Studies acknowledged that CBD might possess anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties that could help alleviate symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. Learn more. Inflammation and pain, the two main symptoms of carpal tunnel, can be alleviated with CBD thanks to its interaction with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Many health experts consider it as a viable option for the management of carpal tunnel syndrome. CBD oil is being used to help people with a variety of ailments. Learn more about CBD for Carpal Tunnel Pain Relief here.
CBD Oil for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – August 2022
Why People Are Turning to CBD Oil for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
The carpal tunnel is a narrow pathway containing the median nerve . Ligaments and bones surround the tunnel in the palm side of the hand. This area is prone to pressure due to occupational and lifestyle activities.
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is caused by inflammation of the surrounding soft tissues of the median nerve . The compression of the median nerve results in inadequate oxygen and blood flow (6) .
CTS symptoms often include intense pain, itching, burning, and tingling sensation on the fingers. The common treatments for CTS can be a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug ( NSAID ) or a surgical procedure called the carpal tunnel release.
Some individuals cannot tolerate the side effects of pain relievers , while others do not wish to undergo an invasive procedure like the carpal tunnel release.
These factors are why cannabidiol ( CBD ) has been a popular topic among researchers who are searching for alternative solutions.
Studies have acknowledged that CBD might possess anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties (7) .
These therapeutic promises may provide evidence on CBD ’s ability to act as an anti-neuropathic agent.
CBD vs. Nerve Inflammation
CTS is a form of entrapment neuropathy (suppression of the nerve). The goal of CTS treatment is to reduce inflammation of the tissues surrounding the nerve.
A study shared in the European Journal of Pharmacology demonstrated CBD ’s substantial immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory effects (8) .
Researchers administered oral CBD treatment on rats with induced sciatic nerve constriction and inflammatory pain. Like CTS, sciatic nerve constriction is another form of entrapment neuropathy.
Study results showed that CBD treatment reduced hyperalgesia (sensitivity to pain stimuli) and reduced inflammation on the animal subjects (9) .
Another study published in Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology conducted a clinical study on 29 patients with peripheral neuropathy (10) , a condition involving nerve damage that is not in the brain.
The double-blind study (using topical CBD and placebo) used the neuropathic pain scale to assess mean change from start to end of the treatment period.
The result showed that topical CBD administration significantly reduced intense pain, cold, and itchy sensations among patients.
The authors concluded that transdermal CBD application might reduce pain and other disturbing sensations caused by peripheral neuropathy (11) .
The authors also added that CBD was well-tolerated and proved to be more effective than conventional treatment for the nerve condition (12) . However, peripheral neuropathy is different from CTS so the same results may not apply.
Furthermore, the efficacy of transdermal CBD administrations is still limited to animal studies. More data is needed to verify if CBD might be an effective anti-inflammatory topical agent for humans.
CBD vs. Joint Inflammation
Some studies have observed the incidence of CTS among individuals with rheumatoid arthritis.
Arthritis is the inflammation and tenderness of joints. Prolonged arthritis is a risk factor for CTS. The inflammation brought by arthritis can interrupt sensory and motor function pathways in the wrist (13) .
Prompt treatment of rheumatoid arthritis may help prevent the prevalence of CTS (14) .
Several studies have shown that CBD might inhibit systemic inflammation in rat models induced with rheumatoid arthritis (15) .
An animal study posted in the European Journal of Pain mentioned that CBD might have therapeutic potential as a topical agent for arthritis (16) .
In the experiment, the rat models received transdermal CBD administration. The results displayed a significant reduction in the swelling of the joints.
The authors added that CBD improved limb posture and reduced pain rating scores. This improvement was observed after a single transdermal dose of CBD (17) .
Another cross-study observed that oral CBD administration reduced edema and hyperalgesia (pain sensitivity) in rat models’ paws (18) .
The authors continued that CBD is an attractive alternative to cannabis use due to its non-euphoriant and non-intoxicating characteristics.
Currently, existing studies on how CBD might affect arthritis inflammation and pain are limited to animal models. Researchers have yet to share definitive studies on how human arthritis might react to CBD .
Fortunately, some clinical studies are underway. The BMJ Open published an article that called on volunteers to test the efficacy and tolerability of CBD and THC (19) .
The double-blind study ( CBD and placebo) aims to investigate how the cannabinoids may help reduce chronic pain and inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis over 36 weeks of use.
If the study produces positive results, this may be an advancement in CBD ’s many therapeutic promises.
How CBD Oil Works to Help With Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
The human endocannabinoid system (ECS) is composed of G-protein-coupled receptors, cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) and cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2).
Many studies recognize the ECS’s modulatory function, which may play a role in producing several therapeutic benefits (20) .
Also, researchers acknowledge that CB1 and CB2 stimulation using cannabinoids, such as cannabidiol ( CBD ) and tetrahydrocannabinol ( THC ), has modulatory effects on conditions and diseases (21) .
CB1 and CB2 receptors are mostly present in the central nervous system (CNS), peripheral nervous system, and immune system .
The ECS modulates the inflammatory response by suppressing immune cell activation and immune cell apoptosis (cell death).
In a study, the administration of a cannabinoid receptor agonist resulted in reduced macrophages (white blood cell accumulation) during in vivo and in vitro studies (22) .
Also, the ECS may reduce cytokines (signaling proteins) activity. Cannabinoids, such as CBD , have the mechanism to dysregulate cytokine production of immune cells. This activity may help regulate inflammation (23) .
The reduction in macrophages and cytokines may influence the inflammatory response, attenuating chronic inflammatory pain and other sensations felt in conditions such as neuropathy (24) .
