It’s Legal. Will It Help?
opens in a new window While the country still battles state-by-state on whether to legalize marijuana, a recent change in federal law has opened the floodgates on sales of products featuring cannabidiol, one of the non-psychoactive components of marijuana, or cannabis. With legalization came immense popularity, and now it seems CBD is for sale everywhere and in everything. From CBD bath bombs to edible gummies and oils, it is for sale in gas stations, natural food stores and kiosks in the mall. So what is CBD? Is it safe? And can it help people with spinal cord injury?
What Exactly is CBD?
The ways that CBD differs from marijuana can be hard to understand. Starting with a lesson in plant biology is helpful to define the differences and similarities between the two. Cannabis is the genus of the flowering plants that breaks down into three species: cannabis sativa, cannabis indica and cannabis ruderalis. The word hemp is used to describe a strain of one of these plants that has less than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol or THC — the ingredient in the cannabis plant that causes a psychoactive reaction or high. “Marijuana” is commonly used to label the plants that contain more THC, though the industry is taking a stand against the term “marijuana” to rebrand these products as part of the wellness industry.
CBD can be sourced from plants containing small or large amounts of THC. Cannabidiol is just one of many phytocannabinoids (naturally-occurring cannabinoids) found in cannabis. Others are CBC (cannabichromene), currently being studied as a cancer tumor inhibitor and stimulator of bone growth, and CBG (cannabigerol), which treats fungal infections and kills bacteria. Laws regarding growing and processing of hemp were murky until recently. With the passage of the Hemp Farming Act of 2018, hemp was removed from the federal listing of schedule 1 drugs, which had placed it in the same category as heroin. Now, farmers can legally produce this crop in the U.S.
With a legal product easily available across the country, people with disabilities have begun to explore relief in many forms. For spinal cord injury specifically, many claim CBD helps with stress and anxiety, inflammation, neuropathy, chronic pain, spasticity and sleeplessness — all without the high from the THC.
A Restful Night
Bert Burns, C6-7 quad, has always been an athlete, and after 37 years of wear and tear he turns to CBD to help calm his tired body. Burns’ first job post-injury was as a sports and fitness specialist for Shepherd Center in Atlanta, which made wheelchair sports available on a constant basis. Burns got hooked on racing and trained his way to becoming a Paralympian. He earned a gold medal in the 4×400 relay at the 1992 Paralympics in Barcelona and went on to be a part of the 2000 Paralympics, winning medals in the marathon and 5,000 meters, and the 2004 Paralympics in Athens. That was his 87th — and last — marathon.
In addition to his career as a wheelchair racer, Burns made time for wheelchair rugby. He loves the game’s intensity, but not the physical degradation that came with it. “There’s cutting, turning and holding people and that puts a lot of pressure on your shoulders,” he says. “Plus, 37 years of using your shoulders instead of your legs and knees takes a toll.”
Currently, Burns doesn’t have everyday pain that he treats with CBD but uses the oil every night to assist in a good night’s sleep. “Even though I take medication for muscle spasms, I’d wake up literally every two hours. I never really got a good night’s sleep because my legs had spasms. I’d take it and within 15 minutes, I would be out and sleep great all night long. The next morning I wouldn’t wake up groggy at all.” In fact, with the CBD, Burns doesn’t seem to have any side effects — just the benefit of quality rest.
Another value of CBD for Burns is the ability to take less medication. Taking muscle relaxers made him foggy in the morning, hampering his ability to enjoy his life as a father of twins and a successful businessman in the medical supply industry.
Dosages have been trial and error. He’s been taking CBD for around seven months, using a tincture of oil and CBD first. The next time, he ordered gummies from the same manufacturer and didn’t get the right reaction, “It was hard to judge the number of gummies to take. Two didn’t work and three made me feel less clear. I didn’t feel the consistency was there.”
Helping Many Symptoms
With a fairly recent T7 injury, Amanda Oliver has been struggling to get back to living the life she wants and has found CBD to be helpful in a variety of ways. The biggest effect of CBD for Oliver has been reducing muscle spasms. She takes four doses of baclofen every day, staggered every six hours. “When my PCA comes in the morning to help me get up, it’s impossible,” she says. “Every time they touch my leg or it brushes across the blanket, it starts kicking everywhere with spasms. The baclofen was the only thing that kept that in check until the gummies.”
