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A person with nerve damage may experience pain, numbness, or prickling sensations in certain parts of their body. Cannabidiol (CBD) may reduce these symptoms, but very little evidence supports CBD for this use.

Best creams

Best alternative CBD products

Nerve pain, which doctors call peripheral neuropathy, affects millions of people in the United States. There are over 100 types of peripheral neuropathy.

CBD is a therapeutic compound that grows in the cannabis plant. Research indicates that it can have pain-relieving properties, but research on the benefits of CBD for nerve pain specifically is limited. Additionally, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate or approve CBD products for pain before they go on sale.

Manufacturers combine CBD with oil to create CBD oil for use in balms, creams, tinctures, and more.

In this article, we identify creams that may help with nerve pain and damage. It will also explore the benefits and risks of using the substance for neuropathic discomfort and answer some of the most common questions about CBD.

Is CBD legal?The 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the legal definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act. This made some hemp-derived CBD products with less than 0.3% THC federally legal. However, CBD products containing more than 0.3% THC still fall under the legal definition of marijuana, making them federally illegal but legal under some state laws. Be sure to check state laws, especially when traveling. Also, keep in mind that the FDA has not approved nonprescription CBD products, and some products may be inaccurately labeled.

The table below details some helpful terminology that may help those new to CBD navigate their options.

TermMeaning
CBDA compound within the C. sativa plant that does not create the high sensation individuals commonly associate with cannabis use.
THCA compound in the C. sativa plant. It is the psychoactive compound that creates the high sensation from cannabis use.
Full-spectrumA full-spectrum product will contain all of the natural compounds in the cannabis plant, including THC. However, THC levels must be no more than 0.3% to comply with Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulation on full-spectrum CBD products.
Broad-spectrumBroad-spectrum products contain natural compounds of the cannabis plant. However, while manufacturers remove all or most of the THC in broad-spectrum CBD, it may still be present in trace amounts.
CBD isolateThis is the purest form of CBD and should contain 0% THC.
CannabinoidsThe compounds within the cannabis plant, of which there are over 120. CBD is the second richest compound in the plant after THC.
TerpenesAnother compound of the C. sativa plant, terpenes typically give plants their specific aromas. Some terpenes, such as limonene, may have specific health benefits.
Certificate of analysis (COA)Reputable manufacturers of CBD products should ensure a COA is available for inspection. A COA provides information on the third-party testing that independent labs conduct on a particular product. Sometimes, products have a scannable smartphone code directing people to the COA online.

Read more about terminology and other important CBD information here.

Medical News Today chooses products that meet the following criteria:

  • Recommended use: MNT selects products that brands recommend for easing pain.
  • Ingredients: MNT chooses products containing safe and high quality, clearly labeled ingredients. They should also confirm they are free from pesticides, heavy metals, and mold.
  • Dosage: MNT chooses products that must clearly state the CBD dosage and THC content.
  • Serving size: MNT selects products in which manufacturers recommend a dosage and how to take it.
  • Third-party labs: MNT chooses products that undergo third-party testing for contaminants by an ISO 17025-compliant laboratory.
  • Available certificate of analysis: MNT chooses companies that demonstrate transparency and share a product’s certificate of analysis (COA) after receiving its third-party lab results.

Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more.

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There is no evidence to suggest that CBD can fix damaged nerves. This is because it cannot penetrate enough of the skin’s layers to reach the nerves.

However, these creams may help by numbing or alleviating the pain that can accompany nerve damage. As a result, people may wish to consider the following products to help with nerve pain.

Any products tested below were tried by Healthline editors, who received products for free. All opinions are their own.

People who want to explore other forms of CBD for nerve pain may consider patches, ointments, and rubs such as those we list below.

The table below compares the products in this article.

