Study Shows
25% of Patients Suffering Spine-Related Pain Use CBD

Spine related pain refers to pain felt in the neck, back, legs and arms. Individuals with spine related issues also tend to have poor sleep and anxiety. In July 2021, the International Journal of Spine Survey published a research study on the use of CBD by patients with spine-related pain. The purpose of this study was to learn whether patients with spine-related pain use CBD, their patterns of CBD use, and whether they found CBD to be effective for pain relief.

Key highlights:

  • 25.2% of patients with spinal pain use CBD
  • The top ranking reason for using CBD is to relieve back pain
  • 46.3% of patients found CBD effective for pain relief

What Type of Spine Pain Did They Use CBD to Relieve? Was CBD Effective?

Participants reported whether they used CBD for neck pain, back pain, leg pain or arm pain. They also shared whether they found CBD worked for relieving pain, relieving anxiety, improving their sleep, or was not effective. Among the CBD using patients:

  • 66.7% use CBD for back pain
  • 37% use CBD for neck pain
  • 35.2% use CBD for leg pain, and
  • 9.3% use CBD for arm pain

→ Recommended: 63% Find CBD Helps Back Pain

In addition, 25.9% reported using CBD to help their insomnia, and 18.5% indicated using CBD to help their mood.

As to the effectiveness of CBD,

  • 46.3% found CBD effective for pain relief
  • 33.3% found CBD effective for improving sleep
  • 20.4% found CBD effective for anxiety relief, and
  • 24.1% found CBD had no benefits

→ Recommended: Self-Perceived Anxiety is the Top Reason for CBD Use

Did They Experience Side Effects from CBD? 

Participants reported whether they experienced any adverse side effects from using CBD such as agitation, diarrhea, fatigue, nausea, or none. Notably, 85.2% of the patients reported zero side effects from using CBD, and less than ten percent reported mild side side effects like fatigue (7.4%), diarrhea (3.7%), nausea (3.7%), and agitation (1.9%).

Did They Use CBD Before or After Surgery?

Participants were asked if they started using CBD before surgery, after surgery, before and after surgery, or if they are patients who have not required surgery (“never had surgery”). Among the CBD users:

  • 37% started using CBD after they had surgery
  • 29.6% never had surgery when they started using CBD
  • 20.4% starting CBD use before they had surgery, and
  • 13% used CBD before and after they had surgery

How Often Did They Use CBD?

The survey asked patients to indicate how often they used CBD on a weekly basis, ranging from 0-1 times per week to 21 times or more per week.  Most patients used CBD 2-5 times per week (40.7%) or 6-10 times per week (31.5%).

Why Did They Try CBD? 

Patients were asked to identify the source of the initial recommendation for trying CBD to manage their spine related pain.  Notably, the majority of patients decided to try CBD based on a friend’s recommendation.  Specifically:

  • 75.9% tried CBD on a friend’s recommendation
  • 22.2% tried CBD based on a doctor’s recommendation, and
  • 9.3% decided to try CBD based on advertisement they saw

What Type of CBD Product Did They Use? 

The survey asked patients what type of CBD product they use to treat their spine related pain. Among the CBD using patients,

  • 64.8% use a CBD oil
  • 37% use a CBD topical cream
  • 33% use a CBD edible product, and
  • 3.7% use a CBD vape

The Study's Takeaway

There are no published investigational trials on the effects of CBD alone on musculoskeletal pain. Notwithstanding the lack of trials, this study reveals that spine patients are already using CBD to treat their spine related pain in addition to their insomnia and anxiety.  In light of this study and the anticipated increase in popularity for CBD use, future research on the effectiveness of CBD on spine pain is essential.

→ Recommended: CBD for Pain Relief Survey Results

View the full text of the study, “Prevalence of Cannabidiol Use in Patients with Spine Complaints: Results of an Anonymous Survey,” in the International Journal of Spine Surgery.

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