Does CBD oil help with Neuropathic (Nerve) Pain?

Recently, cannabidiol (CBD) has appeared all over the place. You may have noticed "CBD Sold Here" signs or perhaps noticed how CBD comes infused with almost everything these days.

What is CBD, and why is it suddenly popular?

While many people use cannabidiol to relieve pain, more scientific research is needed to ensure their safety. Understanding CBD can help you overcome the stigma associated with it.

There are factors you may want to consider before using CBD oil to treat neuropathic pain, including any side effects you might experience.

In this article, we'll examine how CBD oil works and how it may be used to relieve neuropathic pain, so please read on to learn more!

What is Neuropathic Pain?

Neuropathic pain is a condition of chronic pain. It is usually due to or accompanied by an injury, illness, or infection. However, neuropathic pain is not a direct result of any one factor.

Neuropathic pain is created and sustained mainly as a result of the glutaminergic system, which is an essential pathway for neuronal excitation. Glutamate is a neurotransmitter responsible for activating neurons, which is sometimes a good thing. 

Without going too specific into this system, it is essential to understand how neuropathic pain may begin, so you can be better equipped to know how to handle it. One distinction to make is to differentiate neuropathic pain from inflammatory pain.

Inflammatory pain is associated with neuropathic pain, except it is not limited to neurons. Examples of inflammatory pain include all types of arthritis, certain autoimmune diseases such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, as well as simple conditions such as headaches, cramps, and muscle pain.

Usually, pain is the result of an injury or illness. For example, if you drop a heavy book on your foot, your nervous system sends out pain signals immediately after the book hits. With neuropathic pain, no event or injury causes pain. Instead, the body sends pain signals to your brain without warning.

People with this painful condition may experience shooting, burning pain. The pain may be constant or may occur at random. Feeling numbness or losing sensation is also common too. Neuropathic pain may worsen or improve over time.

Approximately 1 in 3 Americans suffer from chronic pain. Of these, 1 in 5 suffers from neuropathic pain. One study estimates that nearly 10% of Americans suffer from neuropathic pain.

What Causes Neuropathic Pain?

It is not a single disease; Neuropathic Pain is nerve damage caused by several conditions. Health problems that can cause Neuropathic Pain includes:

  • Autoimmune diseases: Rheumatoid Arthritis, Sjogren's syndrome, lupus, Guillain-Barré syndrome, chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, and vasculitis.
  • Diabetes: More than half of the people who have diabetes develop a type of neuropathy.
  • Infections: Include certain viral or bacterial infections, such as Lyme disease, shingles, Epstein-Barr virus, hepatitis B and C, leprosy, diphtheria, and HIV.
  • Hereditary disorders: Disorders such as Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease are inherited types of neuropathy.
  • Tumors: Cancer (malignant) and non-cancerous (benign) tumors can develop in the nerves or exert pressure on the nerves. Also, polyneuropathy can occur as a result of certain cancers associated with the body's immune response. 
  • Bone marrow disorders: These include abnormal blood protein (monoclonal gammopathies), a form of bone cancer (myeloma), lymphoma, and rare disease amyloidosis.
  • Other diseases: include kidney disease, liver, connective tissue disorders, and insufficient thyroid (hypothyroidism) levels.

Treatment Options for Neuropathic (Nerve) Pain

Get medical attention if you notice unusual tingling, weakness, or pain in the arms or legs. Early diagnosis and treatment are the best opportunity to control symptoms and prevent further damage to the peripheral nerves.

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Medical Treatment

In addition to medications used to treat conditions associated with Neuropathic Pain, medicines used to relieve the signs and symptoms of Neuropathic Pain include:

Pain relievers: Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, can alleviate mild symptoms. For more severe symptoms, your doctor may prescribe painkillers.

Anti-seizure medications: These are Pregabalin (Lyrica) and Gabapentin (Gralise, Neurontin, Horizant) which are developed to treat epilepsy, can alleviate nerve pain. Side effects can include drowsiness and dizziness.

Topical treatments Capsaicin cream containing a substance found in hot peppers may cause a slight improvement in the symptoms of Neuropathic Pain. You may have burns and skin irritation when applying the cream, but this will usually decrease over time. Some, however, cannot tolerate it.