CBD strengthOther ingredientsPrice per mgDiscounts
PlusCBD1,000 mg
full-spectrum
• camphor
• menthol
$0.04• subscribe for 25% off
• use “MNT20” for 20% off
Aspen Green1,000 mg
full-spectrum
• mango butter
• jojoba oil
$0.09subscribe for 30% off
CBDfx1,000 mg
broad-spectrum
• white willow bark
• menthol
$0.08use “MNT20” for 20% off
Charlotte’s Web200 mg
isolate
• camphor
• menthol
$0.15use “HEALTH20” for 20% off
Cornbread Hemp375 to 1,500 mg
full-spectrum
MCT coconut oil$0.09subscribe for 20% off
Level Select1,200 mg
broad-spectrum
menthol$0.03subscribe for 35% off

There has been little scientific research exploring the effects and benefits of CBD to help treat nerve pain and damage.

A 2020 review concludes that CBD cream was useful in relieving nerve pain due to its ability to interact with cannabinoid receptors. These play a role in regulating pain signaling, among many other important body functions.

Additionally, another small 2020 study found that CBD oil can significantly improve pain in people with peripheral neuropathy. In comparison with the study participants who took a placebo, those using CBD oil reported improvements in intense and sharp pain and cold and itchy sensations.

While these initial results are promising, further research is necessary to fully understand the benefits of using CBD for nerve pain. There is no evidence suggesting it can repair nerve damage.

The minimal research in this area means there is not much information regarding the risks of using CBD creams. In addition, health experts do not fully know the long-term effects of CBD oil in particular.

The FDA states that CBD can:

  • cause liver damage
  • affect how medication work
  • increase the risk of injury through sedation and drowsiness
  • have a negative effect on male fertility
  • cause side effects

These side effects may include drowsiness, diarrhea, decreased appetite, irritability, and agitation.

If a person experiences side effects from CBD, they should stop using the product and contact a doctor.

Some factors a person may wish to consider to help them choose a CBD product include:

  • Form: Some people may prefer a cream or ointment for targeted pain relief. Others may prefer a tincture that they can ingest. This option may provide more widespread pain relief but can cause side effects.
  • Quality: A person should avoid products that have not undergone third-party testing for safety, purity, and potency.
  • Ingredients: Many CBD products are free from allergens such as gluten, wheat, and soy. However, some may contain carrier oils that some people are allergic to, such as coconut oil. People should check the ingredients list for potential allergens and avoid products that do not clearly list their ingredients.
  • Potency: If someone is new to CBD products, they should start with a lower potency and gradually increase it if necessary.

Read our guide on how to shop for CBD products.

According to the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS), a person experiencing nerve damage and pain should speak with a doctor if they experience:

  • tingling or a loss of sensation
  • balance problems
  • weakness
  • cuts or ulcers that do not get better

Anyone who experiences side effects from CBD products should stop using them and contact a doctor.

There is no scientific evidence suggesting CBD can improve or repair nerve damage. However, there is a small amount of evidence supporting CBD for nerve pain, although much more research is necessary to confirm its benefits and safety for this purpose.

The United Kingdom’s National Health Service suggests using capsaicin cream for nerve pain and neuropathy. Capsaicin is what makes chili peppers spicy and may stop nerves from sending pain signals to the brain.

The United Kingdom’s National Health Service states that healthcare professionals may prescribe tramadol, a drug related to morphine, for nerve pain that does not respond to other treatments.

However, as tramadol is an opioid, it can be addictive. Doctors will likely only prescribe tramadol for a short amount of time.

Gabapentin is an FDA approved medication for nerve pain. In contrast, there is no evidence suggesting that CBD is effective for nerve pain.

People should speak with a doctor before trying CBD for nerve pain. They should not stop taking medication for nerve pain without first speaking with a doctor.

People with nerve damage may experience pain, tingling, or numbness in certain parts of their body.

Although more research is necessary, some suggest that adding CBD in combination with other ingredients may help alleviate the pain that often accompanies nerve damage.

It is also worth noting that different CBD products, other than creams, may help reduce the symptoms of nerve pain or damage.

CBD resources

Visit our dedicated hub for more research-backed information and in-depth resources on CBD.

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