Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the most popular cannabinoids, or chemical compounds, derived from the cannabis plant. The popularity of CBD use has soared in recent years due its wide array of health benefits. CBD has been known to reduce inflammation, combat anxiety, act as a sleeping aide, and reduce the likelihood of seizures. As research surrounding CBD has become more prevalent, there are even more health conditions that CBD is thought to help treat. Of these areas, CBD’s ability to treat neuropathy is especially promising.
Neuropathy is a condition that occurs when one’s peripheral nerves are damaged, which in turn produces pain, numbness, and weakness throughout the body. Also referred to as “peripheral neuropathy,” neuropathy can result from infections, injuries, exposure to toxins, and/or diabetes. Neuropathy causes nerves to become confused and send false signals to the brain, which can result in a variety of symptoms. Common symptoms include tingling or numbness in the feet or hands, sharp/shooting pain, freezing and/or burning sensations, lack of coordination, extreme sensitivity to touch, and/or muscle weakness. Neuropathy can also effect either one specific nerve or a host of nerves, and symptoms depend on the type of nerve(s) affected. Furthermore, neuropathy is not a single disease; rather, it is brought on by a host of other conditions. Conditions that induce neuropathy include traumatic injuries such as car accidents or sports injuries that damage peripheral nerves, viral or bacterial infections such as Lyme disease or hepatitis C, autoimmune disease such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, alcoholism, vitamin deficiencies, and diabetes, among others.
Despite the wide variety of possible causes of neuropathy, treatment options are relatively narrow. Some of the most common treatment methods of neuropathy consist of opioid painkillers, drugs used to treat epilepsy, antidepressants, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen. However, all of these treatment options present serious side effects. For example, opioid painkillers are extremely addictive, antidepressants can cause nausea and weight gain, and NSAIDs can increase the likelihood of a heart attack or stroke. CBD, on the other hand, provides an effective and natural treatment option for neuropathy without the negative side effects of current medications.
Our bodies are equipped with what is known as the endocannabinoid system, which is a network of receptors that are activated by endocannabinoids such as CBD and help the body maintain homeostasis. By activating these receptors throughout the body, CBD can help treat neuropathy symptoms by alleviating pain, discomfort, and inflammation. Certain endocannabinoid receptors are responsible for regulating nerve pain in particular, which makes CBD especially conducive to patients suffering from neuropathy. CBD is also effective because it can activate other receptors that opioids and NSAIDs cannot, and does not have any psychoactive properties unlike opiate-based painkillers. Additionally, it is believed that blending THC and CBD can have a synergistic effect when it comes to treating pain and inflammation. However, it is important that one consult a medical professional to determine the proper ratios and dosage when taking CBD to treat neuropathy.