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marijuana for sciatica nerve pain

Best CBD Products for Sciatica

We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Here’s our process.

  • Best balm:Charlotte’s Web Full Spectrum Hemp Extract Balm Stick
  • Best oil:Social CBD Drops, Cinnamon Leaf
  • Best tincture:Papa & Barkley Releaf Drops
  • Best gummies:Sunday Scaries Vegan CBD Gummies

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a chemical compound found naturally in cannabis plants. While research into its effects is ongoing, some studies suggest CBD may offer pain and inflammation relief. For this reason, some people use CBD to help relieve sciatica symptoms.

There are many CBD products on the market, but not all of them are created equal. To help you choose a great product, this article will highlight some of the best options out there. We’ll also help you sort out what to look for when shopping for CBD, as well as how to use it. Where available, we’ve included special discount codes for our readers.

It’s important to keep in mind that while research suggests that CBD may help manage pain in general, there’s nothing that makes one CBD product better than another for managing sciatica specifically. Instead, you’ll want to focus on simply choosing a quality product overall.

CBD glossary

  • Full-spectrum CBD: contains all cannabinoids of the cannabis plant, including CBD and THC (though less than 0.3 percent THC)
  • Broad-spectrum CBD: contains a mix of cannabinoids, usually without THC
  • CBD isolate: pure isolated CBD, without other cannabinoids or THC

We chose these products based on criteria we think are good indicators of safety, quality, and transparency. Each product in this article:

  • is made by a company that provides proof of third-party testing by an ISO 17025-compliant lab
  • is made with U.S.-grown hemp
  • contains no more than 0.3 percent THC, according to the certificate of analysis (COA)
  • passes tests for pesticides, heavy metals, and molds, according to the COA

As a part of our selection process, we also considered:

  • the company’s certifications and manufacturing processes
  • product potency
  • overall ingredients and whether the product contains any additional ingredients that may support pain relief
  • indicators of user trust and brand reputation, such as:
    • customer reviews
    • whether the company has been subject to a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warning letter
    • whether the company makes any unsupported health claims

Pricing guide

  • $ = under $40
  • $$ = over $40

Best balm

Charlotte’s Web Full Spectrum Hemp Extract Balm Stick

Use code “HEALTH15” for 15% off

  • CBD type : Full-spectrum
  • CBD potency : 525 mg per 1.75 oz.
  • COA :Available online

Price: $

This balm stick combines 525 milligrams (mg) of CBD with menthol, peppermint oil, turmeric oil, and ginger oil, which reviewers say gives it a great fragrance. Turmeric is said to relieve pain and have other health benefits, while menthol and peppermint oil may also relieve pain.

The stick shape allows you to easily apply it to large parts of the body, such as your back and thighs, which is where you’re most likely to experience sciatic pain. It’s well-priced, considering the amount of CBD in the product.

Charlotte’s Web produces their products in a facility that follows the FDA’s good manufacturing practices (GMP). They also grow their own hemp.
Although they have been subject to an FDA warning letter , they’re also one of the largest and oldest CBD companies.

Best oil

Social CBD Drops, Cinnamon Leaf

  • CBD type : Broad-spectrum
  • CBD potency : 1,500 mg per 30 mL
  • COA :Available online

Price: $$

This CBD oil is strong, with 50 mg of CBD per 1 milliliter (mL) serving. Its potency makes it ideal for severe sciatic pain.

Since it contains broad-spectrum CBD, this product is good for those looking to avoid THC while still getting the benefits of other cannabinoids. This particular oil is cinnamon flavored, but it also comes in Meyer lemon, pomegranate tea, vanilla mint, natural flavor, and unflavored varieties.

If you prefer a lower dose product, Social CBD also offers CBD drops in a range of different strengths. They state that all products are tested five times. You can find lot-specific third-party testing results online or by scanning your QR code.

Best tincture

Papa & Barkley Releaf Drops

  • CBD type : Full-spectrum
  • CBD potency : 900 mg per 30-mL bottle or 450 mg per 15-mL bottle
  • COA :Available online

Price: $

With 30 mg of CBD per 1 mL serving, this is a medium-strength product. It’s vegan and comes in either natural or lemongrass ginger flavors.

If you’re new to CBD or don’t want to commit to a full-size bottle, you can purchase the product in a 15-mL bottle. Papa & Barkley also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee and has an excellent rating on Trustpilot.

Best gummies

Sunday Scaries Vegan CBD Gummies

Use code “healthline20” for 20% off

  • CBD type : Broad-spectrum
  • CBD potency : 10 mg per gummy
  • Count : 20 gummies per bottle
  • COA :Available online

Price: $

These sour gummies are fortified with vitamin B12 and vitamin D, both of which are supplements most vegans need. This, plus the gelatin-free formula, make these a great choice for vegans.

