Today’s article seeks to answer a simple query. Does CBD oil work for Plantar Fasciitis? In order to successfully answer this query and determine the effectiveness of CBD oil and cannabis-based treatment, we first need to understand what Plantar Fasciitis is.
What Is Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar Fasciitis is the inflammation of your plantar fascia. Your plantar fascia is a strong piece of thick tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot. It connects your heel bone to your toes creating the arch of your foot. Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain. It has a high risk of occurrence in runners, overweight people, and people who wear shoes with inadequate support.
What Causes Plantar Fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is often associated with a heel spur. A heel spur is a spike of bone poking out from your heel bone. Many people have heel spurs, however, they do not all experience pain. The pain that comes from Plantar Fasciitis can be treated without removing your heel spur. Thus, heel spurs are not considered to be a cause of plantar fasciitis.
Your plantar fascia is designed to absorb the stress and pressure applied to your feet. However, too much pressure on your feet can tear your ligaments and damage your tissues. Your body’s natural response to injury is inflammation. When your plantar fascia is injured and inflamed the result is heel pain, stiffness, and swelling.
The medical community believes that plantar fasciitis can develop as a result of overstretching, overuse, misuse, or in relation to a specific medical condition. People with obesity are at high risk of developing plantar fasciitis. If you have high calf muscles that make it difficult to flex your foot so you can bring your toes toward your shin, then you are prone to developing Plantar Fasciitis.
If you have structural foot problems such as high arches or very flat feet, then you’re at risk of developing Plantar Fasciitis. Having tight Achilles tendons can also result in Plantar Fasciitis. Your Achilles tendon is the tendon that attaches your calf muscles to your heels. Wearing shoes with inadequate support such as soft soles or poor arch support can also lead to plantar fasciitis.
What Are The Symptoms Of Plantar Fasciitis?
The main symptom of Plantar Fasciitis is pain at the bottom of your foot near your heel. The pain is usually worst in the morning after waking up similar to Polymyalgia. Pain can also be triggered by long periods of standing or when getting up after sitting. Pain is also experienced after exercise but not during. Plantar fasciitis pain develops gradually over time. The pain can be either dull or sharp. Some patients report a burning feeling at the bottom of their foot extending outward from the heel.
What Is The Treatment For Plantar Fasciitis?
Most people who develop Plantar Fasciitis recover in several months with conservative treatment options. Home treatment options such as resting, icing, wearing braces, stretching the affected area, and OTC anti-inflammatory drugs and OTC painkillers are often the go-to forms of treatment.
Night splints are also used to help stretch your calf and the arch of your affected foot. Night splints are a type of brace that holds your foot in a flexed position. They lengthen the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon while you sleep. As a result, they prevent morning pain and stiffness. Special arch supports for your shoes help alleviate pain by distributing pressure as evenly as possible. Arch supports can also prevent further damage to the plantar fascia.
If this type of physical treatment does not work to ease pain, you can get a corticosteroid injection directly into the damaged section of the ligament. Cortisone, for example, is a strong steroid injected into your plantar fascia to reduce inflammation and pain. Doctors limit this treatment because multiple steroid injections in your foot can rapture (or tear) your plantar fascia leading to chronic pain and a flat foot.
Physical therapy plays a key role in treating plantar fasciitis. Physical therapists can show you exercises to strengthen your lower leg muscles, and stretch your Achilles tendon, and plantar fascia. This helps stabilize your walk and lessens the workload on your plantar fascia.
Surgery is the most dramatic form of treatment and the last resort. Surgery is only considered 12 months after aggressive non-surgical treatment is proven to be unsuccessful. If you have a difficult time stretching your feet even after consistent stretching, your doctor may recommend a procedure called gastrocnemius recession. This involves lengthening your calf muscle to increase ankle motion and reduce stress on your plantar fascia.
If you have a normal range of ankle motion with ongoing heel pain, then your doctor may recommend a partial release procedure. This involves partially cutting your plantar fascia ligament to relieve tension in the tissue. And, if you have a large bone spur, it may be removed too. The problem with surgery is that it can result in chronic pain and nerve damage. It should only be considered after trying other treatment options. This is causing people to look for alternative forms of treatment such as cannabis-based treatment. This then leads us to the question of the day…
Does CBD Oil Work For Plantar Fasciitis?
Yes, CBD oil does work for Plantar Fasciitis. More specifically, CBD oil will help treat any pain and inflammatory symptoms associated with Plantar Fasciitis. However, please be mindful that you will also need to give your body time to rest, heal, and repair itself from any damage or injury that led to Plantar Fasciitis.
How Effective Is CBD Oil For Treating Pain In Plantar Fasciitis?
