Can Medical Marijuana help Back pain

Back Pain Statistics

According to the American Chiropractic Association:

  • In U.S. around 31,000,000 people suffer from lower back pain at any given time.

  • Annually, half of all working Americans suffer from back pain symptoms.

  • 80% of the US population suffer from back pain at some point their lives.

The Bone and Joint Initiative reveals:

  • The combined cost of lost work and treatment of back pain in the U.S. is approximately $253 billion annually.

  • About 10% of all visits to hospitals and emergency rooms are related to back and neck pain.

These statistics on back pain reveal how common a condition a spinal injury is and the impact it has on individuals and society as a whole. In industrial countries, 60 -70% of people will suffer from back pain at some point in the life.

Causes of back pain include:

  • Simple spain and/or strain

  • Sciatica

  • Ruptured disc

  • Osteoporosis

  • Arthritis

  • Bulging disc

  • Scoliosis

Conventional treatments for these conditions are medications such as anti-inflammatories, pills for treat nerve pain, and addictive medications such as narcotics, antidepressants and injection therapy. From time to time patient will end up with surgery, which can cause problems later. Today, many people are turning to medical marijuana to treated their back pain.

How Is Medical Marijuana an Effective Treatment for Back Pain?

Medical cannabis can be an alternative to traditional treatments. It is becoming an increasingly preferred treatment for patients with chronic back pain. For example, conventional medications can cause a multitude of side effects like nausea, stomach upset, ulcers and gastric bleeding. Medical marijuana does not have the same associated side effects. Here are some ways with medical marijuana can help treat back pain:

  • It may reduce your pain to a level where you can live an active life

  • It may allow you to be free from potentially dangerous and addictive medications, while having an overall better quality of life.

  • Chronic back pain can cause depression, insomnia and anxiety. Medical marijuana can eliminate or reduce many of these symptoms.

  • It is natural substance from plant, without chemicals,.

During a study conducted at the University of Colorado, they looked at 200 patients with back pain. The pain was due to conditions focused on degenerative changes. 89% of patients said medical marijuana reduced their pain moderately. 81% claimed that it worked better than narcotic medications. The consumption of medical marijuana by the patients was once or twice a day.

What Type of Back Pain Symptoms Are Treated by Medical Marijuana?

Medical marijuana can help alleviate many symptoms of back pain as there are wide range of symptoms with back pain. Here are some of the symptoms medical marijuana can help alleviate:

1. Pain and Muscle Spasms

Marijuana can help reduce muscle spasms. Some studies have reported a 45% reduction in the intensity of pain within 20 minutes of inhalation. And it is particularly effective in treating back spasms. Many states have approved the use of medical marijuana for muscle spasms. In Pennsylvania medical marijuana is approved for:

  • Severe chronic or intractable pain of neuropathic origin

  • Severe chronic or intractable pain

2. Nausea and Vomiting

One of the properties for marijuana is to reduce nausea and vomiting. Traditional medications prescribed for back pain and chronic conditions are opioids and similar drugs. These have side effects of nausea and vomiting. Because marijuana treats both nausea and pain, many patients prefer the marijuana to other drugs. Furthermore, chronic pain can cause depression. Medical marijuana, on the other hand, can creduce depression and improve sleep.

Many states have approved medical marijuana to treat nausea and vomiting. In fact, marijuana has been used among the cancer patient population for a number of years to enhance appetite and as an antiemetic, reducing side effects of chemotherapy.

3. Inflammation

Marijuana has strong anti-inflammatory properties. It is a natural substance to treat inflammation from arthritis, as well as degenerative changes in the lumbar, cervical or thoracic spine. Most back or neck pain occurs due to degenerative changes in the spine. Many patients prefer marijuana to treat their pain due to the inflammation.

Ways to Use Medical Marijuana for Back Pain

Marijuana can be used topically or internally. Some of the best methods using marijuana are as follows:

  • Inhalation: This method is smoking or vaping the weed. This produces the fastest affect, within 1-2 minutes

  • Raw juice: One can use marijuana as dietary supplement through juicing. This will reduce the pain without a psychoactive effect.

  • Tinctures: Tinctures are usually placed under the tongue and swallowed. This produces a quicker result, due to absorption through the mucosal membranes.

  • Edibles: Edible marijuana will produce a slower response because absorption needs to transfer through the gut. But, it may last longer in terms of relief and produce a better psychotropic effect. Relief may take up to an hour before one feels the effect.

  • Topicals: Topical marijuana produces a different effect. Absorption is localized to the site of the injury. One can ramp up the use based upon the desired effect.

Strains of Marijuana Used for Back Pain

Marijuana has many different strains, and they worked differently for different people and varying symptoms. Heavy THC strains seem to work best at relieving pain, whereas CBD works best for relieving inflammation. However, heavy THC causes more psychoactive effects. Patients may want to use a low THC/high CBD combination during the daytime, to remain more functional, but high THC/low CBD at nighttime, for a better night sleep.

Here are some of the strains of medical cannabis which may help to reduce back pain:

  • Bubba Kush (indica): This strain contains up to 22 percent THC and up to 0.1 percent CBD. It is good for decreasing stress and decreasing muscle spasms.

  • Candyland (sativa): With around 24 percent of THC and one percent of CBD and CBN. Candyland is good for reducing muscle spasms and tension, to reduce pain. It does have a stimulating effect, so it also helps with fatigue.

  • OG Kush (indica): Contains up to 23 percent THC and around one percent CBD. Indica is a better strain to reduce muscle spasm while providing pain relief.

  • ACDC (sativa): Sativa is high in CBD but low in THC. It contains up to 24 percent CBD and around 1.2 percent THC, this allows one to be more functional during the day, without causing psychoactive side effects.

What are Side Effects of Marijuana for Back Pain

While medical marijuana is very effective at treating back pain, there is the potential of experiencing side effects. They are usually mild and go away once your treatment wears off. In any event, it’s good to know what they are, so you can sit down with your doctor to discuss them. There are certain side effects each patient should know about the use of marijuana for back pain, or any other pain. The side effects are usually mild and can go way as a treatment wears off. Patient should discuss the side effects with their doctor. Some of the common side effects are as follows:

  • Redness of Eyes: Commonly patients will experience redness of eyes. This is not harmful and can be treated by using eye drops such as Visine.

  • Short-term memory loss: This is a temporary side effect and does go away as the treatment wears off. Some patients may be more susceptible to it than the others.

  • Heightened sensory perception: This side effect can impact a patient’s site, hearing, sense of taste and smell.

  • Fatigue: This side effect is common with high THC strains. One can balance it with the use of low THC strains.