Medical Marijuana Helps People Manage Neuropathy Pain

Peripheral neuropathy, a frequent complication of diabetes, occurs when gradual nerve damage causes numbness, weakness, burning, or pain—typically in the feet, legs, or hands.

Now, many people are turning to cannabis, or medical marijuana for relief from persistent neuropathy discomfort.

Pain Relief

Cannabis is effective for neuropathy because there are cannabinoid receptors on certain cells in our brain and throughout our central and peripheral nervous systems. These receptors are involved in a variety of functions including sleep, appetite, mood, and pain sensation.

A couple compounds in cannabis, THC and CBD, activate two primary cannabinoid receptors called CB1 and CB2. Their activation in the brain, nervous system, and peripheral organs and tissues help the body manage nerve pain.

Unlike opioids that are sometimes prescribed for chronic neuropathy discomfort, cannabis has negligible side effects, and carries minimal risk for physical addiction. That’s why researchers have started studying the effects of medical marijuana for neuropathy symptoms.

Encouraging Research

The outcomes of studies using cannabis for neuropathy have been encouraging, for instance:

  • A review of 13 randomized placebo-controlled studies for the treatment of neuropathy indicated that cannabinoids may provide effective relief from chronic neuropathic pain conditions that are non-responsive to other treatments.
  • A small study showed that patients with neuropathic pain experienced reduced pain intensity and better sleep by inhaling herbal cannabis (25 mg of 9.4% tetrahydrocannabinol) three times per day for five days.
  • Other researchers found that inhaling low doses of vaporized cannabis (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol 1.29%) effectively reduced neuropathy pain that was unrelieved by conventional treatments—and did not compromise the study participants' daily functioning.

In their reports some researchers point out the need for larger, high-quality studies concerning cannabis use for neuropathy. However, many people already using medical marijuana for peripheral nerve pain report enjoying good results.

A Complicated Business

As of last July, medical marijuana was legal in 29 states, including eight where recreational use is allowed as well. Even so, the federal government still classifies cannabis as a highly addictive, and medically useless Schedule I drug.

The Schedule I classification complicates the medical marijuana industry. Medical marijuana companies cannot, for example, utilize federal banking services, they sometimes have trouble getting insured, and may face tax penalties. Federal employees, people working in federally regulated fields, and those receiving federal housing assistance are not allowed cannabis use for any reason.

Still, as more people become aware of the medical benefits provided by cannabis, the push to legalize medical marijuana continues—and several more states have legislation pending.

State by State

Each state with legalized medical marijuana has their own set of rules and procedures. Some have approved cannabis use specifically for neuropathy relief, others okay it for debilitating conditions, or intractable pain. Cannabis use may be “subject to approval,” or require the recommendation of a physician.

If you know your state allows medical marijuana, you can learn what conditions it’s approved for by doing an Internet search for “(your state) medical marijuana law,” or check the state information page on the NORML website (link below). To find out if your state has legalized medical marijuana use an Internet search such as “(your state) marijuana law.”

Sources: Medical Marijuana Inc; CannaHealth; State Medical Marijuana Information/NORML; Research Gate; NCBI; Science Direct
Photo credit: Dank Depot

Get a Free Diabetes Meal Plan

Get a free 7-Day Diabetes Meal Plan from Constance Brown-Riggs who is a Registered Dietitian-Certified Diabetes Educator and who is also a national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.

Just enter in your email below to download your free Diabetes Meal Plan.

By clicking Submit, you agree to send your info to InformationAboutDiabetes.com who may contact you with updates and information and we agree to use it according to our privacy policy.

More Articles

Limiting our intake of highly processed foods, and eating more whole and lightly processed fare can boost our nutrient and fiber intake, lower...

Chamomile tea has long been prized for its calming properties, but few people realize it’s also beneficial for glucose regulation. Traditionally,...

Today, the healing benefits of essential oils are more than the claims of ancient tradition and alternative medicine. They are increasingly the...

The different sugar content of fruits can be confusing when you are trying to manage your...

There is nothing close to a one-size-fits-all exercise program for those with diabetic peripheral neuropathy. The best general advice is to...

More Articles

Chamomile tea has long been prized for its calming properties, but few people realize it’s also beneficial for glucose regulation. Traditionally,...

There is nothing close to a one-size-fits-all exercise program for those with diabetic peripheral neuropathy. The best general advice is to...

”Metabolic memory” (less commonly known as ”hyperglycemic memory” or “legacy effect”) refers to the lingering effects of a long period of either...

Limiting our intake of highly processed foods, and eating more whole and lightly processed fare can boost our nutrient and fiber intake, lower...

With such a marked increase in the number of new diabetes cases, more people are wondering if type 1 diabetes...

Do not let pictures of yoga experts with their bodies twisted into bizarre, compact shapes fool you. Even people with stiff muscles, creaky joints...

The American Diabetes Association estimates that more than 7 million people in the United States have diabetes but don’t know it yet. These people...

While some celebrities aren't quick to talk about living with diabetes, others are quite transparent and inspiring - acting as advocates for the...

People with diabetes are about twice as likely to experience heart disease as those without the condition, making cardiovascular health a critical...

All diabetics know that maintaining proper blood sugar levels is the lifeline...

Pilates is an exercise method proven to improve flexibility, strength, coordination, muscular stamina, balance, and posture. Many Pilates...

It can be difficult enough to get on stage and make a roomful of strangers laugh, but for comedians suffering from type 1 or type 2 diabetes,...

Most people with insulin-dependent diabetes use syringes and lancets every day. However, many of them do not know how to dispose of these...

Explaining diabetes to children can seem like a daunting task, but in reality, it is no more difficult than discussing anything else important....

Diabetes is a complex disease, affecting virtually every part of the body. The damage it does, to nerve endings, blood vessels, organs, and the...