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Medical Marijuana and Peripheral Neuropathy

What Is Peripheral Neuropathy?

Your peripheral nervous system is the system by which all information from the brain is transmitted through the spinal cord to various parts of your body. This incredibly complicated communications network is also responsible for sending sensory signals back through your spinal cord to your brain. For example, if your hands are cold, the signal is sent by the peripheral nervous system through your spinal cord to your brain. Likewise, if you step on a nail, the pain signal is sent from your foot through the peripheral nervous system to your brain. When this delicate system is damaged, it is referred to as Peripheral Neuropathy, or nerve damage in common terminology.
People who suffer from mild Peripheral Neuropathy can have symptoms such as tingling, sensitivity to touch, and numbness, as well a prickling sensation or muscle weakness. Those who have more serious Peripheral Neuropathy can have symptoms such as an excruciating burning pain, paralysis, muscle wasting, and organ or gland dysfunction. Along with pain related symptoms, a Peripheral Neuropathy sufferer may become unable to digest food easily, maintain safe levels of blood pressure or sweat normally as well as may experience a change in sexual function. In the most extreme cases, breathing may become difficult or organ failure may occur. There are over 100 forms of Peripheral Neuropathy. Some forms appear rapidly and then seem to diminish in severity while others come on slowly with symptoms that worsen with time.
Although physical trauma is the most common cause of Peripheral Neuropathy, it can also be inherited. Other, less common causes, include tumors, toxins, autoimmune responses, nutritional deficiencies, alcoholism, and vascular and metabolic disorders. Conventional treatment for Peripheral Neuropathy varies depending on the cause and severity of the condition. Underlying causes, such as a herniated disc that is causing pressure on a nerve, must be treated first. Injections of steroids and/or anesthetics may also be used. For many Peripheral Neuropathy sufferers, there is no cure. Treatment, therefore, is aimed at reducing the pain associated with the condition. Anti-seizure medications along with anti-depressants work for some; however, many Peripheral Neuropathy patients require varying degrees of opiate based pain medications to control the pain associated with the condition.

Your peripheral nervous system is the system by which all information from the brain is transmitted through the spinal cord to various parts of your body. This incredibly complicated communications network is also responsible for sending sensory signals back through your spinal cord to your brain. For example, if your hands are cold, the signal is sent by the peripheral nervous system through your spinal cord to your brain. Likewise, if you step on a nail, the pain signal is sent from your foot through the peripheral nervous system to your brain. When this delicate system is damaged, it is referred to as Peripheral Neuropathy, or nerve damage in common terminology.
People who suffer from mild Peripheral Neuropathy can have symptoms such as tingling, sensitivity to touch, and numbness, as well a prickling sensation or muscle weakness.

Those who have more serious Peripheral Neuropathy can have symptoms such as an excruciating burning pain, paralysis, muscle wasting, and organ or gland dysfunction. Along with pain related symptoms, a Peripheral Neuropathy sufferer may become unable to digest food easily, maintain safe levels of blood pressure or sweat normally as well as may experience a change in sexual function. In the most extreme cases, breathing may become difficult or organ failure may occur. There are over 100 forms of Peripheral Neuropathy. Some forms appear rapidly and then seem to diminish in severity while others come on slowly with symptoms that worsen with time.

Although physical trauma is the most common cause of Peripheral Neuropathy, it can also be inherited. Other, less common causes, include tumors, toxins, autoimmune responses, nutritional deficiencies, alcoholism, and vascular and metabolic disorders. Conventional treatment for Peripheral Neuropathy varies depending on the cause and severity of the condition. Underlying causes, such as a herniated disc that is causing pressure on a nerve, must be treated first. Injections of steroids and/or anesthetics may also be used. For many Peripheral Neuropathy sufferers, there is no cure. Treatment, therefore, is aimed at reducing the pain associated with the condition. Anti-seizure medications along with anti-depressants work for some; however, many Peripheral Neuropathy patients require varying degrees of opiate based pain medications to control the pain associated with the condition.

Medical Marijuana and Peripheral Neuropathy

Medical Marijuana and Peripheral Neuropathy
Because Peripheral Neuropathy is often something a patient must learn to live with for life, pain medications may become part of a daily routine. For those with severe pain, or who have built up a tolerance for the more mild pain medications, opiate based pain medications are necessary. Although they may work to relieve the pain, opiate based pain medications carry with them the risk of dependence or addiction. Medical marijuana is an alternative to opiate based pain medication that may offer the same pain relief without the negative side effects of opiate based pain medications.
Medical Marijuana and Peripheral Neuropathy: Clinical Evidence
Marijuana has a long history of use a an analgesic, or pain reliever. Numerous cultures around the world have used marijuana as an effective pain medication for centuries. Recent studies in the United States and other countries have confirmed the efficacy of medical marijuana as an alternative to, or in conjunction with, opiate based pain medications. One recent study showed that by including medical marijuana in the daily medication regimen of patients suffering from sever, chronic pain, the subjects were able to significantly reduce their opiate based pain medication while still experiencing relief from pain.
A recent study conducted by San Francisco General Hospital, focused directly on patients suffering from HIV-related Peripheral Neuropathy. In this study, participants were divided into two groups, one that smoked real marijuana three times a day and one that was given a placebo cigarette that contained no tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient in marijuana. Not surprisingly, the trial showed that the group that smoked real marijuana had a 34 percent reduction in pain, while the control group reported only a 17 percent reduction. Once again, the medicinal benefits of marijuana were shown to be beneficial to sufferers of chronic pain --in this case specifically caused as a result of Peripheral Neuropathy.

Medical Marijuana and Peripheral Neuropathy

Because Peripheral Neuropathy is often something a patient must learn to live with for life, pain medications may become part of a daily routine. For those with severe pain, or who have built up a tolerance for the more mild pain medications, opiate based pain medications are necessary. Although they may work to relieve the pain, opiate based pain medications carry with them the risk of dependence or addiction. Medical marijuana is an alternative to opiate based pain medication that may offer the same pain relief without the negative side effects of opiate based pain medications.

Medical Marijuana and Peripheral Neuropathy: Clinical Evidence

Marijuana has a long history of use a an analgesic, or pain reliever. Numerous cultures around the world have used marijuana as an effective pain medication for centuries. Recent studies in the United States and other countries have confirmed the efficacy of medical marijuana as an alternative to, or in conjunction with, opiate based pain medications. One recent study showed that by including medical marijuana in the daily medication regimen of patients suffering from sever, chronic pain, the subjects were able to significantly reduce their opiate based pain medication while still experiencing relief from pain.

A recent study conducted by San Francisco General Hospital, focused directly on patients suffering from HIV-related Peripheral Neuropathy. In this study, participants were divided into two groups, one that smoked real marijuana three times a day and one that was given a placebo cigarette that contained no tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient in marijuana. Not surprisingly, the trial showed that the group that smoked real marijuana had a 34 percent reduction in pain, while the control group reported only a 17 percent reduction. Once again, the medicinal benefits of marijuana were shown to be beneficial to sufferers of chronic pain --in this case specifically caused as a result of Peripheral Neuropathy.

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