Do you suffer from degenerative disc disease ? What if the CBD could help you ? Degenerative disc disease is a common source of back pain, and the condition involves numerous physical and mental factors. Could CBD help to alleviate both? How might CBD help with back pain-related conditions or symptoms? What would a plan look like to get the most out of CBD's restorative properties?
CBD and Degenerative disc disease
Among the many causes of back pain, degenerative disc disease is one of the most common. This disease is caused by the progressive wear and tear of the intervertebral discs. What are the symptoms ? How can they be made more bearable, and how can CBD improve your condition? We answer all these questions in this post.
What is Degenerative disc disease ?
The spinal column is the framework of the human body. It supports the skeleton, and without it, it would be impossible for us to stand upright. Measuring a little over 70 cm in adults, it consists of a stack of 33 vertebrae (the bones of the spine), 24 of which are mobile, and 23 intervertebral discs. These discs have 3 functions :
- Shock absorber, the intervertebral discs look like small cushions whose role is to absorb shocks and distribute pressure.
- Mobility, they give the column a certain mobility.
- Ligament, each disc unites 2 vertebrae between them (for those that are mobile)
Degenerative disc disease is characterized by deterioration of these discs, which may have become dehydrated or packed. This may be due to excessive and repeated stress throughout life. It is usually a natural process, linked to aging. Discopathy becomes pathological when its effects cause disabling back pain.
How to recognize a degenerative disc disease ?
The main symptom is back pain, which will take a different name depending on its location.
- Low back pain, with pain in the lower back.
- Dorsalgia, when the pain is in the middle of the back
- Nervicalgia when the gene is in the neck.
This pain in the back is sometimes accompanied by other symptoms, such as stiffness and tingling.
The diagnosis is established by a clinical examination, during which the doctor will observe the mobility of the back. An X-ray or MRI will confirm the diagnosis.
The treatment of degenerative disc disease is mainly aimed at relieving the pain caused by the disease. Various medications are offered such as analgesics, anti-inflammatory drugs, muscle relaxants, infiltrations, and of course, rest.physiotherapy will help to maintain mobility.when medications and physiotherapy are no longer sufficient to relieve the pain caused by the disease, surgery can help to return to an almost normal life.
CBD and degenerative disc disease.
CBD (Cannabidiol) is a molecule found in industrial hemp (Cannabis Sativa), and if we hear more and more talk lately, it is for a good reason. Numerous studies have shown that the effects of CBD have an extremely broad therapeutic potential. The CBD of its real cannabidiol is one of the most famous cannabinoids, along with THC known for its psychotropic effects. Unlike THC, cannabidiol (CBD) is not psychotropic, so its marketing and consumption is legal. It is most often consumed in the form of CBD oil, which facilitates its consumption. Half a teaspoon of CBD oil morning and evening, and that’s it! Let’s take a look at the studies that show the benefits of consuming CBD oil (cannabidiol) when suffering from degenerative disc disease.
CBD and Degenerative Disc Disease: What You Need to Know
Degenerative disc disease describes a host of physical and psychological factors. The umbrella term encompasses a range of spinal conditions, from stenosis to facet joint syndrome. Early research shows that CBD might play a future role in combating both the physical damage and psychological stress involved in the condition. Let’s take a look.
Cannabinoids, terpenes, phytochemicals, organic cultivation
- Addressing a world plagued by back pain — where does cbd fit in?
- What is degenerative disc disease?
- Why degenerative disc disease occurs
- How does cbd help degenerative disc disease?
- How to use cbd for degenerative disc disease?
- The future for cbd and degenerative disc disease
Back pain plagues the world as one of the leading causes of disability and chronic pain. Back pain stems from a multitude of different musculoskeletal and nervous system conditions, including degenerative disc disease (DDD). According to the World Health Organisation, all of these conditions impact a person’s well-being, quality of life, and even their ability to work.
Addressing a World Plagued by Back Pain — Where Does CBD Fit In?
