CBD oil for sciatica has only been considered relatively recently. Currently, the FDA only recognizes CBD as a treatment for epilepsy in a specific medication. However, studies are showing that CBD just might be a helpful asset in treating sciatica.
Keep in mind, this article is only intended to serve as information and does not provide medical advice. Talk to your doctor before starting any new treatment for sciatica.
In order to really understand just how CBD for sciatic pain can help, we need to think about the underlying issues in sciatica and the overall influence of CBD on the body. As shown above, sciatica is caused by pressure on the sciatic nerve.
Because of this, the focus of treatment is going to be reducing pressure on the sciatic nerve. It isn’t always that simple, though. Because of the delicate nature of the nervous system, even slight stressors can aggravate the nerve.
When the sciatic nerve is agitated, it can cause pain, soreness, numbness, and motor problems associated with sciatica. Along with this, there is usually some amount of inflammation in the affected area.
Sciatica belongs to a group of conditions known as radiculopathies. 6(Summa Health, 2020) This means that the root cause of the issue is located around the nerve root, but the symptoms can be found along the path that the nerve follows. This is why many who suffer from sciatica deal with distant pains in the buttocks, legs, knees, and feet.
One of the key tenets of the treatment of mild to moderate sciatica is reducing inflammation. This can be done in a number of ways. Many people know the acronym R.I.C.E.- Rest, ice, compression, and elevation. All of these work together to bring swelling, redness and heat down in the body.
As radiculopathy, it can be tempting to apply treatments to the area that you feel pain. Icing your leg when dealing with sciatica may feel like it will help, but for true relief, you will need to ice your lower back, where the nerve is compressed.
With the objective of reducing inflammation in one specific area, it is not surprising that researchers are looking to CBD for sciatica treatments. CBD is a cannabinoid that provides an overall sedating effect.
Within the body, certain chemicals are produced and absorbed to maintain a number of processes in what is known as the endocannabinoid system. 7(Lu & Mackie, 2015, 516-525) While there are a number of cannabinoids that can influence the body in a number of different ways, CBD has been studied more carefully due to the therapeutic nature of the effect it has. 8(Grinspoon, 2020)
Of course, CBD is not a magical cure-all for every disease under the sun. However, the evidence does suggest that sciatica may be one of the many ailments that CBD can genuinely help treat.
Because of the relatively recent interest in CBD for the treatment of pain and inflammation, further study must be done to prove effectiveness.
Still, there are enough studies to imply that CBD may be effective in the treatment of pain associated with sciatica and warrant further investigation. One such study involved rats. 9 (Abraham et al., 2020) In this study, rats with sciatic nerve damage were provided free access to CBD at their discretion.
Over the course of 3 weeks, the rats demonstrated decreased signs of pain, pointing to CBD as a valuable treatment option. Obviously, this study should not be enough to justify one’s own medical treatment.
This is merely one of many studies demonstrating the potential for CBD treatment being effective.
Another study that was conducted that shows a high likelihood of CBD is effective for the treatment of sciatica was done with patients who dealt with a number of conditions, including spinal injuries, neurological dysfunctions, and more. 10(Wade et al., 2003)
This simple study provided pain sufferers with CBD as a treatment option. After 2 weeks, those who were given CBD over the placebo demonstrated pain relief “significantly superior to placebo.”
While it must be admitted that this case-study had a small sample size, it does prove that there is merit to the research that is being done and that further studies are required for us to better understand the true impact of CBD.
Because there is a need for additional clinical research, it cannot be said for certain that an approved treatment would be using CBD for sciatica.
However, notice this personal testimony from a sufferer of sciatica and her experience with CBD. 11(Tapp, 2018) Fiona Tapp writes, “I did notice that my lower back didn’t ache as much as it usually does. My always-too-tight calf muscles felt loose and tingly. However, the biggest difference came hours later: That night, I happily realized that the usual pain I feel when trying to get comfy in bed was missing and I fell into a deep sleep.”
Just like each person will have a different experiencing sciatic pain, each person will have a different experience using CBD oil for sciatica.
As with any other supplement, talk to your doctor before using CBD for sciatica. If at any point you have any uncomfortable side-effects while using CBD oil for sciatica, stop and talk to a medical professional.
Reading this testimonial and the studies implying the benefit of CBD for sciatic pain, you may be wondering where to start looking. There are a few specific things to consider before buying just any product with CBD for sciatica.