Medical Marijuana to Treat Neuropathy
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke estimates that more than 20 million US residents suffer from some form of peripheral neuropathy. Commonly prescribed drugs for nerve pain such as pregabalin (Lyrica) & gabapentin (Neurontin) have negative side effects like addiction, headaches, and dizziness. Medical cannabis can be a safe alternative medication for Neuropathy.
What is Neuropathy?
Neuropathy is damage, dysfunction, or injury to one or more nerves that often results in tingling and numbness, shooting and burning, or prickly pins and needles. Common types of neuropathy include Peripheral Neuropathy, Proximal Neuropathy, and Autonomic Neuropathy.
Medical Marijuana and Neuropathy
Medical cannabis can provide pain relief and facilitate sleep in neuropathy patients. Medical cannabis has been shown to relieve neuropathic pain when consumed even at low doses. When compared to traditional medications for neuropathy, medical cannabis is remarkably safe.
The endocannabinoid system is responsible for regulating many bodily processes such as pain sensation, appetite, moods, and memory. Cannabis binds to cannabinoid receptors found throughout the central nervous system, the brain other parts of your body. This binding action prompts the release of neurotransmitters, which reduce pain sensation by blocking pain signals transmitted to your brain.
How Does Medical Cannabis Help Treat Neuropathy?
The answer lies in the interactions between cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system. Since neuropathy occurs from direct or indirect injury or damage to the nerve itself, neurons tend to become more reactive and responsive to stimulations. This explains why patients experience tell-tale tingling, stabbing, shooting, and burning sensations.
Studies note that cannabidiol (CBD) and THC, can lessen neuron reactions and help regulate neurotransmitters and the central nervous system through the endocannabinoid receptors. THC and CBD also activate the CB1 and CB2 receptors and help regulate neurotransmitters and the central nervous system, thus reducing pain.
According to research, medical cannabis can regulate the endorphin system and can lessen the feeling of pain. Medical cannabis can also mimic anandamide, a natural endocannabinoid. This helps to reduce levels of the enzyme fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH), increasing anandamide levels in the body, and decreasing pain perception.
Medical Marijuana and Neuropathy Research
A 2011 study from the scientific journal for Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics showed that combining medical cannabis with opiates may provide synergistic effects. Patients who received regular doses of cannabis alongside their twice-daily doses of prescribed opioids reported a 27 percent greater pain reduction.Another study from 2013 published in The Journal of Pain showed that vaporizing cannabis at lower doses significantly reduced neuropathic pain. In another follow-up study, patients with nerve pain associated with HIV experienced at least a 30 percent reduction in pain compared to those taking a placebo. Recent findings have backed up these earlier findings.
In another study, neuropathy patients treated with a THC/CBD nasal spray experienced lesser pain, improved sleep quality, and an improved Subject Global Impression of Change (SGIC) regarding the severity of their conditions – this was due to the entourage effect. For those suffering from chronic pain or neuropathy, a 30 percent reduction in the symptoms can make a huge change. There is a need for more studies on the efficacy of medical cannabis for neuropathy. As for now, current studies are already showing great results.
Medical Marijuana strains for Neuropathy
- Jack Herer
- White Widow
- Sour Tsunami
As more states legalize medical cannabis, patients will have greater access to it. If you’re considering using medical cannabis for neuropathy, now might be a good time to schedule an appointment with Trilogy Medicinal – Port St. Lucie Medical Marijuana Doctor and Cannabis cards and talk to our certified Physician to see if medical marijuana may be for you.