Medical marijuana is on the rise in the U.S. due to its legalization in several states. The federal government still considers it illegal, yet they tend to stay out of state medical marijuana policies. Because peripheral neuropathy and neuropathic pain are both difficult conditions to treat, this article will review the effects of both cannabis and CBD.
What is cannabis?
Cannabis is a compound found in the cannabis plant. It primarily contains the psychoactive cannabinoid THC and the non-psychoactive cannabidiol CBD. Most commonly, it’s known as marijuana.
The effects of cannabis include feelings of relaxation and euphoria, spontaneous laughter, decreased social anxiety, increased appetite and dry mouth. It can also induce memory impairment, slower reflexes, anxiety and paranoia and increased heart rate if consumed in large quantities.
What is CBD?
CBD is a chemical found in marijuana. It is non–psychoactive because it contains no THC. CBD is usually formed as oil but can be taken in liquid form and in oil-based capsules. Food and beauty products may also be CBD-infused.
As of right now, the FDA only approves one CBD product called Epidiolex which treats two types of epilepsy. Aside from this one product, state laws vary on CBD usage. It’s also currently being studied to treat a wide range of conditions, so the benefits of this are still being discovered.
Risks involved with CBD use, although mild and typically well-tolerated, are dry mouth, diarrhea, reduced appetite, drowsiness and fatigue. It can also interact with other medications like blood thinners.
What’s the difference between THC and CBD?
THC, found in cannabis, is psychoactive and derived from marijuana. Because of this effect on the human body, it’s more regulated than CBD, which is non-psychoactive and mild in effect. Cannabis is also used for recreational purposes, to get the consumer high, as opposed to purely medicinal use found in CBD users.
CBD is used more for relaxation for those who want the physical benefits of cannabis without the mental effects. CBD is often derived from hemp to avoid the addition of THC. Research shows that CBD has more of an effect on easing pain at the source, whereas THC affects how the mind perceives pain.
Are these products safe?
CBD tends to interact with the consumer on mild levels, whereas THC can cause more issues, especially with heavy, long-term use.
The safety of CBD is still being determined, but from the findings, it seems CBD works to relieve pain and inflammation. Negative effects include dry mouth, diarrhea and drowsiness. Also, the purity and dosage of CBD is questionable. Some companies may put THC into their CBD as well as greatly reduce the amount of CBD in the product, so it’s barely there.
How can cannabis and CBD products help with peripheral neuropathy pain? Are these products effective?
There’s not a lot of research about the role of CBD in treating peripheral neuropathy, but some evidence clears up a little confusion. One study examined 29 people struggling with pain and difficult sensations and gave them topical CBD oil for relief. They found significant improvement in pain reduction.
Another source shows that medical cannabis consumed via vapes may also ease the pain associated with neuropathy. However, some of these products have high THC levels, influencing brain chemistry and development.
A study on animals showed that combining THC and CBD seemed to help ease the pain associated with chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy. It is too early to deem that CBD is the only effective, natural treatment for neuropathy.
In terms of marijuana’s effect on peripheral neuropathy, the study showed that there are risks, including car accidents, psychotic symptoms, dependency and short-term cognitive impairment. Research is still slim as it’s illegal on the federal level, so funding is hard to come by.
What are the pros and cons of using cannabis and CBD? What are the benefits? What are the risks? Any side-effects?
The benefits of CBD include easing chronic pain, inflammation, migraines, epilepsy, autoimmune diseases, depression and anxiety.
The benefits of using cannabis include reduced nausea and vomiting, slowing tumor growth, relaxation and stimulating appetite.
With cannabis, there are more risks associated with long-term use, while with CBD, the research is still wary. Keep in mind that anything used in extreme has its negative side effects. Overall, speak with several doctors and people who’ve experienced both sides of using cannabis and CBD as treatment options.
If you have a propensity for addiction, then you may want to steer clear of cannabis, which, like any other mind-altering substance, can create dependencies.
WinSanTor is a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of treatments for peripheral neuropathies. We believe in creating a solution that works and brings relief to millions who are struggling with this disease. Learn more about our company, our drug and subscribe to our newsletter.