Many different modalities are available to treat back pain, yet very few are scientifically validated or provide consistent results. With the search still very much ongoing for a panacea for back pain, how does cannabis fare as a viable option?
Humans have used cannabis for thousands of years in an attempt to remedy a whole host of mental and physical ailments. The resinous flowers of this fascinating herb are loaded with a rich cocktail of phytochemicals, not limited to over 100 cannabinoids and 200 terpenes. Among these, CBD—or cannabidiol—stands out as one of the most prominent.
CBD already shows promise in various clinical settings, yet the research remains early. As cannabis science continues to advance, what do we know so far about CBD’s impact on DDD?
What Is Degenerative Disc Disease?
As opposed to being a specific diagnosis, DDD encompasses a group of spinal conditions that involve the degradation of intervertebral discs. These vital structures are situated in all major areas of the human spine: cervical (upper), thoracic (middle), and lumbar (lower). Overall, a total of 23 discs sit between movable vertebrae in the spine. Before we delve into the details of this spinal pathology, we need to know exactly what spinal discs are.
Spinal Discs: An Anatomical Overview
Intervertebral discs fulfil several critical functions within the human spine. They allow for flexible movement between each vertebra, without sacrificing strength and stability, and help to absorb shock from the ground when walking, running, jumping, and doing other activities.
When looking at spinal discs from an anatomical perspective, they’re actually quite simple. They’re made up of three distinct parts:
- Nucleus pulposus: This structure sits in the middle of the disc. Made primarily of water, the gel-like material also contains several types of collagen and allows for movement in different directions. The nucleus pulposus forms the compression-resisting unit of the spinal disc.
- Annulus fibrosus: This tough outer layer comprises several layers of collagen fibres. It’s a ring of connective tissue that houses the nucleus pulposus and helps to resist excessive movement in particular directions. As opposed to resisting compression, the annulus fibrosus primarily resists tension.
- Vertebral endplate: Spinal discs sit between single vertebrae, which are stacked vertically one after the other up the spinal column. Vertebral endplates are specialised tissues positioned between each disc, connecting the two structures. They also diffuse nutrients into the discs, keeping them healthy and strong.
Conditions Associated With Degenerative Disc Disease
Numerous conditions fall under the umbrella term of DDD. Although they all feature distinct pathological traits, they share at least one thing in common: gradual damage to and breakdown of the spinal discs. These conditions include:
- Lumbar radiculopathy
- Lumbar stenosis
- Facet joint degeneration
Symptoms of Degenerative Disc Disease
DDD produces varying symptoms in patients experiencing the condition. These symptoms largely depend on the underpinning condition causing DDD, but some of them also overlap. Common symptoms include:
- Pain when bending or twisting the spine
- A “giving out” sensation that indicates spinal instability
- Muscular tension and spasms
- Shooting or stabbing pain that radiates down the arms or legs
- Loss of sensation, numbness, and tingling
Why Degenerative Disc Disease Occurs
DDD occurs through several mechanisms, ranging from genetic factors to environmental and lifestyle influences. Learn about the causative factors involved in the conditions below.
Researchers have identified certain genes that predispose individuals to DDD. The 5A allele polymorphism increases the risk of accelerated degradation of spinal discs, particularly those located in the lower back.
As we age, our body’s ability to heal and regenerate tissue declines. Although cell senescence and the accumulation of degraded collagen are thought to contribute to disc degeneration through ageing, a specific cause has yet to take the blame. However, we do know that the concentration of cells declines throughout the annulus fibrosus as we get older. Additionally, the cells that remain begin to lose their ability to divide and proliferate.
Although exercise helps maintain the integrity of our muscles, bones, and other tissues, too much repetitive strain can contribute towards degradation. Occupations, sports, and other daily activities that expose the spinal discs to excessive force may increase the risk of developing DDD.
DDD: A Complex Condition With Biopsychosocial Factors
The complexity of the human body means that DDD isn’t a simple condition. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) investigations show that some individuals with high levels of disc degeneration experience almost no pain. Conversely, those with minimal degradation may experience severe pain.
