Peripheral Neuropathy and Medical Cannabis Treatment
Peripheral nerves surround the brain and spinal cord. When they have damaged neuropathy sets in causing weakness, numbness, and pain, according to the Mayo Clinic, noting the condition is common in people with diabetes. There are several signs of peripheral neuropathy, including extreme sensitivity to touch, lack of coordination, and muscle weakness.
Treatment for the condition varies greatly, mostly depending on the cause. However, among all the medicines, one very hopeful method is medical cannabis. The Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy reported in 2019 how medical cannabis alleviates the chronic pain associated with the condition.
“Clinical trials of different routes of administration (sublingual, oral, smoked, and vaporized) have demonstrated analgesic benefit in the treatment of this costly and disabling condition and some treatment guidelines for neuropathic pain recommend consideration of cannabinoids as a second or third line agent ,” reports the foundation.
Peripheral Neuropathy Causes, Symptoms & Treatments
There are many causes of peripheral neuropathy: autoimmune disease, infections, inherited disorders, tumors, bone marrow disorders are some, reports the Mayo Clinic. Additional causes include alcoholism, trauma, vitamin deficiencies, and poison exposure.
While there are preventative measures and lifestyle choices that lessen the chances of peripheral neuropathy, including exercise and eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grain, and lean protein, there are also medications. There are also topical treatments, including capsaicin cream and alternative therapies like acupuncture.
How Patients with Peripheral Neuropathy are Leveraging Cannabinoids
Medical cannabis is one medication that has shown more than once to treat peripheral neuropathy, with a 2011 Randomized Controlled Trial journal reporting, “vaporized cannabis, even at low doses, may present an effective option for patients with treatment-resistant neuropathic pain.” The double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study is not the only medical report proving the same. As far back as 2006, Current Neuropharmacology medical journal reported Role of the Cannabinoid System in Pain Control and Therapeutic Implications for the Management of Acute and Chronic Pain Episodes.
“Cannabinoids have antinociceptive mechanisms different from that of other drugs currently in use, which thus opens a new line of promising treatment to mitigate pain that fails to respond to the pharmacologic treatments available, especially for neuropathic and inflammatory pains,” reports the Current Neuropharmacology medical journal.
WebMD is another medical news source that reports on the benefits of cannabis and nerve pain. In 2017, the notable medical website citied several doctors including Nashville Vanderbilt Psychiatric Hospital Dr. Sachin Patel, who said medical cannabis and “the findings on neuropathy fit generally well with what we know.'” Furthermore, when prescribed to patients for several conditions, Patel said to “follow the data and inform patients about the state of the evidence,” and always assure “patients are aware of potential benefits, but also potential harms.”
Lastly, the state of Minnesota notes the benefits of medical cannabis on peripheral neuropathy in a report presented to the Commissioner of Health and Medical Cannabis Review Panel. The report cites several pre-clinical research trials, including “Cannabinoids as pharmacoptherapies for neuropathic pain: from the bench to the bedside,” published in 2009 edition of Neurotherapeutics.
“Clinical studies largely affirm that neuropathic pain patients derive benefits from cannabinoid treatment,” reports the Neurotherapeutics study. While all noted reviews and dozens more address how medical cannabis eases nerve pain, those who suffer from peripheral neuropathy have a little more hope for relief.