If you’re not vegan, Sunday Scaries also offers a more traditional gummy made with gelatin.

Sunday Scaries products are highly rated in customer reviews on their site. The Better Business Bureau also gives the company an A+ rating.

The COA on the product page is for the final product and only gives potency. However, the company does test their raw CBD for pesticides, molds, and heavy metals as well. This information is available to customers by request.

CBD is often used to reduce pain and inflammation , both of which characterize sciatica.

A 2018 review looked at studies on CBD and chronic pain conducted between 1975 and 2018. The studies were on various kinds of pain, including fibromyalgia, cancer-related pain, and neuropathic pain. The review authors concluded that CBD was effective at relieving pain with few noticeable side effects.

While CBD hasn’t been tested for its ability to relieve sciatica specifically, the above research is promising for pain in general.

Currently, the FDA doesn’t guarantee the safety, effectiveness, or quality of over-the-counter CBD products. However, in order to protect public health, they can take action against CBD companies that make unfounded health claims.

Since the FDA doesn’t regulate CBD products in the same way they do drugs or dietary supplements, companies sometimes mislabel or misrepresent their products. That means it’s especially important to do your own research and find a quality product. Here’s what to look for.

Test results

Only purchase CBD products that are third-party tested. You should be able to read a lab report, such as a certificate of analysis, or COA, on the company’s website. Some companies might also include the COA with your product shipment. Other times, you may need to request the COA by email.

When reviewing the COA, check to make sure that the product is free of pesticides, heavy metals, and mold. Also, review the cannabinoid profile. This will allow you to confirm that the product actually contains what the label says it does.

Ingredients

Check the label to make sure the product contains CBD. If it only lists hempseed oil, Cannabis sativa oil, or hemp seeds, it doesn’t have CBD in it. CBD is found in the leaves, flowers, stems, and stalks of the hemp plant. It isn’t found in the seeds.

CBD source and type

Look for products made from organic, U.S.-grown hemp. Hemp grown in the United States is subject to agricultural regulations and can’t contain more than 0.3 percent THC.

Whether you choose an isolate, full-spectrum, or broad-spectrum product is a personal choice. If you want to avoid THC altogether, look for an isolate or broad-spectrum product. If you’re fine with taking in a small amount of THC, a full-spectrum product may be a better choice due to the entourage effect.

Product type

Topical CBD products are ideal if you’re experiencing pain in a targeted area.

However, if you’re experiencing pain all over, you may prefer an oil or gummy. It can be costly and time-consuming to rub your entire body with a CBD topical.

Keep in mind, too, that different methods of taking CBD may have varying degrees of bioavailability, and some may take longer to kick in than others.

It’s difficult to dose topical CBD products because it’s hard to measure how much you apply to your skin. In general, you should use as much as you would if it were a regular topical product. If it doesn’t feel any different after some time has passed, use a little more.

If you’re taking an oil or gummy, start with a low dose — perhaps 10 mg or 20 mg per day. Keep in mind that it sometimes takes a while before you notice an improvement.

After a week, assess your symptoms. If the CBD hasn’t helped as much as you’d like, increase your dose by 5 mg per day. Continue doing this until you find the ideal dosage.

Check out our CBD dosage guide for more information.

CBD is generally considered safe for human consumption, according to research . However, there are a few potential side effects of CBD, including:

  • fatigue
  • diarrhea
  • changes in appetite
  • changes in weight

Some research suggests that consuming CBD with high fat meals could increase your risk of side effects. This is because high fat meals can increase CBD blood concentrations, which can increase the risk of side effects.

It’s also important to note that CBD can interact with some medications, especially medications that carry a grapefruit warning.

Regardless of whether you take medication, we recommend talking with your healthcare provider and a knowledgeable cannabis clinician before using any CBD products.

Many people find that CBD helps relieve sciatica effectively, and it may be worth a try if you have sciatic pain. Remember to talk to your healthcare provider before using CBD, and do your research in order to find the best CBD product for your symptoms.

Is CBD Legal? Hemp-derived CBD products (with less than 0.3 percent THC) are legal on the federal level, but are still illegal under some state laws. Marijuana-derived CBD products are illegal on the federal level, but are legal under some state laws. Check your state’s laws and those of anywhere you travel. Keep in mind that nonprescription CBD products are not FDA-approved, and may be inaccurately labeled.

CBD may be helpful in relieving sciatic pain. Read up on some of the top CBD products for sciatica and learn how to choose a quality product.

Cannabis for Sciatica: Can It Actually Help?

