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A person with nerve damage may experience pain, numbness, or prickling sensations in certain parts of their body. Cannabidiol (CBD) may reduce these symptoms, but very little evidence supports CBD for this use.
Best alternative CBD products
Nerve pain, which doctors call peripheral neuropathy, affects millions of people in the United States. There are over 100 types of peripheral neuropathy.
CBD is a therapeutic compound that grows in the cannabis plant. Research indicates that it can have pain-relieving properties, but research on the benefits of CBD for nerve pain specifically is limited. Additionally, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate or approve CBD products for pain before they go on sale.
Manufacturers combine CBD with oil to create CBD oil for use in balms, creams, tinctures, and more.
In this article, we identify creams that may help with nerve pain and damage. It will also explore the benefits and risks of using the substance for neuropathic discomfort and answer some of the most common questions about CBD.
Is CBD legal?The 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the legal definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act. This made some hemp-derived CBD products with less than 0.3% THC federally legal. However, CBD products containing more than 0.3% THC still fall under the legal definition of marijuana, making them federally illegal but legal under some state laws. Be sure to check state laws, especially when traveling. Also, keep in mind that the FDA has not approved nonprescription CBD products, and some products may be inaccurately labeled.
There is no evidence to suggest that CBD can fix damaged nerves. This is because it cannot penetrate enough of the skin’s layers to reach the nerves.
However, these creams may help by numbing or alleviating the pain that can accompany nerve damage. As a result, people may wish to consider the following products to help with nerve pain.
Any products tested below were tried by Healthline editors, who received products for free. All opinions are their own.
People who want to explore other forms of CBD for nerve pain may consider patches, ointments, and rubs such as those we list below.
The table below compares the products in this article.
There has been little scientific research exploring the effects and benefits of CBD to help treat nerve pain and damage.
A 2020 review concludes that CBD cream was useful in relieving nerve pain due to its ability to interact with cannabinoid receptors. These play a role in regulating pain signaling, among many other important body functions.
Additionally, another small 2020 study found that CBD oil can significantly improve pain in people with peripheral neuropathy. In comparison with the study participants who took a placebo, those using CBD oil reported improvements in intense and sharp pain and cold and itchy sensations.
While these initial results are promising, further research is necessary to fully understand the benefits of using CBD for nerve pain. There is no evidence suggesting it can repair nerve damage.
The minimal research in this area means there is not much information regarding the risks of using CBD creams. In addition, health experts do not fully know the long-term effects of CBD oil in particular.
The FDA states that CBD can:
cause liver damage
affect how medication work
increase the risk of injury through sedation and drowsiness
have a negative effect on male fertility
cause side effects
These side effects may include drowsiness, diarrhea, decreased appetite, irritability, and agitation.
If a person experiences side effects from CBD, they should stop using the product and contact a doctor.
Some factors a person may wish to consider to help them choose a CBD product include:
Form: Some people may prefer a cream or ointment for targeted pain relief. Others may prefer a tincture that they can ingest. This option may provide more widespread pain relief but can cause side effects.
Quality: A person should avoid products that have not undergone third-party testing for safety, purity, and potency.
Ingredients: Many CBD products are free from allergens such as gluten, wheat, and soy. However, some may contain carrier oils that some people are allergic to, such as coconut oil. People should check the ingredients list for potential allergens and avoid products that do not clearly list their ingredients.
Potency: If someone is new to CBD products, they should start with a lower potency and gradually increase it if necessary.
Read our guide on how to shop for CBD products.
According to the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS), a person experiencing nerve damage and pain should speak with a doctor if they experience:
tingling or a loss of sensation
cuts or ulcers that do not get better
Anyone who experiences side effects from CBD products should stop using them and contact a doctor.
There is no scientific evidence suggesting CBD can improve or repair nerve damage. However, there is a small amount of evidence supporting CBD for nerve pain, although much more research is necessary to confirm its benefits and safety for this purpose.
The United Kingdom’s National Health Service suggests using capsaicin cream for nerve pain and neuropathy. Capsaicin is what makes chili peppers spicy and may stop nerves from sending pain signals to the brain.
The United Kingdom’s National Health Service states that healthcare professionals may prescribe tramadol, a drug related to morphine, for nerve pain that does not respond to other treatments.
However, as tramadol is an opioid, it can be addictive. Doctors will likely only prescribe tramadol for a short amount of time.
Gabapentin is an FDA approved medication for nerve pain. In contrast, there is no evidence suggesting that CBD is effective for nerve pain.
People should speak with a doctor before trying CBD for nerve pain. They should not stop taking medication for nerve pain without first speaking with a doctor.
People with nerve damage may experience pain, tingling, or numbness in certain parts of their body.
Although more research is necessary, some suggest that adding CBD in combination with other ingredients may help alleviate the pain that often accompanies nerve damage.
It is also worth noting that different CBD products, other than creams, may help reduce the symptoms of nerve pain or damage.