Using Medicinal Cannabis to Manage Neuropathy-Related Chronic Pain

Updated on January 29, 2019.  Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer

Using Medicinal Cannabis to Manage Neuropathy-Related Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is a key characteristic most patients who struggle with neuropathy share. Also called peripheral neuropathy, it’s actually a symptom that indicates an underlying condition. Often, once the cause of neuropathy is treated, it dissipates or goes away entirely. But what happens if it continues? Patients are left to manage their neuropathy-related chronic pain on their own.

Medical marijuana can be used in many states throughout the U.S. to treat the chronic pain caused by peripheral neuropathy. Not only is it an effective analgesic, but it’s a safer alternative to many of the commonly prescribed pain medications.

What Causes Neuropathy-Related Pain?

Pain is a common feature for peripheral neuropathy that can affect multiple parts of the body. Neuropathy is caused when damage occurs to the nerves. This damage can happen to any of the main three groups of nerves: sensory, motor and autonomic. Sometimes, the damage only affects one nerve (mononeuropathy) or several nerves (multiple mononeuropathy), but other times it extends to numerous nerves. This rarer form called polyneuropathy.

Though neuropathy can be characterized by numbness or weakness in the hands or feet, it’s more often described as burning or stabbing pain. There are several potential underlying causes, and a physician will work with their patient to help find it. Common culprits include:

  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Tumors
  • Infections
  • Traumatic injury
  • Inherited conditions
  • Toxins
  • Alcoholism
  • Certain medications
  • Vitamin deficiencies

How Does Medical Marijuana Treat Chronic Pain?

Marijuana is becoming an accepted treatment for chronic pain, particularly as an alternative to prescription opioids. Not only is it relatively safe, but it’s useful for all types of pain, including nerve pain.

With the recent discovery of the endocannabinoid system (ECS), medical professionals are finding marijuana has many medicinal applications. This system acts as a bridge between the mind and body thanks to receptors located in every major bodily system, including the nervous system.

Marijuana has the incredible ability to bind to ECS receptors, thus offering relief if certain functions are not performing properly. Its analgesic properties are well-reported. Even patients who find other pain medications ineffective receive relief through cannabis.

Although cannabis can cause a few potentially adverse side effects, they’re mild when compared to the side effects of opioids. Plus, users of prescription painkillers have the potential to become dependent or even addicted to these drugs. Medical marijuana patients generally do not develop an unhealthy addiction to cannabis or any long-term health hazards.

Other Benefits for Patients With Neuropathy

Pain-reduction isn’t the only benefit neuropathy patients find when they use medical marijuana. Depending on the type of cannabis strain you use, many different symptoms can be treated:

  • Inflammation
  • Muscle spasms
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Inability to eat
  • Depression or feelings of despair

Best Strains for Neuropathy-Related Pain

When considering which strain you should pick, you need to look at the two primary compounds found in cannabis: CBD and THC. If you choose a strain low in THC, you’re less likely to experience psychotropic side effects, also known as “getting high.” However, many find a combination of CBD and THC to be the most effective for combatting pain.

Every dispensary is different, and you should speak to a local budtender for specific recommendations, but here are some well-known strains other patients have used for chronic nerve pain:

  • ACDC
  • Afghan Kush
  • Harlequin
  • White Widow
  • Jack Flash

Get Medical Marijuana Treatments

You deserve the best compassionate care available. If you feel medical marijuana is the right treatment option for you or a family member, make an appointment with a marijuana doctor today. These medical professionals can evaluate your specific condition and symptoms and answer any questions or concerns you may have.

Information About Medical Marijuana & Neuropathy