January 17, 2022

CBD For Sciatica: How Ingestibles & Topicals Work Together For Relief

The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the human body. No surprise, when it gets aggravated, it can ignite pain that’s like the grand finale of a fireworks display.

And since pain sets your system on edge, it’s not something you can simply walk off. In fact, you might not even be able to comfortably walk, sit, or stand.

Being that you sought out or clicked this article on the interweb, we’ll assume you know that CBD has pain relieving capabilities. What you might not know is that pairing ingestible CBD (like tinctures, edibles, gummies, and pills) with topical CBD that you rub on where it hurts can give your sciatica pain and other symptoms a one-two punch.

Take This & Rub It In, Why Don’t You?

If you’re no stranger to sciatica pain, you know just how nails-on-a-chalkboard unpleasant it can be. When you need relief, you need it, like, an hour ago.

Sure, you could pop an NSAID to take the edge off. But if you want near-instant soothing and flare-up prevention, you might consider the two-pronged approach that is ingestible plus topical CBD. Together, they fill the need for both the preventative and acute pain management solutions that people living with sciatica need.

  • Ingestible CBD. CBD works with your body’s endocannabinoid system to tamp down inflammation response, ease pain, and cool down your nervous system. This form of CBD — like CBD tinctures or CBD softgels — can take some time to kick in, so think of it as preventative: It can help in the moment, but it's best used consistently for maintenance.
  • Topical CBD. Your endocannabinoid system lives in your skin, too. So when CBD is applied directly to lit up areas, it alleviates pain and inflammation, usually within minutes. Unless you’re using transdermal CBD, these effects don’t penetrate the dermal layers and enter the bloodstream. This is why CBD topicals are recommended for addressing pain directly when and where it shows up.

Using multiple CBD products is also known as layering. If this method is new to you, we have just the resource. Copy and paste Layering CBD: How To Do It Safely & Effectively in the search bar at the top of this page.

Let’s walk this back a few steps first, though. With a better understanding of sciatica, you’ll have a better grasp of CBD’s potential for bringing you a reprieve from your symptoms.

The Nervous Breakdown Of Sciatica Pain

The sciatic nerve runs from the lower spine down the backs of the legs and connects to nerves that travel through the feet. Although sciatica technically describes damage to the sciatic nerve, pain anywhere along this path is referred to as sciatica.

Sciatic nerve pain sets in when the nerve gets pinched or compressed by a bulging or slipped disk, conditions — such as a back injury or osteoarthritis — that affect the spine, or muscle tightness.

Pain from sciatica might feel like pinching, burning, pins and needles, or numbness. It might also manifest as muscle weakness, like feeling as though you’ve lost control of how high you can lift your leg. All around a not-good time.

CBD’s Steppin’ In

The remedy for sciatica always starts with self-care and home remedies to reduce symptoms. Gentle exercise, heat and cold therapy, and anti-inflammatory pain relievers are generally recommended.

But the vast and growing body of research on CBD for pain management suggests that CBD could replace the last item in that list, serving as a natural anti-inflammatory pain reliever.

Much like ibuprofen, CBD lowers inflammation — something you can experience from ingestible (whole body) or topical (localized) forms of CBD.(1)

It also makes pain feel less, well, painful. Studies show CBD lowers the intensity of pain biologically through nerve receptors and psychologically via the placebo effect.(2)

Before you discount placebo power, keep in mind that mental state does affect pain. If you’re feeling hopeless about your discomfort, it could make things worse. Whereas if you believe you’re using something that might help, it can make your headspace a more positive place.

If muscle tightness is quite literally getting on your sciatic nerve, CBD’s ability to relax muscles and lower the amount of tension they can hold will be a boon to you.(3)

Bonus: Topical CBD creams with menthol can also bring on the heating and cooling sensations that ease pain.

What About Those Other Sciatica Symptoms?

Anyone who’s had sciatica knows that pain is not the only struggle. Being uncomfortable quite literally stresses you out, sending signals to your brain via your nerves that no, everything is not okay!

Once your mind’s alarm signal is tripped, it becomes harder to relax your body, sleep, and do things that make you feel better.

