Updated on December 10, 2018. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Richard Koffler, MD, Board Certified Physiatrist
Two of the safest and easiest ways to medicate with cannabis are by using topicals and vaping. As an arachnoiditis patient, you already want to focus on your health, so getting the most health benefits as possible is crucial. But, both methods have strengths and drawbacks to keep in mind when you consider trying one out.
Since everyone deals with different symptoms, one treatment isn’t always better than another in every situation. If you know what you can and can’t do with vaping and topicals, you can create the right treatment strategy for your needs.
The nerves in our spinal cords have a membrane protecting them called the arachnoid. When someone has arachnoiditis, their arachnoid becomes inflamed, leading to issues related to the spinal cord.
Arachnoiditis always causes chronic pain, but it can also result in symptoms related to the part of the spinal cord affected. Patients with the condition often deal with issues related to their legs and lower back, bowel and bladder problems and leg numbness. They may also experience fatigue, mood problems, muscle spasms and more.
Medical marijuana goes way beyond bud and a joint. Patients have a wide variety of options presented to them when they browse medicine at a dispensary. Besides smoking, vaping and using topicals, you can eat an edible or use a concentrate.
While we focus only on topicals and vaping in this blog post, we highly recommend doing further research so you know your options. Additionally, if you think multiple treatments suit you, you can consider taking a combined approach.
A topical treatment is a medication that you apply to your skin. Common topicals include lotions, creams, and patches. You can also sometimes buy more unique topicals like bath soaks and intimate oil.
Lotions and creams work well for localized joint and muscle pain and spasms. They penetrate just under the skin to provide stronger and quicker relief than vaping. Rub-on topicals relax and numb the area that you apply them to.
However, rub-on topicals tend to only work well for localized symptoms. Since they only reach the muscles and joints, they can’t help with symptoms like depression or fatigue that require the medicine to reach the bloodstream.
On the other hand, patches administer medicine straight to your bloodstream, ensuring the whole dose gets right into your system. You apply a patch to an area of the skin with many veins and let the medicine slowly build up in your system. Patches work great as an extended release medication for chronic symptoms.
Since patches slowly release the medication, they can’t offer fast relief when flare-ups happen. If you need to feel the effects immediately, patches won’t fit the bill for you.
Vaping serves as a healthier alternative for patients who don’t want to damage their lungs by smoking. If you pick the right vaporizer, you can avoid charring your marijuana and breathing in the resulting smoke. Vaping allows patients to get the benefit of fast relief through inhalation without its risks.
Vaping lets you get fast, multi-symptom relief. The medicine enters your lungs and travels to the rest of your body, treating any weed-responsive symptoms. Inhalation lets you feel its effects very quickly, providing relief for flare-ups and sudden symptoms.
However, while vaping kicks in quickly, it also doesn’t last very long. If you have symptoms for extended periods of time, something that releases the medicine gradually like a patch might work better for you.
When you plan your treatment, you should get as much advice as possible from knowledgeable professionals. Marijuana-positive doctors help patients get medical recommendations and provide advice on medication and dosing. The friendly folks at your local dispensary can give you detailed, product advice so you can make an informed purchase.
For more information about how cannabis can be used to treat Arachnoiditis, check out our resources: