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CBD for Back Pain: Does CBD Have Pain Relieving Effects?


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Some emerging evidence suggests cannabidiol (CBD) might help alleviate back pain for some people. However, as with any relatively new treatment the question isn’t a simple one.

In this article, we'll explore the mechanisms by which CBD may offer relief for chronic pain patients, the varying forms and methods of consumption, and the scientific studies that back its potential benefits. We'll also touch upon the differences in individual experiences and the factors that may influence the effectiveness of CBD for pain management. 

As we navigate the complex world of CBD and its potential for chronic back pain, we’ll aim to provide a comprehensive understanding so that readers like you can make more informed decisions about using nonprescription CBD products.

Is CBD Good for Back Pain? A Closer Look at the Science

Early research shows that CBD offers potential as a treatment for many forms of back pain due to its multi-faceted approach to pain and inflammation management through the endocannabinoid system, without significant risks of addiction or life-threatening overdose.

Animal Studies on CBD's Anti-inflammatory Properties

Early studies on animals, especially rodents, show that CBD could reduce pain and inflammation.

A notable study in 2015 found that a CBD gel applied to the skin of mice lessened joint swelling and visible pain symptoms inside the joint associated with arthritis pain.

The study also looked at markers of inflammation in the spinal cord and nerve clusters, finding that CBD reduced these markers with doses of 6.2 and 62 mg/day. The topical administration of CBD didn't affect normal exploratory behavior, meaning it likely had limited effects on brain functions [1].

Human Clinical Trials on CBD for Pain Relief

CBD's journey from animal models to human trials hasn't been entirely smooth, mainly because of the compound's association with the broader cannabis sativa plant and consequent legal and societal complications.

Large-scale trials are in the works focusing on CBD's effects on back pain. However, most of the research currently available combines CBD with THC for pain.

For example, Nabiximols, or Sativex, combine equal parts of CBD and THC as a prescription-only medical cannabis product to address multiple sclerosis symptoms, neuropathic pain, and cancer pain [2].

Surveys and Anecdotal Evidence on CBD for Pain Management

Following the science is crucial, but individual experiences can also provide a unique perspective, especially in the early stages of cannabis research.

The Gallup Poll is a respected series of public opinion surveys conducted by the Gallup Organization in the United States.

In a 2019 Gallup Poll, a sizable chunk of respondents felt positive about CBD's effects on relieving pain. Around 40% stated that CBD was highly effective, while 37% felt it provided some relief. 

These figures underscore the importance of ongoing research, as there's a clear indication of potential benefits, even if the exact mechanisms and optimal uses remain to be defined [3].

CBD and Inflammation

One of the primary reasons researchers believe CBD might be effective against back pain is its anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation is often a significant contributor to chronic back pain, especially with arthritis or muscle strain.

Studies have shown that CBD can inhibit certain cellular processes that lead to inflammation, making it a potential natural remedy for inflammatory-related pains [4].

Different Types of Back Pain and Their Main Causes

Woman in exersice clothes with different red zones in her back

Back pain is one of the most common ailments experienced by individuals worldwide. It can manifest in various forms and can be attributed to many causes. Understanding the type and cause of back pain is crucial for effective treatment and prevention. Below are the primary types of back pain and their leading causes:

Acute Back Pain

Duration:

  • Usually lasts for less than six weeks.

Main Causes:

  • Muscle or Ligament Strain: Overexertion or awkward movements can strain the muscles or ligaments in the back.
  • Minor Injuries: Falls, minor accidents, or sports-related injuries can lead to acute back pain.

How CBD May Help:

  • Acute pain often arises due to inflammation resulting from an injury or strain. CBD has demonstrated anti-inflammatory properties, which may help reduce inflammation at the injury site.
  • CBD might help alleviate acute pain by interacting with endocannabinoid receptors in the brain, which play a role in pain perception.

Mechanical Back Pain

Mechanical back pain, sometimes called nonspecific back pain, is the most common type of back pain and pertains to pain felt in the back that usually comes from the spine, muscles, intervertebral discs, or nearby structures.