Pain science adopts a biopsychosocial approach to treating back pain. Psychological factors such as catastrophising and fear of certain movements may enhance the perception of pain and decrease the outcomes of some interventions.
How Does CBD Help Degenerative Disc Disease?
Although exposing the body to progressive loads and fostering a healthy approach to movement are staples when it comes to rehabilitating back pain, novel interventions such as CBD also appear to have a place in future solutions.
Potential to Reduce Damage to Intervertebral Discs
Prior to 2014, there was very little research regarding CBD and DDD. This changed when a team of researchers from the University of São Paulo, Brazil, set out to investigate the effects of CBD on disc degeneration  . After creating a model of DDD in mice, they administered varying doses of CBD to an experimental group shortly after.
The researchers used MRI to observe the effects of CBD both two and fifteen days after administration. After obtaining images, they also looked at the injury sites on a cellular level using histological analysis. They found that CBD managed to significantly reduce the damage caused to the intervertebral discs. The cannabinoid displayed particularly impressive effects within the annulus fibrosus. However, the changes in the nucleus pulposus were less significant.
CBD Interfaces With the ECS and Raises Anandamide Levels
But, how exactly does CBD exert these positive changes? Well, the molecule works on numerous systems throughout the body to create physiological shifts. For example, CBD interfaces with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS features two types of receptors—CB1 and CB2—found all throughout the body, with particularly high concentrations in the nervous system and immune system, respectively.
CBD may help to reduce disc damage by interacting with these receptors, although research has yet to find them located within the intervertebral discs. CBD also prevents the degradation of the endocannabinoid anandamide, which allows it to linger in the body for longer. This endocannabinoid—also known as the “bliss molecule”—displays pain-killing and anti-inflammatory effects that might play a role in disc healing.
Potential to Reduce Inflammation
Because degenerative disc disease involves the release of a flurry of inflammatory molecules, cannabis scientists are looking to see if CBD offers any anti-inflammatory action. A 2014 study in PLOS One set out to see if the cannabinoid offered any protective effects  against intervertebral disc degeneration in rats.
Despite their rigorous efforts, the research team called for further investigations into the mechanism by which CBD interacts with cell signals. Clinical trials are also required to see how the cannabinoid works in people living with the condition.
CBD for Psychological Symptoms of Degenerative Disc Disease
The treatment of back pain requires a multi-pronged approach. Although manual therapy, strength training, and specialised exercises play a key role, the psychological state of patients heavily influences their perception of pain and their ability to deal with the condition.
The psychological impact of DDD and chronic pain may lead to negative mental states such as depression, anxiety, and catastrophisation. As well as potentially helping to address the physical aspects of DDD, cannabidiol might help to reduce psychological symptoms.
CBD on Pain Management: Back Pain
CBD products are all the rage, but that’s old news at this point. Now, the name of the game is to assess whether the discomfort you’re feeling could be managed the infamous compound. Conditions ranging from Scoliosis to Osteoporosis, and everything in-between cause some degree of back pain. Given CBD’s restorative properties and countless users consuming the stuff consistently, can CBD be incorporated into your existing treatment plan to bring some degree of comfort back into you life?
understanding back pain
As it stands, the American Academy of Pain Medicine concludes that over 26 million Americans between the ages of 20 and 64 experience frequent back pain. While lower back pain is a more common complaint, many adults experience a massive variety of back pain from time-to-time. If said pain exceeds a period of three months, medical professionals tend to diagnose them with chronic back pain. Spinal Stenosis, Osteoporosis, muscle strain, Herniated Discs, Arthritis, Scoliosis and many other issues may cause back pain to become chronic, often without much relief – giving its patients a continuous, dull pain with added acute episodes for added discomfort.