Taking the gummies makes a remarkable difference, “Even if I sleep through two doses, I wake up and I’m still spasm free, which is insane.”
On top of helping with spasms, a little CBD has been invaluable for her anxiety. “I do feel really relaxed. My brain wanders a lot and I overthink everything, and [with CBD] these thoughts calm down a little bit.”
Like Burns, after a long day in her wheelchair, Oliver counts on CBD to make sleeping easier. A few gummy cubes taken a couple of hours before bed relieves tension so she can get quality rest. “All my muscles seem to be letting go,” she says.
Other than the hassle of having to go to a dispensary to replenish her CBD supply, Oliver’s only complaint is that CBD’s high cost makes her hesitate to try other brands or delivery methods. “I don’t want to invest in other products because of the risk of it not working.” Like Burns, she hasn’t noticed any side effects to the supplement, only the benefits.
As a physiatrist in Washington state, Dr. Gregory T. Carter is no stranger to people with spinal cord injury using CBD and cannabis products. “The vast majority of my patients with SCI are using some form of cannabis,” he says. “There is still much we need to learn about cannabidiol. However, there is good animal model evidence that the cannabinoids work, at least partially, through some of the same pathways as baclofen.”
Despite the small amount of scientific research available, Carter recommends cannabis products for people with spinal cord injuries. “Cannabinoids work and they are very safe, plus there are many other potential benefits,” he says. “Cannabinoids have immunomodulatory and neuroinflammatory properties, which contribute to the anti-spasticity and pain-reducing properties of cannabinoids.”
Carter doesn’t have enough scientific evidence to conclusively say that CBD works as well as the entire plant, including THC. Many experts suggest that a full-spectrum product using all the cannabinoids would be best to get the most value. His suggested dosage is based on studies, saying, “the available data would indicate that most people can get a beneficial antispasmodic and analgesic effect by using average daily doses of under 5 mg per day, although some may require a larger amount to obtain relief.”
As far as how to ingest, Carter suggests vaporization for fast effect, and oral routes — like sublingual tinctures and edibles — for chronic dosing.
Is There a Downside?
While Oliver and Burt claim to have experienced minimal to no detrimental side effects, doctors and researchers are doing their best to provide more definitive answers. In a study published in 2017, researchers at the National Center for Biotechnology Information, a division of the United States National Library of Medicine, assimilated literature from clinical studies on the safety of CBD and published the overall results. They found a positive result for CBD use with the most frequently reported physical side effects being diarrhea, tiredness and a change in appetite or weight. Also, none of the studies seemed to indicate that a higher dose of CBD was required after time to achieve the same positive result.
Altogether, the studies found that consistently taking CBD, even in high doses of 1,500 mg per day, is tolerated well by humans. Some studies did report a reaction with hepatic drugs — medicines that are processed by the liver. CBD blocks an important enzyme that allows more of a medicine into the system than normal. Doctors don’t know all the drug interactions that are possible with CBD, but a few that have been suggested range from anti-anxiety medication, prescription blood thinners and even Advil. This is similar to grapefruit, which interacts with prescription medications through the same process as CBD. It is important to talk to a physician to establish that CBD is safe to combine with any medications that are being taken.
Carter is among the many professionals and people with SCI/D who are excited to see what more in-depth research finds. “I think the whole area of cannabinoids for use in chronic neurodegeneration, including spinal cord injuries, both traumatic and acquired, is wide open for further research and exploration and holds tremendous potential.”
5 Cannabis Strains to Help with Spinal Cord Injury
According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, approximately 296,000 people live with Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) in the United States alone. Furthermore, there are an additional 18,000 cases each year. Almost 80% of SCI cases are male, with automobile crashes the most common cause of injury.
While there is no way to reverse spinal cord damage, treatment options include medication, immobilization, and surgery. However, a growing number of people with SCI have turned to marijuana due to its purported benefits. This article looks at spinal cord injury, the available treatment methods, and research into how cannabis could help. It concludes by outlining five potentially useful marijuana strains.
Please note that none of the strains we mention are intended to treat, cure, diagnose, or prevent SCI or any other medical ailment. The strains we outline are only intended as recommendations. This is due to a lack of clinical evidence that conclusively shows any specific cannabis strain is better than others for spinal cord injury.
What Is a Spinal Cord Injury?
