Trigger finger is an uncomfortable condition of the hands. It occurs due to inflammation of the tendon sheath, a tunnel-like structure that allows the tendons to move freely. The most common conventional treatments include anti-inflammatory drugs, although these can cause a variety of side effects.
In recent years, the anti-inflammatory properties of cannabidiol (CBD) have become increasingly well-known. This has led to more and more people wondering whether CBD oil could help to unlock your trigger finger.
In this article, we discuss trigger finger and CBD oil. But first, let’s take a look at the condition and why it occurs.
What Is Trigger Finger?
Trigger finger is sometimes known as stenosing tenosynovitis or stenosing tenovaginitis. To understand why the condition occurs, we must look at the anatomy of the hands and fingers. The fingers rely on tendons to help them move. These are tough, cord-like structures that connect muscles to bone.
When a muscle contracts, tendons pull on the bones, forcing them to move. In the hands, this action results in the bending (flexion) and straightening (extension) of the fingers. The hands contain flexor tendons running underneath the palm, and extensor tendons running along the back of the hand. These tendons run through a narrow tunnel called the tendon sheath. This structure keeps the tendons in place and allows them to move without affecting the surrounding tissues.
In patients with trigger finger, the tendon sheath becomes swollen or inflamed. Therefore, the tendons may catch and bunch up, forming nodules and preventing the fingers from moving. Because the flexor tendons are stronger than the extensors, the fingers tend to get stuck in a bent position.
When the fingers get stuck in this way, straightening them can be extremely painful. However, this is not the only symptom of trigger finger.
Trigger Finger Symptoms
As well as causing pain when straightening the fingers, trigger finger can also cause the following symptoms:
- Pain at the base of the fingers (the pain is worse with movement or pressure)
- Stiffness or locking
- A clicking or popping sound when straightening the fingers
These symptoms tend to affect the ring finger most often, followed by the thumb. However, trigger finger can affect any of the digits and may occur in more than one at a time. It is most common in the right hand, probably because most people are right-handed.
Trigger finger symptoms tend to be worse first thing in the morning and improve throughout the day. Without treatment, a patient may eventually lose all movement in the affected digits.
What Causes Trigger Finger?
Nobody is 100% certain why some people develop trigger finger, although some consider it a form of repetitive strain injury. It is more likely to affect people over 40 and women.
Furthermore, trigger finger may accompany several other medical conditions. These include:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Dupuytren’s contracture
- De Quervain’s tenosynovitis
- Underactive thyroid
Trigger Finger Treatment (Not CBD Oil)
In many cases, trigger finger will resolve on its own over time. However, several treatment options may help to speed up recovery:
- Splinting the affected finger(s)
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Steroid injections
Unfortunately, many of these treatments can cause unpleasant side effects. For example, NSAIDs can increase the risk of gastric bleeding and ulcers. Steroid injections can damage the surrounding tissue with repeated use, and surgery carries the risk of infection.
Therefore, many people are choosing to try natural remedies for trigger finger before employing these more powerful treatments. One popular option is cannabidiol, but is CBD oil good for trigger finger? Let’s take a look.
CBD and Hemp Oil for Trigger Finger
CBD is a compound that has received much attention in the past few years. It is one of the many active chemicals that cannabis and hemp plants produce, primarily in their leaves and flowers.
It interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system to produce a variety of effects. This system comprises cell receptors called cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) and chemicals called endocannabinoids. It plays a crucial role in regulating many vital biological functions, including the inflammatory response.
Many cannabis compounds have a similar molecular shape to our endocannabinoids, allowing them to bind with ECS receptors. For example, THC (the psychedelic component of cannabis) mimics an endocannabinoid called anandamide. Anandamide is sometimes known as the ‘bliss molecule.’
However, unlike its mind-altering counterpart THC, CBD does not bind directly with cannabinoid receptors. Instead, it enhances the activity of our natural endocannabinoids, helping them to function more effectively.
It inhibits the activity of an enzyme called FAAH, which is responsible for breaking down anandamide. Therefore, CBD indirectly increases anandamide levels, which accounts for many of its benefits.