While doing research on cannabis for sciatica, I noticed that a lot of online vendors who sell CBD products hail this isolated cannabinoid as the best possible cannabis solution for the condition.

While there is truth to their claims, cannabidiol isn’t the only compound from cannabis that is able to alleviate sciatica symptoms.

Quite the contrary, the only official study that was ever performed on sciatica sufferers was with isolated THC. Also, there are many positive testimonies from people who’ve been self-medicating with “regular” cannabis, which contains THC, CBD, and many other cannabinoids.

In a nutshell, it seems that many components of cannabis are able to alleviate pain caused by sciatica. In this article, we will be exploring the absolute best treatment method.

Before we dive in, let’s say a few words about sciatica.

The sciatic nerve

The sciatic nerve is the longest and widest nerve in the human body, which starts from the lumbar part of the back and goes through the buttocks and legs, all the way down to our feet.

It connects the entire skin of our legs, and numerous parts of the muscles of the leg and lower back to the rest of our nervous system.

The most common causes of injury or compression of the sciatic nerve include:

  • Herniated (slipped) disc, which directly presses against the nerve
  • Various spinal injuries
  • Surgery
  • Pinched or compressed nerves
  • Bone spurs (osteophytes)
  • Spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal)

The most frequent cause of a sciatic nerve injury is a herniated disc, which rarely heals without extensive therapy or a medical intervention, causing long-term issues for people who suffer from it.

Sciatic pain has a very wide range, starting from mild tingling, aching and burning sensations, to a completely incapacitating pain that can occur anywhere along the path of the sciatic nerve.

Is cannabis good for sciatica?

The first thing that needs to be said is that cannabis works wonders for many different types of pain, and sciatic nerve pain is definitely one of them.

People are usually reluctant to try cannabis for medical reasons because they essentially don’t understand what goes on in our bodies when we introduce the compounds from this plant to our system.

Cannabinoids, endocannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system (ECS)

The chemical compounds that are unique to cannabis are called phytocannabinoids, colloquially shortened to cannabinoids.

Human bodies (more precisely bodies of all mammalian species on planet Earth) produce chemical compounds that are structurally very similar to cannabinoids from cannabis.

These body-made compounds are called endocannabinoids (“endo” means inner).

What is the purpose of endocannabinoids?

Not so long ago, scientists figured out that our bodies have a complex system of cells that have specialized cellular receptors on them.

These cells can be enticed through their receptors either by our internal endocannabinoids, or by cannabinoids from cannabis.

The cells that have cannabinoid receptors are located all throughout the body, or more precisely they are present in every physiological system of our body (cardiovascular, respiratory, immune, digestive, nervous, muscular, reproductive system and so forth).

Each of these systems has in its structure a great number of cells that can be influenced by either endocannabinoids or cannabinoids, via cellular receptors.

Our internal chemical compounds (endocannabinoids), and these ever-present cells comprise what’s called the endocannabinoid system (ECS).

But what is the purpose of this intricate system?

The primary function of the endocannabinoid system is to keep all other physiological systems in balance.

When a person suffers from a disease or a disorder, the inner endocannabinoids attempt to restore balance, but we can additionally invigorate our endocannabinoid system by introducing cannabinoids from cannabis.

This versatile balancing nature of the ECS explains how cannabis stops seizures in epilepsy patients, kills cancer cells in cancer patients, diminishes muscle spasms in multiple sclerosis patients and slows down the neural degeneration in Alzheimer patients, just to name a few very different health conditions where cannabinoid therapy is extremely beneficial.

Can cannabis cure sciatica?

One of the definite effects of cannabinoids is their ability to diminish pain, and in the case of sciatica, as we said, the pain is usually caused by a pinched nerve, slipped (herniated) disc or an inflamed surrounding tissue which compresses the nerves.

Consuming cannabinoids intensifies the balancing “feature” of the endocannabinoid system, which in turn lessens the painful sensations that we feel throughout our nervous system.

An extensive study from 2013 (1) was focusing on the pain-modulating effects of cannabis, and the team responsible for the research concluded:

“The (phyto)cannabinoids have efficacy in the treatment of various chronic pain conditions with greatest promise as a therapeutic adjunct in treating peripheral and central neuropathic pain and inflammation-mediated chronic pain.”

Whether cannabis can completely cure sciatica greatly depends on the cause of this condition.

It can definitely bring relief by lessening tissue inflammation and by diminishing pain sensations in the case of a pinched/compressed nerve, but if a patient has a slipped disc which directly presses against the sciatic nerve, this is something that cannabinoid therapy simply cannot cure.

But even in the case of a herniated disc, cannabis can bring significant relief, especially if it’s consumed in combination with physical therapy.

