The simple answer is yes. Numerous studies have confirmed that CBD can help relieve nerve pain. The how of it all is a little more complicated and will be expounded on below.
The body is made up of various complex systems. In order for all these systems to work together harmoniously, they need to communicate with each other. This is where the nervous system comes into play.
The nervous system is primarily a communication system. It is made up of two equally complex systems – the central nervous system (CNS) and the peripheral nervous system (PNS). The CNS consists of the brain and the spinal cord. The PNS can further be divided into two systems – the somatic nervous system and the autonomic nervous system.
Together, these two systems receive and send messages that regulate various functions in the body such as voluntary and involuntary movement, sensory perception, and organ activity.
The nervous system is the most important system in the body for if it fails to work as a whole, we fail to work.
What Is Nerve Pain
Nerve pain is the result of damage or disease to the nerves that make up the nervous systems. The condition can be diagnosed either via a blood test, a CT scan or MRI or by a nerve biopsy.
The medical term for this type of pain is neuropathy. It may also be referred to as peripheral neuropathy. It is estimated that 20 million Americans are suffering from one form of peripheral neuropathy or another.
Types of Peripheral Neuropathy
When peripheral neuropathy occurs, it can affect one or more of three different types of nerves found in the body resulting in over 100 different types of neuropathy. The three types of nerves are the sensory and motor nerves that are found in the CNS and autonomic nerves that are found in the PNS.
• Sensory Nerves
Sensory nerves are responsible for controlling the various sensations we experience for example changes in temperature, pain, or touch among others. They are also referred to as afferent nerves as the carry messages away from the source (stimuli) to the processing center (brain). When these nerves are damaged, some of the symptoms include pain, prickling or tingling sensation, or numbness in the hands and feet that spreads to the arms and legs.
• Motor Nerves
Motor nerves are responsible for the movement of the muscles. They are also referred to as efferent nerves as they carry responses from the processing center (brain) towards the muscles. When these nerves are damaged, some of the symptoms include muscle weakness, twitching, or paralysis or lack of coordination,
• Autonomic Nerves
Autonomic nerves are responsible for the voluntary and involuntary movement of the body’s organs that includes the heart, digestive system, sweat glands, and the bladder among others. When these nerves are damaged, some of the symptoms include nausea, constipation, diarrhea, difficulty urinating, hyperhidrosis, or sexual dysfunction (mainly in men).
Common Causes of Peripheral Neuropathy
Peripheral neuropathy can be the result of inflammation caused by either of the following.
Diseases – Diabetes is the most common disease that can result in peripheral neuropathy diabetes. Others include kidney disease, liver disease, and hypothyroidism.
Infectious diseases – HIV and Aids, Shingles, Epstein-Barr virus, Lyme disease, Diphtheria and Leprosy.
Trauma – direct injury to the nerves from car accidents, falls, fractures, repetitive or abnormal motion. A common example of neuropathy caused by repetitive motion like assembly line work or construction work, is carpal tunnel syndrome
Alcohol and other toxins – Alcohol, chemicals like solvents and insecticides and heavy metals like lead, arsenic, and mercury can damage nerve tissue resulting in nerve damage.
Autoimmune disorders – Such as Multiple sclerosis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Guillain-Barré syndrome, Lupus, and Sjogren’s syndrome.
Cancer – as tumors grow they compress surrounding nerves and nerve tissue causing damage.
Medications – certain medications especially the ones used to treat cancer can result in nerve damage.
Inherited disorders – Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease is the most common inherited neuropathy.
Nutritional deficiencies – If your diet is lacking in vitamin B, E and niacin this will compromise your nerve health.
Though there are, many causes of neuropathy, there are a large number of cases where the cause may not be easy to identify even after varied testing. When this happens, doctors refer to your condition as idiopathic which means of unknown cause.
CBD as an Alternative Treatment for Peripheral Neuropathy
Cannabidiol or CBD is gaining ground as a viable treatment option for peripheral neuropathy due to its many therapeutic and medicinal properties. Some of these properties that have proven to be extremely effective in treating neuropathy include anti-pain, anti-inflammatory, anxiolytic, cytotoxic, antispasmodic, anticonvulsant.
CBD is found in the Cannabis Sativa plant but it is also found in the human body. The cannabinoids found in the body are referred to as endocannabinoids. They make up the endocannabinoid system (ECS) that also contains the two main receptors (CB1 and CB2) that allow it to interact with the CBD found in plants. The ECS also contains enzymes that are responsible for breaking down endocannabinoids.
CBD does not interact directly with the ECS like tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, which is known for its psychoactive properties, does. It works indirectly by preventing the breakdown of the body’s own endocannabinoids so that increased levels of it can remain active in the body and be used to bring the body back into rhythm.
For example, CBD boosts the production of TRPV-1, which is responsible for regulating body temperature, pain, and inflammation. It also activates serotonin and dopamine that improves appetite and sleep. It has also been known to inhibit the ID-1 gene, which is responsible for some types of cancers.
Interest in CBD as an alternative treatment option for peripheral neuropathy can also be attributed to the fact that it is well tolerated in high doses. It also has very few side effects (the majority of which are minor) when compared to other common prescription medications. It is also non-habit forming and creates no dependencies.