CBD also works outside the endocannabinoid system, affecting other cell receptors such as TRPV1. These receptors are involved in the perception of pain and heat. They are the same receptors that get activated when you eat chili peppers.
By interacting with TRPV1 receptors and the endocannabinoid system, CBD can have a positive influence over both pain and inflammation. Numerous studies support this idea, including this one, which appeared in Future Medicinal Chemistry in 2009.
Unfortunately, there is no existing research specifically on CBD for trigger finger. However, there is plenty of evidence to back its use as an anti-inflammatory and painkiller. Since inflammation is often a critical factor in trigger finger, it does not seem unreasonable to assume it could help.
What Is the Best CBD Oil for Trigger Finger?
Since CBD has risen to fame so quickly, many companies have been quick to jump on the bandwagon. Unfortunately, though, the market is still relatively new and poorly regulated. Therefore, many CBD brands are getting away with selling substandard products, and it is necessary to exercise caution when buying.
With CBD oil, it is always wise to be wary of seemingly bargain prices. Some companies market their products as ‘hemp oil’ and, indeed, most CBD does come from industrial hemp. However, some companies are extracting their oil for hemp seeds, which do not contain CBD.
Hemp seeds have a range of nutritional benefits of their own. However, they do not possess the anti-inflammatory properties that are necessary for conditions like trigger finger. Therefore, it is essential to find a brand that extracts its oil from hemp leaves and flowers.
One way to confirm the CBD content of your oil is to look for third-party lab reports. Many companies make these available on their websites or are happy to provide them on request. These reports are a great way to put your mind at rest, knowing that your oil contains what you need.
Another thing to look out for is how a company extracts its oil. Most experts consider CO2 extraction as the most efficient method. It allows the majority of hemp’s active compounds to infuse into the oil and leaves no dangerous residues or solvents behind.
Some other questions to ask yourself when buying CBD oil for trigger finger include whether the hemp is organic, and where it was grown. Plants grown in the USA will likely be of higher quality than those from abroad, for example.
CBD Oil vs. CBD Cream for Trigger Finger
There is a huge variety of different CBD products available, and choosing the right one can be a confusing process.
In the past, most people opted for oils or tinctures, which are held under the tongue before swallowing. These oils are still a popular choice today. They allow you to easily adjust the amount of CBD you use every time and are a relatively cost-effective consumption method.
However, many people dislike the taste of hemp oil or find it fiddly to use in this way.
Therefore, most companies also offer alternatives such as capsules and edibles. These provide a convenient way to use CBD and are becoming more and more popular all the time.
That said, possibly one of the most effective ways to use CBD for trigger finger is as a topical cream or ointment. These products work by interacting with cell receptors in the skin to produce targeted effects in a particular area.
Whatever product you choose, try to find one that is ‘full-spectrum’ rather than from CBD isolate. Full-spectrum products contain a range of other cannabis compounds in addition to CBD. This is key when treating inflammatory conditions, as many of these compounds provide additional benefits.
For example, CBC and CBG are both cannabinoids with anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. Terpenes such as myrcene and beta-caryophyllene also appear to play a role. Furthermore, many experts believe that these chemicals work synergistically to enhance one another’s effects. This phenomenon is called the entourage effect.
Providing you choose a product that comes from industrial hemp and not marijuana, it should contain less than 0.3% THC. Therefore, even full-spectrum products pose no risk of making you feel high.
Is CBD Oil Good for Trigger Finger? Final Thoughts
There is currently no specific research to support the use of CBD oil for trigger finger. However, there is strong evidence for its anti-inflammatory and painkilling properties. Therefore, it may be worth a try.
You should always conduct thorough research on your chosen CBD brand before buying to avoid getting ripped off. Look for lab reports and products that contain a full-spectrum of cannabinoids and terpenes in addition to CBD.
Finally, if you want to try CBD for trigger finger, speak to a medical professional first. They will be able to offer you further advice based on your symptoms.