CBD or THC for sciatica?

This is a somewhat tricky question, because there are a lot of factors to be considered.

Even though CBD is regularly hailed as the “best component” of cannabis, this claim is tightly connected with the fact that it can be sold worldwide, as it lacks the psychoactivity associated with THC.

The legality of CBD tends to make people believe that the rest of this plant is medicinally unimportant, which can’t be further from the truth.

Countless cannabis experts share the opinion that the best possible way to utilize cannabis for medicinal purposes is to consume everything it has to offer, and not just isolated cannabinoids, like single-compound CBD or THC formulations.

What separates cannabis from modern pharmaceuticals (which are largely single-molecule compounds that create very narrow and specific effects in the body), is that each strain of cannabis has a vast number of different cannabinoids embedded in its structure.

It’s been discovered that these cannabinoid compounds work together in unison, and actually “amplify” the beneficial effects of each other.

The synergic trait of cannabinoid compounds is known as the entourage effect, and because of this effect it’s far more beneficial to consume cannabis in its natural form, compared to isolated cannabinoids.

This, of course, doesn’t mean that an isolated cannabinoid such as CBD won’t have a therapeutic impact, but in order to utilize the full potential of this plant, it should be consumed in its entirety.

THC for sciatica

So far, the only official study (2) that was looking into the effects of cannabis on sciatica-related pain was performed with isolated THC.

This study was conducted in 2018 in Israel, and was performed on 15 males with an average age of 33. The research excluded women from the study because of hormonal fluctuations during menstruation, as it can potentially affect sensitivity to pain.

The study focused on radicular pain (which radiates from the spine and flows into the legs), and sciatica is a common form of this type of pain, and all 15 men had medium/high radicular pain for at least 6 months.

Prior to the treatment the participants rated their pain-levels, and underwent fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) scans, so the scientists could observe the connections between various segments of the brain.

In the first session, 9 participants were given a sublingual 15-milligram dose of liquid THC, and 6 were given a liquid placebo oil.

One week later, the same procedure took place, but this time the participants were switched, and those who received the placebo during the first session were now given actual THC. The participants were completely oblivious to what they were consuming.

After each of these two sessions, they were questioned once more about their pain levels (one hour after the dose), and had another fMRI scan (two hours after the dose).

The results showed that THC significantly diminished pain levels, compared to the placebo.

Before taking anything, the participants rated their pain-level 53 on average, after the placebo it was 43 on average, and after the THC treatment it was 35.

CBD for sciatica

While there’s still no official research being performed with isolated CBD on sciatica sufferers, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that this cannabinoid is able to alleviate pain caused by this condition.

One of the best examples of the efficacy of CBD for sciatica is Brenda Davidson, a 55 year old woman from Kirkwall, Scotland, and Independent did a story about her in 2017.

After being tormented by sciatica pain for 13 years which prevented her from performing daily tasks such as walking her dog, she decided to give CBD oil a try, after hearing about people who were successfully treating their sciatica with it.

Once she began her CBD regimen, she felt significant improvement of her symptoms almost instantly. Davidson continued with the treatment, and says that CBD oil helped her to reclaim her life back.

CBD dose for sciatica

Dosing cannabinoids is oftentimes tricky because people have different quantities of endocannabinoid cellular receptors in their body, which greatly influences how much a person requires for an optimal therapeutic effect.

Since dosing is a very complex subject, you can find all the information you’ll need in our extensive free dosing guide, which contains information on dosing CBD, combining CBD and THC, and using THC alone.

This guide was created in collaboration with Dr. Dustin Sulak, who is an esteemed cannabis clinician from Maine.

Conclusion

Since there are strong indications that both CBD and THC are able to alleviate pain caused by sciatica, this leaves room for maneuvering.

Even though cannabis that contains both CBD and THC should provide the biggest pain-relieving effects, many people are reluctant to consume such varieties because of the psychoactivity caused by THC.

Individuals that wish to avoid any cerebral sensations should definitely give isolated CBD a try.

Also, strains that contain 1:1 CBD to THC ratio are a great solution, because CBD greatly diminishes “the high” caused by THC.

Combining isolated CBD during the day, and using regular cannabis by night is also a legitimate solution for individuals looking to avoid any intoxication during work hours. For this type of treatment I would suggest a sedative Indica strain in the evening.

High-potency oils such as Rick Simpson Oil (RSO) are also a viable option, but for this particular condition I would first exhaust all other treatment methods before resorting to it.

For more information on how to make it and dosing, check out our article on Rick Simpson Oil..

Everything you need to know about treating sciatic pain with cannabis. Latest studies and anecdotal patient testimonies included.