Treating Sciatica With Cannabis: Radicular Pain Relief from THC Oil
Limited Study Returns Encouraging Results, Future Studies Needed
Findings from a recent study suggest that medical marijuana may be effective for the treatment of radicular pain, by reducing connections between different brain regions that process sensory signals and emotions. Radicular pain, of which sciatica is a common form, is a type of nerve pain that radiates from the spine to the legs. The study evaluated the effect of one of the many cannabinoids in marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Author Haggai Sharon, MD, with the Sagol Brain Institute, Tel Aviv Medical Center, commented, “Pain is a complex experience that involves both the senses and emotions. Our study results link pain relief from THC with a reduction in the connections between areas of the brain otherwise heavily connected, suggesting that THC may alleviate pain by disrupting signals between these pain processing pathways.” The findings were published online last week in the journal Neurology.
The study evaluated 15 male participants with medium to high radicular pain for over 6 months. Women were not studied because hormone variations during menstruation may impact pain sensitivity. Prior to intervention, subjects rated their pain levels and their brain connections were surveyed with fMRI scans. Treatment consisted of 15 mg average of THC oil administered to 9 participants, while the remaining 6 received placebo oil. After 1 week, a second treatment was administered with THC/placebo recipients reversed. After each treatment, subjects’ pain rating was captured, and a second brain scan was administered. Both pain ratings and connections between brain areas involved in pain processed were reduced in the THC cohorts. Future work is needed to evaluate other constituents in marijuana may impact pain, as well as to increase study size and include women in the research group.
Findings from a recent study suggest that medical marijuana may be effective for the treatment of radicular pain, by reducing connections between different brain regions that process sensory signals and emotions. Radicular pain, of which sciatica is a common form, is a type of nerve pain that radiates from the spine to the legs. The study evaluated the effect of one of the many cannabinoids in marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
Best CBD Products for Sciatica
We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Here’s our process.
- Best balm:Charlotte’s Web Full Spectrum Hemp Extract Balm Stick
- Best oil:Social CBD Drops, Cinnamon Leaf
- Best tincture:Papa & Barkley Releaf Drops
- Best gummies:Sunday Scaries Vegan CBD Gummies
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a chemical compound found naturally in cannabis plants. While research into its effects is ongoing, some studies suggest CBD may offer pain and inflammation relief. For this reason, some people use CBD to help relieve sciatica symptoms.
There are many CBD products on the market, but not all of them are created equal. To help you choose a great product, this article will highlight some of the best options out there. We’ll also help you sort out what to look for when shopping for CBD, as well as how to use it. Where available, we’ve included special discount codes for our readers.
It’s important to keep in mind that while research suggests that CBD may help manage pain in general, there’s nothing that makes one CBD product better than another for managing sciatica specifically. Instead, you’ll want to focus on simply choosing a quality product overall.
- Full-spectrum CBD: contains all cannabinoids of the cannabis plant, including CBD and THC (though less than 0.3 percent THC)
- Broad-spectrum CBD: contains a mix of cannabinoids, usually without THC
- CBD isolate: pure isolated CBD, without other cannabinoids or THC
We chose these products based on criteria we think are good indicators of safety, quality, and transparency. Each product in this article:
- is made by a company that provides proof of third-party testing by an ISO 17025-compliant lab
- is made with U.S.-grown hemp
- contains no more than 0.3 percent THC, according to the certificate of analysis (COA)
- passes tests for pesticides, heavy metals, and molds, according to the COA
As a part of our selection process, we also considered:
- the company’s certifications and manufacturing processes
- product potency
- overall ingredients and whether the product contains any additional ingredients that may support pain relief
- indicators of user trust and brand reputation, such as:
- customer reviews
- whether the company has been subject to a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warning letter
- whether the company makes any unsupported health claims
- $ = under $40
- $$ = over $40
Charlotte’s Web Full Spectrum Hemp Extract Balm Stick
Use code “HEALTH15” for 15% off
- CBD type : Full-spectrum
- CBD potency : 525 mg per 1.75 oz.
- COA :Available online
This balm stick combines 525 milligrams (mg) of CBD with menthol, peppermint oil, turmeric oil, and ginger oil, which reviewers say gives it a great fragrance. Turmeric is said to relieve pain and have other health benefits, while menthol and peppermint oil may also relieve pain.
The stick shape allows you to easily apply it to large parts of the body, such as your back and thighs, which is where you’re most likely to experience sciatic pain. It’s well-priced, considering the amount of CBD in the product.
Charlotte’s Web produces their products in a facility that follows the FDA’s good manufacturing practices (GMP). They also grow their own hemp.
Although they have been subject to an FDA warning letter , they’re also one of the largest and oldest CBD companies.
Social CBD Drops, Cinnamon Leaf
- CBD type : Broad-spectrum
- CBD potency : 1,500 mg per 30 mL
- COA :Available online
This CBD oil is strong, with 50 mg of CBD per 1 milliliter (mL) serving. Its potency makes it ideal for severe sciatic pain.
Since it contains broad-spectrum CBD, this product is good for those looking to avoid THC while still getting the benefits of other cannabinoids. This particular oil is cinnamon flavored, but it also comes in Meyer lemon, pomegranate tea, vanilla mint, natural flavor, and unflavored varieties.
