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Will CBD Oil Ease Neuropathic Pain?

Readers would like to know if they can use CBD oil for relief from neuropathic pain. Research is limited, but one study suggests topical CBD is helpful.
Foot cramps neuropathy nerve pain foot pain plantar fasciitis

Pain due to misfiring of neurons (aka neuropathic pain) can be extremely difficult to treat. Once a pain pathway sets in, disrupting it becomes an enormous challenge. People have tried acupuncture, supplements such as benfotiamine  and medications such as gabapentin or pregabalin. With the rapidly increasing popularity of cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychotropic component of cannabis and hemp, many patients wonder whether this compound could ease their suffering from nerve pain.

Is CBD Oil Helpful for Neuropathic Pain?

Q. I would like to know if CBD oil would be helpful against neuropathy.

A. A placebo-controlled trial tested a product with 250 mg cannabidiol (CBD) per 3 fluid ounces to treat neuropathy of the feet (Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, online Dec. 1, 2019). The scientists report “significant improvement in pain and other disturbing sensations” among those who applied the product for a month.

In a systematic review a few years ago (Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, March 7, 2018), analysts concluded:

“The potential benefits of cannabis-based medicine (herbal cannabis, plant-derived or synthetic THC, THC/CBD oromucosal spray) in chronic neuropathic pain might be outweighed by their potential harms.”

However, the 16 trials they reviewed were not testing topical applications, but rather products people ingested or inhaled. As a result, we can’t extrapolate their fears of psychiatric harm to products that contain CBD oil in cream.

Unfortunately, CBD products, like other botanical medicines in the US, are essentially unregulated. Consequently, you may want to consult ConsumerLab.com to see if the CBD oil you are considering to treat your neuropathic pain has been tested for quality.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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  • Xu DH et al, "The effectiveness of topical cannabidiol oil in symptomatic relief of peripheral neuropathy of the lower extremities." Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, online Dec. 1, 2019. DOI: 10.2174/1389201020666191202111534
  • Mucke M et al, "Cannabis-based medicines for chronic neuropathic pain in adults." Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, March 7, 2018. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD012182.pub2
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I use CBD ointment nightly for knee pain, and it works very well. I certainly notice if I have not applied for a few days.

CBD lotion has helped my neuropathy in my feet. I use it two times a day. 675mg

I tried CBD oil for nerve damage. It was worthless.

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