Nerve pain is nothing short of debilitating. Rooted in many conditions, it can occur in many forms, and there are many different treatments for it. While many people advocate for conventional treatment, we are embracing a significant shift towards alternatives, like CBD oil.
There are over 100 different forms of nerve damage and its estimated that approximately 20 million Americans suffer from peripheral nerve damage. This is a disease that becomes increasingly common with age. Also, almost 70% of people with diabetes suffer nerve damage.
The nervous systems control a great deal of the body’s optimal functioning. Thus, when nerves are damaged, and pain occurs, the health of the sufferer can be seriously compromised. Aside from the disease itself, severe changes to relationships, lifestyle, and the environment can cause depression, anxiety, and other emotional disorders.
The use of cannabis products to treat various medical ailments, including nerve degeneration is becoming increasingly popular. This is mainly due to the decriminalization of marijuana in many regions across the United States, as well as the discrediting of the taboos and myths associated with weed.
With the vast amount of research now being done on CBD oil and its positive results, more and more patients are feeling encouraged to discuss it as a possible treatment option with their healthcare professionals. CBD oil has natural anti-inflammatories which can go a long way in helping to treat chronic pain. It also contains muscle relaxing properties which can ease the pressure on sensitive nerves. In addition, it’s an effective pain reliever, helps users to sleep and reduces anxiety.
CBD oil is not only incredible for its physical qualities, but it can also have a positive effect on the emotional well-being and mental state of the sufferer, which will help them to better cope with pain. In this article, I will discuss just what nerve degeneration is, the conventional treatments, and of course how CBD oil can help.
What is Nerve Degeneration?
Nerve degeneration is the result of mechanical forces or systemic disorders that attack the nerve, such as multiple sclerosis. There are three severity levels that classify nerve injuries; neurapraxia, axonotmesis, and neurotmesis. Either tension injuries or compression can produce these levels of nerve injury.
When there is a destruction of the axoplasmic flow in one part of a nerve, the rest of the nerve becomes nutritionally deficient and thus more susceptible to chronic changes. Degenerative nerve disease or neurodegenerative disease is a severe condition, and it can sometimes even be life-threatening. The deterioration of nerves dramatically affects the body’s activities, like movement, heart function, talking, balance, and breathing. Some patients lose the ability to be independent and care for themselves. There are different types of neurodegenerative disease and depending on each disease; the onset can start at any point in life.
There are a wide array of symptoms associated with nerve degeneration. Damage can occur to nerves in the spinal cord and brain, or in the peripheral nerves, which are located in the rest of the body. Autonomic nerve damage may produce symptoms such as the inability to sense chest pain like a heart attack, lightheadedness, bladder dysfunction, dry eyes and mouth, and constipation. Damage to motor nerves can cause weakness, paralysis, muscle atrophy, and twitching, and sensory nerve damage can cause pain, numbness, tingling, sensitivity, and burning.
While the exact cause of neurodegenerative diseases is not known, there are many factors involved. Often, the disease is genetic and thus impossible to prevent. Other times, medical conditions like strokes or brain tumors can cause degenerative nerve diseases. While these are all impossible to avoid, some possible causes aren’t, such as excessive drinking. The National Institute of Health has claimed that other types of neurodegenerative diseases may be caused by toxins, viruses or chemicals.
As I have already mentioned, degenerative nerve disease is not one specific type of disease, but rather a classification. Along with multiple sclerosis, other types of this disease include spinal muscular atrophy, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Friedreich’s ataxia, and Lewy body disease. It’s important to remember that each of these diseases has a different effect on the body and require different types of treatment. The bulk of these diseases occur in the middle-aged or elderly.
Traditional Treatment for Nerve Degeneration
In many instances, degenerative nerve diseases can’t be cured entirely, but there are various treatments that can alleviate symptoms. For example, patients with Friedreich’s ataxia deteriorate over time, to the point at which they will need a wheelchair 15 to 20 years after the onset. While surgery, physical therapy, and medication can help with some of the symptoms, it won’t stop the lack of mobility.
Patients are administered L-DOPA for Parkinson’s disease, which is a precursor to the deficit they experience in neurotransmitter dopamine. However, over time the treatment window for L-DOPA closes, and Parkinson’s patients no longer receive any benefit from its administration.
Since nerve damage is often progressive, it’s important to consult with a professional when you first notice symptoms. This reduces the likelihood of permanent damage. This might mean:
- Correcting nutritional deficiencies
- Medications to treat autoimmune conditions
- Regulating blood sugar levels for people with diabetes
- Surgery or physical therapy to address compression or trauma to nerves
- Changing medications when drugs are causing nerve damage
Alternatively, your doctor may prescribe medicines that are aimed at minimizing nerve pain, such as pain relievers, capsaicin cream, certain anti-seizure drugs, or antidepressants like desipramine and amitriptyline, or even duloxetine.