Moreover, an animal study shared by the Journal of Experimental Medicine suggested that manipulating the peripheral endocannabinoids might have therapeutic value in pain management (25) .
The authors also added that CBD , despite its low affinity to the cannabinoid receptors, was able to modulate glycine receptors. Glycine receptors are responsible for neurotransmission of pain perceptions.
The study concluded that CBD ’s modulation of glycine receptors resulted in analgesic potency in both inflammatory and neuropathic pain (26) .
Moreover, studies have also recognized the therapeutic benefits of other minor phytocannabinoids.
A study in Life Sciences mentioned that CBC is the third most abundant cannabinoid in hemp. Studies have recognized CBC for its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties (27) .
Also, according to another study, CBG has a minor affinity to the cannabinoid receptors, making it a more potent analgesic than THC (28) .
Currently, studies on how cannabinoids might stimulate the ECS are limited to in vitro and animal studies. More research is needed to show how cannabinoids may influence the ECS in humans.
The Pros and Cons of CBD Oil for Carpal Tunnel
- CBD might modulate receptors in the ECS, which might block inflammation caused by entrapment neuropathy, such as carpal tunnel syndrome (29) .
- Studies demonstrated how oral treatment on animal subjects reduced neuropathic pain (30) .
- CBD has been reported to significantly reduce intense pain, cold, and itchy sensations following transdermal administration on human subjects with neuropathic pain (31) .
- CBD has been acknowledged as well-tolerated and safe for daily use (32) .
- There are no existing clinical (human) studies on how CBD might affect individuals suffering from CTS.
- CBD might cause adverse effects, such as dry mouth, diarrhea, drowsiness, and loss of appetite (33) .
- According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), extremely high CBD doses might lead to liver injury, among other side effects (34) .
- There is a lack of knowledge on the effects of prolonged CBD use.
How CBD Oil Compares to Alternative Treatments for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
People have been turning to alternative treatments due to a lack of available medication or the inability to tolerate side effects from painkillers .
Many alternative medicines are available in the form of herbs. These herbs have been used as anti-inflammatory agents for decades.
The Devil’s claw ( Harpagophytum procumbens) and the Indian Olibanum ( Boswellia serrata) are traditionally used for several conditions, such as inflammatory bowel disease, polyarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and asthma (35) .
The herbs are chopped, boiled, and strained for their extracts.
Currently, there is a lack of study on the herbs’ efficacy as analgesic and anti-inflammatory agents.
CBD is also derived from plants (Cannabis sativa or hemp). Like the herbs, CBD is known for its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties (36) . CBD oil extracts are available commercially in tinctures, capsules, and vapes.
Another alternative option for CTS is cayenne pepper. Cayenne pepper contains capsaicin, a common component found in hot peppers.
Capsaicin is known for relieving peripheral nerve pain (37) . It is also a common ingredient in topical ointments and creams.
Some transdermal CBD products contain capsaicin in their formula. Some manufacturers aim to deliver the best possible results, which means adding extra benefits to the product that are believed to aid in pain relief and anti-inflammation.
How to Choose the Best CBD Oil for Carpal Tunnel
Full-spectrum CBD oil contains all the cannabinoids present in hemp plants, such as CBD , cannabichromene (CBC), cannabigerol (CBG), cannabinol (CBN), and THC (0.3% or less).
This type may be the most recommended for CTS due to the presence of other cannabinoids in the concentration.
A study published in Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management mentioned that other minor phytocannabinoids might also be relevant in anti-inflammatory activities (38) .
The author explained that CBC and CBG might also provide some therapeutic properties.
Broad-spectrum CBD oil also contains all the major and minor cannabinoids from hemp, except for THC . Some individuals prefer not to have traces of THC in their system.
Both full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD oil produce the “entourage effect.”
The entourage effect means that an individual takes all the supposed benefits of all the cannabinoids in one dose.
For individuals who cannot tolerate other cannabinoids, they may opt for CBD isolates, containing only pure CBD .
CBD isolates may be recommended if full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD oil produce adverse effects.
Some additional things to consider before choosing the CBD product :
- Check the certificate of analysis (COA), a third-party lab test result.
- Topical gels may contain essential oils or fragrances. Individuals must be careful to avoid ingredients that can trigger an allergic reaction.
- Always check testimonials and product reviews for more information on how the product works.
CBD Dosage for Carpal Tunnel
There is no standard CBD dosage specific for CTS. However, a 2018 review from the British Journal of Pharmacology recommended a typical dosage of less than 1 to 50 milligrams per kilogram per day (
According to the authors, the recommended dosage was evaluated from 1,038 scientific articles that tested CBD ’s dosing on human subjects.
This dosage range was enough to produce significant improvements. It can be increased once the body gets to CBD .
Existing studies on transdermal CBD administration have only tested dosings on animal subjects. Currently, there are no known scientifically-recommended dosages for topical CBD .
How to Take CBD Oil for Carpal Tunnel
When taking CBD oil to relieve pain and inflammation, the fastest administration is through vaping . A 2018 study mentioned that the lungs are a very efficient mechanism for drug delivery (40) .
The study continued that CBD inhaled through vaporization and aerosols can deliver plasma concentrations that may be felt within 10 minutes or less (41) .
Vaping is also advocated by many CBD users for its accessibility. Vape products, such as vape pens and cartridges, are designed to be efficient and mobile.
However, there are several reports that vaping can cause harm, such as allergic reactions, chemical irritation, chest pains, and shortness of breath (42) .
CBD topicals are available in gel, cream, and ointments. Transdermal administration is recommended for individuals who do not want to ingest CBD into their system orally.
