CBD or cannabidiol oil is not medical marijuana and will not get an individual high, stoned, etc. It has shown to give many individuals relief from back pain. Many natural food stores offer cannabis oils or CBD oils. Marijuana dispensaries, also sell CBD oils/products. And you can also buy CBD oil and products online. What exactly is this type of treatment? And can it really help with back pain?
CBD oil comes from the cannabis plant, that contains known two chemical compounds:
Both of these compounds have shown a variety of possible health benefits, which include back pain relief. It is only the THC that can get someone high. Medical marijuana and CBD are two different compounds. Medical marijuana contains THC. CBD oils and products do not contain THC.
Those that use CBD oil claim that it helps with a variety of health issues, from:
- Chronic diseases
- Sleep disorders
However, the quality of the oil does make a difference. There is no guarantee that what is sold in many stores actually has CBD oil. Currently, the product is unregulated.
High-quality oil can be a very powerful medicine. The FDA has approved one CBD compound, that treats 2 rare forms of epilepsy. Most if not all CBD products are under clinical investigation and development.
Although there is anecdotal evidence of CBD oil for various disorders, there has not been a great deal of study on it and its effects. Most of the research looks at the effect of cannabinoids in general, this includes combinations of CBD and THC.
In general, cannabinoids have been found to be a promising option for the relief of some chronic pain conditions. Research has explored around 30 studies on cannabinoid use in chronic non-cancer pain, including:
- Mixed chronic pain
- Neuropathic pain
- Rheumatoid arthritis
Most of the studies found the CBD to have a positive analgesic effect. 2020 study suggests that topical CBD oil can reduce pain, cold and itchy sensations in individuals with peripheral neuropathy.
There are even doctors and surgeons that use it after long days, after surgeries, etc, despite the minimal evidence. They found that it helps with body soreness, as there is symptomatic relief for joint and muscle pain.
It works much the same way that topical muscle/sports creams help to soothe pain symptoms. These CBD products have also shown to improve those with insomnia and anxiety. These are two factors that are known to make back pain worse.
Research has shown that most CBD products are safe to use, but that does not mean they are completely safe. There are quality control issues, as CBD oil is not FDA-approved, meaning that the claims on the label might not be correct or misleading. A bottle of CBD oil could:
- Have harmful ingredients
- Have little to no CBD oil
- Does not treat conditions listed
Check with your health care provider about any potential drug interactions, especially if currently taking medications for anxiety, stress, or sleep disorders. There are minor side effects, as CBD can cause drowsiness, diarrhea, decreased appetite, weight loss, and mood changes.
Taking CBD Oil
CBD oil comes in several forms with no true guidance on individual dosage. Here’s what you should know:
Capsules are easy to take daily, once an effective dose has been established
These are herbal extractions made into liquids that can be taken with a dropper. These can provide faster relief than capsules. Instructions are to keep the CBD oil under the tongue for a minute or two. The tincture can take effect in 15 minutes.
CBD oil also comes in lotions, creams, or ointments that could also contain ingredients in other topical pain relievers like capsaicin. Individuals will find pain relief, but the mix of ingredients makes it hard to know if it is the CBD oil that is working. Because the FDA has not set up proper dosing guidelines, individuals might have to find the proper dose through trial and error.
The Arthritis Foundation gives some common guidelines:
- Begin with a low dosage and see how it feels after a week
- Increase the dosage in small increments
- If the CBD does not work on its own, talk to your doctor about trying out a different method/technique/options.
Unregulated health treatments can come with the potential for health issues. For example, FDA testing has found that many products do not have the amount of CBD that was listed on the label. They are also investigating reports that some products have unwanted ingredients, from THC to metals. Here is some guidance on how to find quality products:
- Search for ingredients that are grown and manufactured in the United States
- Purchase products from companies that test their all batches at a lab. Make sure the lab uses methods approved by the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia, the U.S. Pharmacopeia, or the Association of Official Agricultural Chemists.
- Stay away from companies that claim their products can treat or cure diseases.
- Try a compounding pharmacy. Compounding pharmacies have higher-quality products than what you would find through mail-order, online, and over the counter.
CBD oil Option
Remember this is just an option for back pain, made to be combined with physical therapy, chiropractic, massage, etc. It is not a cure-all but another tool in pain management. And there are plenty of other complementary and alternative treatments for back pain.