Duration:

  • Acute mechanical back pain: less than six weeks
  • Subacute mechanical back pain: 6-12 weeks
  • Chronic mechanical back pain: more than 12 weeks

Characteristics:

  • Pain is primarily caused by the movement of the spine or certain postures.

Main Causes:

  • Herniated Disc: When a spinal disc's soft interior pushes out through a crack in its tougher exterior.
  • Scoliosis: An abnormal curvature of the spine.
  • Kyphosis: Excessive outward curve of the spine, leading to a hunched back.
  • Spondylolisthesis: A vertebra slips forward over the one below it.

How CBD May Help:

  • The body might still be healing for subacute mechanical pain, and inflammation can remain an issue. As with acute pain, CBD's anti-inflammatory effects can be beneficial.
  • Pain at this stage can start to impact mood and sleep. CBD's potential anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) and sleep-promoting effects might also be advantageous [5].

Chronic Back Pain

Duration:

  • Persists for 12 weeks or longer, even after the initial injury or cause of the pain has been treated.

Main Causes:

  • Degenerative Disc Disease: Natural aging process where spinal discs lose their flexibility and cushioning.
  • Arthritis: Especially osteoarthritis, which can impact the lower back.
  • Spinal Stenosis: Narrowing of the spinal column space, putting pressure on the spinal cord and nerves.

How CBD May Help:

  • Chronic back pain can sometimes become a more complex condition where the brain amplifies pain signals even if the original injury has healed. This phenomenon is known as central sensitization. CBD's interaction with endocannabinoid receptors might help modulate these pain signals, potentially reducing pain perception, particularly to aging adults that find CBD oil beneficial to alleviate pains associated with aging.
  • Chronic pain sufferers often report anxiety, depression, and sleep disturbances. CBD's potential mood-stabilizing and sleep-promoting properties can be supportive in managing these related issues [5, 6].

Neuropathic Back Pain (Chronic Pain)

Characteristics:

  • Sharp, shooting, or burning pain. Often associated with nerve changes or damage.

Main Causes:

  • Sciatica: Pain that radiates along the sciatic nerve due to a herniated disc or bone spur compressing the nerve.
  • Spinal Cord Injuries: Accidents or trauma that damage the spinal cord.

How CBD May Help:

  • Chronic inflammation can exacerbate neuropathic pain. The anti-inflammatory properties of CBD might help mitigate some of this inflammation, potentially reducing pain.
  • Some research suggests that CBD has neuroprotective effects, which may help protect nerve cells from further damage and support their function.

Referred Back Pain

Characteristics:

  • Dull, aching pain that varies in intensity. The pain often moves around and doesn't stay in one specific location.

Main Causes:

  • Kidney Issues: Conditions such as kidney stones or infections can cause pain in the back, often mistaken for spinal pain.
  • Gynecological Issues: Conditions like endometriosis can sometimes manifest as back pain.

How CBD May Help:

  • While the pain is referred to the back, it still involves pain signals traveling through the nervous system. As with other types of pain, CBD's interaction with the endocannabinoid system might help modulate these signals, potentially providing relief.
  • Stress and anxiety can intensify pain perception. CBD's potential relaxing and anxiolytic effects might help alleviate some of the stress of dealing with chronic or acute referred pain.

The Best Types of CBD for Back Pain

With many CBD types and CBD brands in the market, there are only few that are listed to be among the best CBD products for pain management. The effectiveness of CBD for pain can be influenced by the type of CBD used and the administration method. Below, we'll expand on the best types of CBD for back pain, considering factors like potency, bioavailability, and targeted relief.

