With marijuana legalization bills being passed in states across the country, many people are interested in learning more about the benefits of marijuana use. Those who use marijuana have shared what they use it for and how it helps them, including using marijuana for neuropathy.
The question then is, does marijuana help with neuropathy? Let’s explore that.
What is Peripheral Neuropathy?
First, it’s important to define what exactly neuropathy is. Neuropathy, or peripheral neuropathy, is damage to or destruction of the nerves. This condition affects many, many people. Around 20 million people in the US suffer from neuropathic pain.
It’s a problem of the peripheral nervous system, the nerves outside of a person’s spinal cord and brain. Sometimes neuropathy only affects a single nerve or nerve type but it can also affect many nerves in a specific area of the body or even nerves throughout the body.
The signs of this condition include pain, burning, numbing, or prickling feelings. The symptoms generally start in the hands and feet. One of the most common causes of neuropathy is diabetes but there are many other causes such as injection or traumatic injury, as well.
Unfortunately, not all cases of neuropathy can be easily treated or cured. In cases where neuropathy can’t be cured, the goal of treatment is to manage the patient’s symptoms and prevent further damage to the nerves.
Medication cannot always fully alleviate the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy, however. That leaves many peripheral neuropathy patients with lingering pain that can disrupt their daily lives. This gap in treatment options prompted some people to wonder whether patients could use marijuana for neuropathy.
Marijuana for Neuropathy Treatment: Does it Work?
Trying to use marijuana as a treatment for medical conditions is nothing new. Medical marijuana is approved as part of a treatment program for various conditions including anxiety, cancer, and Crohn’s disease, depending on the state.
Already, more and more states are allowing medical marijuana for peripheral neuropathy and neuropathic pain, too. These moves to allow medical marijuana for neuropathy come in response to considerable research into the merits of marijuana as a treatment option.
For example, a 2013 study in the Journal of Pain found that cannabis helped significantly reduce the level of pain that people with neuropathic pain experienced.
That’s consistent with various animal studies and anecdotal human evidence, too. For a long time, this evidence has pointed to the possibility that marijuana could be useful in treating the pain associated with peripheral neuropathy.
Expanding on that, the American Cancer Society published the following: “a few studies have found that inhaled (smoked or vaporized) marijuana can be a helpful treatment of neuropathic pain.”
Scientists at the Center for Pain Medicine, University of California, San Diego, examined the available research and found consistently favorable results across multiple clinical trials and studies. Because these studies had small sample sizes and short durations, there’s still room for more research.
But so far, it’s all very encouraging news for those who suffer from neuropathic pain and would like additional treatment options.
There are still restrictions on using marijuana for neuropathy treatment, though. In order to get a medical cart and use medical marijuana for peripheral neuropathy, you will first need a qualified doctor’s recommendation.
What Symptoms of Neuropathy Can Cannabis Treat?
It appears from the existing body of research that cannabis has the potential to treat more than just pain associated with neuropathy. Cannabis may be useful for addressing several other common symptoms of neuropathy including:
- Pain-related sleeping issues
- Muscle cramps
- Muscle weakness
- Chronic discomfort
- Muscle spasms
The clinical review mentioned earlier addressed many of these symptoms specifically, alongside chronic pain. These results are great news for any neuropathy patient who experiences these symptoms.
What are the Best Strains of Marijuana for Neuropathy?
As anyone who uses marijuana regularly can tell you, no two strains of marijuana are exactly alike. So, it stands to reason that different marijuana strains might work better than others for addressing neuropathy symptoms.
The most relevant difference between strains, in this case, is the cannabinoid profile. Some research suggests that cannabidiol (CBD) is particularly effective for addressing neuropathic pain so choosing a strain with high CBD content is a good way to go. These strains include:
- Jack Herer
- Sour Tsunami
- White Widow
- And more
It’s always a smart idea to try several strains until you find the one that works best for you. Ideally, the strain should produce your desired effects without any unpleasant side effects. If you need help through this process, you can always consult with a doctor who’s experienced in cannabis medicine.
Can You Use CBD Oil for Neuropathy?
Now, some people prefer not to smoke or otherwise inhale marijuana. In that case, you may be wondering whether you can just use CBD oil (or another CBD product) for neuropathy.
Since CBD is a cannabis compound that was identified as being potentially beneficial for neuropathy benefits, trying CBD as a treatment option makes sense. Using CBD alone may provide you with some relief from your neuropathy symptoms.
If it doesn’t work for you as well as you would have liked, medical marijuana is still an option. Because medical marijuana has more chemical compounds (specifically THC) together it may be more effective in offering therapeutic relief than CBD alone. You just have to try and see what is best for you.
In Which States is Medical Marijuana for Neuropathy Allowed?
As mentioned previously, more and more states are starting to allow medical marijuana for neuropathy. It’s still not allowed in all states, however. The states that allow medical marijuana for neuropathy are:
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Dakota
- West Virginia
If you don’t live in one of these states, don’t worry. It’s sometimes still possible to receive approval to use medical marijuana for neuropathy with a physician’s approval.
Plus, if you live in one of the states where recreational cannabis use is legal, you don’t even need a medical card.
Based on the available research, medical marijuana use for neuropathy is promising. More research may discover even more benefits of marijuana use!
Check out Elite Alternative Medicine to learn more.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does thc help with nerve pain?
Yes, research suggest that THC may help with nerve pain. Nerve pain occurs when nerves become irritated or damaged.
Can edibles help with nerve pain?
Studies have shown that yes, edibles can help with nerve pain. Edibles contain either one or both of marijuana’s active ingredients: THC (delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol).
Does thc oil help with nerve pain?
THC oil according to studies may relieve pain from inflammation and spasm by disrupting signals between the pains pathways.