For a growing number of people, diabetic neuropathy is an unwelcome reality to the already arduous task of living with and managing diabetes. Diabetic neuropathy is nerve damage caused by diabetes, and most often affects diabetics’ legs and feet. It’s a condition that can cause sharp pains, numbness, and even require amputation of certain limbs if they become infected.
With 1.5 million Americans diagnosed with type 1 or 2 diabetes every year, many people wonder whether CBD oil can help ease the symptoms associated with the condition. Because there is currently no cure for diabetes, traditional treatment options for diabetic neuropathy are predominantly used only to slow the disease and manage the oftentimes chronic pain.
Now, research is being done to determine whether CBD oil is the treatment option diabetics with neuropathic issues have been waiting for. With the information below, you and your doctor can decide if CBD oil is worth using to manage your diabetic neuropathy.
Due to the nature of nerve pain, over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain medications like ibuprofen aren’t well suited for long-term treatment of diabetic neuropathy. Instead, many doctors will prescribe either anti-seizure medication (e.g. Lyrica and Trileptal) or antidepressants (e.g. Cymbalta and Norpramin) to better target the nervous system and associated symptoms.
However, these conventional medications are still being vetted for their effect on diabetic neuropathy pain, and general quality of life. One of the primary reasons people are seeking alternative treatments is because the negative side effects of anti-seizure and antidepressant medications can sometimes outweigh the benefits.
Anti-seizure medications can cause side effects like nausea, confusion, and constipation; antidepressants can carry similar side effects, and also lead to weight gain, drowsiness, and blurred vision. In contrast, CBD oil does not have any of these side effects (and may even help combat some of them).
Cannabidiol (CBD) works both directly and indirectly on your body's endocannabinoid system to produce a wide range of beneficial outcomes. For example, CBD oil indirectly affects the central nervous system’s CB2 cannabinoid receptors to help regulate pain and inflammation in the body. Recently, research and clinical trials have pointed to CBD oil as a potential treatment option for a range of conditions and diseases, including anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), certain types of cancer, and ADHD.
Though more vetting and research is required, CBD oil is beginning to show promise as yet another potential treatment and preventative care option for the treatment of conditions like diabetic neuropathy. Let’s get into some of the most compelling finds so far.
The use of CBD oil may be particularly beneficial in those with prediabetes, or who are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. These people often have high levels of fasting insulin, increased insulin resistance, and low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.
A five-year study published in the American Journal of Medicine examined the effect of cannabis use on these prediabetic factors, and the results were promising. Participants in the study currently using cannabis had 16% lower fasting insulin levels than those who had never used cannabis. The cannabis users also had 17% lower insulin resistance levels and higher HDL cholesterol levels, putting them at a lower risk of developing diabetes than the group who had never used cannabis.
In another study, CBD was found to lower the incidence of diabetes in non-obese diabetic mice. In the non-CBD-treated control group, the incidence of diabetes was 86% while in the group treated with CBD, the incidence dropped to 30%. An analysis of the results found that CBD helped to reduce the occurrence of insulitis, a disease of the pancreas, as well as produce an anti-inflammatory immune response. While further study is needed, these results are certainly compelling.
Diabetic neuropathy is downright painful and a number of studies have shown CBD oil to be effective at reducing inflammation and neuropathic pain, or pain related to the nervous system.
In a study conducted at the University of Liverpool, 64 patients suffering neuropathic pain due to multiple sclerosis (MS) were examined; half of the group received a spray with a combination of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and CBD, while the other half received a placebo.
After the four-week treatment period, the results were clear: the MS patients who had been given the THC/CBD spray reported a significant reduction in pain and sleep disturbance when compared to the control group.
Additionally, a study conducted at the University of California investigated the use of vaporized cannabis on reducing chronic neuropathic pain stemming from a variety of conditions and factors. The study’s conclusion stated:
“The present study complements previous investigative work that cannabis is a promising treatment in selected pain syndromes caused by injury or diseases of the nervous system.”
Finally, CBD oil can elicit pain relief through its effect on glycine receptors, which are located throughout the central nervous system. CBD oil has been found to increase the effect of these receptors, leading to a reduction in nerve-related pain and pointing to CBD oil’s significant potential for treating diabetic neuropathy.
With an array of studies showing promising results for cannabis, and CBD specifically, in the treatment of diabetic neuropathy (with minimal reported side effects), CBD oil may be a useful tool if you’re unhappy with your current treatment options.
As with any medical treatment, talk to your doctor before you begin. While CBD oil is largely free of side effects, it can interact with some common medications like antidepressants and antibiotics. If you’re looking for further guidance or a supplementary, second opinion, you might also consider speaking with a cannabis doctor who will have a wide breadth of knowledge when it comes to using CBD oil to treat your symptoms.
After speaking with your physician, if you decide to go ahead and use CBD oil, you’ll need to decide how you’d like to consume it. You might choose to stay away from CBD edibles—particularly the gummies and other candies—as it can be difficult to gauge their nutritional and ingredient makeup. Other more appealing options for you could include CBD oil drops, vapes, and capsules. While vaping CBD oil will usually yield immediate effects, they likely won’t last for as long as if you’d ingested CBD via drops or capsules. You’ll have to test out the different methods for ingesting CBD oil and decide what’s best for your needs.
When it comes to CBD oil dosage, there is no universal dose, and you should follow the recommended dosage on whatever CBD product you’re using. However, if you’re having trouble finding a starting dose, we at CBD Oil Review recommend the following, having tested hundreds of CBD products:
The CBD Oil Review Serving Standard is 25 mg taken twice daily.
If you aren’t seeing the results you’re hoping for, increase the dosage by 25 mg every 3 to 4 weeks.
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