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Can You Use CBD for Neuropathy? What the Science Says

Published May 08, 2024
Can You Use CBD for Neuropathy? What the Science Says - Secret Nature

The study of CBD’s usefulness of neuropathic pain has a relatively long history compared to inquiries into other conditions. Many potential applications of CBD, for instance, have few or no clinical human trials regardless of their potential merit. Neuropathy was an early target of CBD trials, however, and it remains a well-researched and highly understood application of cannabidiol — both with and without THC. Learn about the most pertinent studies conducted on CBD and neuropathy, stretching from 2006 all the way to current date.

CBD for Neuropathy: Overview

1. CBD is believed to be highly effective against neuropathy
2. This is a position corroborated by extensive human and animal trials
3. A CBD-based drug has even been approved for multiple sclerosis neuropathy
4. For neuropathy, CBD is either orally ingested or applied topically
5. Recent research indicates that topical application may be ideal
6. Scientists are also experimenting with combining CBD and other neuropathy therapies

Most Recent Research on CBD and Neuropathy

2023: Cannabidiol-Loaded Extracellular Vesicles from Human Umbilical Cord Mesenchymal Stem Cells Alleviate Paclitaxel-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy

Some of the more recent research on CBD and neuropathy has focused on the cannabinoid’s potential usefulness in reducing chemotherapy-related pain. This study investigated CBD’s ability to reduce pain caused by paclitaxel, a chemotherapy drug with limited utility due to its “excruciating” side effects. It involved mouse subjects and took a novel approach to CBD administration: packaging the cannabinoid inside stem cells. The results were positive, with the authors concluding that both their novel CBD therapy and CBD alone “have shown potential in reducing mechanical and thermal pain sensitivities.”

2022: Intrathecal Actions of the Cannabis Constituents Δ(9)-Tetrahydrocannabinol and Cannabidiol in a Mouse Neuropathic Pain Model

Allodynia is a type of pain common in neuropathy in which pain is felt in response to stimuli that aren’t usually painful. This Australian pre-clinical study sought to determine if either THC or CBD showed usefulness in reducing neuropathy-related allodynia. Both cannabinoids were determined to be useful, with it being noted that they considerably surpassed expectations “in potency compared to their predicted additive effect.”

2021: Topical Cannabinoids for Treating Chemotherapy-Induced Neuropathy: A Case Series

This case series consisting of data acquired from a network of oncology clinics presents considerable evidence that CBD might be of use when combatting chemotherapy-related neuropathy. Patients at cancer clinics were interviewed, and their responses regarding the efficacy and side effects of CBD were logged and collated. After reviewing this information, the facilitators of the study concluded that CBD “may be helpful for patients with chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy.”

2021: Cannabidiol effectively reverses mechanical and thermal allodynia, hyperalgesia, and anxious behaviors in a neuropathic pain model: Possible role of CB1 and TRPV1 receptors

Noting that chronic pain and anxiety are often comorbid, this animal study sought to map the specific chemical pathways by which CBD might positively impact both neuropathy and anxiety. In the end, the researchers found that CBD affected the amygdala, insular cortex, and parts of the hippocampus, apparently through modification of both TRPV1 and CB1 neuroreceptors. They found that their results “contribute to the evidence of CBD's beneficial effects on treating chronic pain and associated comorbidities such as anxiety.”

CBD for Neuropathy Human Trials

2020: The Effectiveness of Topical Cannabidiol Oil in Symptomatic Relief of Peripheral Neuropathy of the Lower Extremities

Consisting of 29 neuropathic patients, this human trial sought to determine how these patients would respond to a dose of 250mg topical CBD over a period of four weeks. The facilitators of the study noted a “statistically significant reduction in intense pain, sharp pain, cold and itchy sensations in the CBD group when compared to the placebo group” over the course of their inquiry. As a result, they concluded that “transdermal application of CBD oil can achieve significant improvement in pain and other disturbing sensations in patients with peripheral neuropathy.”

2016: Evaluating Sativex in Neuropathic Pain Management: A Clinical and Neurophysiological Assessment in Multiple Sclerosis

Clinical studies like this one conducted to determine the effectiveness of the CBD:THC drug Sativex are plentiful in the period between 2006 and 2016. Sativex was entering the market at the time, and trials were conducted to determine its safety and efficacy. Consisting of 20 patients who received Sativex over four weeks, the results of the study led its facilitators to conclude that “Sativex may be effective in improving MS-related neuropathic pain.”