Antidepressants: These are some tricyclic antidepressants, such as amitriptyline, nortriptyline (Pamelor) and doxepin (Silenor, Zonalon), help relieve pain by interfering with the chemical processes within the brain and spine that cause pain.

Side effects of antidepressants can include dry mouth, nausea, drowsiness, dizziness, loss of appetite, and constipation.

Alternative Treatment

Some people with Neuropathic Pain try to supplement other treatments for relief. Although research has not thoroughly studied these techniques, the following therapies have proved promising:

Acupuncture: Inserting thin needles into different parts of the body can reduce the symptoms of Neuropathic Pain. You may need more than one session to see improvement. Acupuncture is usually considered safe when a certified practitioner uses a sterile needle.

Alpha-lipoic acid: has been used for years to treat Neuropathic Pain in Europe. Talk about using Alpha Lipoic Acid with your doctor as it may affect your blood sugar. Other side effects may include stomach discomfort and rashes.

Medicinal Herbs: Several herbs, such as evening primrose oil, can help reduce the pain caused by neuropathy in people with diabetes. Some medicines interact with medicines, talk to your doctor.

Amino acids: such as acetyl-L-carnitine, can be useful for people who have undergone chemotherapy and for people with diabetes. Side effects can include nausea and vomiting.

CBD Treatment

When taken regularly with other natural supplements (e.g., curcumin, Omega-3), CBD can provide systemic relief from Neuropathic Pain. Usually taken three times a day, dosing at each interval depends on your specific needs. Typically, patients start at 0.5 mg per dose and increase to the maximum.

Cannabidiol can be an effective and non-psychotropic alternative to THC if appropriately used. However, we are still in the phase of integrating CBD into our health consciousness, so it is essential to consult your doctor before you use CBD to treat Neuropathic Pain.

It is important to keep in mind that CBD, like other nutraceuticals, can interact with medications.

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How CBD Can Treat Neuropathic Pain Symptoms

Each person's symptoms of their neuropathic pain may be different, but these are common:

  • Stabbing pain, burning sensations or shooting pain
  • Tingling and numbness
  • Phantom Limb
  • Spontaneous pain
  • Pain-related to common events that are usually not painful, such as rubbing up against something, getting cold, or brushing your hair.
  • Difficulty sleeping and restlessness
  • Difficulty with expressing feelings emotionally due to chronic pain.

CBD inhibits the release of glutamate and other inflammatory agents, making it "neuroprotective." CBD is excellent for reducing the itching, tingling, and burning sensations that characterize neuropathic pain. CBD can be used as a supplement to control neuropathic pain.

Pain inflammation is not as easy to characterize as other types of pain, mainly because its origin varies and experience is different. On the plus side, CBD is good for soothing inflammation, regardless of cause.

The anti-inflammatory mechanism of cannabidiol is exclusive to cannabis only. It does not work like other anti-inflammatory drugs by inhibiting COX-1 and COX-2 receptors, which means you are not in danger of developing a stomach or heart ulcer. Some studies have shown that cannabinoids (CBD and THC) are even twenty times more potent anti-inflammatory drugs than non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (eg, Ibuprofen).

What's the CBD Dosage for Neuropathic Pain?

Based on widespread anecdotal evidence only, the standard CBD dosage recommendation may depend on your body weight. Start with 1 to 6 mg for every 10 pounds of body weight. 

We've built a calculator for you so that you can find the lowest starting dose for your body weight below: 

The above dosage recommendation is general and merely a suggestion. Your case may differ in that you may need a lot more, while others may need a lot less. Please consult with your physician before supplementing your treatment with CBD.


Research into CBD has not proven its effectiveness for treating all types of pain. For this reason, it is crucial to understand your pain: Does it get worse over time, cause swelling, stabbing? If you feel neuropathic pain, talk to your doctor. CBD may be the right solution for you, but you may need more robust treatment.


About the Author Jessica Jones

Jesse has spent most of her adult life struggling with anxiety. After studying neuroscience at University, she has since dedicated her life into researching the effects of CBD on the human body. The content on this website reflects her research.

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