Know the Ways to Use Medical Marijuana for Back Pain
Back pain, also known as backache, is the leading cause of disability worldwide. Back pain can develop with age as your spine changes or it can occur suddenly after an injury. The back is divided into segments, specifically cervical (neck pain), thoracic (middle back pain), and lumbar (lower back pain). The most common segment of the back affected is the lumbar area, thereby significantly impacting the quality of life of patients suffering from back pain. Conditions commonly linked to back pain include arthritis, skeletal irregularities, ruptured disks, or ligament strain.
There are numerous categories and types of medications to treat back pain, which depend on various factors such as severity of symptoms and location of pain. Common prescription medications for back pain include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, muscle relaxants, opioids, and corticosteroids. However, new research finds that these common prescription pain medications have limited effectiveness for acute and chronic back pain, and lead to intolerable side-effects such as the risk of gastrointestinal disorders, ulcers, and nausea.
Patients may consider surgery for back pain but this invasive treatment may result in unbearable side effects, especially if the source of the original pain is not accurately diagnosed. Over the past few years, there has been an increased interest in cannabinoid-based pain regimens to alleviate back pain, especially as it does not have the same side effects associated with prescription pain medications.
Medical Marijuana for Back Pain
The analgesic potential of cannabinoids may be utilized to treat back pain. Cannabinoids found in cannabis, such as delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), interact with your endocannabinoid system (ECS).
A study performed at the University of Colorado’s Spine Center evaluated the cannabis response of 200 patients suffering from back pain due to degenerative disc problems. After cannabis consumption, 89% of the patients reported a moderate-to-high reduction of pain. Also, 81% of patients stated that cannabis worked better or equivalent to narcotic pain medications.
Most back pain cases are a result of inflammation causing degenerative disc disease. Studies have shown that cannabinoids found in cannabis, specifically THC and CBD, can both relieve inflammation. Researchers have also found that regulating the inflammatory response may treat neuropathic pain. CBD has shown to reduce pain by interacting with specific receptors in the endocannabinoid system to increase anandamide, an endocannabinoid involved in reducing the sensation of pain.
High-CBD strains may be used to treat back pain if it is due to inflammatory pain such as that caused by arthritis or injuries, by blocking inflammatory mediators. A topical application of CBD to the area of pain is demonstrated to reduce inflammation and pain in animal models.
Clinical studies of high-THC strains have demonstrated its effectiveness for the treatment of pain as it relieves central and neuropathic pain. CBD in combination with THC is also an effective method to treat back pain. Methods of consuming cannabis include lotions, creams, tinctures, edibles, capsules, and the bud itself.
There is strong preclinical evidence to support cannabinoids as an effective therapeutic strategy to improve the quality of life for patients suffering from back pain. More patients are turning towards medical marijuana to treat back pain, as opposed to opioids and other prescription medications. If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch today and we’ll connect you with the right qualified physician covered by Alberta Health, and Health Canada Approved Licensed Producers.