Lastly, CBD may also be taken through oral or sublingual (under the tongue) delivery, such as CBD tinctures , capsules, and gummies . The oral administration may take longer to deliver plasma concentrations into the body. However, this method allows for optimal absorption (43) .
Individuals suffering from CTS or other medical conditions must discuss their options with a licensed physician before using CBD .
Is It Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or Arthritis?
Some individuals might confuse CTS as arthritis and vice versa. These two conditions can target the same area, which is the wrist.
CTS is an injury of the median nerve due to inflamed surrounding tissues. Arthritis is inflammation of ligaments and joints. Usually, one can tell the difference between the conditions’ range of symptoms.
Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome (44) :
- Tingling sensation on the hands and fingers
- Pain in hand and fingers
- A weak hand or difficulty gripping objects
Symptoms of wrist arthritis (45) :
- Joint pain
- Stiffness and limited range of motion
Individuals may treat both of these conditions with over-the-counter NSAIDs . More potent analgesic and anti-inflammatory medications require a prescription from a licensed physician.
If arthritis is left untreated, the wrist joint’s swelling can put pressure on the median nerve , which may lead to CTS.
If one starts experiencing any of these symptoms, it is recommended that they seek consultation and get a proper diagnosis and start treatment. Untreated CTS may lead to loss of function or permanent nerve damage (46) . Wrist surgery may be needed to relieve the pressure on the median nerve to prevent loss of function in extreme cases.
Are There Natural Treatments for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Anything that squeezes or puts pressure on the median nerve can cause CTS.
Individuals must know that the best natural remedy for CTS is to rest their hands. Occasional breaks from laborious tasks that involve the hands are essential in the prevention of the condition.
Natural treatment options may include the following (47) .
- Avoid activities that require long and repetitive flexing of the wrist (typing on the computer, working with vibrating tools, working in an assembly line).
- Apply ice to reduce inflammation.
- Wearing a wrist splint can provide support for the hands and prevent tingling sensations.
- Sudden weight gain or obesity can cause CTS. Losing weight may help relieve the median nerve from pressure.
Are CBD Oil and Medical Marijuana the Same?
CBD oil is a compound that can be found in cannabis plants (hemp).
Manufacturers extract the compound from hemp to create a more concentrated version without the psychoactive effect one gets from medical marijuana or medical cannabis .
In the US, CBD products are prohibited from containing more than 0.3% THC .
THC is commonly found in cannabis products. It is the compound responsible for causing the psychoactive effect.
Depending on the cannabis strains used by the dispensary , some medical marijuana strains, like girl scout cookies, may contain as much as 25-28% THC (48) . According to US federal law, only 11 states are allowed recreational and medicinal use for cannabis (49) .
Cannabis treatments are not recommended for CTS due to a lack of knowledge of how it might affect the individual.
CBD is legal in almost all US states and territories. In 2018, the Hemp Farming Act was incorporated into the United States Farm Bill (50) .
The farm bill legalized the manufacturing and sale of hemp-derivatives, such as CBD oil , hemp oil, and hempseed oil.
However, the CBD oil industry remains highly unregulated. Individuals are advised to buy their products with caution due to mislabeling of products and lack of accountability from some manufacturers.
Individuals may find legitimate brands by checking the company’s transparency. A good CBD brand shares the certificate of analysis (COA) with buyers.
The COA is a third-party laboratory test result that determines cannabinoid concentration. The COA also informs the buyer if the product is free from heavy metals and other harmful contaminants.
Researchers have yet to conduct definitive studies on CTS. However, existing data show that CBD may be useful for the condition.
A double-blind human study has shown that CBD reduced peripheral neuropathy symptoms, such as pain, itching, burning, and tingling sensations (51) . Individuals with CTS are also experiencing these same symptoms (52) .
Also, animal studies demonstrated that CBD might serve as a promising alternative for reducing inflammation and pain in joints and extremities (53) .
However, more data is needed to prove CBD ’s clinical value.
Only clinical studies without limitations may verify if CBD might be an effective treatment for CTS and other conditions that might cause CTS.
Meanwhile, researchers recognize that CBD ’s many promises deserve merit. Aside from its potential analgesic and anti-inflammation properties, CBD has been acknowledged for its inherent therapeutic benefits.
CBD may help with mental health conditions , such as anxiety, insomnia, and depression (54) .
Additionally, some studies suggest that CBD may be useful in neurodegenerative conditions, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease (55) .
Lastly, CBD is currently the main active ingredient in Epidiolex, an FDA-approved medication to treat rare forms of child epilepsy (56) .
Still, individuals with CTS must first consult and discuss treatment options with a medical professional before including CBD in their daily regimen.
- Donvito, G., Nass, S., Wilkerson, J. et al. The Endogenous Cannabinoid System: A Budding Source of Targets for Treating Inflammatory and Neuropathic Pain . Neuropsychopharmacol. 43, 52–79 (2018).
- Xiong, W., Cui, T., Cheng, K., Yang, F., Chen, S. R., Willenbring, D., Guan, Y., Pan, H. L., Ren, K., Xu, Y., & Zhang, L. (2012). Cannabinoids suppress inflammatory and neuropathic pain by targeting α3 glycine receptors. The Journal of experimental medicine , 209 (6), 1121–1134. https://doi.org/10.1084/jem.20120242
- Barnes, C. G., & Currey, H. L. (1967). Annals of the Rheumatic Disease. Carpal tunnel syndrome in rheumatoid arthritis. A clinical and electrodiagnostic survey., 26(3), 226–233. https://doi.org/10.1136/ard.26.3.226
- Barbara Costa, Anna Elisa Trovato, Francesca Comelli, Gabriella Giagnoni, Mariapia Colleoni, (2007). European Journal of Pharmacology . The non-psychoactive cannabis constituent cannabidiol is an orally effective therapeutic agent in rat chronic inflammatory and neuropathic. Pain. Volume 556, Issues 1–3. Pages 75-83, ISSN 0014-2999, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejphar.2006.11.006.
- Xu, D. H., Cullen, B. D., Tang, M., & Fang, Y. (2020). The Effectiveness of Topical Cannabidiol Oil in Symptomatic Relief of Peripheral Neuropathy of the Lower Extremities. Current pharmaceutical biotechnology , 21 (5), 390–402. https://doi.org/10.2174/1389201020666191202111534
- The Mayo Clinic. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Overview. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/pain-management/carpal-tunnel/ carpal-tunnel-syndrome
- Russo E. B. (2008). Cannabinoids in the management of difficult to treat pain. Therapeutics and clinical risk management , 4 (1), 245–259. https://doi.org/10.2147/tcrm.s1928
- Barbara Costa, (2007). Op cit.
- Xu, D. H., (2020). Op cit.
- Barnes, C. G., (1967).
- Russo E. B. (2008). Op cit.
- Hammell, D. C., Zhang, L. P., Ma, F., Abshire, S. M., McIlwrath, S. L., Stinchcomb, A. L., & Westlund, K. N. (2016). Transdermal cannabidiol reduces inflammation and pain-related behaviours in a rat model of arthritis. European journal of pain (London, England), 20(6), 936–948. https://doi.org/10.1002/ejp.818
- Carrier, E. J., Auchampach, J. A., & Hillard, C. J. (2006). Inhibition of an equilibrative nucleoside transporter by cannabidiol : a mechanism of cannabinoid immunosuppression. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 103(20), 7895–7900. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0511232103
- Hendricks, O., Andersen, T. E., Christiansen, A. A., Primdahl, J., Hauge, E. M., Ellingsen, T., Horsted, T. I., Bachmann, A. G., Loft, A. G., Bojesen, A. B., Østergaard, M., Lund Hetland, M., Krogh, N. S., Roessler, K. K., & Petersen, K. H. (2019). Efficacy and safety of cannabidiol followed by an open label add-on of tetrahydrocannabinol for the treatment of chronic pain in patients with rheumatoid arthritis or ankylosing spondylitis: protocol for a multicentre, randomised, placebo-controlled study. BMJ open, 9(6), e028197. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2018-028197
- Lu, H. C., & Mackie, K. (2016). An Introduction to the Endogenous Cannabinoid System. Biological psychiatry , 79 (7), 516–525. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsych.2015.07.028
- Pacher, P., Bátkai, S., & Kunos, G. (2006). The endocannabinoid system as an emerging target of pharmacotherapy. Pharmacological reviews, 58(3), 389–462. https://doi.org/10.1124/pr.58.3.2
- Donvito, G., (2018). Op cit.
- Nagarkatti, P., Pandey, R., Rieder, S. A., Hegde, V. L., & Nagarkatti, M. (2009). Cannabinoids as novel anti-inflammatory drugs. Future medicinal chemistry , 1 (7), 1333–1349. https://doi.org/10.4155/fmc.09.93
- McPartland JM. The Endocannabinoid System : An Osteopathic Perspective. J Am Osteopath Assoc 2008;108(10):586–600. Retrieved from https://jaoa.org/article.aspx?articleid=2093607
- Xiong, W., (2012). Op cit.
- Philip W. Wirth, E. Sue Watson, Mahmoud El Sohly, Carlton E. Turner, James C. Murphy. (1980)Life Sciences. Anti-inflammatory properties of cannabichromene, Volume 26, Issue 23, Pages 1991-1995, ISSN 0024-3205. https://doi.org/10.1016/0024-3205(80)90631-1.
- Evans FJ. Cannabinoids: the separation of central from peripheral effects on a structural basis. Planta Med. 1991;57(7):S60-S67.
- Xiong, W., (2012). Op cit.
- Barbara Costa, (2007). Op cit.
- Xu, D. H., (2020). Op cit.
- WHO. Expert Committee on Drug Dependence. (2017, Nov 6-10). Cannabidiol ( CBD ). Retrieved from https://www.who.int/medicines/access/controlled-substances/5.2_ CBD .pdf
- Bauer, B. (2018, Dec 20). What are the benefits of CBD — and is it safe to use? Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/consumer-health/expert-answers/is- cbd -safe-and-effective/faq-20446700
- FDA. What You Need to Know (And What We’re Working to Find Out) About Products Containing Cannabis or Cannabis-derived Compounds, Including CBD . Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/what-you-need-know-and-what-were-working-find-out-about-products-containing-cannabis-or-cannabis
- Ghasemian, M., Owlia, S., & Owlia, M. B. (2016). Review of Anti-Inflammatory Herbal Medicines. Advances in pharmacological sciences , 2016 , 9130979. https://doi.org/10.1155/2016/9130979
- Donvito, G., (2018). Op cit.
- Capsaicin Overview. National Library of Medicine. Retrieved from https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/Capsaicin
- Russo E. B. (2008). Op cit.
- Millar, S. A., Stone, N. L., Bellman, Z. D., Yates, A. S., England, T. J., & O’Sullivan, S. E. (2019). A systematic review of cannabidiol dosing in clinical populations. British journal of clinical pharmacology , 85 (9), 1888–1900. https://doi.org/10.1111/bcp.14038
- Devinsky, O., Cilio, M. R., Cross, H., Fernandez-Ruiz, J., French, J., Hill, C., Katz, R., Di Marzo, V., Jutras-Aswad, D., Notcutt, W. G., Martinez-Orgado, J., Robson, P. J., Rohrback, B. G., Thiele, E., Whalley, B., & Friedman, D. (2014). Cannabidiol : pharmacology and potential therapeutic role in epilepsy and other neuropsychiatric disorders. Epilepsia, 55(6), 791–802. https://doi.org/10.1111/epi.12631
- Shmerling, R.H., Can Vaping Damage Your Lungs? (2019)., Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/can- vaping -damage-your-lungs-what-we-do-and-dont-know-2019090417734
- Millar, S. A., Stone, N. L., Yates, A. S., & O’Sullivan, S. E. (2018). A Systematic Review on the Pharmacokinetics of Cannabidiol in Humans. Frontiers in pharmacology, 9, 1365. https://doi.org/10.3389/fphar.2018.01365
- The Mayo Clinic. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Overview. Op cit.
- The Mayo Clinic. Arthritis Overview. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/arthritis/symptoms-causes/syc-20350772
- Harvard Health Publishing. Don’t Delay Treatment for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome . https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/dont-delay-treatment-for- carpal-tunnel-syndrome
- The Mayo Clinic. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Diagnosis and Treatment. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/ carpal-tunnel-syndrome /diagnosis-treatment/drc-20355608
- Stuyt E. (2018). The Problem with the Current High Potency THC Marijuana from the Perspective of an Addiction Psychiatrist. Missouri medicine , 115 (6), 482–486.
- DEA., Drug Fact Sheet., Retrieved from https://www.dea.gov/sites/default/files/2020-06/Marijuana-Cannabis-2020_0.pdf
- The 2018 United States Farm bill. Retrieved from https://www.usda.gov/farmbill
- Xu, D. H., (2020). Op cit.
- The Mayo Clinic. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Overview. Op cit.
- Xu, D. H., (2020). Op cit.
- Shannon, S., Lewis, N., Lee, H., & Hughes, S. (2019). Cannabidiol in Anxiety and Sleep: A Large Case Series. The Permanente journal, 23, 18–041. https://doi.org/10.7812/TPP/18-041
- Cassano, T., Villani, R., Pace, L., Carbone, A., Bukke, V. N., Orkisz, S., Avolio, C., & Serviddio, G. (2020). From Cannabis sativa to Cannabidiol : Promising Therapeutic Candidate for the Treatment of Neurodegenerative Diseases. Frontiers in pharmacology, 11, 124. https://doi.org/10.3389/fphar.2020.00124
- FDA Approves Epidiolex. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-approves-first-drug-comprised-active-ingredient-derived-marijuana-treat-rare-severe-forms
CBD Clinicals is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more
CBD Oil for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Can It Help Relieve Symptoms?
Some people are more prone to carpal tunnel syndrome than others due to the repetitive nature of their work. Whether you’re a chef, checker, or copywriter, you’re in the group of increased risk. However, you can get it even by a case of bad luck.
The carpal tunnel is a thin space in your wrist, stretching from elbow to palm of the hand; it is home to the median nerve, which becomes inflamed upon the syndrome’s onset.
Fortunately, cannabis compounds such as cannabinoids and terpenes, have proven anti-inflammatory and painkilling properties. CBD and THC have been mentioned by studies as novel anti-inflammatory drugs that are able to target difficult-to-treat pain (1–2).
People use products like CBD oil to relieve the symptoms of many health conditions, from pain to anxiety to sleep deprivation and neurological disorders. The anti-inflammatory benefits are among its best-studied effects.
In this article, we’ll explain the mechanism of action and highlight the pros and cons of using CBD oil for carpal tunnel syndrome.
What to Know About CBD for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
As mentioned at the beginning, the carpal tunnel is a narrow pathway where the median nerve occurs. Ligaments and bones surround the tunnel from the palm side of the hand, making this area prone to pressure due to repetitive occupational and lifestyle tasks.
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) derives from inflammation of the tissues surrounding the median nerve. The squeezing of the median nerve leads to limited oxygen and blood flow, causing symptoms such as pain, burning, itching, and a tingling sensation on the fingers.
Doctors usually prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to tackle the said symptoms. Severe cases of CTS may require a surgeon’s intervention, using an invasive procedure known as the carpal tunnel release.
While some people can tolerate the side effects of NSAIDs to some extent, others are particularly sensitive to the treatment and won’t tolerate it in the long term. Surgeries, in turn, involve weeks of discomfort after the procedure.
This is where CBD may help. CBD has remarkable anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects on the body, both of which are therapeutic targets for carpal tunnel syndrome.
Does CBD Oil Help with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
CBD is known to engage with the endocannabinoid system or the ECS, to bring homeostasis in the body. If you’re new to cannabis, the ECS is a widespread network of receptors that runs across the entire body, from the brain and central nervous system to the gut, immune system, skin, and other organs.
The ECS regulates functions like stress, memory, mood, cognition, appetite, reproduction, digestion, immune response, and pain perception on top of other processes.
CBD’s interaction with the receptors of the ECS enables it to indirectly stimulate the production of the body’s natural endocannabinoids (which bind to the receptors) and increase their duration in the circulatory system through inhibiting the enzyme that breaks them down. Endocannabinoids help the ECS regulate the above processes by binding to or modulating the cannabinoid receptors.
The health benefits of CBD are attributed to its affinity to the CB2 receptor and an indirect influence on the activity of CB1 receptors. CBD has over 65 molecular targets besides the cannabinoid pathways.
Since CBD could relieve pain and inflammation, it’s within reason to assume that it may be useful for people with carpal tunnel syndrome.
Let’s see what studies say.
CBD Benefits for Nerve Inflammation
Carpal tunnel syndrome is categorized as entrapment neuropathy, involving suppression of the nerve. CTS treatments aim to reduce inflammation of the tissues surrounding the nerve in the tunnel.
In a study published in the European Journal of Pharmacology, CBD has demonstrated substantial anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties. The authors of the study administered oral CBD as a treatment for sciatic nerve constriction and inflammatory pain. Similar to carpal tunnel syndrome, sciatica is another type of entrapment neuropathy (3).
The study showed that CBD reduced hyperalgesia (sensitivity to pain signals) and lowered inflammation in animal models.
A double-blind clinical trial using CBD and placebo, and published in Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, found that topical CBD administration significantly reduced severe pain, cold, and itchy sensations among subjects. The study tested 29 patients with peripheral neuropathy, a condition involving nerve pain that doesn’t come from the brain (4).
The research team concluded that topical CBD administration may reduce pain and other debilitating sensations caused by peripheral neuropathy. They also added that CBD was well-tolerated and more effective than conventional treatments for nerve disease. However, peripheral neuropathy is different from CTS so the results may not be replicable.
More clinical trials on humans are needed to determine if CBD is an effective anti-inflammatory pain killer for CTS.
CBD for Joint Inflammation
Some studies have reported that carpal tunnel syndrome may occur as a side effect of rheumatoid arthritis.
Arthritis is a joint disease triggered by chronic inflammation. Prolonged arthritis increases the risk of CTS. The inflammation brought by arthritis may interrupt sensory and motor function tunnels in the wrist. Properly treated rheumatoid arthritis may help reduce the likelihood of CTS.
Several studies have pointed to CBD as the potential therapeutic agent in reducing systemic inflammation in rat models with induced arthritis.
One such study published in the European Journal of Pain mentioned that topical CBD formulations are effective for rheumatoid arthritis. In the study, the rats received a CBD cream, showing a significant reduction in the swelling and redness of the joints. The research team also noticed that CBD reduced pain rating scores and improved limb posture over time.
Another cross-study reported that oral CBD administration reduced hyperalgesia and edema in rat models’ paws. The authors concluded that CBD is an appealing alternative to cannabis use due to its non-intoxicating effects (6).
As more clinical human studies are concluded on this subject, we may be able to get a better understanding of how CBD produces the aforementioned effects.
Fortunately, the studies are already on the way. The BMJ Open published an article that searched for volunteers to test the efficacy and safety of a CBD/THC solution (7).
The double-blind trial will analyze the effects of the cannabinoids on the intensity of chronic pain and inflammation induced by rheumatoid arthritis for 36 weeks. The study may provide further advancements in CBD’s many therapeutic applications if the results come out positive.
Pros and Cons of Using CBD for Carpal Tunnel
- CBD is the modulator of the ECS receptors, which may inhibit inflammation induced by entrapment neuropathy, including carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Oral CBD use has been associated with reduced neuropathic pain in animal models.
- CBD has been repeatedly shown to reduce cold, itchiness, and intense pain caused by neuropathic pain.
- CBD is well-tolerated and safe for daily use
- Research on how CBD affects carpal tunnel syndrome is limited to animal subjects. There are no existing clinical human trials in this regard.
- CBD has a few mild side effects, such as dry mouth, drowsiness, changes in appetite, and diarrhea.
- The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t regulate the production and labeling of CBD products. There are a lot of mislabeled CBD oils out there; some of them may be dangerous for your health.
CBD vs. Other Treatments for Carpal Tunnel
People choose CBD as an alternative to NSAIDs for carpal tunnel. NSAIDs and corticosteroids are among the most common treatments for the pain associated with carpal tunnel syndrome. Their side effects range from easy bruising and weight gain to osteoporosis and liver damage.
Another problem with NSAIDs and steroids is that your body increases tolerance to them over time, causing addiction and leading to more discomfort on top of mood swings. CBD doesn’t cause the body to build a tolerance; it’s also non-addictive despite its potent anti-inflammatory and painkilling effects.
When it comes to other alternative treatments, most of them involve the use of herbs in one form or another. Herbs have been used as anti-inflammatory agents for centuries.
For example, the Devil’s claw (Harpagophytum procumbens) and the Indian Olibanum (Boswellia serrata) are used in traditional folk medicine for conditions like polyarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and asthma.
In order to get the most out of the herbs’ therapeutic properties, people chop them, boil them, and strain for their extracts.
Currently, there are no studies on the efficacy of herbs for the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.
CBD is also sourced from plants. Similar to herbs, CBD is known for its anti-inflammatory and analgesic benefits. CBD extracts are available in oils, powders, capsules, vape pens, and topicals.
Cayenne pepper is another alternative treatment for CTS. That’s because it contains capsaicin, a common ingredient found in hot peppers. Capsaicin helps reduce peripheral nerve pain. It is also a common additive in topical creams for inflammation and pain.
How to Use CBD for Carpal Tunnel?
Once you decide to replace NSAIDs and corticosteroids with CBD, there are several things to keep in mind if you want to get the most out of your treatment.
Here’s what you need to know about using CBD for carpal tunnel syndrome:
- Run some dosage trial-and-error – CBD affects everyone differently, so it’s difficult to provide a recommended amount for each individual with carpal tunnel syndrome. Start with a low dose such as 10 mg to see if that brings you any relief. If you don’t feel a difference, increase the dose after one week by another 10 mg, and continue testing. There’s no maximum threshold for CBD, so an overdose isn’t possible. However, you may experience side effects like diarrhea or dry mouth if you take an extremely high dose.
