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Study: How CBD Can Help Your Degenerated Disc When Mainstream Treatments Fail

Published November 14, 2017
| Written By SpineNation Editorial Staff  

According to the Institute of Medicine of The National Academies, 100 million Americans are forced to live with a chronic pain diagnosis — specifically chronic back pain. Honestly, you really can't even begin to understand what it's like dealing with a chronic back pain condition unless you physically feel the painful symptoms. It's an invisible disease to some and the only way of life for others. 

And because of this chronic back pain epidemic, the medical community and pain specialist alike have been busy. They are working endlessly to find safer treatment options and therapy regimes rather than traditional drug therapies such as popping an opioid for pain relief.

While around 25 percent of the population goes burdened by uncontested signs of intervertebral disc (IVD) degeneration, there still is no sign of an effective treatment since there is no cure for chronic back pain including intervertebral disc (IVD) degeneration.

Yes, a patient can pop a pill but it may only bandage the symptoms, or in some cases, throw the chronic back pain patient's body even more out of whack. What we need is an effective solution to treat chronic back pain without the chance of addiction or overdose.

Potentially dangerous and addictive opioids on a table.Caption: In 2014, more than 240 million prescriptions were written for prescription opioids, which is more than enough to give every American adult their own bottle of pills. Those numbers continue to rise. In fact, four in five new heroin users started out by misusing prescription opioids.

An intervertebral disc (IVD) is a fibrous cartilage tissue located between the bone segments that form our spine, the vertebral column. Its purpose is to help the spine remain mobile, which allows you to move freely. Degeneration of the intervertebral discs is a result of many contributing factors such as age, wear and tear, oxygen or nutrient deficiency, in addition to general inflammation. An intervertebral disc (IVD) degeneration diagnosis is thought to be the foundation of chronic neck and back pain.

The Study

In March 2015, a study, Protective Effects of Cannabidiol on Lesion-Induced Intervertebral Disc Degeneration, was conducted at the Department of Pharmacology, Medical School of the University of São Paulo in Ribeirão Preto, Brazil, to test the possible therapeutic effects cannabidiol (CBD) could have on intervertebral disc degeneration.

Led by Ph.D. candidate from the University of British Columbia's (UBC) department of psychology, the study's lead author, Mason Silveira and his research team investigated the link between using cannabinoids to treat disc injuries.

The Treatment You've Been Looking for

Cannabidiol (CBD), the cannabis compound that is most well known for being completely non-psychoactive — meaning it can help ease your chronic back pain without getting you high. CBD hemp oil is made from high-CBD, low-THC hemp, unlike medical marijuana products, which are usually made from plants with high concentrations of psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). It's a safer, less controversial alternative, while still offering significant health benefits for the patient with chronic back pain to find back pain relief.

Three different quantities of CBD were tested on 29 rodents that were induced with an intentionally created condition — similar to the IVD degeneration found in afflicted human patients. MRIs were done on the 29 subjects to ensure they showed symptoms of the intervertebral disc (IVD) degeneration.

The Results

Results were of little to no consequence in the rodents tested with the two lower dosages of CBD. But, the higher dosages helped reduce the induced damage in the rats over the 15-day study period.

The study concluded that CBD, “revealed anti-degenerative effects' administered at high dosages. And the tests 'suggest that this compound could be useful in the treatment of intervertebral disc degeneration.”

Here's to Greener Pastures

The medical researchers say that more research is needed over longer periods of time in order to fully comprehend all of its benefits, however, this is a great start to a greener future.

If you are one of the 100 million Americans who are forced to live in chronic back pain, CBD may just be what you need to find safe pain relief.

Cannabidiol (CBD) pills.Caption: Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of at least 113 active cannabinoids identified in cannabis —resembling in size and shape to fish oil supplements.

Updated: September 23, 2019

Information provided within this article is for educational purposes and is not a substitute for medical advice. Those seeking specific medical advice should consult his or her doctor or surgeon. If you need to consult with a specialist, you may be able find a health care provider in our Specialist Finder. SpineNation does not endorse treatments, procedures, products or physicians.

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