When it comes to health and wellness trends, CBD reigns supreme — hence why it's found in everything from skincare and cosmetics to your gummies, chews, and oils. But, the increasingly popular cannabinoid doesn't stop there, no sir.
These days, CBD can also be found in cocktails, coffee drinks, pet products, and on shelves at convenience stores and gas stations.
CBD is touted for its ability to ease discomfort, reduce swelling in the body, and relieve tension. It's easy to see why the naturally occurring compound is such a hot commodity among the one-third of Americans that have used it.
But is CBD truly a wonder drug or just another fad? More specifically, can it help with sciatica?
You have questions, and we have answers. Read on as we explore CBD to discover whether or not it's a viable option for sciatica pain — and how to use it to soothe discomfort.
Are you ready? Let's dive in!
First Things First — What Exactly Is CBD Anyway?
CBD — aka cannabidiol — is one of over 400 chemical compounds called cannabinoids found in cannabis plants. This means that it can be found in both marijuana and industrial hemp. But only CBD derived from hemp is legal on a federal level (thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill).
Can CBD Get You "High?"
Nope! Unlike cannabidiol's infamous cousin tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD won't cause you to experience the psychoactive buzz that's common with its counterpart.
You see, CBD is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid, so while it can make you feel more cool, calm, and collected, you won’t get “high” off of it.
Is CBD Legal in all 50 States?
This is where things can get a little tricky. While the new farm bill federally legalized the growth, production, and sale of CBD extracts, things aren’t that straightforward.
Here's the deal:
- Cannabis with 0.3 percent THC or less is known as "hemp" and is considered legal in all 50 states.
- Cannabis with 0.3 percent THC or greater — aka marijuana — is illegal on a federal level because it's classified as a controlled substance. Still, states have the power to legalize it for medical and recreational use.
So if you're looking to get "high" via marijuana (0.3 percent THC or more) or find calm via CBD, check your state laws first to avoid getting into trouble!
Pro Tip: Want to use CBD without the risk of THC? Opt for a broad-spectrum CBD oil — these products contain most of the healing cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, minus the THC.
You can also opt for a CBD isolate, which, as the name suggests, is 100 percent isolated CBD and zero percent of any other cannabinoids, such as THC.
Got It — So, What's Sciatica?
Simply put, sciatica is an irritation of the sciatic nerve, which is the largest nerve in the human body. Sciatic nerves originate from several nerves in the lower back. These nerves branch outward from the spine before coming together at each buttock to form the sciatic nerve — which then radiates down each leg. Sciatic pain radiates along the same path.
What Are the Symptoms of Sciatica?
Symptoms of sciatica usually originate from the sciatic nerve in the lower back and run from the hip down the back or side of the leg to the foot or ankle. The discomfort can vary from a mild ache to excruciating and last for weeks.
Although everyone's experience with sciatica is unique, most folks with the condition describe it as:
- A sharp, knife-like, or electrical-feeling pain
- Pins and needles sensation
- Tingling sensation
- Burning sensation
- Discomfort that worsens with moving, coughing, or sneezing
What Causes Sciatica?
Things like general wear and tear, excess body weight, a sedentary lifestyle, and even wearing high heel shoes can lead to sciatica. Other common causes include:
- A herniated lumbar disc
- Nerve damage from diabetes
- Degenerative disease
- Lumbar spinal stenosis
Can CBD Help Manage Symptoms?
Cannabidiol is known to provide euphoria without intoxication and has powerful anti-analgesic properties with a wide range of clinical benefits — but can it help with sciatica pain?
At this time, there's a lack of research into the effects of CBD on sciatica pain. Still, current studies show that the naturally-occurring cannabinoid may reduce overall discomfort and swelling.
According to one study, CBD was found to help ease chronic pain for a number of medical conditions and ailments, including fibromyalgia and neuropathic pain.
Though it's not cut and dry — and with this study in mind — there's no denying that the future of CBD for sciatic nerve pain management is looking bright.
Hold up — What If You're Pregnant?
Back pain is pretty common during pregnancy — you are, after all, carrying quite a bit of extra weight on the front of your body. Unlike your average pregnancy back pain, though, sciatica is a sharp, shooting pain that can leave expecting moms in an unbelievable amount of discomfort.
In general, sciatic nerve pain is usually a result of a herniated disc — but this occurrence is pretty rare during pregnancy, affecting roughly one percent of soon-to-be moms. That said, the sciatica nerve can be compressed by other things that are very common in pregnancy, such as:
- Weight gain, your expanding uterus, and increased fluid retention
- The hormone relaxin
- Your growing baby's position in the womb
- The shifting forward of your center of gravity
Okay, But Can CBD Help?
While it is true that cannabidiol may help ease sciatic nerve pain, the increasingly popular compound is absolutely not advised for pregnant women.
In fact, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) urges expecting moms not to use cannabis or any type of CBD product while pregnant or breastfeeding as it could be potentially dangerous for you and your baby.
Some of the risks of using CBD during pregnancy may include:
- Liver toxicity (damage)
- Harmful interactions with other medications
- Extreme sleepiness
- Congenital disabilities
Simply put, CBD is not safe to use during pregnancy.
What Can Pregnant Women Use Instead of CBD?
If you have a bun in the oven and are experiencing sciatic nerve pain, steer clear of CBD and consider these tips below:
Tip #1: Sleep on the Side of Your Body That’s Free of Pain
For example, lie down on your left if you feel any discomfort on your right side.
Tip #2: Use 8 Sheep Organics' Sleepy Body Lotion
If your sciatic nerve pain is damaging your sleep, we recommend 8 Sheep Organics' Sleepy Body Lotion.
Handcrafted in small batches with 100 percent organic ingredients like natural magnesium, coconut oil, and mango butter, this “miracle” lotion is specifically made to help with pregnancy insomnia — from aches, cramps, or restlessness.
Simply apply two to three teaspoons of lotion onto areas of pain or tension to support a good night's rest.
Tip #3: Take a Warm, Soothing Bath
A relaxing bubble bath isn't only oh-so-relaxing, but the warm water can also help your muscles find calm. For an extra boost of stress relief, we suggest tossing in a few sprinkles of our Therapeutic Bath Salts.
Naturally scented with plant-based essential oils and dried flowers, this soothing blend of Epsom salts, Himalayan pink salt, and natural sea salts provides a pregnancy-safe way to ease muscle aches, pains, and tension — perfect for those with sciatica!
Note: Please be careful using this product as the natural oils in the bath salts may make the tub a wee bit slippery!
So, does CBD help with sciatica pain, you ask?
In short, there's not enough research at this time to confidently say that cannabidiol can ease sciatic nerve pain — but that's not to say that the future isn't looking bright! That said, until there's a little more research on the naturally-occurring compound, we suggest opting for other natural remedies with 8 Sheep Organics — especially if you're pregnant.