If you prefer a lower dose product, Social CBD also offers CBD drops in a range of different strengths. They state that all products are tested five times. You can find lot-specific third-party testing results online or by scanning your QR code.
Papa & Barkley Releaf Drops
- CBD type : Full-spectrum
- CBD potency : 900 mg per 30-mL bottle or 450 mg per 15-mL bottle
- COA :Available online
With 30 mg of CBD per 1 mL serving, this is a medium-strength product. It’s vegan and comes in either natural or lemongrass ginger flavors.
If you’re new to CBD or don’t want to commit to a full-size bottle, you can purchase the product in a 15-mL bottle. Papa & Barkley also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee and has an excellent rating on Trustpilot.
Sunday Scaries Vegan CBD Gummies
Use code “healthline20” for 20% off
- CBD type : Broad-spectrum
- CBD potency : 10 mg per gummy
- Count : 20 gummies per bottle
- COA :Available online
These sour gummies are fortified with vitamin B12 and vitamin D, both of which are supplements most vegans need. This, plus the gelatin-free formula, make these a great choice for vegans.
If you’re not vegan, Sunday Scaries also offers a more traditional gummy made with gelatin.
Sunday Scaries products are highly rated in customer reviews on their site. The Better Business Bureau also gives the company an A+ rating.
The COA on the product page is for the final product and only gives potency. However, the company does test their raw CBD for pesticides, molds, and heavy metals as well. This information is available to customers by request.
CBD is often used to reduce pain and inflammation , both of which characterize sciatica.
A 2018 review looked at studies on CBD and chronic pain conducted between 1975 and 2018. The studies were on various kinds of pain, including fibromyalgia, cancer-related pain, and neuropathic pain. The review authors concluded that CBD was effective at relieving pain with few noticeable side effects.
While CBD hasn’t been tested for its ability to relieve sciatica specifically, the above research is promising for pain in general.
Currently, the FDA doesn’t guarantee the safety, effectiveness, or quality of over-the-counter CBD products. However, in order to protect public health, they can take action against CBD companies that make unfounded health claims.
Since the FDA doesn’t regulate CBD products in the same way they do drugs or dietary supplements, companies sometimes mislabel or misrepresent their products. That means it’s especially important to do your own research and find a quality product. Here’s what to look for.
Only purchase CBD products that are third-party tested. You should be able to read a lab report, such as a certificate of analysis, or COA, on the company’s website. Some companies might also include the COA with your product shipment. Other times, you may need to request the COA by email.
When reviewing the COA, check to make sure that the product is free of pesticides, heavy metals, and mold. Also, review the cannabinoid profile. This will allow you to confirm that the product actually contains what the label says it does.
Check the label to make sure the product contains CBD. If it only lists hempseed oil, Cannabis sativa oil, or hemp seeds, it doesn’t have CBD in it. CBD is found in the leaves, flowers, stems, and stalks of the hemp plant. It isn’t found in the seeds.
CBD source and type
Look for products made from organic, U.S.-grown hemp. Hemp grown in the United States is subject to agricultural regulations and can’t contain more than 0.3 percent THC.
Whether you choose an isolate, full-spectrum, or broad-spectrum product is a personal choice. If you want to avoid THC altogether, look for an isolate or broad-spectrum product. If you’re fine with taking in a small amount of THC, a full-spectrum product may be a better choice due to the entourage effect.
Topical CBD products are ideal if you’re experiencing pain in a targeted area.
However, if you’re experiencing pain all over, you may prefer an oil or gummy. It can be costly and time-consuming to rub your entire body with a CBD topical.
Keep in mind, too, that different methods of taking CBD may have varying degrees of bioavailability, and some may take longer to kick in than others.
It’s difficult to dose topical CBD products because it’s hard to measure how much you apply to your skin. In general, you should use as much as you would if it were a regular topical product. If it doesn’t feel any different after some time has passed, use a little more.
If you’re taking an oil or gummy, start with a low dose — perhaps 10 mg or 20 mg per day. Keep in mind that it sometimes takes a while before you notice an improvement.
After a week, assess your symptoms. If the CBD hasn’t helped as much as you’d like, increase your dose by 5 mg per day. Continue doing this until you find the ideal dosage.
Check out our CBD dosage guide for more information.
CBD is generally considered safe for human consumption, according to research . However, there are a few potential side effects of CBD, including:
- changes in appetite
- changes in weight
Some research suggests that consuming CBD with high fat meals could increase your risk of side effects. This is because high fat meals can increase CBD blood concentrations, which can increase the risk of side effects.
It’s also important to note that CBD can interact with some medications, especially medications that carry a grapefruit warning.
Regardless of whether you take medication, we recommend talking with your healthcare provider and a knowledgeable cannabis clinician before using any CBD products.
Many people find that CBD helps relieve sciatica effectively, and it may be worth a try if you have sciatic pain. Remember to talk to your healthcare provider before using CBD, and do your research in order to find the best CBD product for your symptoms.
Is CBD Legal? Hemp-derived CBD products (with less than 0.3 percent THC) are legal on the federal level, but are still illegal under some state laws. Marijuana-derived CBD products are illegal on the federal level, but are legal under some state laws. Check your state’s laws and those of anywhere you travel. Keep in mind that nonprescription CBD products are not FDA-approved, and may be inaccurately labeled.
CBD may be helpful in relieving sciatic pain. Read up on some of the top CBD products for sciatica and learn how to choose a quality product.