Nerve disorders are notorious for being difficult to treat through conventional methods. Many patients suffer needlessly, requiring pain pills just to make it through the day. Fortunately, medical marijuana for nerve pain may be the answer to opioid reliance.
Numerous scientific reviews have found that marijuana is extremely effective at relieving nerve pain. In the literature, two cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2, are of particular interest. When activated, these receptors help manage pain through the nervous system.
Further studies have shown that marijuana alleviated neuropathic pain caused by diabetes, HIV, cancer, and multiple sclerosis. One downside, however, is that due to its relatively new status as a prescription drug, there is little standardization when it comes to how to consume it. On top of that, not everyone likes to consume cannabis in the same way. If you are someone who does not like the idea of smoking or vaping flower, marijuana edibles can be just as effective at fighting neuropathic pain.
Marijuana Edibles vs Vaporizing vs CBD Oil: Which One is Better?
Patients who are eligible for medical marijuana are often overwhelmed with options from marijuana pills, vaporizers, CBD oil, edibles, and much more. To further complicate the issue, these compounds are often not standardized, and vary in both CBD and THC potency.
This is why it’s important to know the THC and CBD content of a marijuana product, along with any other compounds that may boost medical marijuana’s pain-relieving properties, like CBG. While different consumption methods of marijuana provide different effects, the composition of the medical marijuana edible, flower, concentrate, etc. is the main factor in how it affects your nerve pain.
Vaporizing marijuana for neuralgia pain works well for fast-acting relief, but the effect may not last as long as marijuana pills or cannabis oil. Edibles take longer to take effect, but may provide longer-lasting relief than inhalation methods. Topical creams need to be reapplied fairly often, and are less touted than tinctures and pills when it comes to nerve pain relief with marijuana.
Everybody is different. The active compounds in marijuana do require dietary fat for proper absorption. Furthermore, it is unclear if oral doses lose potency after encountering stomach acid. This means that patients may need to experiment first and try what works best for them.
How Does Medical Marijuana Help with Nerve Pain?
Why does cannabis help with chronic pain? Believe it or not, our bodies naturally have endocannabinoid receptors, which is how marijuana can have such direct effects on our minds and bodies. Different strains, compounds and concentrations affect different receptors, which is why each compound offers similar but also specific benefits. The question then, is which cannabis compounds do what when they come in contact with our endocannabinoid receptors?
- THC: reduces pain levels and activates the brain’s reward system
- CBD: reduces pain levels and acts as an anti-inflammatory
- CBG: fights inflammation, pain, nausea, and slows cancer cell production
- CBN: reduces pain and acts as a mild sedative
Patients in studies on pain and medical marijuana typically cite nerve pain, joint pain and non-migraine headaches as the most common uses of their medical cannabis recommendation. Marijuana is jam-packed with compounds that can help with a variety of ailments, but these main compounds are what make cannabis so useful for nerve pain and other chronic pain conditions.
Clinical data on medical cannabis abounds, and research is only proliferating as medical researchers uncover new functions and formulas for this natural alternative to pain medication. Some highlights from the last few years in marijuana research include:
- A 2016 review found study participants treated with cannabis reported a 30% reduction in nerve pain. These findings were backed up by another 2017 review.
- A 2017 study on osteoarthritis in rats showed CBD offered nerve pain relief and protected nerve health after an injury.
- A 2019 study showed that marijuana strains high in both THC and CBD offered 30% pain reduction compared to placebo.
- A 2007 study on HIV-caused sensory neuropathy showed 52% of patients treated with high THC cannabis strains reported a greater-than 30% reduction in nerve pain.
It’s important to note that these studies encompassed an array of consumption methods, from THC edibles to CBD oils to combination nasal sprays. In today’s booming medical marijuana market, access and options are always opening up.
Medical Marijuana Edibles are Legal in Ohio!
Patients who are suffering from chronic pain and other conditions often turn to medical cannabis for relief. Research has shown that cannabis is not only safer than pain pills but often more effective. However, some people have confusion over what form of cannabis they should take.
First, it’s important to understand that no “prescription” will be provided for marijuana in Ohio. Patients who qualify for medical marijuana can receive a “recommendation” from their cannabis doctor. This recommendation is then used to obtain a medical marijuana license in Ohio. Once you have this license, you can bring it into any dispensary to purchase cannabis over the counter.
Medical cannabis is offered in several forms: tinctures, flower, kief, pills, concentrates, edibles… Consuming marijuana in pill or edible form has its advantages because it’s very discreet and doesn’t require actually tasting the cannabis in order to reap the benefits.
What About CBD?
Some people have reported seeing CBD or hemp products available in stores, and these do not require a medical license to consume. These products do not contain THC – instead they’re made with cannabinoids from the hemp plant. Research has shown that cannabinoids can be effective for pain as well.
This kind of CBD oil contains less than .3% of THC and is technically harvested from the hemp plant. While this can be beneficial for minor ailments such as carpal tunnel syndrome or arthritis, more serious conditions such as cancer, fibromyalgia, and serious joint pain may still benefit from medical cannabis treatment instead. There is some evidence to indicate that a combination of THC and CBD is more effective at relieving nerve pain than either one on their own.
While cannabis strains that are high in CBD are great for pain, the THC can also be important to the treatment. CBD is a great choice for those who don’t want the psychological effects of THC, but it’s also not the most effective standalone marijuana product for pain. But it’s something to consider, and worth discussing with your doctor.
How to Legally Qualify for Medical Marijuana in Ohio
To legally use medical marijuana in Ohio, you must first get a recommendation from a doctor authorized to recommend medical cannabis. They must confirm that you have one of the conditions recognized in Ohio as being treatable with medical cannabis. They must then confirm that the condition is severe and that medical marijuana might help.
Once you have physician approval from a medical marijuana doctor, you must register with the state of Ohio as a patient. You will then receive a card that allows you to legally purchase medical cannabis at approved dispensaries throughout the state. There is a yearly fee to be on the registry, and you must see your doctor each year to get your recommendation renewed.
Dr. Blatman is certified by the state of Ohio to recommend medical cannabis to eligible patients. If you think you may qualify for an Ohio medical card, visit the state website to check the list of approved conditions and set up a consultation with Dr. Blatman.