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Cannabidiol (CBD) has numerous potential benefits, and its use as a treatment for pain is one that researchers are increasingly studying.

CBD is one of over 100 chemical compounds in the Cannabis sativa plant. It has gained popularity following the 2018 federal bill legalizing the growing and sale of hemp products on a national level.

Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), another well-known and well-researched compound in cannabis plants, CBD does not give the feeling of being “high.”

Rather, many studies have demonstrated links between CBD use and reduced symptoms of various ailments, including anxiety, nausea associated with chemotherapy, some forms of epilepsy, and pain. This means that CBD could also help with sciatica pain.

Keep reading to learn more about using CBD for easing pain. This article also provides information about several CBD products that may prove effective for pain relief.

Quick links

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 percent THC federally legal. However, CBD products containing more than 0.3 percent 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.

Using cannabis to treat pain is not a new phenomenon. Since around 2900 BC, many groups have noted their use of cannabis for many ailments, from joint pain and muscle spasms to conditions such as gout and malaria.

However, the scientific proof backing many of these potential benefits remains unclear.

That said, studies have found a link between CBD and pain relief in rats. This is something that could also apply to humans, but more research is necessary to confirm this.

Researchers have suggested that CBD may be beneficial for a range of clinical conditions, including:

A rodent study from 2016 found that topical application of CBD may help soothe the pain and inflammation associated with arthritis.

Again, more research is necessary before researchers can definitively say that CBD can help relieve pain. However, there is a lot of evidence to suggest that it might.

For more information and resources on CBD and CBD products, please visit our dedicated hub.

Shopping for CBD can be confusing as so many products are available, and people may not be familiar with a lot of the terminology around CBD.

Manufacturers tend to use three main types of CBD in their products. These are:

  • Full-spectrum CBD: This contains all cannabinoids of the cannabis plant, including CBD and up to 0.3% THC.
  • Broad-spectrum CBD: This contains a mixture of cannabinoids. It usually doesn’t contain THC but may have trace amounts.
  • CBD isolate: This is pure, isolated CBD without other cannabinoids.

Some research indicates that full-spectrum CBD may work best due to its “entourage effect.” This is where the various other cannabinoids and compounds in the cannabis plant work together with CBD to heighten its beneficial effects.

However, this does not mean that full-spectrum CBD is the best option for everyone. Each person needs to find what works best for them and their symptoms.

CBD products are available in many different forms, including:

Each type of product has benefits and drawbacks. For example, a person does not have to worry about determining the dosage with gummies, as each will contain a specific amount of CBD.

On the other hand, it can be difficult to know exactly how much CBD a person is applying to the body with topical products.

As CBD products are not currently FDA-regulated, it can be difficult to know what a person is getting when purchasing a CBD product. All the products in this article have passed our screening process.

How we choose products

Medical News Today chooses CBD products that meet the following criteria:

  • A certificate of analysis is readily available.
  • Manufacturers use hemp grown in the U.S.
  • Products do not contain more than 0.3 percent THC.
  • Companies do not make any unsupported health claims about their products.

Learn more about buying CBD here.

To get the most out of using CBD for sciatica pain, determine the specific goals for its use:

  • Easing pain in a sore spot: Individuals having sciatic flare-ups in a specific location may find a topical product, such as a salve containing CBD, best suits their needs.
  • Providing quick relief: CBD oil or tinctures may work quicker than other CBD products.
  • Maintaining a consistent level of CBD: CBD capsules or gummies give people a more accurate idea of how much CBD they are taking and offer a convenient way to manage CBD use.

There is limited scientific evidence to support the use of CBD for sciatica pain in particular. One 2020 study found that treating chronic pain with CBD for 7 days or more was helpful.

However, further research into using CBD for pain is needed, and a person should speak with a doctor before using any CBD products.

Below are six of the top CBD products for sciatica pain.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based.

Joy Organics CBD Gummies

Broad-spectrum CBD gummies

These Joy Organics gummies are gluten-free and vegan.

They contain broad-spectrum CBD, and the company website claims that they are also THC-free.

Available in green apple and strawberry lemonade flavors, these 10-milligram (mg) gummies have not undergone sweetening using corn syrup.

Ingredients include organic tapioca syrup, organic sugar, and natural flavors.

