Did you know that millions of Americans are diagnosed with chronic back pain every year? This results in 264 million lost workdays yearly, which makes it the leading cause of workplace disability.
Back pain includes back injury, herniated discs, sciatica, degenerative disc disease, and more. Today we'll be taking a closer look at sciatica and how it's treated. Typical medications include massive amounts of opioids to deal with the symptoms.
However, this can be habit-forming and harm your health in the long run. So now, people are looking at more natural ways to deal with the pain, such as CBD oil.
CBD oil is known for its medicinal value, and you may be wondering, will CBD oil help sciatica? Also, is it effective and strong enough to tackle the pain, or is it all hype and too good to be true.
Let's find out.
What Will I Find Out?
- What is Sciatica?
- What is CBD oil
- Will CBD oil help sciatica?
- How CBD oil can help sciatica pain
- Taking CBD oil for sciatica
- Final thoughts on CBD oil and sciatica
What is Sciatica?
If you've ever suffered from this condition, you know how debilitating it can be. It's a nightmare to deal with. It makes everyday tasks more complicated then it has to be.
So what is sciatica exactly?
Sciatica is a term used to describe the pain that travels or radiates along the Sciatic nerve. This nerve is quite large.
It begins at your lower back and then forks into two to travel from the buttocks, down to your legs and feet. This usually goes down to only one leg, but it can happen in both.
What causes it?
Several different things cause this condition. The most common being a lumbar herniated disc that presses and pinches the nerves nearby. Another common cause is spinal stenosis, which is when the spinal canal gets narrow and close off. When this happens, it also pinches the nerves nearby.
Sciatica is not a diagnosis in itself, but it's a symptom of another underlying issue that needs to be addressed.
The Sciatic nerve is extremely sensitive, so when it becomes compressed or irritated, it causes pain and numbness into the areas that it travels to.
What makes it challenging to treat is that there are two different kinds of pain, nociceptive and neuropathic.
Nociceptive pain is caused when the nerves are reacting to tissue damage, which sends signals to the CNS that something is wrong. Neuropathic pain is when the nerves are already damaged, causing inflammation and irritation.
Current treatments for sciatica
Most people who suffer from sciatica will rely on over-the-counter painkillers to make it through the day. In more severe cases, opioids are used for pain management. It's no wonder why there is such a huge opioid epidemic going on.
The current medications for Sciatica are NSAIDs, steroids, opioids, and anti-depressants. The risk of mild to severe side effects is almost always present after long-term use, including addiction.
When the word got out that CBD oil could help back pain, this began circulating and piqued the interest of those who suffer from it. It's seen as a natural alternative to other addictive drugs such as opioids.
What is CBD oil
CBD is being used to treat conditions such as anxiety, insomnia, chronic pain, and more. Let's talk about what CBD oil is and how it affects the body.
Hemp Vs. Marijuana
Cannabis has two strains that vary in cannabinoid profiles, hemp, and Marijuana.
Marijuana is higher in THC and lower in CBD, and it's what people use to experience a high. Hemp is a strain that is higher in CBD and lower in THC, which makes it non-psychoactive.
CBD oil is an extraction of the hemp strain and then placed into a carrier oil such as hemp seed oil or MCT oil. Carrier oils help with the delivery of cannabinoids so that it interacts with the Endocannabinoid System (ECS).
The ECS has receptors throughout the body, which are activated when we consume cannabis. When the ECS is activated, we experience the effects which can help with a range of conditions.
THC Vs. CBD
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is responsible for the psychoactive effects that make you feel high. It has a balance of positive and negative impacts depending on who is using it and what it's being used for.
If you're using Marijuana casually, it can increase anxiety and paranoia. However, for someone who is suffering from Epilepsy or appetite problems, they will see more value in THC.
CBD gives you all the benefits of cannabis without the high. It's mainly used to treat chronic pain, sleep, and much more. CBD oil products are derived primarily from the hemp strain and not Marijuana. So this means you will get all the therapeutic benefits without experiencing any mind-altering effects.
The Farm Bill was signed in 2018 that legalized hemp to be grown and sold as products. But they must contain less than 0.3% THC for it to be federally legal in every state.
CBD products don't require a prescription like a regular cannabis product does. One thing you must keep in mind is that CBD is not regulated by the FDA and is considered a supplement.
Companies are not allowed to make wild claims that it can cure any conditions.
Will CBD oil help sciatica?
Let's take a look at how CBD oil can help relieve Sciatic pain.
Studies on CBD suggest that the compound interacts with the pain receptors in the brain to reduce pain without causing any intoxication.
Current research on CBD oil and sciatica
In 2005, a study on rodents was done by Italian researchers. They looked at the effects of CB1 receptors on pain response. They observed primarily the effects of nerve demyelination, which is one of the underlying causes of sciatica.
What they found is that after repeated administration of cannabinoid treatment, the damage to the nerve tissue was reduced. This means that CBD may be able to function in myelin tissue repair and promote long-lasting functional recovery.
How CBD oil can help sciatica pain
1. Reduces inflammation
CBD binds to the receptors in the ECS, which reduces pain and inflammation. One study involving rats found that CBD injections reduced pain response to surgical incision. Another similar study with rats found that oral CBD worked well to reduce sciatic nerve pain and inflammation.
2. Allieviates neuropathic and nociceptive pain
CBD binds with the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the ECS. This communicates good and bad signals throughout the body. When CBD attaches itself onto these receptors, the bad signals are changes into good ones because CBD restores balances and homeostasis within the body.
3. Better sleep
CBD oil has also been shown to help with sleep and improve relaxation. It's not uncommon to hear someone with sciatica suffering from insomnia or sleeping problems.
As CBD helps both with neuropathic and nociceptive pain, it can help you get a good night's sleep. This will leave you feeling restored and feeling better mentally.
Taking CBD oil for sciatica
There are a few things to keep in mind when taking CBD oil. Before you continue reading on, make sure that any product you buy is 3rd party lab tested. This will verify the potency of your products because, as CBD is an unregulated market, a lot of companies use false labeling.
Types of CBD oil for sciatica
The best kind of CBD oil for sciatica will be a full-spectrum extraction. When a CBD oil product is labeled, "full-spectrum" that means when the hemp plant was extracted, all the essential cannabinoids, terpenes, and other plant matter were also extracted.
You get to experience the full benefits the plant has to offer, including something called the Entourage Effect. You might think something like CBD isolate will be better because it's pure CBD. However, CBD works best with other cannabinoids present.
Dosages for sciatica pain
There is no universal dosage for taking CBD oil. It all depends on:
- Your weight
- How severe the pain is
- Your body chemistry
- The concentration of CBD in your product
You should start low and work your way up. It will require some experimentation. Just increase your dosage every week until you reach a dose that you see the benefits.
How to take CBD oil
Taking CBD oil is easy once you know your dosage. You just use the dropper and drop the oil under your tongue.
You don't want to swallow it straight away because your digestive system will process it before it reaches your blood-stream. Instead, you should hold it under your tongue for 30-60 seconds before swallowing. The glands under your tongue will transport CBD to your blood a lot quicker.
Final thoughts on CBD oil and sciatica
So will CBD oil help sciatica?
CBD oil can be an excellent alternative for treating symptoms of conditions that trigger sciatica. We couldn't find one definitive study that directly displays links between using CBD for pain management of sciatica.
But the way that CBD works in the body has been showing promising benefits. It can be used as a natural alternative to a lot of addictive drugs and painkillers.
One thing for sure is that CBD oil will not cure any underlying issues causing sciatica. Don't make this a primary substitute for getting proper medical help. It should only be used as a tool to manage pain.