To answer this question, we need to look at the results of a 2019 fibromyalgia patient study and a 2010 cancer patient study. The results of both studies will help you understand just how effective cannabis-based treatment is for pain relief associated with Plantar Fasciitis.
The focus of the 2019 study was to investigate the impact cannabis-based treatment had on pain symptoms caused by fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain syndrome that causes widespread muscle and joint pain, muscle tenderness, joint stiffness, physical sensitivity, fatigue, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and a few other symptoms.
The study tested 3 variants of cannabis-based medicines and 1 placebo on the patients. The first group of patients was administered Bedrocan, which had 22.4mg THC and less than 1mg CBD. The second group of patients was administered Bediol, which had 13.4mg THC and 17.8mg CBD. The third group of patients was administered Bedrolite, which had less than 1mg THC and 18.4mg CBD. The fourth and final group of patients was administered a placebo, which had neither THC nor CBD in it.
Results from the study found that patients administered THC and CBD in a 1:1 ratio (Bediol) experienced the most significant pain relief effects. The minimum amount of pain relief was measured at 30 percent or more. The next group to experience significant pain relief effects was the THC-dominant group (Bedrocan). And, the last two groups, the CBD dominant group (Bedrolite) and the placebo group, reported similar pain relief results. Though similar, the CBD dominant group reported slightly more pain relief effects than the placebo group.
The study concluded that significant pain relief effects are experienced in cannabis-based treatments. The most notable being in the 1:1 ratio of THC and CBD followed by the THC dominant solution and then by the CBD dominant solution. The researchers pointed out that in their experience (and in that of other researchers) patients with chronic pain report beneficial effects from CBD-only treatment. Hence, either a single administration of CBD is insufficient or the dose amounts of CBD in this study were too low to elicit pain relief effects.
Cancer, if you’re unaware, can cause pain in your joints, muscles, soft tissue, and bones. The type of cancer that causes these ailments is called ‘blood cancer’. Examples of blood cancer include leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma.
The focus of the 2010 cancer patient study was to investigate the effectiveness of cannabis-based treatment on patients with advanced cancer pain. These patients got inadequate pain relief effects from prior strong opioid treatment. The study tested 2 variants of cannabis-based medicine and 1 placebo. The cannabis-based variants included a CBD and THC extract (in a 1:1 ratio), and a THC dominant extract.
After analyzing symptoms before and after treatment over a 2-week period, the study found that the patients taking the CBD and THC extract reported a minimum reduction in pain by 30 percent or more. In this study, the patients taking the THC dominant extract showed similar pain relief results to the placebo group. The study concluded that THC and CBD in a 1:1 ratio is effective for pain relief in patients with advanced cancer pain who were not fully relieved via strong opioid treatment.
In addition to the above studies, authors of a 2017 peer-reviewed journal state that:
There are also numerous anecdotal reports of the effectiveness of smoking cannabis for joint pain. However, these reports generally do not extend to regulated clinical trials… Nevertheless, the preclinical and human data that do exist indicate that the use of cannabis should be taken seriously as a potential treatment of joint pain.
How Effective Is CBD Oil For Treating Inflammation In Plantar Fasciitis?
To answer this question, we need to look at the findings of a 2019 peer-reviewed journal. The authors of the journal provide an overview of the overall effects of CBD in major conditions that are inflammatory in nature. This enables the authors to make a case as to why cannabis is useful for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an inflammatory autoimmune disease that causes joint damage, joint pain, inflammation, swelling, tenderness, and stiffness throughout your body. Joint pain, damage, and inflammation are symptoms similar to Plantar Fasciitis. The authors discovered that cannabinoids demonstrate anti-inflammatory effects by activating what is known as Cannabinoid Type 2 Receptors (CB2) in our body. This decreases cytokine production and immune cell mobilization to produce anti-inflammatory effects.
Furthermore, the authors found that cannabidiol (CBD) demonstrated anti-arthritic effects independent of cannabinoid receptors. And, in addition to controlling inflammation, cannabinoids reduced pain by activating:
- Central and Peripheral Cannabinoid Type 1 Receptors (CB1)
- Peripheral Cannabinoid Type 2 Receptors (CB2)
- CBD-Sensitive Non-Cannabinoid Receptor Targets
The authors concluded by stating that:
Cannabinoids might be a suitable treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, but it is important to target the right receptors in the right place. (For clinical studies,) we propose a combination of a CB2 agonist to decrease cytokine production, a peripheral CB1 antagonist to prevent detrimental CB1 signaling and to support anti-inflammatory effects of CB2 (via activation of β2-adrenergic receptors), and CBD to induce cannabinoid-receptor-independent anti-inflammatory effects.
