. Tests on animals have shown encouraging results, although the use of medical hemp may not be as effective on human patients (read here).