While CBD may be able to restore the body back to a feeling of normalcy against a wide variety of issues from Osteoporosis to Degenerative Disc Disease, the compound is a not a cure. CBD does not cure, treat, or prevent any form of disease. In fact, CBD’s best results are to help mitigate the feelings experienced from said discomfort. Given the compound’s ability to act as an analgesic, anti-inflammatory, or even anxiolytic type of supplement, it’s use is almost always combined with existing treatment plans as prescribed by your physician.
cbd on anti-inflammation
There have been a variety of studies that cover CBD’s effects on inflammation. Starting with early research on CBD’s potential to be a novel anti-inflammatory drug, the compound shows promise in that it can help to reduce inflammation against aches and pains that would otherwise be the result of a condition or disease. For example, one of the defining characteristics of patients suffering from Scoliosis includes muscle spasms in which the muscle itself reacts violently against the rest of the body; generating acute pain stacked on a constant, dull pain. According to the study, at least 90% of patients that incorporated CBD alongside existing treatment reported a reduction in the intensity of symptoms; further reaffirming cannabidiol’s surging interest in its potentially-therapeutic properties.
To further reaffirm CBD’s ability to lower inflammation in the body, the compound binds to receptors in the brain that help regulate the response to inflammation and temperature throughout the body. Using Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) as a precursor, researchers highlight that both the CSCL-1 and CCL-2 receptors are primarily responsible for the brain’s response to pain and inflammation. According to the study, patients undergoing a consistent dosing of CBD in the weeks following injury, reported a significant decrease in pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines, thus generating a positive response to the reduction of inflammation throughout the body.
CBD on pain management – post-surgery RECOVERY
The Journal of Pain Research published a study in early 2018 detailing the effects of chronic pain patients in managing post-back surgery and the inclusion of both CBD and THC into the recovery process to mitigate the intensity of subjective pain. It is worth noting that subjective pain is generally the experience felt by the patient due to individual differences in physiological, emotion, and cognitive states. Subjective Pain in the context of pain management through cannabidiol research can only go so far unless clinical trials are tailored to a wider breadth of pain analysis. Despite the drawback against the study, patients were administered CBD in fixed dosages under a twelve-month window. Given the analgesic properties contained in both CBD and THC, study participants reported to experience significantly less pain, generating a positive encouragement that hemp, in general, could play a role in chronic pain relief.
cbd on pain management – scoliosis
Often caused by increased pressure on the spinal discs or strained muscles across the back, you might experience scoliosis pain differently than someone else. Scoliosis pain can result from pinched nerves, overall inflammation against the muscles, or even both; making treatment a toss-up on what would work versus not work. When it comes to treatment for Scoliosis, a number of treatment options exist; and almost always it includes some combination of physical therapy and drugs to effectively manage the pain. The absolute, last option for treatment is invasive surgery, which poses its own sets of problems for patients that opt to take this route.
Another option to consider in managing Scoliosis pain is through CBD. Despite its relatively new place in the field of pharmacology, CBD’s chemical properties include analgesic effects, anti-inflammatory properties, and overall mental wellness – giving way to a wide variety of symptom suppression that ultimately improves quality of life despite living with a condition that would otherwise cause discomfort.
While dosing CBD may vary widely depending on the user that is taking it, a good rule of thumb is to start with a low dosage and adjust over time. For example, 25mg per day with our CBD Tinctures would be a great place to start. Be sure to document your experiences and adjust accordingly.
cbd on pain management – fibromyalgia
Unlike Scoliosis, where the pain experience can be caused by so many variables and ultimately provide a trial-and-error type of approach to comfort; conditions such as Fibromyalgia is more predictable. This chronic pain disorder effectively causes cognitive and musculoskeletal pain that would otherwise just come down to severe back back if left untreated. The general rule of thumb to treatment is through pain management, which CBD has already shown promise in effectively mitigating.
According to a 2009 study in which CBD and other cannabinoids showed a therapeutic benefit in mitigating pain through its analgesic properties, the study concludes that conditions such as Fibromyalgia, which causes nerve damage may be managed through the consistent dosing of CBD.
