How CBD May Help Ease a Common Type of Back Pain: Sciatica

You start your day with a burning and tingling sensation running down your back and leg. At first, it’s more annoying than painful. But as time passes, the pain doesn’t seem to be getting any better, and it’s actually getting worse. Why is your back hurting?

There could be many reasons for your back pain, including:

  • Diabetes
  • Prolonged sitting
  • Weight
  • Age


Back pain can come in many forms and you should consult a doctor on what you’re experiencing. One type of back pain is sciatica. And it’s becoming more common recently because of the prolonged sitting required for most of the workforce today.

If not treated properly, sciatica can have a serious effect on your health. But many folks don’t want to go down the route of heavy-duty pain killers, which can have a list of serious side effects. That’s why many are turning to cannabidiol (CBD) to see if it can help reduce the pain and inflammation brought on by sciatica.


What Is Sciatica Pain?

A problem with the sciatic nerves is what causes sciatica pain in the first place. A sciatic nerve runs from your lower back down the back of each leg. When the nerve becomes injured or there’s too much pressure placed on the nerve, the pain will spread from your hip, buttocks and leg.

In severe cases, you may need surgery, but the good news is that in most cases people recover from sciatica without surgery.

What Are the Symptoms of Sciatica?

Common symptoms of sciatica include:

  • Hip pain
  • Lower back pain
  • Pain in the back of the leg that can worsen when sitting
  • A shooting pain that can make it difficult to stand up
  • Weakness, numbness or difficulty moving your leg
  • A burning or tingling sensation down the leg

Usually, sciatica affects only one side of your lower body. The pain extends from the lower back all the way down through the leg and the pain can even reach as far as your toes.

How to Lessen Sciatica Pain

Before you start to treat your sciatica, you should consult a doctor before proceeding. But here are a few ways to protect your back:

Both of these ways to treat your sciatica are great, but unfortunately are more for future prevention. If you’re in need of more immediate relief for your sciatica you may want to try CBD products such as tinctures and topicals.

Can CBD Help With Sciatica Pain Relief?

The popularity of CBD as a medicinal, dietary and wellness supplement has increased rapidly in recent years. CBD is already being researched and taken by folks suffering from:

  • Insomnia
  • Epilepsy
  • Anxiety
  • Pain

There are two types of pains that are typical of sciatica: neuropathic and nociceptive. Research has suggests that CBD can help ease both types of pain—but how?

CBD & the Endocannabinoid System

CBD is a molecule that interacts with the CB1 and CB2 receptors in your endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a network of receptors found throughout the body that helps regulate processes like:

  • Sleep
  • Mood
  • Appetite
  • Memory
  • Reproduction and fertility

The two main endocannabinoid receptors are:

  • CB1 receptors, which are mainly found in the central nervous system.
  • CB2 receptors, which are typically found in your peripheral nervous system and immune cells

Though we still don’t have a clear picture of how CBD works, researchers think that it interacts with these receptors and other components of the ECS to relieve pain and inflammation.

CBD & Inflammation

Sciatica causes pain and stress in your lower back, hips and legs. This will cause inflammation in those areas of the body. Taking CBD may help to significantly reduce inflammation and ease some of the pain.

How to Consume CBD for Sciatica Pain Relief

CBD tinctures are oils that most people take sublingually—under the tongue. You can simply place the drops under your tongue for about 30–60 seconds (or longer if you can) and swallow.

The CBD oil enters your bloodstream, primarily through the capillaries in your mouth. This is why most people feel the effects from tinctures quicker than, say, edibles, typically within 15–20 minutes.

It’s important to note that everyone has a different tolerance to CBD and you should always start off with a low dosage and increase as you see fit.

CBD topicals are lotions or salves you rub onto the affected area of your body. CBD topicals should give you immediate relief to the specific area where you apply it. Remember to wash your hands thoroughly after applying on the affected area—especially if the topical you’re using contains other ingredients like menthol.

Relief via CBD topicals typically only lasts a few hours. That being said, a few hours of being pain-free can be a beautiful thing.

CBD is a great alternative for seeking sciatica pain relief. It’s not a cure, but it can put you on the right path to recovery. It’s always a good idea to check with your doctor for more advice before you start working CBD into your sciatica treatment plan.

Photo credit: SOPRADIT/

If you’re new to cannabis and want to learn more, take a look at our Cannabis 101 index of articles. And if you have questions about cannabis, ask them and our community will answer.


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