Spinal cord injuries can be caused by damage to the vertebrae, ligaments, disks or the spinal column, and spinal cord. It is possible to suffer from a traumatic spinal cord injury after sustaining a sudden traumatic blow to the spine that compresses, crushes, dislocates, or fractures at least one of the vertebrae. An SCI could also occur after a knife or gunshot wound.
It can affect an individual’s motor, sensory, and autonomic function resulting in paralysis, loss of sensation, and autonomic dysfunction. SCI can cause temporary or permanent damage.
There are two types of SCI: incomplete and complete. While both are incredibly serious, one is more debilitating than the other:
- Complete: A complete spinal cord injury means that there is a total loss of feeling and motor function below the injury site.
- Incomplete: An incomplete spinal cord injury occurs when there is some loss of feeling and function below the affected area.
The spinal cord is a vital part of the central nervous system, so when it becomes damaged, it can lead to the following side effects:
- Loss of muscle function
- Loss of sensation
- Loss of bowel or bladder control
- Extreme chronic pain
- Muscle spasms
- Changes in sexual function
- Breathing difficulties
- Problems sleeping and insomnia
Depending on the severity of the SCI, someone may suffer from one or all of the above symptoms, which can be incredibly difficult to cope with.
Patients living with SCI often have symptoms of spasticity, making it difficult for the body to coordinate and control muscle movement. This may result in symptoms such as:
- Involuntary muscle tightness
- Sudden involuntary movements
- Hyperactive reflexes
What Are the Available Spinal Cord Injury Treatment Options?
At present, there is no method of reversing spinal cord damage. Urgent medical attention is required in the aftermath of SCI, with treatment usually happening at the accident scene. Medical personnel try to immobilize the spine as soon as possible with a rigid carrying board and rigid neck collar.
Once an SCI patient is in the hospital, doctors look to maintain the individual’s ability to breathe while preventing shock. They also immobilize the neck to prevent further injury and do their best to avoid complications such as urine or stool retention or the formation of deep vein clots.
SCI patients are typically treated with painkillers, but surgery may be required. Rehabilitation is usually necessary once the injury has stabilized.
In terms of medication, SCI patients may receive antibiotics, NSAIDs, antidepressants, or corticosteroids. Surgery might also be necessary to remove bone fragments, fractured vertebrae, or herniated disks that potentially compress the spine.
Once the initial injury stabilizes, the next step is rehabilitation. SCI patients may also use technologies such as wheelchairs, robotic gait training, or electrical stimulation devices. However, there is a growing trend towards using marijuana to help manage pain and improve the quality of sleep enjoyed by SCI patients. Let’s see what the research has to say.
Can Cannabis Help with Spinal Cord Injuries?
While marijuana does not offer a ‘cure’ for any spinal cord injury, it may help alleviate symptoms of the condition, including:
- Muscle Spasms
- Chronic Pain
Let’s look at some of the available research into each.
Cannabis for Spinal Cord Injury Muscle Spasms
A study published in 2010 looked into the effect of nabilone (Cesamet) on spasticity in individuals with SCI. The researchers recruited 12 males with SCI and spasticity, 11 of whom completed the study. They received either nabilone or a placebo during a four-week period, followed by a two-week washout period. Then the volunteers were crossed to the opposite arm, so placebo users from the first four weeks consumed nabilone and vice versa.
At the end of the study, there was a significant decrease in muscle spasm frequency when patients used nabilone.
Cannabis for Chronic Pain
Chronic pain is one of the most prevalent issues reported by spinal cord injury patients. One study published in the Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine in 2006 looked at different treatments for SCI.
Researchers looked at 26 different pain treatments tried by 117 patients with traumatic SCI. 70% of patients tried acetaminophen, while 71% used anti-inflammatory drugs. Meanwhile, 73% tried at least one of seven alternative options, with massage and marijuana the most prevalent. The study found that cannabis and massage provided the greatest level of pain relief amongst these alternatives.
Cannabis for Insomnia
Another study published in the Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine revealed that patients with spinal cord injury have a high rate of sleep-disordered breathing. Indeed, it is an issue with up to 60% of motor complete people with tetraplegia (an inability to move the upper and lower parts of the body voluntarily).
With this in mind, marijuana’s potential to improve sleeping patterns is extremely useful for SCI patients. A study published in Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience in 2020 looked into the benefits of cannabinoids on sleeping patterns. The researchers found that acute cannabinoids had the potential for sleep improvement, although they could cause withdrawal symptoms if used chronically.