While the FDA has not approved a drug specifically using CBD for Fibromyalgia pain management, a wellness routine may be curated with the assistance of your physician.
cbd on pain management – degenerative disc disease
Degenerative Disc Disease is a condition in which a damaged disc causes pain. The discs throughout our back act as shock-absorbers between the bones of the spine and are designed to help the back stay flexible while resisting forces in many different planes of motion. Degenerative Disc Disease may occur through age, lifestyle, traumatic injury, or a combination of the sort. When it comes to treatment of the condition, Cedars-Sinai Medical center suggests the following:
- Artificial Disc Replacement:Replacing discs with synthetic intervertebral discs to restore movement and flexibility.
- Surgical Intervention:Invasive surgery in which rods are implanted into the discs to support existing discs in performing its role without replacing the discs themselves.
- Nonoperative Treatment of Symptoms:Includes pain management, acupuncture, yoga, and physical therapy to manage pain according to symptoms. Often resulting in life-long treatment.
The key option for many would be to avoid invasive surgery. While you will not necessarily rid yourself of the condition without surgery, simply managing its symptoms proves to be an attractive option. Nonoperative Treatment of Symptoms in relation to Degenerative Disc Disease may also includes the use of CBD into wellness program or run concurrently with an existing treatment program as prescribed by your physician.
In a recent study published by North American Spine in which rats were induced with the disease analyzed CBD’s efficacy in a positive pain management outcome. Given a consistent, daily dosing of cannabidiol, researchers further re-affirm the compound’s ability to reduce damage to the spine areas while simultaneously reacting to receptors in the brain that control the response to such pain.
cbd on pain management – acute back pain
Effectively managing pain, particularly that of acute back pain, is an abstract term. Due to its ambiguous nature, just about anything and everything can cause it occur; and how one manages that pain can range from using over-the-counter drugs to non-traditional medicine, and even to some of the most hardcore narcotics. CBD has also shown promise and popularity in using the compound to effectively lessen the symptomatic effects caused by acute back pain. When taken as an overall wellness supplement, users have reported a significant decrease in pain versus only relying on specific drugs.
cbd on pain management – sciatica
Sciatica is a condition in which pain is generated by the sciatic nerve, which is the longest nerve in the body, applying pressure throughout the lower back. The nerve impeding on the spinal discs often produce feelings of numbness, tingling, and weakness in your leg or foot.
While we already touched on how CBD can help relieve neuropathic pain, it is also worth noting that Nociceptive pain management is another facet of relief CBD may assist with. CBD binds with CB2 and G-Protein-coupled receptors located in primary afferent pathways that help to restore balance and homeostasis. Given its pain response threshold, these same receptors effectively control the intensity in which pain is realized.
cbd on pain management – osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a bone disease that occurs when the body loses too much bone, produces too little bone, or both. As a result, the bones become weak and may break from a fall, or in serious cases, from sneezing or minor bumps.
Between autoimmune disorders, digestive disorders, neurological disorders, and medical procedures, Osteoporosis can be caused by just about anything’ and it does get worse with age. Research, however, has shown promise in narrowing down the mechanisms in which bone degradation occurs and offers some degree of relief. The balance between acidity of two types of cells within the bone helps to determine the bone density to a significant degree: osteoclasts, o r cells that can degrade bone and osteoblasts, cells that can produce bone.
While it would be easy to assume that because osteoclasts are the cells responsible for degrading bone, one would just need a treatment option that reduces the activity of those cells; and this is where CBD has shown its promise in doing so. According to a study published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, CBD is effective in blocking the GPR55 receptor that drastically reduces the activity of osteoclasts.
the bottom line
There is a massive range of back-related conditions that users report the inclusion of CBD into their treatment plans have vastly improved their experiences in managing its symptoms. While we need more clinical trials testing its effectiveness at managing said symptoms, the potential is there to at least bring up in consultation with your physician.
If you experience back pain and haven’t found a way to manage it, maybe it’s time to give CBD a try to see what you’ve been missing out on. Not only may it provide comfort on the affected areas of the condition, but you may also experience other benefits that promote overall wellness, stability, and enjoyment.