Neuropathies are pains generally caused over time by nerve damage from past traumatic events (pressure, heat, cold, chemicals, radiation) or a progression of certain diseases, toxins, pathogens, or lack of nutrients. Deformities, scar tissue, impaired tissue metabolism, impairment of nerve fiber insulation (demyelination), and inflammation all individually or together contribute to neuropathies.
Neuropathy is common, affecting up to 30% of the population. Older adults, diabetics, and cancer treatments cause greater risk. Treatment is lifestyle improvement and antidepressant, gabapentin type medications. Nerve damage is associated with muscle weakness.
- Painful cramps
- Fasciculations (uncontrolled muscle twitching visible under the skin)
- Muscle shrinking
How Cannabis Can Help
Cannabinoids have proven effective for neuropathies through inhalation and topical application in several controlled trials. CBD produced a reduction in intense pain, sharp pain, cold and itchy sensations. Preclinical research indicates that CB2 receptor activity can prevent or ameliorate diabetes-associated peripheral neuropathy. A synthetic analog of CBD named PECS-101 given alongside the chemotherapy drug paclitaxel provided long-lasting relief of mechanical and cold allodynia (a model of neuropathic pain) in mice.