Full Spectrum CBD vs. Broad Spectrum CBD vs. CBD Isolate

  • Full Spectrum CBD: Contains all the cannabinoids found in the hemp plant, including THC (though usually in very minimal amounts, typically less than 0.3%). It also includes terpenes and flavonoids. This combination is believed to provide an "entourage effect," where the compounds work synergistically to enhance their potential therapeutic properties.
  • Broad Spectrum CBD: Similar to full spectrum, but it has undergone additional processes to remove the THC. It’s a middle ground between full spectrum and isolates, retaining most of the cannabis compounds but without THC. This can be preferred by those concerned about THC's psychoactive effects or who have drug-testing concerns.
  • CBD Isolate: As the name suggests, this is pure CBD. All other compounds, including THC, terpenes, and flavonoids, are removed. It's an option for those who want just the potential benefits of CBD without any other cannabinoids.

Best Forms of CBD for Back Pain

CBD Oils/Tinctures

CBD oils taken sublingually (under the tongue), which allows for relatively fast absorption directly into the bloodstream. CBD oil for pain can offer systemic relief and may benefit those with widespread pain or other accompanying symptoms like anxiety or sleep disturbances.

CBD Gummies and Capsules:

These CBD products are ingested, so they must pass through the digestive system before entering the bloodstream. CBD Gummies and capsules provide more extended-release relief than oils and can be a convenient option for maintaining consistent CBD levels throughout the day. Incorporating CBD into your daily routine using CBD Gummies for back pain provides a tasty and convenient method.

Additionally, CBD gummies and capsules often include various infused ingredients that may target specific pain-related conditions. CBD gummies formulated for neuropathic pain could potentially help to alleviate the intense, sharp pains associated with nerve damage commonly found in chronic back ailments, providing a specialized and precise form of relief.

For those dealing with fibromyalgia, where pain is not confined to the back, CBD edibles along with edibles for fibromyalgia can offer more sustained relief throughout the body due to their prolonged effects. Such integrative use of CBD aims to support pain and inflammation management holistically. 

Topical CBD Products

Topical CBD products, like CBD cream, balm, and lotion, are applied directly to the skin over the painful area. 

They provide targeted relief and are particularly beneficial for localized back pain. The CBD doesn't enter the bloodstream but interacts with local endocannabinoid receptors in the skin. Topicals might also contain other pain-relieving ingredients like menthol or capsaicin.

CBD Patches

These are adhesive patches infused with CBD that are placed on the skin. They offer targeted and extended-release relief as the CBD gradually absorbs over time. Some patches are designed to enter the bloodstream to provide some systemic relief.

CBD Bath Bombs and Salts

CBD-infused bath products can benefit those looking to combine pain relief with relaxation. Immersing in a CBD-infused bath might help with muscle relaxation and overall relief.

Smokable CBD Products

Smokable CBD products like hemp flower and vapes stand out for swift potential relief from back pain. They offer rapid absorption, high bioavailability, and the real-time flexibility to adjust dosages.

Moreover, smokables provide a natural experience close to the hemp plant's form, enhanced by the “entourage effect” of combined cannabis compounds. Various strains cater to specific pain types and preferences. Optimize your understanding of cannabis strains for pain by choosing from their renowned pain-relieving properties.

Dosage of CBD for Pain Relief

If you're new to CBD, start with a modest 5-10 mg dose, monitoring your pain and any side effects over a few days. If needed, increase the dose gradually to find what's effective without overdoing it.

For topical CBD, potency is key. The goal is to penetrate the skin barrier, so higher concentrations, around 8-10 mg per application, are advised. Massage it in well to ensure better absorption.

Your ideal dosage depends on body weight, metabolism, and pain intensity. Everyone's metabolism varies, and a more severe pain may require a higher dose. Also, consider how other medications might interact with CBD.

Stay consistent with CBD and adjust the dose as needed over time. As always, consult a healthcare professional before making any changes.

CBD Products: Quality and Purity

Always choose high-quality CBD products from reputable sources.

The source of the hemp or cannabis used in a CBD product is the foundation of its quality. Plants grown in pristine conditions, free from harmful pesticides and herbicides, will yield a cleaner and more potent CBD extract. High-quality manufacturers will also use ethical extraction methods, like CO2 extraction, which preserves the purity of the CBD while eliminating potential toxins.