Many other studies provide hope for patients with spinal cord injuries. However, further research is needed to show the efficacy of marijuana as a means of helping spinal cord injury symptoms.
What to Look for in Cannabis Strains for Spinal Cord Injury
Remember, there are no specific best strains for spinal cord injury. At present, the FDA has only approved three synthetic cannabis-related drug products containing THC: Marinol, Syndros, and Cesamet. The administration has also approved a drug called Epidiolex, which contains CBD.
Nonetheless, as we’ve discovered from the research mentioned above, marijuana could prove useful when looking to manage the symptoms of SCI. When seeking a cannabis strain, there are a few things to consider.
First of all, look into strains with a high level of terpenes such as limonene, pinene, linalool, and caryophyllene. These naturally occurring compounds in cannabis are linked with a variety of health benefits.
Two inseparable parts of canna…
For instance, a study written by Russo, published in the British Journal of Pharmacology in 2010, made some interesting discoveries. According to Russo’s research, there’s evidence that myrcene acted as a muscle relaxant in mice. He also found that myrcene is a recognized sedative as part of hops preparations used for products designed to aid sleep in Germany. Furthermore, Russo discovered that myrcene had an analgesic effect in mice.
Cannabinoids such as THC, CBD, CBG, and CBN are potentially antispasmodic and anti-convulsant. Therefore, look for marijuana strains with high levels of these cannabinoids, along with terpenes.
Spinal Cord Injury BC (British Columbia) recommends marijuana strains with a 3:1 or even a 4:1 ratio of CBD to THC. Its rationale is that MMJ patients benefit from therapeutic effects without an excessive level of intoxication.
What Are the Best Strains for Spinal Cord Injury?
As we’ve outlined above, the ideal strains for spinal cord injury should contain a rich mixture of terpenes and cannabinoids. This tends to apply to a significant percentage of hybrids on the market. While some experts believe patients should restrict THC usage, some find that a high level provides pain-killing effects.
This is why we’ve selected a combination of high THC, CBD, CBG, and CBN strains, not to mention one with a large amount of myrcene.
1 – Romulan
Romulan is one of those strains that doesn’t get enough credit! A potent indica-dominant hybrid, this is one to choose when looking for a total body unwind. Romulan is likely named after a Star Trek alien, and rightly so as the effects are out of this world! It is probably a cross of White Rhino and an unknown North American indica.
It boasts THC levels of between 20% and 24% and a generous 1% CBD. Romulan is a wonderful medicinal strain offering a sedating high that could relieve bodily pain and discomfort and leave users in a cerebral state of bliss. Romulan is certainly one for the evening due to its potent sedative impact.
2 – Argyle
SCI patients looking for something gentler should consider the Argyle strain. A breeder called Tweed created it as a different version of the Nordle strain. For the record, Nordle is a cross of Sensi Star and Afghani. Argyle is a heavily indica-dominant strain noted for its subtle cerebral high, not to mention the noticeable effects on the body.
With a CBD content of between 5% and 8% and a maximum THC level of 7%, users can enjoy the effects of this strain without intense intoxication. In general, Argyle offers a gradual, mellow high that never threatens to overwhelm. One can also expect an uplifting sensation that includes mental stimulation.
3 – OG Kush
This is an all-time great indica-dominant strain that’s probably a cross of Old World Paki Kush and Chemdawg. No one is sure what ‘OG’ stands for in this case. However, it is likely either ‘Ocean Grown’ or ‘Original.’ OG Kush is known for its unique terpene profile consisting of relatively large amounts of myrcene, beta-caryophyllene, and limonene.
This is very much a cannabis strain for experienced users, as its THC can reach 26%. OG Kush is a heavy hitter that often causes users to feel chilled out and completely relaxed. The potency of this strain means SCI patients with chronic pain may feel some element of relief.
4 – Ace of Spades
TGA Subcool Seeds created this cannabis strain, which is a cross of Jack the Ripper and Black Cherry Soda. Although it is classified as a fairly balanced hybrid, users are more likely to notice the sativa effects. There aren’t many strains that contain CBN, but the Ace of Spades does with a whopping 2% to go along with up to 1% CBD.