2014: Sativex: clinical efficacy and tolerability in the treatment of symptoms of multiple sclerosis and neuropathic pain

As the largest clinical study conducted on CBD’s usefulness for neuropathy to date, this inquiry consisted of 303 patients who were administered Sativex over a 15-week period. In the end, the facilitators of the study found that the CBD:THC drug provided “clinically important improvements in pain, sleep quality and SGIC of the severity of their condition.”

Additional CBD for Neuropathy Studies

2006: Sativex: clinical efficacy and tolerability in the treatment of symptoms of multiple sclerosis and neuropathic pain

This was the first human trial ever conducted on the usefulness of CBD for neuropathy. It found that “Sativex is efficacious and well tolerated in the treatment of [neuropathy] symptoms.”

Discussion: Should CBD Be Used for Neuropathy?

CBD is currently used in clinical settings as a treatment for neuropathy in the form of Sativex. Even without THC, CBD appears to offer considerable utility for many individuals combatting MS-related neuropathy and other forms of neurological pain.

Sativex requires a doctor’s prescription, but CBD does not. Now that THCA is also available online, it has become possible to replicate the 1:1 ratio of CBD:THC found in Sativex. Either combined with THC or not, MS patients and others suffering from neuropathy should seriously consider CBD as they search for solutions to their chronic neurological pain.

Sources

1. Kalvala, A. K., Bagde, A., Arthur, P., Kulkarni, T., Bhattacharya, S., Surapaneni, S. K., Patel, N. K., Nimma, R., Gebeyehu, A., Kommineni, N., Meckes, D. G., Lee, S., Banjara, B., Mosley-Kellum, K., Dinh, T. C., & Singh, M. (2023). Cannabidiol-Loaded Extracellular Vesicles from Human Umbilical Cord Mesenchymal Stem Cells Alleviate Paclitaxel-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy. Pharmaceutics, 15(2), 554. https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics15020554

2. Casey, S. L., Mitchell, V., Sokolaj, E. E., Winters, B. L., & Vaughan, C. W. (2022). Intrathecal actions of the cannabis constituents Δ(9)-Tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol in a mouse neuropathic pain model. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 23(15), 8649. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23158649

3. D’Andre, S. D., McAllister, S. D., Nagi, J., Giridhar, K. V., Ruiz-Macias, E., & Loprinzi, C. L. (2021). Topical Cannabinoids for Treating Chemotherapy-Induced Neuropathy: A Case series. Integrative Cancer Therapies, 20, 153473542110617. https://doi.org/10.1177/15347354211061739

4. Silva-Cardoso, G. K., Lazarini-Lopes, W., Hallak, J. E. C., De Souza Crippa, J. A., Zuardi, A. W., García-Cairasco, N., & Leite‐Panissi, C. R. A. (2021). Cannabidiol effectively reverses mechanical and thermal allodynia, hyperalgesia, and anxious behaviors in a neuropathic pain model: Possible role of CB1 and TRPV1 receptors. Neuropharmacology, 197, 108712. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropharm.2021.108712

5. Xu, D. H., Cullen, B. D., Tang, M., & Fang, Y. (2020). The effectiveness of topical cannabidiol oil in symptomatic relief of peripheral neuropathy of the lower extremities. Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, 21(5), 390–402. https://doi.org/10.2174/1389201020666191202111534

6. Russo, M., Naro, A., Leo, A., Sessa, E., D’Aleo, G., Bramantı, P., & Calabrò, R. S. (2016). Evaluating Sativex®in Neuropathic pain management: A clinical and neurophysiological assessment in multiple sclerosis. Pain Medicine, pnv080. https://doi.org/10.1093/pm/pnv080

7. Serpell, M., Ratcliffe, S., Hovorka, J., Schofield, M., Taylor, L. A., Lauder, H., & Ehler, E. (2014). A double‐blind, randomized, placebo‐controlled, parallel group study of THC/CBD spray in peripheral neuropathic pain treatment. European Journal of Pain, 18(7), 999–1012. https://doi.org/10.1002/j.1532-2149.2013.00445.x

8. Barnes, M. P. (2006). Sativex®: clinical efficacy and tolerability in the treatment of symptoms of multiple sclerosis and neuropathic pain. Expert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy, 7(5), 607–615. https://doi.org/10.1517/14656566.7.5.607

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