- Combine an oral form of CBD with a topical product – applying CBD creams and salves to the problematic area may help relieve the discomfort. People take CBD oil to relieve inflammation from within. However, topicals are better for targeting localized pain, e.g. when you get a flare-up from your carpal tunnel syndrome. Topical CBD may take effect within 30 minutes and last for a few hours. You may need to reapply the dosage for consistent results.
- Use CBD oil for fast relief from pain and inflammation — sublingual forms of CBD, such as oils and tinctures, are the fastest way to relieve discomfort and inflammation throughout the body. Tinctures are taken under the tongue, using the dropper that comes with the tincture’s bottle. Holding the CBD beneath the tongue allows for direct absorption into the bloodstream. CBD oils and tinctures differ based on the methods of extraction, carriers, shelf life, and taste but they both vary in potency and flavors.
- Take CBD capsules or edibles for a hassle-free way to relieve pain — capsules and edibles, such as gummies and honey sticks, are the easiest and most enjoyable way to use CBD oil, and you get a fixed-dose each time. However, since they need to pass through the digestive system, oral CBD products may take anywhere between 30–90 minutes to kick in. When they do, they last up to 10 hours.
- Vape CBD Liquid if you need immediate relief from inflammation – inhalation is the fastest method of administering CBD. The vape pen heats CBD liquid to the point where it releases cannabinoid-rich vapor. You then inhale it through the vape pen’s mouthpiece, and the CBD absorbs into the bloodstream through the lung tissue, producing its effects within minutes. Vape pens also deliver the highest concentration of the inhaled substance to your body.
Summarizing the use of CBD for Carpal Tunnel
The potential benefits of CBD for carpal tunnel syndrome are yet to be definitively proven by clinical studies. However, the existing body of evidence suggests that CBD may be a decent treatment for the condition.
CBD is known for targeting peripheral neuropathy symptoms, such as itching, burning, pain, and tingling sensations. People with carpal tunnel syndrome experience similar signs.
On top of that, CBD may be a safe and more effective alternative to NSAIDs and corticosteroids when it comes to relieving inflammation and pain in joints and muscles. However, more data is needed to prove CBD’s value under clinical conditions.
If you want to include CBD in your CTS treatment, consult your doctor, or find a specialist who is knowledgeable about CBD and cannabis use. Doing so will help you find the right dose for the condition and avoid potential interactions with other medications. CBD is known to compromise the liver’s ability to metabolize active ingredients in many pharmaceuticals.
Last but not least, make sure to purchase CBD from a reputable source. Research is paramount if you want to get a high-quality product, especially in this booming and unregulated market.
- Nagarkatti, Prakash et al. “Cannabinoids as novel anti-inflammatory drugs.” Future medicinal chemistry vol. 1,7 (2009): 1333-49. doi:10.4155/fmc.09.93
- Russo, Ethan B. “Cannabinoids in the management of difficult to treat pain.” Therapeutics and clinical risk management vol. 4,1 (2008): 245-59. doi:10.2147/tcrm.s1928
- Costa, Barbara et al. “The non-psychoactive cannabis constituent cannabidiol is an orally effective therapeutic agent in rat chronic inflammatory and neuropathic pain.” European journal of pharmacology vol. 556,1-3 (2007): 75-83. doi:10.1016/j.ejphar.2006.11.006
- Xu, Dixon H et al. “The Effectiveness of Topical Cannabidiol Oil in Symptomatic Relief of Peripheral Neuropathy of the Lower Extremities.” Current pharmaceutical biotechnology vol. 21,5 (2020): 390-402. doi:10.2174/1389201020666191202111534
- Russo, Ethan B. Op. Cit.
- Hammell, DC et al. “Transdermal cannabidiol reduce inflammation and pain-related behaviors in a rat model of arthritis.” European journal of pain (London, England) vol. 20,6 (2016): 936-48. doi:10.1002/ejp.818
- Hendricks, Oliver et al. “Efficacy and safety of cannabidiol followed by an open-label add-on of tetrahydrocannabinol for the treatment of chronic pain in patients with rheumatoid arthritis or ankylosing spondylitis: protocol for a multicentre, randomized, placebo-controlled study.” BMJ open vol. 9,6 e028197. 4 Jun. 2019, doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2018-028197
Livvy is a registered nurse (RN) and board-certified nurse midwife (CNM) in the state of New Jersey. After giving birth to her newborn daughter, Livvy stepped down from her full-time position at the Children’s Hospital of New Jersey. This gave her the opportunity to spend more time writing articles on all topics related to pregnancy and prenatal care.
Can CBD Be Used for Carpal Tunnel Pain Relief? 2022 Guide
Carpal tunnel is a very common ailment that can affect anyone, especially in 2021 as many of us are logging more hours in front of our computers while working from home. This can increase the risk of carpal tunnel, depending on your situation.
If you do have carpal tunnel, you’re probably looking for a way to relieve your pain and symptoms. There’s a variety of options that may help your pain; however, many people are looking at CBD treatment as a helpful solution.
What Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
You may have heard of carpal tunnel syndrome in the media or even in real life. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common reason for nerve pain (or neuropathy ). Most people who have carpal tunnel syndrome will be seen wearing a wrist brace to help with their symptoms. It’s a common condition widely associated with typing on the computer or even playing the piano. That being said, it’s more complex than you might think.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is when pressure is put on your median nerve, which is one of the most important motor nerves on your forearm/hand. Your median nerve runs from your forearm into the palm of your hand. This nerve is also responsible for sensations in almost all of your fingers (excluding the pinky finger). When there is compression on your median nerve, it leads to physical symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. These symptoms include numbness, tingling, or weakened function, most commonly affecting the elbow, wrist, thumb, index, middle, and ring finger.
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke , the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome usually appear gradually and typically affect your dominant hand first. Both hands can be affected by carpal tunnel syndrome; however, it is more common to feel symptoms in one hand (usually your dominant hand). As symptoms begin to develop, it makes it harder for your hand to function, resulting in dropping items due to muscle weakness or triggered sensations when using the affected hand to hold an object.
As previously discussed, many people will associate carpal tunnel syndrome with jobs that require typing or excessive use of the hands/fingers. However, the most common cause of the pressure on your median nerve is inflammation that results from certain health conditions. Conditions such as diabetes, pregnancy, arthritis, or thyroid problems can cause this inflammation that appears in the median nerve. In more severe cases, the inflamed nerves can affect blood flow.
While underlying health conditions are commonly linked to carpal tunnel syndrome, CTS can also result from physical discomfort on the wrist. This is when activities such as playing the piano or typing for long hours can put you at risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome. When you repeatedly move your hands, it can cause discomfort on your palms, depending on how you position your wrist.
Many factors can cause carpal tunnel syndrome, but people who have CTS typically suffer from uncomfortable feelings of pain, numbness, tingling, and more. Carpal tunnel syndrome can range in severity which may determine the kind of treatment that is required.
What Is CBD?
If you are new to the world of CBD products & treatment, there is no need to be intimidated. You may see CBD a lot in the media, marketed products, or even health journals. It may be popular, but it can also be a very beneficial method for a range of treatments.
In short, CBD refers to cannabidiol, which is one of the most notable active ingredients found in marijuana (aka cannabis) plants. While CBD does derive from the hemp plant (a cousin of the marijuana plant), it does not provide the psychoactive effects or “high” feeling that cannabis products containing THC will produce.
In recent decades, scientists have found that CBD’s structure is very similar to endocannabinoids, an active ingredient made within the body. Endocannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system (ECS,) work to regulate multiple functions throughout the body, from appetite to inflammation. CBD interacts with the cb1 receptors and cb2 receptors in the body’s endocannabinoid system, in many cases altering the course of these functions and helping with regulation.
CBD is not a cure for inflammatory diseases or other conditions; however, it has been shown to provide relief for many symptoms that result from more significant issues. CBD can help relieve an extensive range of health symptoms without the risk of developing a dependency.
Over time, numerous studies and trials have led to FDA-approved forms of CBD treatments that are effective & safe to use.
Can CBD Help Carpal Tunnel?
Carpal tunnel syndrome can benefit from various treatments, but recently, there has been more attention on natural remedies like CBD that have more mild side effects.
One of the most remarkable properties of CBD for the treatment of carpal tunnel is the ability to provide anti-inflammatory effects . Inflammation can be the main cause of carpal tunnel syndrome, making CBD a possible option to treat symptoms. If you are experiencing pain due to carpal tunnel syndrome, using CBD can help ease the feeling.
Depending on the severity of your symptoms, you might be inclined to try out a natural remedy like CBD. This is a popular choice among athletes to relieve pain , especially because it can be a non-addictive alternative to certain pain medications. If you want to try the natural route, you might benefit from topical CBD treatments that can soothe pain on the spot for immediate relief. Even if you are experiencing more severe symptoms, CBD may provide help in addition to other treatments you might be using.
There isn’t much research about the effectiveness of CBD for treating carpal tunnel directly. However, plenty of research shows the benefits of CBD for pain, immune system strength, and other health conditions that can lead to promising results as a treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome.
How To Use CBD Oil For Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
CBD has a wide range of benefits, but it also has a range of methods for use. CBD oil can be administered orally, topically, or through edibles/supplements.
When using CBD oil for carpal tunnel, a popular method is a topical use. This allows you to target the source of your pain & symptoms for an immediate sense of relief. Check your CBD oil to see the recommended dose to help you gain maximum benefits.
Once you apply your dose of CBD oil onto your carpal tunnel source, it can be helpful to massage the treatment in slow, circular motions. This can help to relax the muscles and allow your body to absorb the cannabinoids to begin working.
However, if you believe that your symptoms stem from inflammation, it may be helpful to go for CBD edibles, inhalers , or capsules. These may take longer to provide relief, but they can reduce inflammation throughout your body and provide mental benefits that may distract you from your symptoms.
If you want to try CBD as a carpal tunnel treatment, there are plenty of options that can work well. CBD roll-on sticks are often regarded as one of the best topical options to treat centralized pain or discomfort; that being said, the CBD product you choose may depend on your personal preference to make the best decision.
Other Non-Surgical Options That Could Help Treat Carpal Tunnel
While some cases of carpal tunnel require surgery as a form of treatment, there are some other non-surgical solutions aside from CBD. If you are looking to heal your carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms, trying multiple treatment methods can maximize your benefits.
An article from the US National Library of Medicine states that methods for nonsurgical management of carpal tunnel syndrome include bracing, injections, occupational therapy, exercise, and more.
Using a wrist splint or brace has been shown to reduce symptoms that may intensify throughout the day. This method allows you to stabilize your wrist in a neutral position that helps to restore feeling in numb areas. It also can help to minimize pain by giving your CTS to decrease in pressure.
Another method that is often recommended by medical professionals is corticosteroid injections. These work to reduce swelling and improve function & relieve symptoms early on in the development of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Carpal tunnel patients may also benefit from seeing an occupational therapist to receive hand therapy. This method works to rehabilitate function in the hand & wrist over time and is a helpful option for patients who experience recurring CTS. Many professionals also recommend exercise to restore mobility in the nerves and tendons.
Treating your carpal tunnel syndrome may or may not require surgery, but the good news is that there are options you can try beforehand which may work for you.