Can CBD Oil Help Spinal Stenosis

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Spinal stenosis can cause an immense amount of pain. Medical Marijuana may help patients suffering from severe spinal stenosis symptoms. Read about CBD's therapeutic wellness properties and how it may help manage symptoms of spinal stenosis, including cramping, bowel dysfunction, & back pain.

Medical Marijuana May Ease Pain Symptoms of Spinal Stenosis

Spinal Stenosis is primarily characterized by back pain and nerve-type symptoms that include tingling and numbness in the hands, arms, feet, and legs. Many patients that have back pain caused by stenosis are finding that medical cannabis is useful for pain management.

Medical cannabis contains hundreds of chemicals called cannabinoids. The most well-known and studied cannabinoids are Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) . These cannabinoids interact with the CB1 and CB2 receptors, which are receptors to the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The endocannabinoid system consists of fat-based neurotransmitters. When cannabis meets the endocannabinoid system, the neurotransmitter levels shift and help control pain and reduce inflammation , two major components of spinal stenosis symptoms (3).

For more information on how the endocannabinoid system works, please see our page on endocannabinoids here .

Treating Spinal Stenosis with Medical Cannabis

There are several symptoms that are related to stenosis and many of these conditions have clinical evidence that medical marijuana may help you. Cannabis and CBD oil are good options for patients seeking to limit addictive pain relievers or gabapentin.

Arthritis & Inflammation

If your stenosis is caused by arthritis or some other form of inflammation, using both CBD and THC has demonstrated reductions in inflammation by modulating the immune system to reduce attacking itself and thereby reducing inflammation (3).

Please see our arthritis and inflammation pages for more information.

Acute Pain

Many patients with spinal stenosis also have pain that comes and goes. This is considered acute pain and may be effectively treated with medical cannabis as it acts like an analgesic, which is a medication that relieves pain. A review from Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research examined studies focusing on acute pain. Six trials with 678 participants examining oral and intramuscular use of cannabinoids show really promising results with a 95% confidence interval backing the results of these studies. Patients who received intramuscular cannabinoids showed a 95% reduction in acute pain compared to placebo (3). While oral consumption of cannabis was equivalent in reducing pain to the placebo, these studies are good groundwork and prove that high-quality research is still needed in this area.

Chronic pain

Many patients use the whole cannabis plant or a 1:1 combination of CBD to THC to help relieve their chronic pain. Most pain research focuses on neuropathic pain and patients who do not see symptom relief with traditional pain medications. Improving your chronic pain with cannabis may also help improve your sleep and quality of life (9).

Check out our page on treating chronic pain for more information.

Peripheral Neuropathy & Sciatica

Many spinal stenosis patients experience nerve pain in their arms, hands, feet, and/or legs. To learn more about how to target tingling, numbness, or warm nerve pain associated with your condition, please check out our neuropathy and sciatica information pages.

Different Treatment Recommendations for Spinal Stenosis

As always, it is recommended while beginning cannabis or CBD treatment to start with low doses and to slowly increase the dose over time. You do not have to feel impaired to get pain relief and it is appropriate for patients worried about feeling impaired to begin treatment with CBD only. Research supports that CBD use topically with lotions and patches may potentially reduce neuropathic pain (12) . Of course, CBD use does not guarantee to be completely pain-free and may be part of a multimodal approach between you and your providers.

A task force meeting during PAINWeek 2020 has helped provide treatment guidelines for doctors prescribing medical cannabis for pain, including pain experienced by patients who have spinal stenosis. The task force recommends the following (1):

  • Begin with 5mg of CBD twice a day and only add THC if there is no pain improvement with up to 40 mg of CBD .
  • 2.5mg of THC should be introduced with CBD and gradually increased to 40mg of THC a day.
  • Frail or elderly patients should begin with 1mg of THC per dose and gradually increase.
  • Patients who have severe pain or previous cannabis use should begin with 2.5mg of CBD to THC (1:1 ratio) once or twice a day.

Spinal Stenosis and Medical Cannabis: Considerations to Keep in Mind

It is important to talk to your doctor before starting medical cannabis treatment as it is possible that it and the existing medications you are taking may have drug interactions or you may experience side effects. In addition, the long-term effects of cannabis or CBD are unknown in children, pregnant women, and the elderly population.

Cannabis may help improve your quality of life and reduce opiate use over time (3)(11).

Understanding the Locations of Spinal Stenosis

Stenosis or narrowing of the spinal column can occur anywhere along the spine. It is most often seen in the neck, or the cervical area of the spine, and the lower back, or the lumbar portion of the spine. It is also possible to get thoracic stenosis which is characterized by tingling or weakness at or below the abdomen (10). It can be mistaken for other conditions such as herniated disc or intervertebral disc disease.

