Sciatica is where the sciatic nerve, which runs from your lower back to your feet, is irritated or compressed. This can lead to sharp pain, tingling, numbness or weakness in your lower back, bum, leg, foot and toes, which can significantly impact the day-to-day life of its sufferers. The good news is that, for most people with sciatica, surgery is not required. Instead, home remedies can help to relieve the pain. One natural solution that has gained significant attention for its potential to alleviate symptoms is CBD (Cannabidiol).
CBD is the non-psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant. It interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in our bodies, which plays a crucial role in regulating various physiological processes, such as pain perception, inflammation and mood.
Can CBD Help Sciatica?
Studies suggest that CBD can help to relieve nerve pain, reduce inflammation and improve sleep, which could help with sciatica pain. However, it’s important to note that it’s not a cure; CBD can’t address the compression of the sciatic nerve, but rather helps to manage the symptoms.
CBD & Pain Relief
One of the main reasons people turn to CBD for sciatica is its potential for pain relief, as demonstrated in several scientific studies.
- In a 2019 study, orally consumed cannabinoids provided long-lasting relief of allodynia in a chronic, neuropathic sciatic nerve injury mouse model.
- Mouse models of pain associated with chemotherapy were also simulated by Paclitaxel treatment, in which CBD produced an analgesic and anti-inflammatory effect via interactions with a spinal cord receptor.
- Another 2012 study found that cannabinoids suppress inflammatory and neuropathic pain by targeting spinal α3 glycine receptors.
- An open-label, prospective, observational study in 2022 found that treatment with hemp-derived CBD gel caps was associated with significant improvements in pain scores and several quality-of-life measures for patients with lumbar spinal stenosis — a narrowing of the spinal canal, which can lead to sciatica.
- An anecdotal report in The Independent found that CBD oil ‘cured’ one woman’s sciatica. She claimed that the oil, which is legal to purchase in the UK, ‘worked almost instantly and has left her virtually pain-free’ since.
CBD & Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Inflammation is often a major contributor to sciatic pain. Thus, CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties have gained the attention of researchers and individuals looking for ways to better manage pain.
- Clinical studies have confirmed that CBD has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. An additional review confirmed that CBD and CBD+THC combination exert a predominantly anti-inflammatory effect, whereas THC alone does not.
- One animal study from the European Journal of Pain suggests that CBD could help lower pain and inflammation due to arthritis, when applied to skin.
A 2020 case series and literature review on CBD as a treatment of acute and chronic back pain concluded that CBD appears to have antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory effects on opioid-naive patients with neuro-pathic and radicular pain.
CBD & Sleep
Dealing with chronic pain can take a toll on your mental health, and impact your sleep. CBD has been associated with improvements to the quantity and quality of your sleep, which could be beneficial for those with sciatica.
- Researchers evaluated the effects of CBD treatment in 72 adults with either anxiety or sleep problems and, after 2 months, 78.1–79.2% of participants reported improvements in anxiety symptoms and 56.1% reported improvements to sleep.
- In a 2021 study, 48% of people taking CBD for sleep reported that it helped them to fall asleep quicker, with 40% saying it also helped them to sleep better.
- A systematic review in 2022 concluded that CBD alone, or with equal quantities of THC, may be beneficial in alleviating the symptoms of insomnia.
In short, CBD holds great promise as a potential, natural solution for managing sciatica-related pain and inflammation. Current scientific evidence is promising, but further research is required to fully understand the effects of this powerful compound.
Best CBD for Sciatica
Navigating the CBD market can be difficult due to its lack of regulation. However, there are some clear factors to look out for when choosing the best CBD product for you.
- Source and Quality: You should opt for CBD derived from organically grown hemp, as this ensures minimal exposure to harmful chemicals. You should also look for third-party laboratory reports to verify how pure and potent your product is, and to ensure there are no contaminants in the product.
- Type of CBD: Broad-spectrum CBD is a great option for those who want to experience the pain relieving effects of CBD, without consuming Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive compound in the cannabis plant. Learn more about the different types of CBD here.
- Product Form: CBD comes in various forms, including oils, edibles, and topicals. For targeted relief, topical creams or balms are the most effective, while oral consumption offers systemic effects for more convenient relief.
To recap, you should purchase your CBD from a reputable brand that uses safe and certified processes, and is transparent about their ingredients and manufacturing processes. At Purity Hemp, the UK’s #1 CBD Shop, we sell a range of third-party approved CBD products designed to improve the health and wellness of our customers.
CBD Dose for Sciatica
There is no set serving size for CBD. In general, it is recommended that you start with a low dosage of CBD and increase it as needed, until you find a dosage that is effective for you.
You should follow the dosing instructions provided by the manufacturer of your specific CBD product, and speak with a healthcare professional if you are unsure if it’s right for you.
- Abraham AD, Leung EJY, Wong BA, Rivera ZMG, Kruse LC, Clark JJ, Land BB. (2020) Orally consumed cannabinoids provide long-lasting relief of allodynia in a mouse model of chronic neuropathic pain.
- Atalay S, Jarocka-Karpowicz I, Skrzydlewska E. (2019) Antioxidative and Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Cannabidiol.
- Bakewell BK, Sherman M, Binsfeld K, Ilyas AM, Stache SA, Sharma S, Stolzenberg D, Greis A. (2022) The Use of Cannabidiol in Patients With Low Back Pain Caused by Lumbar Spinal Stenosis: An Observational Study.
- Eskander JP, Spall J, Spall A, Shah RV, Kaye AD. (2021) Cannabidiol (CBD) as a treatment of acute and chronic back pain: A case series and literature review.
- Grinspoon, P. (2018). Cannabidiol (CBD) — what we know and what we don’t – Harvard Health Blog.
- Moltke J, Hindocha C. (2021) Reasons for cannabidiol use: a cross-sectional study of CBD users, focusing on self-perceived stress, anxiety, and sleep problems.
- NHS Choices (2019). Sciatica.
- Ranum RM, Whipple MO, Croghan I, Bauer B, Toussaint LL, Vincent A. (2022) Use of Cannabidiol in the Management of Insomnia: A Systematic Review.
- Shannon S, Lewis N, Lee H, Hughes S. (2019) Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series.
- The Independent. (2017). Woman suffering with sciatica says £54 cannabis oil ‘cured’ agonising back pain.
- Xiong W, Cui T, Cheng K, Yang F, Chen SR, Willenbring D, Guan Y, Pan HL, Ren K, Xu Y, Zhang L. (2012) Cannabinoids suppress inflammatory and neuropathic pain by targeting α3 glycine receptors.