In addition, the executive summary of an extensive 2009 peer-reviewed journal reviewing the use of cannabinoids as anti-inflammatory drugs states that:
Cannabinoids have been tested in several experimental models of autoimmune disorders such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, colitis and hepatitis and have been shown to protect the host from the pathogenesis through induction of multiple anti-inflammatory pathways.
The authors share how cannabinoids provide anti-inflammatory effects by stating that:
Cannabinoids suppress inflammatory response and subsequently attenuate disease symptoms. This property of cannabinoids is mediated through multiple pathways such as induction of apoptosis in activated immune cells, suppression of cytokines and chemokines at inflammatory sites and upregulation of FoxP3+ regulatory T cells.
And finally, the authors conclude their review by stating that:
Cannabinoids may also be beneficial in certain types of cancers that are triggered by chronic inflammation. In such instances, cannabinoids can either directly inhibit tumor growth or suppress inflammation and tumor angiogenesis.
Cannabinoids such as CBD exhibit a very strong potential for use in novel anti-inflammatory agents. Specifically targeting CB2 receptors in our body holds the key promise of moderating immunosuppressive effects without a patient experiencing the effects of being ‘high‘ from cannabis treatment.
CBD oil and cannabis-based medicines are effective and useful for the treatment of Plantar Fasciitis. Specifically in regards to providing effective pain relief and anti-inflammatory effects. The studies and journals highlighted in today’s article clearly show how effective cannabis-based treatment is for treating the major symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis.
Moving forward, there should NOT be a doubt in your mind that you will be able to achieve effective treatment results from CBD oil use for inflammation and pain. However, please keep in mind that you will still need to give your body time to rest, heal, and repair any damage or injury. CBD oil and cannabis in general have NOT been scientifically proven to accelerate the healing process.
Your challenge now lies in finding a suitable CBD oil solution that will assist you in getting positive results. Regarding inflammation, CBD alone has been scientifically proven to provide anti-inflammatory effects. However, regarding pain, the best scientifically proven solution is CBD and THC in a 1:1 ratio. This will be challenging to find commercially as current regulation limits the amount of THC availability to either 0.3% or 0.2% in a given CBD oil product based on your location.
However, some researchers have stated that high enough doses of CBD-dominant solutions can provide pain relief effects. Yet, what those dose levels look like is unknown or unclear at the moment. Hence, it is best to work with a pro-cannabis medical professional to guide you through the process of finding your optimal dosage levels so you can achieve your desired results.
If a pro-cannabis medical professional is inaccessible to you in your area, then you may need to consider micro-dosing as your next option. As an example, micro-dosing marijuana is the practice of taking small amounts in order to reap the medical benefits of THC while avoiding its psychoactive effects. However, instead of micro-dosing marijuana, you may look into micro-dosing CBD oil to find your optimal dosage that produces the desired effects.
You would need to keep an active journal on hand to take note of a few variants such as:
- The type of cannabis product purchased (oil, vape, flower, edibles, etc)
- The CBD and/or THC concentration levels (number of mg’s per bottle)
- The date of treatment commencement (start date)
- The times of treatment administration (times of day, AM and PM)
- The frequency of treatment administration per day (number of times per day)
- The dosage amounts per administration (number of milligrams or drops per dose)
- The noticeable effects after administration (positive, negative, or neutral)
- van de Donk T, Niesters M, Kowal MA, Olofsen E, Dahan A, van Velzen M. An experimental randomized study on the analgesic effects of pharmaceutical-grade cannabis in chronic pain patients with fibromyalgia. Pain. 2019 Apr;160(4):860-869. doi: 10.1097/j.pain.0000000000001464. PMID: 30585986; PMCID: PMC6430597.
- Johnson JR, Burnell-Nugent M, Lossignol D, Ganae-Motan ED, Potts R, Fallon MT. Multicenter, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study of the efficacy, safety, and tolerability of THC:CBD extract and THC extract in patients with intractable cancer-related pain. J Pain Symptom Manage. 2010;39(2):167-179. doi:10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2009.06.008
- Miller RJ, Miller RE. Is cannabis an effective treatment for joint pain?. Clin Exp Rheumatol. 2017;35 Suppl 107(5):59-67.
- Lowin T, Schneider M, Pongratz G. Joints for joints: cannabinoids in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Curr Opin Rheumatol. 2019 May;31(3):271-278. doi: 10.1097/BOR.0000000000000590. PMID: 30920973.
- Nagarkatti P, Pandey R, Rieder SA, Hegde VL, Nagarkatti M. Cannabinoids as novel anti-inflammatory drugs. Future Med Chem. 2009 Oct;1(7):1333-49. doi: 10.4155/fmc.09.93. PMID: 20191092; PMCID: PMC2828614.