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Cervical

When spinal stenosis is in the vertebrae of the neck it is called cervical spinal stenosis. It is characterized by neck pain and possible balance problems. In addition, many patients experience issues with their arms or legs which include numbness and tingling sensations, muscle weakness, and loss of function in the hands. In extreme cases, patients can lose bladder or bowel control, which is considered a serious medical emergency (10).

Lumbar

Lumbar spinal stenosis occurs when the spinal column is narrowing in the lower back or the lumbar region of vertebrae. It is the most common type of spinal stenosis that patients experience. Besides the typical symptoms of lower back pain, patients can experience numbness or tingling in the legs or buttocks as well as sciatica (10). The pain and heaviness in the legs typically worsen when standing for long periods of time.

Many patients feel pain relief when they are bending slightly forward while sitting or walking (10). Severe cases can also cause bladder and bowel control issues like cervical spinal stenosis.

Causes of Spinal Stenosis

There are several causes of spinal stenosis. One factor of getting spinal stenosis is being over the age of 50. Other causes include (10):

  • Bone overgrowth or bone spurs
  • Bulging or herniated spinal disks
  • Thickened spinal ligaments
  • Spinal fractures spinal injuries
  • Spinal cord cysts or tumors
  • Congenital spinal stenosis

Note: Veriheal does not intend to give this as professional medical advice. Do not attempt to self-diagnose, or prescribe treatment based on the information provided on this page. Always consult a physician before making any decision on the treatment of a medical condition.

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How CBD May Help With Spinal Stenosis

CBD’s mood-regulating properties work by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) (1) . The ECS controls vital body functions such as mood, memory, cognition, and immune system.

When the spinal canal or the spaces within the spinal cord narrow, this is defined as spinal stenosis. Narrowing puts pressure on the nerves and causes lower back and neck pain (2) .

It is caused by a spinal cord injury of the central nervous system .

A study revealed that cannabidiol (CBD) has pain-relieving properties that help decrease the back pain of people suffering from failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS) (3) . One of the symptoms of spinal stenosis is lower back pain (4) .

Additionally, a 2020 study suggested that CBD oil may be an effective analgesic and may reduce neuropathic pain (5) , another symptom of spinal stenosis (6) .

Furthermore, depression is closely linked with chronic pain (7) . A study on CBD has shown that it may have antidepressant effects (8) .

Benefits of Using CBD for Spinal Stenosis

Individuals suffering from spinal stenosis are often prescribed pain relievers , such as ibuprofen and opioids , antidepressants , and anti-seizure drugs like gabapentin to deal with the symptoms (9) .

However, harmful side effects are associated with some medications (10) .

Strong pain medication like opioids can cause drowsiness, confusion, nausea, and slowed breathing ( 11) . Physical dependence and addiction are also risks when using opioids .

Meanwhile, CBD has anti-inflammatory properties that may reduce pain, like chronic back pain (12) .

Neuropathic and inflammatory pain are common symptoms associated with spinal stenosis (13) . In addition, a 2017 report has shown that CBD has no risk of substance abuse or addiction ( 14) .

How to Use CBD Oil for Spinal Stenosis

CBD oil can be administered in various ways, including:

  • Topicalapplication : CBD topical products like CBD creams, gels, salves, and lotions are applied directly onto the skin for localized pain relief (15) .
  • Oral administration : Examples of orally taken CBD products include edibles like gummies and capsules.
  • Sublingual administration : A few drops of CBD tinctures or CBD oils are held under the tongue for about 60 seconds before they are swallowed.
  • Inhalation method : CBD may be inhaled through vaping, allowing you to feel the effects of CBD quicker as it leads straight into the bloodstream (16) .

However, vaping has been reported to cause health risks such as lung disease (17) .

In addition, the Food and Drug Administration ( FDA ) in the United States does not consider CBD products like CBD oil as medication (18) .

Consult with your doctor for medical advice if you plan to use CBD products for spinal stenosis . They can advise you on what best method of CBD to use.

How to Choose the Best CBD Oil for Spinal Stenosis

Choosing the right CBD product depends on various factors, such as your personal preference, the severity of your condition, and the form of cannabidiol .

There are three types of CBD oil extracts:

  • Full-spectrum CBD oil
  • Broad-spectrum CBD oil
  • CBD isolates

Full-spectrum CBD oil has all the extracts of the cannabis plants , such as flavonoids, terpenes, essential oils, and other cannabinoids . Additionally, full-spectrum CBD oil has a THC concentration of less than 0.3% (19) .

Flavonoids are responsible for the pigment of plants, while terpenes are responsible for the smell.

Broad-spectrum CBD oil is much like full-spectrum. However, broad-spectrum CBD only contains trace amounts of THC or none at all.

Lastly, CBD isolates, typically harvested from Cannabis sativa, are a pure form of cannabidiol ( 20) .

The entourage effect produced by full-spectrum hemp extracts yields more health benefits than pure CBD (21) .

