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Medical Marijuana and Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy

The sympathetic nervous system is responsible for regulating involuntary functions of the body such as increasing blood pressure and heart rate and constricting blood vessels. It is the abnormal responses that are said to cause the chronic pain associated with RSD. Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy often begins with burning pain present in the arms, fingers, palms of hands and/or shoulders. This condition is easily misdiagnosed as a painful nerve injury. In turn, the skin covering the affected areas will often become extremely sensitive, swollen and inflammed.

Although the exact cause of RSD is unknown, it is believed to develop as a result of direct injury to the nerves, surgery, trauma, infection, atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease or radiation therapy. Though it often begins as centralized in one part of the body, 92% of patients have reported a spread in the disease and 35% of patients have reported symptoms throughout their whole body. 

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome has been classified and divided into two groups dependant on the resulting nerve lesions following the injury:

Type I, also known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy, reflex neurovascular dystrophy, sudeck's dystrophy or algoneurodystrophy does not have visible nerve lesions.
Type II is also known as Causalgia and leaves notable evidence of significant nerve damage. The chronic pain caused by Type II RSD has been described as a 42 out of 50 being the maximum level of pain (rated higher than amputation and childbirth).

Medical marijuana has proven to be exceptionally helpful in treating the symptoms of Reflex Sympathetic Disorder. Cannabinoid treatment can relieve stresses, depression, and severe anxiety often brought on as a result of the disease. Additionally, medical marijuana can be ulitized to assist patients in immediate pain relief, reducing muscle sensitivity and chronic pain. Patient testimonials have demonstrated significant, fast relief from symptoms associated with this disease.

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