These gummies are available for $39.95.

CBDistillery Full-spectrum CBD Oil Tincture

Full-spectrum CBD tincture

This CBD oil tincture contains full-spectrum hemp extract. The 30 milliliter (ml) bottle contains 500 mg of CBD.

CBDistillery claims this tincture can relieve pain and promote relaxation.

The tincture also contains medium-chain triglyceride oil made from fractionated coconut oil.

The company suggests taking one 1 ml serving by dropping the tincture under the tongue and holding it for 15–20 seconds before swallowing.

This product is available for $45.

Bluebird Botanicals Cooling Pain Relief Menthol Cream

CBD isolate pain relief cream

This cream may be suitable for those who are experiencing mild sciatica pain. Bluebird Botanicals claims this cream can relieve minor aches and pains.

Ingredients include:

The company recommends applying one pump to the affected area three or four times a day.

This product is available for $34.99.

Kanibi CBD Cooling Gel Roll-on

CBD isolate cooling gel

This CBD isolate cooling gel may be helpful for athletes experiencing aches and pains. The gel offers topical relief for painful areas, so it may also suit those experiencing sciatica pain.

Ingredients include:

  • anti-inflammatory botanicals
  • menthol
  • shea butter

The price for one bottle is $49.

Charlotte’s Web Hemp-infused Cooling Gel with CBD

Full-spectrum CBD cooling gel

Manufacturers claim that CBD cooling gels can soothe aches and pains, so this product may be suitable for people with sciatica.

The gel contains arnica and menthol, alongside the full-spectrum hemp extract.

It comes in a 1.7 ounce (oz) bottle with an easy-to-use pump.

The cooling gel is available for $39.99.

NuLeaf Naturals Full-spectrum CBD Balm

Organic hemp extract CBD balm

This CBD balm from NuLeaf Naturals contains full-spectrum CBD. The only other ingredient is organic shea butter.

NuLeaf claims it can quickly relieve discomfort.

The company offers free shipping, and the product is available in three sizes.

Prices start from $29.99 for a 0.5 oz jar containing 300 mg of CBD.

As with anything a person ingests, especially for medicinal purposes, CBD can cause side effects.

In studies, the most common side effects associated with CBD products include:

It is also very important for a person to ensure they discuss the use of CBD products with a healthcare professional, as CBD can interact with several different medications.

If a person takes any medications or supplements that warn of interactions with grapefruit, they need to be careful using CBD. This is because they both interfere with drug-metabolizing enzymes known as cytochrome P450 enzymes.

One study in mice suggests that, in large quantities, CBD may cause liver toxicity. However, it is important to note that the researchers fed these mice very large quantities of CBD-rich cannabis extracts.

Below are some of the most common questions and answers about using CBD for sciatica pain:

Besides using CBD, what other self-care practices can people try for sciatica pain?

In the first week after an injury or development of sciatica, ice packs or ice massage may provide some relief. After a week or so, applying heat can help by promoting blood flow and relaxing muscles.

Gentle movement and stretching can also support blood flow, promote healing, and reduce pain.

A person should consult a doctor to find out which treatments may work best.

Learn more about sciatica here.

Does using CBD for sciatica pain work?

Research is still ongoing, as current studies do not provide conclusive evidence that supports the use of CBD to ease sciatica pain.

However, a 2019 study in mice has shown promising results for treating chronic pain, such as sciatica, with CBD. An older study found products with CBD to be helpful for chronic pain in humans.

Researchers have also found that CBD has anti-inflammatory properties, which could help reduce pain.

Does using CBD for sciatica pain make you high?

No, CBD does not cause people to feel “high.”

THC is the compound found in cannabis that is psychoactive and may cause a “high” feeling.

Learn more about the differences between CBD and THC here.

Research to date, anecdotal claims, and historical evidence suggest that CBD may ease symptoms of a variety of health conditions, including pain.

A variety of oral and topical CBD products are available in numerous strengths.

Currently, the FDA does not guarantee the safety, effectiveness, or quality of any over-the-counter CBD products, so a person should be careful when selecting CBD products.

It can be helpful to look for products that have undergone third-party testing, meaning that an independent laboratory has verified the product’s purity and potency.

Anyone wishing to try CBD should speak with a healthcare professional first, as it may interact with certain medications.