To answer the question simply, yes. In my experience when used responsibly, cannabis particularly CBD oil, can reduce back pain especially neuropathic pain. However, it’s extremely important to consult a physician before consuming any form of cannabis to better understand it’s unique properties.
So here’s a quick primer on two of the main active ingredients in marijuana and the affects they have on the brain and body:
THC (tetrahydrocannabinol): This chemical compound is responsible for the psychotropic effects that most people associate with marijuana use. Apart from the ‘high’ that’s so often mentioned by recreational users, THC is reported to have several medical benefits such as treatment for depression, bi-polar disorder, anxiety and various other mental illnesses. However, some in the medical field believe that more research is required to fully understand the overall effectiveness that THC-cannabis has on the brain, but early indications seem promising.
Cannabidiol, is the non psychotropic chemical compound which may down regulate disordered thinking and anxiety, and seems to have some benefits with opioid addiction by blocking neurotransmitters in the brain. Since CBD does not share any of the same psychotropic effects as THC, patients don’t feel ‘stoned’ and can continue with daily activities that require clear thinking.
CBD also acts as an anti-inflammatory and has been used to combat nausea from certain cancer treatments. The compound is already being used to treat arthritis and mood disorders, as it’s been shown to lift mood through increased serotonin levels as mentioned by Dr. Michelle Ross, here, and in this video which outlines 13 studies that link CBD to lower rates of depression.
But returning to the original question: Has medical cannabis use helped with my back pain?
Yes, it has however…the effectiveness greatly depends on the variety and potency of the cannabis. As cannabis becomes decriminalized in many states and countries around the world, more producers are entering the market which has created a wide variety of products. This in turn, allows back pain sufferers who are also medical marijuana patients, to have greater access and control over how they manage back pain through somewhat custom solutions.
For example, if you’re looking for strict pain control because of inflammation, with no psychological effects, a high in CBD/low THC oil would work best. However, if you’re also looking to lessen the stress, and anxiety caused by chronic pain, then a more balanced CBD/THC mixture could be helpful.
Let’s have a look at this video by Dr. Rachna Patel who supports the research done on the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD:
Here’s an actual example from a registered cannabis grower, showing how medical marijuana, through careful scientific precision, allows patients to have much more control over the THC / CBD combinations. Traditionally, strains between producers did not have this level of consistency which meant that as a consumer, you didn’t quite know what you would be consuming and how your body would react.
In this short clip, Dr. Gina Berman provides a quick breakdown of how THC and CBD work together to decrease the ill effects of the opiate withdrawal process.
As always, check with your health care expert before attempting these exercises to prevent further injury…and take care.