CBD oil and sciatica
Copy article link to clipboard.
Link copied to clipboard.
- Research overview
- The studies
- Patient perspectives
- What the experts say
- Bottom line
Spanning the length of the lower back to the legs, the sciatic nerve covers a large and sensitive area that can radiate intense pain when aggravated. Causes of sciatic pain include herniated discs or bone spurs in the spine, which may occur in tandem with risk factors such as obesity, prolonged sitting, advanced age, and diabetes. The resulting pain typically occurs on one side of the body, according to the Mayo Clinic, but there are exceptions.
Individuals coping with sciatica may find little relief in over-the-counter pain medications and seek out alternative treatments with few side effects. Research has emerged on CBD topicals and tinctures as complementary therapies for back pain and headaches.
Research has emerged on CBD topicals and tinctures as complementary therapies for back pain and headaches. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Could CBD also help manage sciatic pain? We’ll delve into current research and hear what the experts say about CBD for sciatica.
There is a scarcity of studies regarding the effects of CBD for sciatica in either animals or humans. However, studies are emerging and recent research has indicated that CBD could offer modest relief for individuals with nerve-related pain, including sciatica.
A 2019 study in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology examined sciatic nerve injuries in mice. Mice were treated with oral THC or CBD, and CBD was mildly effective in reducing pain. The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Washington, used a unique method to administer CBD the same way that humans consume it; by voluntarily eating CBD-containing gummies. However, the rodent sciatic nerve injury model is not a basis of comparison to the human condition of sciatica, and researchers need to understand more about how CBD affects sciatic pain in people before drawing a concrete conclusion.
Despite limited research, many people have found pain relief with CBD. One Canadian woman who suffers from sciatica wrote an article for the Huffington Post titled, “Does CBD Really Help with Pain?” In the article, writer Fiona Tapp describes her life as a working mother who sits behind a desk all day and has been seeking relief for a long time. To address her sciatic pain, Tapp booked a massage in which the therapist used CBD oil to soothe her muscles.
After the CBD massage, Tapp described, “That night, I happily realized that the usual pain I feel when trying to get comfy in bed was missing and I fell into a deep sleep by 9 p.m.”
Was Tapp’s pain relief linked to the massage, the CBD oil, or a combination of the two? The answer is debatable, but medical experts advise against expecting CBD to heal sciatic pain.
What the experts say
According to Dr. Adie Rae, an assistant scientist at Legacy Research Institute in Portland, Oregon, and scientific advisor to Weedmaps, there is a lack of evidence that CBD oil is effective in treating sciatic pain.
Rae shared, “In general, CBD is an anti-inflammatory, and CBD can theoretically reduce swelling and inflammation, thereby reducing pain. This is purely hypothetical; however, there have not been any studies. There is lots of evidence that full-spectrum cannabis and THC are good for several kinds of neuropathic pain, but the evidence for hemp-CBD is sparse and weak.”
However, CBD may have the ability to exert a short-term effect on pain as Rae added, “CBD might help (mildly) with the pain, but likely will not improve the condition itself.”
CBD might help with the pain, but likely will not improve the condition itself. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Therefore, some people may opt to try full-spectrum CBD oil to assess whether it has any effect on sciatic pain, even if the benefits are short-term.
If you are considering CBD for sciatica, you may have some questions:
How much CBD should I take for sciatica?
CBD is generally safe even in very large doses, but that doesn’t mean you should overdo the application of CBD oils or ingestion of tinctures. It is best to start with small, once-daily doses, such as taking a few drops of CBD oil under the tongue. It is important to talk to your doctor about your daily CBD regimen, especially if you are taking other medications. CBD can interact with some medicine, and your doctor can best help you monitor your health if they are aware of your CBD therapy.
What is the best treatment for sciatica?
As with many other conditions, positive lifestyle changes may be the best treatment for sciatica. Rae’s advice for people dealing with sciatica is clear: “Spend money on a good standing desk and a physical therapist. “
Stretching with the assistance of a physical therapist or at home may be the best natural alternative to painkillers for sciatica. Surgery is a last resort for most sciatica patients, especially those whose chronic pain is manageable.
CBD may be useful in providing minor, temporary pain relief for individuals with sciatica, but lifestyle changes are probably the most effective long-term treatment.Could CBD help manage sciatic pain? We’ll delve into current research and hear what the experts say about CBD for sciatica.
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. ]]>