Medical Marijuana and Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)

Medical Marijuana and Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)

Discover the relation between and potential benefits of medical marijuana for CRPS.


For those dealing with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS for short), it is a serious health condition. CRPS can interfere with daily life, a job, relationships, sports and other physical activities, and it can even impact your overall happiness in life. Many people have been turning to medical marijuana for chronic pain, so how effective is it in treating CRPS?

First, let us explain what CRPS actually is.

What is Complex Regional Pain Syndrome?

This is a loose term and covers a broad range of conditions and symptoms. The core focus of CRPS involves prolonged pain and inflammation, usually following some sort of injury to the arms or legs. 

There are two main types of complex regional pain syndrome: acute and chronic. Acute refers to a condition that lasts for a short time or has only been experienced for a limited number of days or weeks. Chronic refers to pain that has lasted for more than six months. Choosing the appropriate CRPS treatment would depend on numerous factors you would discuss with a qualified doctor.

CRPS Symptoms

There are many potential complex regional pain syndrome symptoms. That may involve:

    • Swelling at the affected area
    • Continual pain, typically in the hand, foot, arm, or leg
    • Extra sensitivity to touch or cold
    • Skin temperature fluctuations (between cold and hot)
    • Changes in nail or hair growth
    • Spasms in the muscles around the affected area
    • Stiffness or inflammation in the joints
    • Increased difficulty with mobility, focused around the affected part of the body

It’s important to understand that CRPS symptoms can change over time. That means what you may be experiencing as far as some symptoms today may not remain the same next week, but other symptoms could begin making their presence known (and felt).

What causes chronic regional pain syndrome? The cause is not fully understood yet, mostly because it has not considered common, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a new disease, but rather that diagnostics may only now be catching up with these reports of pain. Whatever treatment option is discussed and ultimately chosen should be done early. When it is, studies indicate that improvement is more likely to happen and CRPS could even go into remission, meaning it would no longer bother you.

The right complex regional pain syndrome treatment can help you regain control of your life, and this should be determined between you and your doctor. CRPS doctors (those who have direct experience assisting patients with this condition) are the best place to tur

How Does Medical Marijuana Help CRPS?

Although CRPS is not considered a far-reaching condition (yet) within the medical community, it is affecting more people every year. That’s often due to improved diagnostic evidence doctors tend to rely on.

Because of that, there is also limited information on CRPS and marijuana as a treatment or pain relief option. There are prescription medications available, but due to potential harsh side effects and even the elevated risk of addictive tendencies, medical marijuana for chronic pain has become increasingly popular.

Best Strains for Chronic Pain

What kind of marijuana is good for pain? There are two main strains, and a hybrid to consider. Indica and sativa. Or you could choose a hybrid (a combination of the two).

Is Indica or Sativa Better?

Indica strains tend to provide more relaxation and sedative attributes. Because of these relaxing qualities, indica strains are most suited for evening or nighttime use, when you’re getting ready to go to sleep.

Sativa strains, on the other hand, offer more cerebral effects. This will tend to cause an increase in alertness and focus, so these strains would be better used during daytime hours. Does sativa help with pain? Yes, it most certainly can.

With hybrid strains, you can find a decent balance that works best for your lifestyle and preferences. So, you would do well with either indica and sativa for pain. What about strains for nerve damage?

Nerve damage can often be chronic and last the rest of your life. Because of that, you should consult a qualified doctor who specializes in CRPS conditions.

CBD Oil for CRPS

Because of the way medical marijuana reacts with the body, tapping into the body’s natural hormone and chemical production, CBD oil for CRPS could be an effective option, however, CBD (cannabinoid) by itself does not contain THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). THC is the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Some believe CBD is not as potent a pain reliever as medical marijuana.

Side Effects of Marijuana for CRPS

There are some potential side effects of medical marijuana, especially with higher THC levels. Your qualified doctor will discuss this with you and may begin with lower dosages to determine how your body reacts.

Depending on the strain you choose, you could experience:

    • Insomnia
    • Drowsiness
    • Dry mouth
    • Short-term memory loss
    • Paranoia
    • Anxiety
    • Hunger
    • Reduced reaction times
    • Balance related issues

Not everyone who uses medical marijuana for CRPS experiences any of these side effects, though.

Is Medical Marijuana an Effective Treatment?

It certainly has been for millions of people worldwide. The key to understanding this is learning how marijuana interacts with the body.

How does medical marijuana help pain? There are two main receptors in the body: CB1 (which is in the brain) and CB2, which is elsewhere. THC interacts with CB1 receptors, which is why people experience psychotropic effects from the medication. CBD interacts with CB2 receptors, which reduces inflammation and helps with pain relief and autoimmune problems that can cause complex regional pain syndrome.

How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome?

The only way to receive a medical marijuana card legally in the United States is through a licensed medical doctor’s prescription. That is why it’s essential that you consult a qualified doctor to explain your symptoms, be diagnosed properly, and discuss medical marijuana as a treatment option.

More research is being conducted as medical marijuana’s effectiveness is being witnessed among a growing number of patients across the country. If you are dealing with chronic or even acute pain in your arms, legs, foot, or hand (mostly, but not limited to those areas), especially if that pain is affecting your ability to live a normal and active life, find an experienced CRPS doctor today.

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