Reputable CBD companies often provide lab results from third-party entities to verify the product's content. These lab results will confirm the amount of CBD present and ensure that THC levels are within the legal and safe range. 

Moreover, they'll verify that the product is free from harmful contaminants like heavy metals, solvents, and harmful microbial organisms.

Top Recommended CBD Products for Back Pain

1. Neurogan Full Spectrum CBD Freeze Roll-On

Neurogan's CBD Roll On

Neurogan's Full Spectrum CBD Freeze Roll-On offers an impressive 4000 mg of CBD in just 2 oz for those seeking potent relief from discomfort. This unique blend is among the most robust topical CBD solutions available and is also crafted to assist with post-workout recovery and day-to-day comfort.

Infused with natural hemp, cooling peppermint, and nourishing botanicals, this roll-on is designed for ease with its convenient applicator, making it straightforward to apply CBD for lower back pain and to other areas, ensuring targeted relief and comfort without leaving a greasy residue. Notably, it's competitively priced, making it a go-to choice for many.

2. Neurogan CBD Indica Gummies

Neurogan CBD Indica Gummies

If you prefer a tasteful approach to your CBD intake, consider Neurogan's Vegan Watermelon CBD Indica Gummies.

Packed with a generous 120 mg of full spectrum hemp extract in each square, these gummies contain 3600 mg of CBD across 30 pieces.

Their Indica terpenes blend, such as myrcene, linalool, and caryophyllene, sets them apart, tailored to provide utmost mind and body relaxation. For Indica strains, the combination of terpenes and cannabinoids might be particularly effective for pain relief.

The Takeaway: CBD For Back Pain

In the complex realm of back pain relief, CBD emerges as a promising option, offering potential benefits without the drawbacks of traditional pain medications.

From the soothing effects of topicals to the relaxation induced by Indica terpenes, the versatility of CBD products like those from Neurogan CBD can be a game-changer for many seeking respite from discomfort.

Remember, always prioritize quality and purity when selecting your CBD products.

Ready to discover the potential benefits for yourself? Dive into the Neurogan CBD catalog and explore a world of hemp-derived holistic wellness.

Resources:

  1. Hammell, D. C., Zhang, L. P., Ma, F., Abshire, S. M., McIlwrath, S. L., Stinchcomb, A. L., & Westlund, K. N. (2016). Transdermal cannabidiol reduces inflammation and pain‐related behaviours in a rat model of arthritis. European journal of pain, 20(6), 936-948.
  2. Urits, Ivan, Kyle Gress, Karina Charipova, Kelly Habib, David Lee, Christopher Lee, Jai Won Jung et al. "Use of cannabidiol (CBD) for the treatment of chronic pain." Best Practice & Research Clinical Anaesthesiology 34, no. 3 (2020): 463-477.
  3. Brenan, M. (2019, August 7). 14% of Americans Say They Use CBD Products. Gallup. https://news.gallup.com/poll/263147/americans-say-cbd-products.aspx
  4. Ruhaak, L. R., Felth, J., Karlsson, P. C., Rafter, J. J., Verpoorte, R., & Bohlin, L. (2011). Evaluation of the cyclooxygenase inhibiting effects of six major cannabinoids isolated from Cannabis sativa. Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin, 34(5), 774-778.
  5. Blessing, E. M., Steenkamp, M. M., Manzanares, J., & Marmar, C. R. (2015). Cannabidiol as a potential treatment for anxiety disorders. Neurotherapeutics, 12(4), 825-836.
  6. Babson, K. A., Sottile, J., & Morabito, D. (2017). Cannabis, cannabinoids, and sleep: a review of the literature. Current psychiatry reports, 19, 1-12.
BY
Dr. James Hook

Chiropractic Degree, Life Chiropractic College West Dr. James graduated Magna Cum Laude with a doctorate of Chiropractic degree from Life Chiropractic College West. James grew up in Bozeman, Montana, where he started playing sports at a young age, which sparked his interest in human anatomy and ...


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