Lastly, alternative or complementary approaches used to alleviate discomfort and nerve pain include:
- Antioxidant vitamins
- Electrical nerve stimulation such as TENS
CBD For Nerve Degeneration
When most people think of cannabis products, they think of an altered mental state and addiction. Marijuana is also thought of as a “gateway drug which will cause the user to turn to stronger drugs like heroin over time. This couldn’t be any further from the truth. However, that is a discussion for a different day. For now, it’s important to note that cannabinoids have been well-studied as a target for treatment of neuropathic pain in the medical literature. In fact, the medical benefits of CBD range from anti-inflammatory properties, the improvement of chronic pain, fighting against cancer, and even curing opiate addiction.
Cannabidiol (CBD) has been found to have anti-inflammatory characteristics particularly in cases of chronic brain inflammation. It’s also been found to target oxidative-stress and cellular dysfunction. Along with THC, it has an extremely powerful effect on the overall health of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) and neurotrophic (or brain cell) support. In fact, one of the latest studies, published in Science Daily in 2017 has suggested that CBD could slow down brain aging, a primary suspect in many neurodegenerative diseases.
Research into CBD oil for nerve degeneration diseases is in its relatively early stages, but most of it is pointing to positive results. As researchers conduct more large-scale clinical trials, results are expected to demonstrate powerful and effective treatment of these diseases with CBD oil.
Let’s take a closer look at how CBD oil works to treat some of the most common nerve degeneration diseases.
CBD for Parkinson’s Disease
The Parkinson’s disease can be very aggressive and has a highly degenerative nature. Thus there is much interest in the ability of CBD oil to slow down the decline. In small clinical trials that have been done, patients who consumed cannabis reported drastically reduced rigidness, slowness of movement, and tremors. Also, they reported a reduction in overall pain and sleeping better.
Further studies have shown that Parkinson’s patients who suffer from sleep disorders which cause both disrupted sleep and nightmares, can treat it effectively with CBD oil. Scientists from the University of Louisville School of Medicine in Kentucky identified a previously unknown molecular target of CBD, which could have significant therapeutic benefits for Parkinson’s disease.
CBD for Alzheimer’s Disease
Since current medications are proving to be inadequate in treating moderate to severe cases of Alzheimer’s, marijuana extracts are being pursued for their ability to relieve and reduce some of the harshest symptoms like agitation and aggression.
In a small clinical trial that was done on CBD oil, all patients showed responsive results in the treatment of their psychoactive and behavioral dementia. It is thought that the non-psychoactive cannabinoids in weed, such as CBD, offer neurological protection through its anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidants capabilities.
Neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s often involve inflammation of the neural tissue. The inflammation that occurs initially is thought to be acting as a defense mechanism, but after a while, it may develop into uncontrolled chain reactions that lead to inflammation and chronic neuronal deterioration. Thus, using CBD oil as an anti-inflammatory could slow down the progression of the disease.
CBD for Huntington’s Disease
With symptoms such as reduction in cognitive function and mobility, along with tremors, this disease causes a slow neurological decline. Research into the use of CBD oil for the treatment of Huntington’s disease is in the very early stages. However, the initial evidence is really compelling.
As we have already mentioned, CBD oil is an incredible anti-inflammatory agent and directly affects the functioning of the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The functioning of the ECS rapidly deteriorates after the onset of this disease and CBD is thought to be effective neurological protection.
Why CBD oil rather than conventional medication?
There are many reasons to choose CBD oil over conventional medication, but the most noteworthy is that CBD is 100% natural, contains no harmful ingredients, and is thus extremely safe to use.
CBD is also a non-psychoactive component of marijuana. In other words, it won’t make you high. With nerve degeneration diseases being so challenging to treat, CBD might be thought of like a saving grace.
There has already been a significant change in the medical profession when it comes to CBD. Studies that have been done to date which show the efficacy of CBD has all passed strict scientific rigor. Given the benefits of CBD and the scientific backing that it has received, it seems that it could be a truly viable alternative for nerve degeneration diseases.
Final thoughts on CBD Oil for Nerve Degeneration
Nerve Degeneration diseases like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and Huntington’s have some of the highest disease burdens. According to the World Health Organization, disease burdens are the number of healthy years affected by disability and death. With little to no cure for these diseases, we can only be thankful for CBD, and it’s phenomenal medicinal qualities.
CBD oil is a natural alternative to dangerously addictive and expensive painkillers that make you feel drowsy and “out of it.” With continuous research being done on CBD and its medicinal properties, we can only assume that more incredible uses will be discovered.
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