Neuropathy is the medical term for nerve pain. Neuropathy is often associated with diabetes, but can also have other causes, including HIV, malignant tumors, rheumatoid arthritis, and peripheral vascular disease (poor circulation). Regardless of the underlying condition, peripheral neuropathy, proximal neuropathy, and other forms of neuropathy can produce painful, potentially debilitating effects. Depending on which nerves are affected, a neuropathy patient might experience severe burning pain, numbness, tingling, and heightened sensitivity to light and pressure.
If you are a Massachusetts resident age 18 or older who is living with neuropathic pain, and you are not satisfied with the level of relief your current medication is providing, you should consider speaking with a physician about treating your nerve pain with medical marijuana. Peer-reviewed research has shown that marijuana, or Cannabis, can reduce pain quickly, gently, and safely, with minimal side effects that are typically limited to temporary drowsiness, dry mouth, and increased appetite. If your medication isn’t effectively reducing your pain and discomfort, you may get relief by adding Cannabis to your treatment regimen.
To speak with a Boston marijuana doctor about Cannabis for neuropathic pain in a confidential consultation, contact Inhale MD at (617) 477-8886. We’re here to help you feel better.
How Does Marijuana Work to Relieve Nerve Pain (Neuropathy)?
In 2013, the Journal of Pain published a study on vaporizing Cannabis to reduce neuropathic pain. The study found that Cannabis use caused significant pain reduction. In the study, “Ten of the 38 (26%) subjects who were exposed to placebo had a 30% reduction in pain intensity… as compared to 21 of the 37 (57%) exposed to the low dose [Cannabis] and 22 of the 36 (61%) receiving the medium dose of [C]annabis.”
The Journal of Pain study also cited earlier research focused on patients who experienced neuropathic pain associated with HIV. In the study on HIV-related peripheral neuropathy, “A significantly greater proportion of individuals reported at least 30% reduction in pain on [C]annabis (46%–52%) compared to placebo (18%–24%).”
But why does marijuana work so effectively to relieve neuropathic pain? The answer lies in an often overlooked system known as the “endocannabinoid system,” or ECS.
In medicine, “endo-” (which is short for “endogenous”) means “inside.” A “cannabinoid” is a chemical compound found in Cannabis. The most famous cannabinoid is THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), but in fact, scientists have identified approximately 85 cannabinoids.
While THC gets most of the fame and credit, all of these cannabinoids work together. This synergy, which is known as the “entourage effect,” is a sharp contrast to the pharmaceutical industry’s typical approach of isolating one or two chemicals to serve as the active ingredient in a given prescription medication.
Believe it or not, your body also makes its own cannabinoids, which are called endocannabinoids because they are produced inside your body. Some examples of endocannabinoids include Anandamide and 2-Arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG).
2-AG and other endocannabinoids interact with structures called “receptors” to regulate various functions, such as appetite. There are two distinct types of receptors that make up the endocannabinoid system: CB1 and CB2. When these receptors are stimulated by the cannabinoids in Cannabis, such as THC and CBD (Cannabidiol), it safely and temporarily alters the functions which the endocannabinoid system regulates.
One of these functions is pain perception. As a result, using Cannabis – or, to be more technical, using the dozens of cannabinoids that Cannabis contains – reduces your perception of pain, making neuropathic pain feel less intense and easier to cope with.
Personalized Care Plans and Treatment for Neuropathic Pain Patients
In 2012, Massachusetts voted to legalize medical marijuana, opening a doorway to pain relief for thousands of Massachusetts residents. Unfortunately, there are still shortcomings in the state’s medical marijuana system – particularly with regard to its marijuana dispensaries.
Instead of being staffed by pharmacists and other medical professionals, dispensaries are typically staffed by salespeople who lack medical knowledge or training. As a result, patients seldom receive any guidance as to which Cannabis products are appropriate, how to use them, how often to use them, how large their dose should be, and other critical pieces of information.
Inhale MD was established to provide Massachusetts marijuana patients with a science-based, medically-grounded educational resource for Cannabis therapy. Its founder, Dr. Jordan Tishler, is a graduate of Harvard Medical School, practicing Emergency Physician, and spokesperson for Doctors for Cannabis Regulation.
At Inhale MD, patients undergo comprehensive medical evaluations, return for ongoing check-in appointments, and receive personalized guidance about how to use Cannabis safely and effectively. Our mission is to help eligible patients receive the treatment they need, while simultaneously empowering patients to make good, informed decisions about their healthcare.
Schedule an Appointment with a Medical Marijuana Doctor in Boston, MA
Research indicates that Cannabis can provide gentle, fast-acting relief for neuropathic pain. If you are struggling to cope with severe nerve pain associated with diabetes, HIV, rheumatoid arthritis, or other medical conditions, and your current medication isn’t effectively decreasing your level of discomfort, you may benefit from incorporating Cannabis into your current treatment plan under the careful guidance of an experienced physician.
To talk about medical marijuana for nerve pain in a confidential consultation, contact Inhale MD at (617) 477-8886. We have two offices conveniently located in Cambridge and Brookline in the Greater Boston area.