Medical cannabis is the new up-and-comer as far a pain management goes. It is being heralded as especially effective for neuropathic pain. Medical cannabis is showing promise as an analgesic, antiemetic, antispastic, antiinflammatory, sedative and neuroprotective. There are also cases where medical cannabis has been used to titrate down other prescription medications to lower doses.
Research studies show cannabis is effective for pain reduction and the American Cancer Society makes claims it slows growth for some types of cancer cells. While there are not a lot of studies on the long term effects as momentum builds expect to see a lot of study on this option.
To obtain medical cannabis the patient must have an official medical document provided by a physician to your chosen cannabis producer/distributor. Often your own family physician is not prepared to provide this kind of documentation and so you must book an appointment with a specialized cannabis clinic. You do not require a referral to book an appointment with one of these clinics. Patients are able to self-refer, meaning they can go online or call a clinic to make their own appointment. Patients are not required to inform their family physician they are seeing a cannabis specialist, it is up to the patient to discretion. If patients want options provided by different producers it will be necessary to connect with one of the specialized clinics and to see their physician.
While cannabis shows great promise for easing patient’s suffering, ensure you educate yourself on the cautions and risks of cannabis use. Most specialized clinics have cannabis specialists you can speak to but they may be biased when it comes to the risks, it is best to do your own research. Despite all the hype, its not all roses as there are some warnings that people should pay attention to. For example, do not drive or operate machinery, do not travel with it, do not use it if you have personality disorders or psychoses and it is not recommended if you are under 18. These are just a few of the cautions around cannabis use, more are listed in the full-length CNA article: Neuropathy and Medical Cannabis
The clinic’s cannabis specialists help you decide on the best strains for your situation and what options the different producer/distributors provide. They also help you understand your options for administering cannabis. There are 4 main methods: ingestion, smoking, vaping and edibles. See the full-length CNA article: Neuropathy and Medical Cannabis for more information on the 4 methods.
We are fortunate in Canada to be able to access it easily through specialized cannabis clinics and education centers. In some cases it is even covered by insurance or your wellness plan. Read more about the basics of medical cannabis, research studies, cautions, how to’s, and the process to get it in Canada in the full-length CNA article: Neuropathy and Medical Cannabis or More on Cannabis + Travel.
For more information on topicals also see: #18 Arnica – A Natural Solution to Neuropathy Symptoms, #28 Capsaicin – An Effect Treatment for Neuropathy, #49 Herbal Healing: Careful with Comfrey, #54 Lidocaine – Numbing the Pain
Linda is an independent information technology business analyst and Vice President of the CNA.