Neuropathy is a painful condition that damages the motor, sensory or autonomic nerves. Nearly 20 million people suffer from this debilitating condition, marked by stabbing, tingling or burning sensations in the extremities. There are many underlying conditions that can lead to neuropathy, most notably diabetes, infections and trauma.
Fortunately, recent studies into medical cannabis have shown it to be a possible solution for the severe pain associated with the condition. Learn more about medical cannabis for neuropathy pain relief and why you should head to your nearest dispensary.
What is Neuropathy?
The nerve pain associated with neuropathy affects the peripheral nerves, each playing a different role in how information from your central nervous system communicated throughout your body. The peripheral nervous system is divided into two parts: the somatic nervous system and the autonomic nervous system.
The somatic nervous system is tasked with relaying sensory and motor information to and from the central nervous system, as well as voluntary movement. It’s composed of two neurons: sensory neurons and motors neurons.
- Sensory neurons transmit information from the nerves to the central nervous system.
- Motor neurons transmit information from the brain and spinal cord to the muscle fibers and allow us to react to stimuli.
The autonomic nervous system is responsible for involuntary processes, such as heartbeat, blood circulation, breathing and digestion. This system allows these functions to occur without conscious effort. Two separate systems make up the autonomic nervous system: the sympathetic system and the parasympathetic system.
- The sympathetic system regulates the fight-or-flight response and prepares the body to address threats in the environment. In response to stimuli, it can trigger an increased heart rate and respiration rate as well as increased blood flow and sweat secretion to arouse the body and react more quickly.
- The parasympathetic system conserves resources and regulates bodily functions. Once the arousal of the sympathetic system has passed, this system brings the heart rate, respiration rate and blood flow back to a relaxed or resting state.
When nerve fibers are injured or damaged, as with neuropathy, it can disrupt the signals from pain centers. Peripheral neuropathy can affect one nerve, mononeuropathy, two or more nerves, multiple mononeuropathy, or many nerves, polyneuropathy. The most common type of neuropathy is polyneuropathy.
Pain, however, is subjective. No two neuropathy sufferers are alike, and their pain levels can’t be equated, which makes effective treatment difficult. Generally, neuropathy treatment seeks to treat the underlying conditions that cause the pain, as well as prescribing narcotic painkillers or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Unfortunately, opioids and anti-inflammatories aren’t effective on nerve pain. In the case of diabetes, effective management of blood sugar is part of the treatment protocol.
Medical Cannabis for Neuropathy Pain Relief
The mechanism of medical cannabis for neuropathy pain relief lies in the endocannabinoid system. When neuropathy sufferers no longer find relief from conventional medical treatment, medical cannabis can target the specific nerves responsible for the pain.
Peripheral nerve receptors that regulate appetite, pain sensations, mood and memory are called cannabinoids. When THC or CBD enter the body, they activate the cannabinoid receptors, which then regulate the neurotransmitters and effectively reduce pain levels.
Studies have found that low-dose, short-term use of cannabis lowers the intensity of pain and improves sleep patterns without impairing cognitive function. The higher the dose, the more pain relief, but unlike narcotics, there’s no risk of physiological dependency or increased tolerance.
Cannabis can also help with the muscle twitching and cramping, sweating, weakness, insomnia, depression, anxiety and inflammation symptoms that are often associated with neuropathy. Cannabis also stimulates the endorphin system, which is an important and well-known aspect of effective pain management.
Fortunately, neuropathy patients can also find pain relief from several methods of taking cannabis. Inhalation, edibles, concentrated marijuana and topical application have all proven effective for neuropathy pain relief.
Relieve Your Neuropathy Pain with Medical Cannabis at Euphoria Wellness
Regardless of what method you choose to end your neuropathy suffering, Euphoria Wellness can help. We offer a variety of strains, all with unique properties for treating neuropathy symptoms, as well as a highly-trained, knowledgeable staff that can help you determine the best option for your needs. Call or stop by with your Maryland medical cannabis card to speak with our staff and check out our menu today!