The cannabis plant has been used for millennia to treat back pain. Today, people are turning to one of its derivatives, CBD, for the same purpose. While some are skeptical of how safe and effective this treatment option really is, new studies are suggesting that it could be both.
Lower back pain is extremely common in the United States today. It’s thought that around 80 percent of Americans will experience a period of lower back pain at some point throughout their lives according to the American Chiropractic Association (ACA). Risk factors include serious traumas like a traffic accident or a bad fall, but also by the most mundane things like lifting a weight awkwardly at the gym, or simply slouching at your desk while you work. Other conditions like spinal stenosis (a narrowing of the spinal canal) or kidney stones can also cause severe discomfort.
Doctors often recommend bed rest, weight loss, more daily exercise, physical therapy, or home remedies such as hot baths for pain relief, which can help relax the soft tissues around the spinal column. Other options include more tech-oriented solutions: the wellness industry is constantly coming up with innovative new therapies such as nerve ablation devices and float tanks. But it looks as though there could be a much easier and more affordable option right under our noses — CBD oil.
Typically, people use pain medications to find relief from the muscle spasms and other unpleasant symptoms. In more recent years however, countless Americans have begun to seek out alternatives to these medications as they become more aware of the serious health consequences of long-term opioid use. Medical cannabis and CBD creams can provide safer alternatives with fewer side effects, according to several recent studies.
Numerous randomized clinical trials have examined the effects of pain-relieving qualities of Sativex, an oral spray medication containing CBD and other compounds found in cannabis plants. The drug has been widely used in the treatment of all sorts of pain, and studies have found that it can have impressive pain relieving qualities with little or no side effects.
One trial administered CBD treatment to a group of ten multiple sclerosis patients, and a placebo to another group of people with the condition. After 4 weeks, the researchers found that the CBD treatment had “successfully reduced pain rating and improved quality of life.” Given that up to 70 percent of multiple sclerosis patients experience chronic discomfort as an daily symptom of their condition, these findings are an encouraging sign.
Other research has examined how topical CBD products could help to reduce lower back pain. In particular, one group of researchers tested a topical CBD treatment on a group of arthritic rats and found that the treatment reduced inflammation and pain, and improved their mobility. Although not always caused by arthritis, lower back pain is often caused by inflammation which can be the result of even the most minor of injuries.
In addition to all the scholastic evidence, there are no shortage of anecdotal testimonials. People have been using CBD as an experimental treatment for back pain for some time, and the internet is packed with reports by people who claim that CBD “cured” their back pain. Although it’s certainly not the case that every sensationalist claim made about CBD is true, it seems that the studies are now catching up and suggesting that herniated discs, sore lumbar spines, and similar conditions could be treated with CBD.