Also, it has anywhere between 14% and 20% THC. Users often report feeling extremely happy and euphoric once the Ace of Spades high takes hold. It is ideal for anyone looking to attend a social gathering, although it is arguably too potent for novices. SCI patients who have difficulty sleeping may also enjoy the level of sedation offered by this strain.
5 – White CBG
Last but not least is the White CBG strain, an unusual strain created by Oregon CBD breeders. There are few, if any, marijuana strains with a higher level of CBG. Although the CBGa content is believed to be 10%, we have heard reports of versions with up to 18.5% cannabigerol!
It might take a few days of decanting, but eventually, the sweet cream and diesel flavors of White CBG will come to the fore. This strain also contains minimal THC, so there is little chance of feeling intoxicated after use. Instead, users report feeling calm and relaxed after consuming it.
Final Thoughts on Cannabis Strains for Spinal Cord Injury
Injuries to the spine are serious in all cases. However, there is a little light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to relief. Although research is ongoing, all of the strains we have talked about above offer potential therapeutic effects for individuals with an SCI.
Please note we always recommend that patients consult a medical professional before adding cannabis to their medication list. Also, none of the strains we’ve mentioned are proven to provide additional benefits for patients with spinal cord injuries.
Can CBD Oil Help with Spinal Stenosis Pain?
CBD has potent anti-inflammatory properties, indicating potential benefits for the symptom control of spinal stenosis, also known as spinal injury.
Spinal stenosis refers to a spine issue associated with high inflammation markers. The discomfort is also followed by nerve pain, further deteriorating the quality of life of many patients. People with spinal stenosis often rely on potent prescription medications — putting themselves at a high risk of dependence and severe withdrawals.
Being unable to rest and function properly throughout the day, individuals suffering from spinal injuries turn to natural remedies for relief.
CBD is touted by the medical community to reduce inflammation and mitigate pain signaling to the brain. These qualities put it high on the list of potential natural alternatives to treating spinal stenosis.
Read this article to find out if CBD can help you with symptom control.
Does CBD Oil Help with Spinal Stenosis Pain?
Some studies suggest that CBD oil could help many spinal stenosis symptoms. In a study published in the Journal of Pain Research in 2018, the research team examined the link between cannabinoids and spinal cord stimulation in patients with spinal stenosis from a failed back surgery.
The Italian study analyzed the situation of 11 patients diagnosed with neuropathic pain after their surgery. All participants discontinued other treatments in favor of a cannabinoid-based solution. They were taking a predetermined dose of THC/CBD, which they could adjust to their response. At the end of the study, the patients reported significant improvement in pain management compared to the beginning of the trial .
Several spinal disorders, including spinal cord injury, spinal stenosis, and radiculopathy (pinched nerve) due to herniated discs, are common triggers of nerve pain.
A research paper published in 2020 in C current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology analyzed the efficacy of CBD oil in managing neuropathic pain in 29 participants with peripheral neuropathy.
The group that received CBD reported that their severe pain and cold, itchy sensations had been diminished significantly. They also didn’t report any adverse effects. The researchers concluded that transdermal use of CBD oil helps considerably improve pain and other types of discomfort experienced by patients with peripheral neuropathy .
CBD for Other Spinal Stenosis-Related Symptoms
Spinal stenosis — and chronic back pain in general — is often accompanied by anxiety. A study posted in the Journal of Psychopharmacology in 2011 evaluated the effects of CBD on social anxiety disorder (SAD). The authors found that patients with SAD who used a high dose of CBD reported substantial improvements . CBD can help manage anxiety disorders by acting on serotonin and GABA receptors on top of improving endocannabinoid signaling in the brain .
Another study on CBD and anxiety — published in The Permanente Journal — investigated the efficacy of CBD on sleeping disorders and anxiety . The final sample examined 72 adults, 47 of whom reported anxiety as their primary health problem. The other 25 volunteers pointed to sleep deprivation as the main issue.
Almost 80% of participants experienced significant relief from anxiety within the first month. Sleep scores improved in over 66% of the tested subjects . Individuals with spinal stenosis struggle with anxiety and insomnia; when combined, they can take a serious toll on their overall well-being.
How CBD Helps to Alleviate Symptoms of Spinal Stenosis
CBD’s potential in controlling the symptoms of spinal stenosis is largely attributed to its interaction with endocannabinoid receptors, serotonin receptors, and TRPV-1 vanilloid receptors.
