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CBD for Peripheral Neuropathy Caused by Diabetes

Peripheral neuropathy occurs when the sensory, automatic or motor nerves and their surrounding tissues are damaged due to an underlying medical condition. Depending on its severity, it may seriously impair an individual’s quality of life. Most commonly, this condition is caused by diabetes mellitus, but other factors such as alcoholism, infections, medications, traumatic injuries, and tumors may also contribute to it. Sadly, there are very few effective and safe treatment options for people with peripheral diabetic neuropathy. Recent studies have shown that a controlled use of cannabis can significantly treat the weak and damaged nerves, reducing the pain and numbness.

How cannabis effects neuropathy?
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), the two chief cannabinoids present in cannabis stimulate the cannabinoid receptors (such as CB1 and CB2) present on the inflammatory cells and throughout the central nervous system. This provides instant relief from inflammation and pain.

Were there any studies?
According to a recent study, the results of which were published in The Journal of Pain, 16 patients were given 3 different doses of THC (1%, 4%, and 7%), along with a placebo. As the dosage was slowly increased, it was observed that the neurotic pain was reduced by a significant amount. Though cognitive functions of the test subjects were low at high doses (a side effect of THC), this study asserted the therapeutic effects of the cannabinoids on neuropathic pain. Furthermore, CBD was found to dramatically reduce nerve pain in cancer patients without excessive psychoactivity, and in a separate study carried out on a group of HIV-positive patients, 90% of the subjects reported an improvement in neuropathic pain after using cannabis.

What are the side effects?
Since CBD-rich cannabis oils act as an analgesic, the number of people using it to treat neuropathic pain is gradually increasing in the United States. Thankfully, studies indicate that a prolonged use of cannabis for pain management is safe. In one study, it was observed that the neuropathic patients who used CBD-rich extracts for one year are at no higher risk of serious side effects than the non-cannabis users. However, researchers are advising the patients to stay away from THC, a cannabinoid responsible for the “high” feeling associated with medical marijuana.

A 2005 research paper published by the American Alliance for Medical Cannabis clearly stated that CBD-rich cannabis extracts can stabilize the blood sugars, inhibit the arterial inflammation, relieve muscle cramps, lower blood pressure and help calm down diabetic Restless Leg Syndrome. Therefore, medical marijuana not only treats peripheral neuropathy but also has a therapeutic effect on other problems associated with diabetes mellitus. The paper also recommends diabetics to use a cannabis vaporizer to get better sleep.

About 60-70 percent of diabetics have one of the three known types of neuropathy. For more than a century, this condition has been treated with anti-inflammatory drugs, analgesics, and anticonvulsants with little success. Let’s hope that the new CBD-based (cannabis) treatment helps the millions of people with diabetic neuropathy. However, to fully understand the effects of cannabidiol and other compounds in hemp oil, the Federal Government should allow more clinical trials on humans in the coming years.