CBD Dosage for Spinal Stenosis

There is no set dosage to administer CBD oil in managing the types of spinal stenosis , including cervical stenosis and lumbar stenosis (22) .

However, a 2018 study has shown that patients suffering from FBSS were given a fixed dose of CBD for their back pain management, resulting in decreased pain (23) .

Low back pain is one leading symptom of spinal stenosis (24) .

How Long Does CBD Take to Help With Spinal Stenosis ?

The administration, dosage, and form can determine how long CBD products can affect your body.

CBD topical treatments like creams , ointments, and edibles take as long as one to two hours before taking effect (25) .

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Sublingual administration of CBD oil and tinctures is usually felt within 15 to 45 minutes as it directly enters the bloodstream (26) .

How Long Will CBD Help With Spinal Stenosis ?

No studies have determined how long CBD oil takes to help people suffering from spinal stenosis . However, the duration generally depends on the dosage and the frequency of consumption of CBD.

CBD can typically stay in your system for two to five days or a few weeks (27) .

Risks and Side Effects of Using CBD for Spinal Stenosis

Currently, there is no study on CBD’s risk and side effects when used to treat spinal stenosis .

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) states that CBD, in general, has a good safety profile, is tolerated well by the body, and does not pose any risk of abuse (28) .

Still, there are minor side effects associated with CBD, such as (29) :

  • Dry mouth
  • Diarrhea
  • Reduced appetite
  • Drowsiness
  • Fatigue

Consult with your doctor before trying any CBD product . They may provide information about potential drug-to-drug interactions.

Legality of CBD

According to the Farm Bill in 2018, hemp-based CBD oil i s considered legal in the federal United States (30) .

However, marijuana-based CBD products which contain more than 0.3% delta-9- tetrahydrocannabinol ( THC ) remain illegal in several states (31) .

It is important to check your CBD product ’s THC levels and your state laws to verify that your product can be legally used.

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How can CBD help with spinal stenosis?

In a 2018 study, results showed that CBD may have pain-relieving properties that can help decrease the back pain level of individuals with failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS) (32) . Chronic lower back pain is one main symptoms of spinal stenosi s ( 33) .

Furthermore, depression is closely linked with chronic pain (34) . A study on CBD has shown that the compound may have antidepressant effects (35) .

What evidence or research exists to say that CBD helps with spinal stenosis?

In a 2020 study, it was suggested that CBD oil may also be used as an analgesic to treat neuropathy , which is a chronic pain condition from damaged nerves (36) .

Neuropathic pain is another symptom of spinal stenosis (37) .

Is there any evidence that CBD can make spinal stenosis worse?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), CBD is safe, well-tolerated by the body (38) , and non-addictive (39) .

However, CBD can cause minor side effects , such as lightheadedness, drowsiness, diarrhea, and nausea (40) .

CBD may also interact with other drugs, such as anti-seizure medications for spinal stenoses (41) .

Consult with your doctor before taking CBD products with any of these medications.

Will CBD interact with any current medication I may be taking for spinal stenosis?

CBD is generally safe for humans if used and administered correctly. It does not have any harmful or adverse effects (42) .

However, CBD may cause side effects when taken with certain prescription medications for spinal stenosis, like antidepressants (43) . These side effects may include:

  • Sleepiness
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Dry mouth
  • Diarrhea

Talk to your doctor if you are considering using CBD products along with antidepressants or any other prescription drugs.

Are there other treatments I should consider alongside CBD to help with spinal stenosis?

Conventional treatments for spinal stenosis vary, depending on the severity of symptoms.

A doctor can prescribe pharmaceutical medication, such as pain killers, opioids , anti-seizure drugs , and antidepressants (44) .

Physical therapy is also recommended to improve an individual’s balance and reduce muscle weakness .

Contact sports or any activity that may put too much stress on your spine should also be avoided (45) .

CBD oil may be another treatment option for pain management for spinal stenosis symptoms such as back and neck pain (46) .

There are CBD oil brands that are non- GMO and contain zero pesticides that can be used as topical treatments or tinctures .

Can I fail a drug test if I use CBD for spinal stenosis?

CBD is legal in the United States as long as it contains less than 0.3% THC (47) . However, if taken over time, TCH may accumulate in your bloodstream and may lead to a positive drug test (48) .

What is the dosage for spinal stenosis?

There is no current dosage for CBD oil to treat symptoms of spinal stenosis . However, your diet, weight, and age may determine the effects of CBD on your body (49) .

Consult with a medical professional for a recommendation on the right CBD dosage before using any CBD products for spinal stenosis .

Is CBD Legal?

Hemp-based CBD, like CBD oil , is legal across the United States, according to the 2018 Farm Bill (50) .

However, CBD products with more than 0.3% TCH (delta-9- tetrahydrocannabinol) are still illegal in many states in the US (51) .

For more information on CBD and a particular medical condition, consult your doctor or research through ebooks identified by their DOI (digital object identifier) number.

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