In a 2014 study published in the British Journal of Pharmacology , CBD was found to inhibit chemotherapy-induced neuropathic pain. The researchers discovered that the analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects of CBD could be produced partly by its interaction with the 5-HT1A (serotonin) receptor .
Interestingly, this interaction can also reduce anxiety levels, a more stable mood, and better emotional control.
A 2019 study further confirmed these findings in a mice model, showing that CBD decreased anxiety-like behavior and normalized serotonin activity .
CBD can also mitigate pain signals by engaging with TRPV-1 vanilloid receptors, which are the same receptors that respond to the terpenes in vanilla beans; these essential oils are responsible for the pain-dampening properties of vanilla — the reason why it has been widely used in folk medicine.
In a 2012 study published in Pharmaceuticals , the authors found a strong link between TRPV1 cells and autoimmune diseases and inflammation. This fuels the hypothesis that CBD’s impact on TRPV1 receptors helps mitigate pain signals and curb inflammation .
Last but not least, CBD can help the body level its endocannabinoid deficiencies. Not only does it signal the endocannabinoid system to produce its own endocannabinoids, but it also acts as the inhibitor of enzymes that break them down. Higher levels of endocannabinoids such as anandamide have been associated with a higher pain threshold and better stress response.
How to Use CBD Oil for Spinal Stenosis
CBD comes in many different forms. The most common format is CBD oil , which contains a CBD-rich hemp extract that is infused into a carrier oil.
CBD oil is taken sublingually (under the tongue). You need to use a dropper attached to the bottle of your oil to measure out the desired amount — then transfer it beneath the tongue and hold it in your mouth for up to 60 seconds.
From there, CBD, along with other phytonutrients, will travel to your bloodstream using the tiny capillaries under the tongue. Sublingual absorption improves the bioavailability of CBD and speeds up the onset of its calming and relaxing effects. Bioavailability refers to the amount of CBD that ends up in your bloodstream after ingestion.
The leftover amount of CBD oil is swallowed and processed by the digestive system.
CBD oil combines relatively high bioavailability with dosage precision, which is why many people use it as their go-to way to supplement cannabidiol.
The best type of CBD oil for spinal stenosis is the ful l -spectrum one because it contains all the valuable compounds from hemp; CBD and other cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids work synergistically to create the entourage effect — enhancing the therapeutic efficacy of the product.
However, the problem with full-spectrum CBD oil is that it carries a strong earthy flavor, which may not appeal to many users. If you have a sensitive palate, you may want to consider the following alternatives:
CBD Cream for Spinal Stenosis
CBD cream is a decent option for spinal stenosis if you want to add a targeted approach to your treatment. While products like CBD oil or capsules will help reduce inflammation and dampen painful sensations from within, CBD topicals, such as creams, ointments, and gels, offer localized pain relief.
When you apply CBD directly to the skin, it interacts with the CB2 receptors of the skin’s endocannabinoid system. This results in an anti-inflammatory response because CBD acts on adenosine receptors, which block the inflammatory proteins known as cytokines.
Using CBD topically may help you reduce the irritation, swelling, redness, and pain of inflammation.
CBD Gummies for Spinal Stenosis
If you dislike the taste of CBD oil, you may try out CBD gummies for spinal stenosis. They are available in different flavors, potencies, shapes, and formulas and resemble regular gummy bears. Gummies offer a fixed dose of CBD per serving and deliver it to your system through the gastrointestinal tract. This method of administration has some significant advantages, but it also has one drawback.
Speaking of the positives, a predetermined amount of CBD in each gummy makes it easier to calculate the dosage. For example, if you benefit from 50 mg of CBD per day and your gummies have 25 mg each, you need to take two gummies to match your dosage.
Once CBD enters the GI tract, it is metabolized by the liver and then gradually released into the bloodstream, ensuring longer-lasting effects (up to 10 hours).
That being said, the effects of oral CBD products have a delayed onset. This phenomenon is known as the first-pass metabolism; it’s also why CBD gummies offer lower bioavailability than oils (around 20%).
CBD Dosage for Degenerative Disc Disease
The CBD space remains unregulated, so there are no dosage guidelines or standard dosage charts for specific conditions, including spinal stenosis pain and other symptoms.
A review of studies assessing CBD dosages in clinical populations concluded that an optimal dose could vary from 1 mg to 50 mg per 10 kg of bodyweight depending on the user’s metabolism, weight, the severity of symptoms, unique body chemistry, and gender.
