Nerve pain is perhaps one of the most common causes of chronic pain in Canada. It can be caused by a wide variety of health conditions, such as fibromyalgia, diabetes, and Lyme disease. It’s estimated over 2.5 million Canadians live with nerve pain. The condition is poorly understood and it’s often treated with opioid medications, osteotherapy, physiotherapy, and cortisone injections.
In many cases, these treatments don’t provide patients with the relief they need or they have side effects that prevent them from living their lives the way they want to. New evidence suggests medical marijuana for nerve pain could be a more effective treatment. These remarkable statistics prove the point.
1. Significant Pain Reduction
One systemic review of the literature on medical marijuana for nerve pain came to the conclusion those patients using medical cannabis had, on average, a 30 percent reduction in pain intensity.
What does this mean? In short, it means medical marijuana for nerve pain is a relatively effective treatment. This report reviewed several studies and compared the results. The reported reduction in pain is thus an average from all studies and all patients. For some people, medical cannabis was likely a more effective treatment.
Other studies, which used a self-reporting technique and no numerical scale, showed patients reported they achieved “a lot” or “almost complete overall relief” from their pain with the use of medical cannabis. This study included patients with various nerve pain conditions.
2. Effects Are Achieved with Lower Doses
Another thing the literature review found was that patients were reporting that they achieved these effects with relatively low doses of THC. In fact, in all of the clinical studies, THC exposure was significantly lower than the concentrations available on the market.
What should nerve pain patients take away from this information? There are a couple of interesting things to note. One is, of course, that only a low dose of THC may be needed to achieve significant reductions in pain. The other is that, since most medical cannabis is stronger than this, patients may find they only need a very small amount to achieve effective pain control.
3. Neuropathy Is the Most Common Source of Chronic Pain
In a systemic review of the American literature on cannabis for chronic pain, it was noted that neuropathy was the most commonly cited cause of chronic pain. Nerve pain is caused by a number of different conditions, such as fibromyalgia.
Many studies have looked at medical cannabis’s effect on nerve pain in particular, while other studies looked at the treatment of chronic pain more generally. Nonetheless, it is interesting to note that nerve pain patients showed up frequently in the more general groups as well.
One conclusion may be that nerve pain is the most common cause of chronic pain. Another may be that these patients often make good candidates for using medical marijuana for nerve pain as compared to others managing chronic pain conditions.
4. Reduced Use of Other Medications
A large US study found most people with nerve pain were managing their pain with other medications. When medical cannabis was introduced to the treatment regimen, these patients claimed they were able to reduce their reliance on other medications. The results were quite remarkable. Around 95 percent of fibromyalgia patients, 80 percent of those with arthritis, and more than 60 percent reporting neuropathic pain said they reduced their other medications.
Even those who had opioid dependencies reported they were able to reduce or even eliminate their other medications and still achieve almost total relief from their pain. This is consistent with the findings for other potential uses of medical cannabis.
While research is still being conducted, it appears medical marijuana for nerve pain may be an effective treatment and a great alternative to opioid medications. If you suffer from nerve pain, explore your options and talk to your healthcare practitioner about medical cannabis.