Although most cases of sciatica clear up on their own, it’s not something that should be ignored. Chronic pain and inflammation locks your body in fight or flight mode. This can affect digestion, blood flow, and all kinds of vital functions as well as prevent you from feeling safe and calm. Which is all good when there’s a legitimate and urgent threat — but getting stuck here for a long period of time can do a number on your heart and overall health.(4)

As the state of emergency persists, you might start to experience things like:

  • Fatigue
  • Feeling edgy
  • Brain fog
  • Lower libido
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Decreased productivity

Taking A Stand With CBD

Topical CBD products can dial down pain, giving your body a chance to recalibrate and cancel these residual issues. Ingestible CBD has a wider reach, integrating into the sympathetic and parasympathetic branches of the nervous system that inspire the rest and digest mode your body needs to heal.

You can use one form of CBD without the other, but they complement each other very effectively. Together, they can disrupt the vicious cycle pain creates — which is especially helpful when that pain is being routed through your body’s biggest nerve.

Unexpected Upsides

When you stand back and look at the big, messy picture sciatica creates, it becomes clear that sciatica can be a quality of life slayer. It makes sense, then, that healing from sciatica can create a ripple of positive change.

Better Body Awareness.Tight and weak muscles in the hip and pelvic area may be causing or contributing to your sciatica pain. Getting these typically-tight areas to soften can increase your recognition of spots that need to be stretched and strengthened.

More Energy.The human body was made to move! The better you feel, the easier it is for you to work the muscles and joints in your hips, pelvis, and legs. This is a positive feedback loop you want to encourage.

Sexual Healing.Intimacy and orgasms send out a flood of feel good hormones that have pain-relieving effects.(5)

Clarity & Kindness.When you feel like a clear, calm, and productive human, it makes you nicer. Loved ones will appreciate it when you aren’t short-fused.

Naturally Holistic Sciatica Relief

Pain relief is a priority for most people with sciatica. Other symptoms contribute to the unpleasantries associated with an irritated sciatic nerve, too — like brain fog, sleep challenges, and fatigue.

Taking oral CBD daily keeps the properties of CBD in circulation, giving it a chance to target inflammation and muscle tension that may be contributing to sciatica. When tender areas need a quick fix, topical CBD can be applied to back up the ingested CBD’s effects.

When used together, topical and ingestible CBD enhance each other to combat sciatica from the inside out and outside in.



  1. Atalay, S, et al. (2019). Antioxidative and Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Cannabidiol. Antioxidants. https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox9010021
  2. Syracuse University. (2021). Research shows pain relieving effects of CBD. ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/04/210423130221.htm
  3. Trujillo, X, et al. (2015). Capsaicin and N-Arachidonoyl-dopamine (NADA) Decrease Tension by Activating Both Cannabinoid and Vanilloid Receptors in Fast Skeletal Muscle Fibers of the Frog. The Journal of Membrane Biology. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00232-014-9727-z
  4. Fine, PG. (2011). Long-term consequences of chronic pain: mounting evidence for pain as a neurological disease and parallels with other chronic disease states. Pain medicine. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1526-4637.2011.01187.x
  5. (2020). Chronic pain can interfere with sexuality. The Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/sexual-health/in-depth/chronic-pain/art-20044369

Also in News

Who’s Paying for Your Medical CBD?
Who’s Paying for Your Medical CBD?

Cha-Ching! Who’s Paying for Your Medical CBD? You’re using CBD for legit medical purposes. Maybe you even have a doctor’s note justifying the use ...

by jonathan strauss August 15, 2022

Read More
8 Ways To Be A Better Hybrid Worker
8 Ways To Be A Better Hybrid Worker

The great thing about the digital age is that it's opened up a whole world of opportunities for people who want to work from home. With a good in...

by jonathan strauss August 08, 2022

Read More
The Next Generation Of CBD & Smart Supplements Is Here
The Next Generation Of CBD & Smart Supplements Is Here

Our phones are getting smarter and so are our supplements and CBD products. It makes sense — after years of bunk outcomes from old-school vitamins,...

by jonathan strauss August 01, 2022

Read More