It’s generally recommended to start with a low dose such as 5–10 mg of CBD and gradually increase the amount until you find a dose that gives you the best results without making you feel dizzy or lethargic.
To learn more about CBD Dosage, head over to this post for a general guideline.
What Is Spinal Stenosis?
Spinal stenosis is a medical name to describe a narrowing of the spaces within the spine; it’s also known as the foramina . This condition reduces the space for the nerves to travel, which can happen in the spinal canal or within the intervertebral foramina.
The spinal cord compression or a spinal nerve can cause tingling, pain, numbness, or weakness. The symptoms can vary depending on the time and the severity of narrowing over time. The location of the issue matters too.
Types of Spinal Stenosis
Spinal stenosis has two main types. The diagnosis depends on the condition’s location; it’s also possible to have both forms of spinal stenosis at the same time.
This type of spinal stenosis occurs when the narrowing affects the neck area of the spine. People with spinal stenosis have spinal cords with less space to travel, which may cause them to compress. The contraction could result in dysfunction and pain anywhere beneath the compressed area.
The symptoms of cervical stenosis include:
- Pain in the neck
- Problems with movements and balance
- Weakness or tingling in an arm, hand, leg, or foot
- Bladder or bowel dysfunction (severe cases)
Patients with lumbar stenosis have the narrowing of the spine at the lower back. Also known as foraminal stenosis, this is the most common type of spinal stenosis:
You may have lumbar stenosis if you experience the following symptoms:
- Back pain
- Cramping in 1 or both legs when walking
- Weakness, numbness, and tingling in a foot or leg
Conventional Spinal Stenosis Treatments & Their Side Effects
Doctors usually diagnose spinal stenosis via tests such as MRI scan, X-ray, or CT myelogram
Treatments for spinal stenosis depend on the location of the condition and the severity of symptoms. A physician may prescribe conventional painkillers, including:
- Anti-seizure drugs like gabapentin or pregabalin
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID)
- Opioids such as oxycodone or hydrocodone
- Tricyclic antidepressants such as amitriptyline
However, the above treatments come with a risk of dangerous side effects, such as liver damage, kidney failure, weight gain, hormonal imbalances, autoimmune diseases, nausea, and vomiting — not to mention the high potential for dependence and withdrawals when it comes to opioids.
Patients with spinal stenosis tend to become less active physically over time due to the pain experienced when moving. However, this can only cause muscle weakness to deteriorate. Therefore, physical therapy is often recommended as the go-to treatment to improve balance and regain strength and endurance.
Other possible spinal stenosis treatments include:
- Decompression: People with spinal stenosis can ask their doctor about this procedure. Decompression involves removing compressed ligaments from the back of the spine. The process is known as image-guided lumbar decompression and doesn’t require general anesthesia.
- Steroid injections: corticosteroids could alleviate inflammation at the site of the stenosis, dampening pain. Patients can only take a handful of injections annually due to the side effects associated with frequent use, such as weakened bones and connective tissues.
- Surgery: it is performed as a last resort and aims to relieve pressure on the spinal cord or nerve roots. This can be achieved by creating greater space in the spinal canal. Surgical procedures include laminoplasty, laminectomy, and laminotomy.
There are also clinical studies involving the use of stem cells to treat degenerative disc disease. Researchers are also testing several genomic medications.
Summarizing the Potential Benefits of CBD Oil for Spinal Stenosis
Medical researchers are fueling more resources into studies on CBD’s effects on spinal stenosis and other forms of spinal injury. A growing body of evidence suggests that CBD oil can help manage several symptoms related to spinal stenosis, including inflammation, nerve pain, anxiety, and sleep deprivation.
The best part about using CBD for spinal stenosis is that its benefits aren’t accompanied by dangerous side effects, unlike most pharmaceutical medications. CBD is safe and well-tolerated, even in doses as high as 1,500 mg per day.
Research so far suggests that the best approach to treating spinal stenosis with CBD is the combination of a sublingual and topical product. Take CBD oil (or gummies) for general supplementation, and apply topicals directly on the site of the pain to relieve localized discomfort by activating the CB2 receptors with CBD.
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Nina created CFAH.org following the birth of her second child. She was a science and math teacher for 6 years prior to becoming a parent — teaching in schools in White Plains, New York and later in Paterson, New Jersey.
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