Updated on December 10, 2018. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Richard Koffler, MD, Board Certified Physiatrist
The nerve pain or neuropathy caused by arachnoiditis is a chronic symptom that’s often difficult to manage. Although the condition can create an array of difficulties, pain is the common denominator. It makes daily activities difficult, disrupts sleep, can lead to depression or anxiety and deteriorates quality of life.
Arachnoiditis is caused by inflammation of one of the membranes protecting spinal cord nerves. This condition is incurable, which is why managing pain is your doctor’s primary concern. It’s important that any therapy you attempt allows you to live pain-free and enjoy your life.
Most doctors prescribe a combination of medication and some sort of physical therapy. However, these medicines each have a long list of adverse side effects a patient should seriously consider. Some even have a sedative side effect, causing the patient to feel like they’re living in a haze.
Medical marijuana is well-known for its pain relieving properties. As states legalize cannabis for medicinal purposes, many patients living with chronic pain are finding relief from their symptoms. Medical marijuana is improving quality of life for countless patients with intractable pain, but is it right for arachnoiditis patients? Find out how cannabis could be a better pain reliever for your condition.
Chronic pain is one of the most debilitating conditions to live with. Although there’s no set pattern of symptoms, arachnoiditis is most commonly characterized by:
When these symptoms reach their height, patients are often left with constant pain that makes them unable to work. It can even result in permanent disability.
There are several potential causes for arachnoiditis. It could be the result of an injury to the spine, a viral or bacterial infection, compression of spinal nerves or complications from a spinal procedure. The condition leads to the formation of scar tissue around the membrane known as the arachnoid and can also cause the spinal nerves to malfunction or stick together.
Most pain management plans for arachnoiditis include the use of some sort of pain reliever. The most common medications prescribed are:
Even if your doctor prescribes a conservative pain management regimen, these medication dosages or types often become more aggressive over time since the pain can eventually become overbearing. Standard treatment plans can help, but as pain worsens, more are needed to remain effective.
These types of medications can also be accompanied by several adverse side effects, including:
The most dangerous aspect of prescription pain medications is that they can be toxic and highly addictive. As pain management becomes more difficult, patients increase their dosage of prescription narcotics to compensate, thus leading to a heavy dependence on these potentially harmful drugs.
Medical marijuana provides incredible pain relief for many different conditions, including arachnoiditis. In comparison to prescription narcotics, cannabis has few side effects. It also has a minimal risk of addiction. Because of the risk of addiction that opioids present, medical marijuana is a much safer alternative.
According to multiple studies and anecdotal evidence presented by patients using medical marijuana to treat their nerve pain, cannabis is especially useful for the neuropathy associated with arachnoiditis. But more than that, it helps other symptoms associated with the condition, including:
If you struggle with arachnoiditis, medical marijuana could be a positive treatment option for you. However, our advice shouldn’t replace that of a medical professional. Your doctor knows your unique circumstances and can guide you in a more specific direction. For further assistance or questions about cannabis treatments, contact a marijuana-friendly doctor in your state or a medical marijuana dispensary.
For more information about how cannabis can be used to treat Arachnoiditis, check out our resources: