Cannabis and its products as you already know, have many benefits. You’ve probably heard about the benefits of CBD and its oil. We’ve also talked about hemp and some of its benefits. However, did you know hemp oil may be an effective neuropathic pain treatment? 

Feature Photo Source: Unsplash 

Before we examine the study, we’ll give a background on hemp. Hemp refers to a Cannabis sativa plant that has low amounts of THC, specifically less than 0.3% THC. Hemp oil or hempseed oil, according to Healthline, is a clear green oil that is harvested by cold-pressing hemp seeds. It has a nutty flavor and is made from the seeds of hemp plants. Hemp seed oil has benefits that range from skincare to making products like paper. It’s also important to note that the oil is edible and is seen as having nutritional properties. Let’s see how hemp oil could help people also manage pain. 

Hemp oil as a chronic neuropathic pain treatment

Researchers at The University of New Mexico (UNM) conducted research on hemp oil using mice. The study concluded that cannabis, even low THC forms such as hemp, is able to “significantly improve the mechanical pressure pain in animals with established chronic neuropathic hypersensitivity.”

According to Science Daily, one of the researchers, Dr. Karin N. Westlund, Department of Anesthesiology said, “our lab utilizes a unique nerve injury model mimicking human neuropathic pain that has allowed demonstration of hemp’s reversal of the pain related behavior.” Science Daily says the researchers used a chronic neuropathic pain model that exposes mice to post-operative neuropathic pain. This pain is supposed to be akin to or represents chronic pain lasting years in human clinical patients. 

The researchers gave the mice “LyFeBaak” hemp oil, (produced by Organic-Energetic Solutions) which can actually be legally purchased in New Mexico. The hemp oil was able to effectively treat the pain. As Science Daily puts it, “researchers showed that legal cannabis hemp oil reduced mechanical pain sensitivity 10-fold for several hours in mice with chronic post-operative neuropathic pain.”

The study also concluded saying that more research is needed. The study states that “future research should focus on how whole plant extracted hemp oil affects multi-sensory and cognitive-attentional systems that process pain.”

Animal trials for neuropathic pain treatment 

You may be wondering if animal trials are useful enough. According to Science Daily, animal trials can sometimes be better than human trials. The article said, “studies in animals can be superior to clinical trials because they circumvent human biases and expectancy effects, or perceptual and cognitive reactions to enrollment in cannabis-themed experiments.” The article also brought up a valid point about the placebo effect. Apparently, during some of these human trials, ‘psychedelic experiences’ even when they haven’t gotten any of the ‘the active cannabis agent’. 

Why is hemp oil effective?

Well, according to Medical News Today, full-spectrum hemp oil tends to have an abundance of CBD. The article mentioned a 2018 review that spoke about the merits of CBD and other cannabinoids in healing pain. According to the review, CBD has “significant analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-convulsant and anxiolytic activities without the psychoactive effect of THC”. The review also noted that other cannabinoids could work in conjunction with CBD to treat pain. The review stated that “other phytocannabinoids that can contribute to the overall analgesic effects of medical cannabis are cannabichromene (CBC), cannabigerol (CBG), tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV), and many others”. 

According to another research, there are quite a bit of cannabinoids found in commercial hemp seed oil. The diagram below shows the result of the research.

Source: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpls.2019.00120/full

Cannabinoids identified previously as having pain healing properties like CBC, CBG and THCV are found in the commercial hemp examined in the study. This may be where the analgesic properties stem from.

Jegason P. Diviant, one of the researchers who examined hemp seed oil and its effects on pain also weighed in on the topic. He was quoted on Science Daily saying, “hemp plants contain numerous therapeutic constituents that likely contribute to analgesic responses, including terpenes and flavonoids, which in theory, work together like members of a symphony, often described as the entourage effect.”

What mechanisms do cannabinoids for pain relief?

According to a study called Cannabinoids and Pain: New Insights From Old Molecules published 2018, “cannabinoids act via cannabinoid receptors, but they also affect the activities of many other receptors, ion channels and enzymes.” 

The study also provided a list of the mechanisms by which cannabinoids relieve pain:

  • inhibition of the release of neurotransmitters and neuropeptides from presynaptic nerve endings
  • modulation of postsynaptic neuron excitability
  • activation of descending inhibitory pain pathways
  • reduction of neural inflammation

Dangers of opioids for chronic pain

Knowing that hemp seed oil can help with chronic pain is very important. According to Cannabinoids and Pain: New Insights From Old Molecules, “Chronic pain is the most commonly cited reason for using medical cannabis”. Many people suffer from chronic pain and many have turned to opioids to alleviate the pain. Unfortunately, opioids can increase pain sensitivity and cause dependency and addiction. Science Daily reported, “Conventional pharmacological drugs, namely opioids, are driving the leading form of preventable deaths and conventional medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the U.S.”

Hemp oil side effects

On the other hand, according to the study, medical cannabis may have moderate negative effects. The study says, “adverse effects in the short-term medical use of cannabis are generally mild to moderate, well tolerated and transient.” Cannabinoids have also been shown not to increase pain sensitivity. It should be noted however that there hasn’t really been much research done on the long-term effects of medical cannabis or hemp seed oil. 

Conclusion

Hemp oil seems to be a promising solution to chronic pain. While more research is needed, it is positive news for people who want to manage their chronic pain without the use of opioids. Hopefully, more research becomes available soon and we’ll see if it replaces opioids altogether.

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