Over the last decade, cannabis has become a go-to alternative form of medicine. The natural substance of cannabis makes it a viable option for many patients with chronic illnesses, such as cancer, and mental issues, such as depression and anxiety. Those suffering have enjoyed relief thanks to the use of cannabis.
But what about nerve pain?
While cannabis has proven successful for recovering patients, targeting something as fragile as the nervous system is another matter altogether; it’s another element of the body that requires a delicate approach.
Only by understanding the finer details and concepts of nerve pain can cannabis be deciphered if it is useful for treatment.
What is Nerve Pain Exactly?
Have you ever felt the likes of tingling, burning, numbness, shooting or stabbing pain around your body when stretching a muscle? These are symptoms of nerve pain, known in the medical world as neuropathic pain or neuropathy.
The term is used to describe damage to the nervous system of one or more body parts. For example, if you have back pain, you could experience these symptoms down your leg and back. You could have these moments of discomfort for minutes, days, months or permanently. For some people, it’s a chronic condition that never leaves; for others, something they have to manage to make sure it doesn’t get worse.
It is a fairly common condition that occurs to those who have suffered severe accidents, injuries, tumours, HIV, arthritis, poor circulation, and post-surgery. Treating this condition can include a wide range of options, such as physiotherapy, pharmaceutical drugs, acupuncture or exercise.
And, of course, cannabis.
Does Cannabis Help with Nerve Pain?
Over the past several years, countless studies have shown that cannabis can prove effective in treating chronic nerve pain.
A review published in the AMA Journal of Ethics stated that cannabis was “comparably effective to the traditional agents used to treat neuropathic pain,” with patients taking “vaporized or smoked cannabis flower” to see its effects.
Furthermore, a 2013 study in The Journal of Pain found that cannabis “produced significant pain reduction in people with neuropathic pain,” while another study in the same publication highlighted how there was “at least a 30% reduction in pain compared to those taking a placebo.”
These are just a few of a range of studies that show that there is proof that cannabis minimizes the effects of chronic nerve pain, providing relief for patients.
How Cannabis Helps Nerve Pain
The effectiveness of cannabis comes down to the cannabinoids, THC and CBD. These two foundational compounds activate C1 receptors (which are found predominantly in your central nervous system and can affect a person’s pain experience) and C2 receptors (which work with the body’s immune response and activate its anti-inflammatory effect), regulating neurotransmitters and helping alleviate pain.
This is due to what cannabinoids actually do to the body’s endorphin system, which regulates a person’s health and well-being.
THC can alter the perception of the pain, reducing the anxiety and stress that comes with it (the C1 receptors). At the same time, CBD combats the pain with its anti-inflammatory compounds (the C2 receptors). A combination of one of these compounds, or just one on its own, can prove effective in minimizing the pain caused by nerve damage.
There are, of course, side effects to consuming cannabis. If you consume the wrong type or have too much, you can experience drowsiness, dry mouth (especially with edibles), paranoia, poor concentration and motor skills, and low motivation.
At this point, it’s all about getting the right support so you can get the right cannabis product.
How to Choose the Right Cannabis Products
You don’t have to suffer from chronic nerve pain when you can find relief through cannabis. However, you shouldn’t just start taking cannabis without consulting your primary physician first. Here is how you should approach consuming cannabis:
1. Speak to Your Specialist & Medical Cannabis Expert
Explain to your medical specialist your reasonings about trying cannabis and why it could help you. They should offer you advice on which products can help you and refer you to a medical cannabis clinic that helps people with acquiring medical cannabis.
These experts will assess your condition, find the best types of cannabis strains (sativa, indica or hybrid) and compounds (THC or CBD), and assign the dosage limits that can help you with your nerve pain.
2. Pick the Method of Consumption
There are multiple ways in which you can consume cannabis nowadays.
You can choose from the classic method of smoking or vaping it. If you do not like the idea of putting smoke in your lungs, you can try other options, such as edibles, tinctures (also known as oils), and topical creams.
Depending on where your pain is and the best method to alleviate pain, you might be offered a few options.
3. Trial the Cannabis Products
Now, it’s up to you to determine if the products are working for you. Trialling the cannabis products for a few weeks to see how it affects you, both in pain management and any side effects.
You then report back to your primary caregiver about how the products are working for you. They might recommend slight changes to the strain or dosages depending on the outcome. Unfortunately, this is very much a wait-and-see approach, but it’s the best way to ensure you get the best results for your chronic nerve pain.
What Can I Do Right Now?
The best way forward is to educate yourself on cannabis and how it impacts your nerve pain. The more you read and learn, the better your decisions regarding your health and well-being. Make sure you speak to your physician about how cannabis can make your life better.
If you wish to learn more about cannabis and its many great benefits, speak to the local bud experts at BudBar. As the leading cannabis store in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, they can provide you with insight and value, ensuring you are well informed about cannabis consumption and the latest products.