Neuropathic Pain & CBD Research Overview
Of all the things CBD has been shown to potentially improve over the last 20 years, few have more backing them than a reduction in neuropathic pain. It wasn’t all that long ago, very few people knew about the incredible benefits of CBD for those living with this debilitating pain. However, these days thousands of people are finding out every day just what CBD can do for them.
Researchers have long searched for new and effective treatments for neuropathic pain. As such, the researchers behind Meta-analysis of Cannabis Based Treatments for Neuropathic and Multiple Sclerosis-Related Pain wanted to review the available data to determine how safe and effective it really is. They concluded cannabinoids, but especially CBD based drugs have a powerful effect on the treatment of debilitating neuropathic pain.
Another report, called Cannabinoids for Neuropathic Pain, showed that CBD could be effective for a range of different pain-related disorders. They noted the mounting evidence proving the therapeutic uses of CBD in humans. The team believed that while their data provides a solid starting point, further inquiry is needed to understand the effect fully.
Other reviews of the research have come to similar conclusions about the applications of CBD. For instance, Neuropathic Orofacial Pain: Cannabinoids as a Therapeutic Avenue showed treatment with CBD could significantly reduce orofacial related neuropathic pain. As with other teams, they concluded not only is CBD effective but very well tolerated, even in high doses.
The movement to develop CBD-based medications for neuropathic pain has been growing for at least the last ten years. Research such as Antihyperalgesic Effect of a Cannabis Sativa Extract in a Rat Model of Neuropathic Pain: Mechanisms Involved, going back to 2008, observed the impact of CBD on neuropathic pain. They used rat models to show combinations of several cannabinoids with the CBD is much more effective than any cannabinoid alone.
This compounded effect has been observed by other researchers. Control of pain initiation by endogenous cannabinoids concluded that CBD medications, which include both PEA and anandamide, are 100-fold more effective than either substance would be on their own. This powerful benefit has even been harnessed into an FDA approved drug.
There’s been a lot of research on Sativex, a CBD based prescription drug, most commonly used to regulate treatment-resistant forms of epilepsy. However, one of the most potent effects Sativex has been shown to have in many reports is its pain-reducing properties.
Research looking into the impact of Sativex, such as Sativex: Clinical Efficacy and Tolerability in the Treatment of Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis and Neuropathic Pain, have provided robust results. Not only was Sativex well-tolerated, but it was effective in regulating neuropathic disorders and reducing neuropathic pain.
Other reports, such as Cannabis, Pain, and Sleep: Lessons From Therapeutic Clinical Trials of Sativex, a Cannabis-Based Medicine, and Sativex Successfully Treats Neuropathic Pain Characterised by Allodynia: A Randomised, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial have also provided incredible results. They were able to show CBD-based Sativex increased quality of sleep for those with debilitating neuropathic pain, as well as dramatically reducing patient’s Neuropathic Pain Scale scores, all without requiring increasing dosages.
CBD treatment has also been shown to help control cancer or chemotherapy-related neuropathic pain. A report called, Multicenter, Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Parallel-Group Study of the Efficacy, Safety, and Tolerability of THC:CBD Extract and THC Extract in Patients With Intractable Cancer-Related Pain, indicated CBD medications which still contain a bit of THC may provide a more potent effect on neuropathic pain than CBD alone.
Reviews of the data on CBD and chemo-related pain have provided some promising results. A 2011 study of the information called Marijuana extract helps prevent chemo pain, showed pretreatment with CBD was so effective it could even potentially prevent any abnormal pain from developing as a result of chemotherapy. Even more impressively, there were no signs of neuropathy, even after the pretreatment had worn off. This long-lasting impact has also been shown in other reports, including Oromucosal delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol/cannabidiol for neuropathic pain associated with multiple sclerosis: an uncontrolled, open-label, 2-year extension trial.
Further reports on CBD and reducing cancer-related pain, such as Cannabidiol inhibits paclitaxel-induced neuropathic pain through 5-HT(1A) receptors without diminishing nervous system function or chemotherapy efficacy, have yielded promising information. They observed that CBD treatment not only improves pain but doesn’t reduce the effectiveness of the chemo or harm the nervous system in any way.
There’s a lot of research indicating the power of CBD to help control neuropathic pain. In addition to the studies already mentioned, Cannabinoids Suppress Inflammatory and Neuropathic Pain by Targeting α3 Glycine Receptors showed CBD, and even its synthetic analogs can dramatically reduce inflammation and subsequent neuropathic pain.
One thing that’s very well-proven about CBD is how well tolerated it is in humans. Reports such as Role of the Cannabinoid System in Pain Control and Therapeutic Implications for the Management of Acute and Chronic Pain Episodes and Cannabinoids in the management of difficult to treat pain have been able to prove that not only is CBD an effective potential treatment for neuropathic pain, but prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that it’s safe for humans.
While we still don’t know a ton about what causes this effect, some researchers have started to uncover parts of the mystery. For example, the team behind Vanilloid TRPV1 Receptor Mediates the Antihyperalgesic Effect of the Nonpsychoactive Cannabinoid, Cannabidiol, in a Rat Model of Acute Inflammation, identified the TRPV1 receptor as a primary influencer, having minimal interaction with other receptors.
Other researchers have suggested additional cannabinoids could bolster the effects of CBD. This includes Non-psychoactive Cannabinoids Modulate the Descending Pathway of Antinociception in Anaesthetized Rats Through Several Mechanisms of Action, which showed CBD and CBC could significantly control the level of neuropathic pain, via antinociception and analgesia.
Another possible way in which CBD can control neuropathic pain was identified by the researchers behind The non-psychoactive cannabis constituent cannabidiol is an orally effective therapeutic agent in rat chronic inflammatory and neuropathic pain. The team showed CBD administration to rat models over the course of two weeks was able to reduce hyperalgesia dramatically. They concluded this effect was due to an interaction with vanilloid antagonist interactions. The team believes further research is needed to tease out the full benefits of CBD.
Outside of the direct benefits for those living with neuropathic pain, researchers have shown other ways CBD could be a useful tool. A report called, Pot Users Less Likely to Take Painkillers, reviewed drug screenings of patients who had been prescribed opioids. The team showed that those who used cannabinoids such as CBD and THC are more likely to not need their opioid medication for as long. The researchers believe this highlights how CBD could someday soon be a vital tool in the control of not only neuropathic pain but pain throughout the body.
Many who deal with neuropathic pain will also have general inflammation in various parts of their body — as such, having effective and well-tolerable treatment options are vital. That said, Anti-inflammatory role of cannabidiol and O-1602 in cerulein-induced acute pancreatitis in mice provides plenty of evidence that CBD does exactly that. The team showed CBD can greatly reduce inflammation via an interaction with the GPR55 receptors.
Anxiety is another very common problem for people who face debilitating chronic pain. Luckily, CBD is well-known as a powerful anti-anxiety medication. In fact, Plant-based medicines for anxiety disorders, part 2: a review of clinical studies with supporting preclinical evidence, looked at over 1500 studies before determining CBD is the best plant-based anxiety treatment we currently have at our disposal.