Medical Marijuana For Chronic Neuropathic Pain
Millions of people around the world deal with pain on a regular basis. Commonly referred to as ‘chronic’ pain, the causes of pain vary from person to person. For some, it could be due to injuries. For others, it may be the result of health issues. Neuropathic pain is directly connected to some type of damage affecting the central nervous system in the body.
If the central nervous system — comprised of the brain and spinal cord as well as the nerve endings connected to them — is not functioning properly or is impacted in some way by a condition or disease, like diabetes, shingles, or even alcoholism, it can lead to what is referred to as chronic neuropathic pain.
Medical marijuana is a potential neuropathic pain treatment option, and one you should consult a doctor about first.
What is Neuropathic Pain?
At its core, neuropathic pain occurs when there is some type of damage to the central nervous system, or some component of the nervous system is not working properly. A person may experience pain along the peripheral nerves, the spinal cord, or even signals being generated in the brain itself.
Those peripheral nerves involve the nerve endings that go all throughout your body, including down your legs, into your feet and toes, along your arms and your hands and fingers, your organs, and everywhere else in your body.
If nerve fibers are damaged or begin to send the wrong signals along that nervous system to the pain processing part of your brain, you may experience chronic and even debilitating pain. Now, what causes neuropathic pain?
There are many potential causes of neuropathic pain, including:
- HIV infections
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS)
- Chemotherapy drugs
- Radiation therapy
- Amputation, which can cause phantom pain
- Compression along the spinal cord
- Trauma or surgeries
Treating neuropathic pain can be challenging. For those who want to know how to treat neuropathic pain, it’s either affecting them directly or impacting somebody they care about. It is not easy to witness somebody going through this potentially debilitating condition. So, is there an effective treatment for neuropathic pain?
Treatment Options and Medications
Because there are many different types of neuropathic pain from a wide range of causes, there are also a variety of drugs for neuropathic pain. One of those treatment options is medical marijuana for neuropathic pain.
There are also prescription medications, possible surgery options, physical therapy, and other alternative possibilities. So, can neuropathic pain symptoms be improved or tempered by medical marijuana?
How Does Medical Marijuana Help Neuropathic Pain?
Among the many neuropathic pain medications available to most patients, medical marijuana is still relatively new, but proving to be highly effective. That’s because of the ingredients found in hemp and their ability to reduce inflammation, affect neural connections, and temper the pain signals that may be sent from the brain throughout the body.
A number of studies have now determined that marijuana for neuropathic pain can be highly effective. As a treatment for neuropathic pain, medical marijuana is also being shown to be potentially safer for longer term usage than other prescription pharmaceuticals.
Effects of Marijuana on the Nervous System
When a person relies on medical marijuana, neuropathic pain symptoms can diminish. That’s because CBD, or cannabinoids, one of the key components of medical marijuana, help to reduce inflammation, which has a direct influence on reducing pain signals.
THC, the hallucinogenic component of medical marijuana, can help temper or calm down some of the excited nerve endings, especially in the brain, when neuropathic pain is at its highest.
Which Symptoms Can Marijuana Relieve?
There are a number of symptoms that medical marijuana can potentially relieve for somebody dealing with chronic neuropathic pain. One of the key ones happens to be the pain itself.
By reducing inflammation and helping to temper nerve responses in the brain, a person can feel more relaxed, experience less pain, and be able to sleep more easily.
Anxiety, fatigue, depression, and a number of sleep disturbances are several ancillary symptoms people dealing with neuropathic pain have experienced and medical marijuana can be beneficial at addressing all of these.
Can Cannabinoids Treat Neuropathic Pain?
Since cannabinoids help to reduce inflammation and encourage relaxation, it is a great option for those dealing with neuropathic pain. Cannabinoids for neuropathic pain have proven to be effective in many ways at helping people report less intense pain, pain less often, improved ability to sleep, less anxiety, and even less depression or depressive symptoms.
Risks of Marijuana for Patients with Neuropathic Pain
There are some risks associated with any neuropathic pain treatment options, whether you choose medical marijuana or physical therapy or prescription medications. Some of the common risks associated with marijuana include experiencing dry mouth, dry eyes, diarrhea, constipation, paranoia, hunger, slower reaction times, trouble with balance, and maybe even short-term memory related challenges.
Most of these potential risks associated with medical marijuana are considered relatively mild. It’s important to note that if you turn to medical marijuana as a potential treatment for neuropathic pain, depending on what type you use, it’s best not to attempt to operate of vehicle or heavy machinery.
Is Marijuana an Effective Treatment Option?
Absolutely. Medical marijuana can be a potentially effective treatment option for neuropathic pain. However, it may not be for everyone, depending on your medical history, family history, current prescription medications you are taking, and a number of other factors.
That is why it is crucial to consult with an experienced doctor who can go over all your treatment options.
How to Get Medical Marijuana for Neuropathic Pain
If your doctor has determined medical marijuana would be a good treatment from neuropathic pain, he or she will be able to prescribe you a medical card for marijuana. This will only be available in states that have made it legal to use medical marijuana, though.
Allow us to connect you with a doctor in your area who has experience helping people just like you (or someone you love) deal better with the chronic neuropathic pain that has been causing them so much difficulty in life.