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Pain (Neuropathic)

Chronic Pain, classified as pain that persists for longer than three to six months is a common debilitating condition that affects hundreds of millions of people each and every day. The severity of chronic pain varies but extreme cases can be completely incapacitating. Due to how long Chronic Pain can persist, both an emotional and physical toll is taken on the sufferer. Common causes and examples of chronic pain include but are not limited to: headaches; joint pain (arthritis); pain from injuries or accidents; back pain resulting from complications of the spine; tendinitis; carpal tunnel syndrome; pain caused by other ailments or infections; and even some medical therapies and treatments may result in long lasting, substantial pain. Oftentimes anger, anxiety, and depression accompany Chronic Pain.

Neuropathic pain is characterized as a pain state caused in the sufferer’s nervous system. With this condition, an individual’s nerves may be damaged, dysfunctional, or separated completely. Causes and examples of Neuropathic Pain include but are not limited to: alcoholism, amputation and the resulting phantom limb syndrome, skeletal and muscular problems (pinched nerves), chemotherapy, diabetes, genetics, HIV/AIDS, Multiple Sclerosis, shingles, spinal injury, and even surgery.

Using Cannabis to Treat Neuropathic Pain

Cannabis is a complex medicinal plant that may actually be used to treat a variety of debilitating symptoms caused by a surprisingly large number of ailments. Its usefulness as a non-lethal medicine (you cannot die from an overdose of cannabis) cannot be overstated and its versatility in terms of how it can be consumed and as to how it can be useful for so many illnesses is something to be excited about. However, it is important to remember that consulting with your primary care physician should be your first priority when considering incorporating cannabis into one’s medical regiment and that cannabis is to be used as an adjunct therapy and not a replacement. It is also your responsibility to communicate with your doctor as to how your use of cannabis has affected your health and of your progress with utilizing medical cannabis.

With that said, studies have shown that cannabis may be quite useful for treating individuals suffering from Neuropathic Pain for the following reasons: significantly reducing the pain itself; assisting with sleep should the pain cause insomnia; and with dealing with possible depression and or anxiety should the individual suffer from it.

Beneficial Cannabinoids and Terpenoids Useful for Treating Neuropathic Pain

The cannabis plant offers a plethora of therapeutic benefits and contains cannabinoids and terpenoid compounds that are useful for treating pain in general. In fact one study that analyzed both Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD) published in a 2008 article in Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management states that, “Cannabinoid analgesics have generally been well tolerated in clinical trials with acceptable adverse event profiles. Their adjunctive addition to the pharmacological armamentarium for treatment of pain shows great promise.”

The following chart denotes which cannabinoids and terpenoids work synergistically with each other for possible therapeutic benefit. It may be beneficial to seek out strains that contain these cannabinoids and terpenoids.


Understanding medical cannabis. Elemental Wellness Center, 2014 Jul.

Role of cannabinoids in the treatment of pain and (painful) spasticity. Karst, Dr Matthias, et al.
Drugs, 2010 Dec, 70(18): 2409-2438.

Smoked cannabis for chronic neuropathic pain: a randomized controlled trial. Ware, Mark A., et al.
CMAJ, 2010 Oct 5, 182(14): 694-701.

Examining the roles of cannabinoids in pain and other therapeutic indications: a review. Turcotte, Dana, et al.
Expert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy, 2010 Jan, 11(1): 17-31.

Systematic review and meta-analysis of cannabis treatment for chronic pain. Martin-Sanchez, Eva, et al.
Pain Medicine, 2009 Dec, 10(8): 1353-1368.

Cannabinoids against pain. Efficacy and strategies to reduce psychoactivity: a clinical perspective. Karst, Matthias, et al.
Expert Opinion on Investigational Drugs, 2009 Feb, 18(2): 125-133.

A randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover trial of cannabis cigarettes in neuropathic pain. Wilsey, Barth, et al.
The Journal of Pain, 2008 Jun, 9(6): 506-521.

Therapeutic potential of cannabis in pain medicine. Hosking, R.D., et al.
British Journal of Anaesthesia, 2008 May 29, 101(1): 59-68.

Cannabinoids in the management of difficult to treat pain. Russo, Ethan B
Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management, 2008 Feb, 4(1): 245-259.

Cannabinoids and pain. King, Steven A.
Rheumatology Network, 2008 Feb 1, (online article).

Reassessment of the role of cannabinoids in the management of pain. Beaulieu, Pierre, et al.
Current Opinion in Anesthesiology, 2007 Oct, 20(5): 473-477.

Cannabinoids ameliorate pain and reduce disease pathology in cerulein-induced acute pancreatitis. Michalski, Christoph W., et al.
Gastroenterology, 2007 May, 132(5): 1968-1978.

The non-psychoactive cannabis constituent cannabidiol is an orally effective therapeutic agent in rat chronic inflammatory and neuropathic pain. Costa, Barbara, et al.
European Journal of Pharmacology, 2007 Feb 5, 556(1-3): 75-83.

Cannabinoids in anaesthesia and pain therapy. Shahnaz Christina, Azad, et al.
Current Opinion in Anesthesiology, 2005 Aug, 18(4): 424-427.

The medicinal use of cannabis in the UK: results of a nationwide survey. Ware, Mark A., et al.
The International Journal of Clinical Practice, 2004 Oct 6, 59(3): 291-295.

Cannabinoids in pain and inflammation. Mbvundula, Estery, et al.
InflammoPharmacology, 2004 May, 12(2): 99-114.

Initial experiences with medicinal extracts of cannabis for chronic pain: results from 34 ‘N of 1’ studies. Notcult, William, et al.
Anaesthesia, 2004 May, 59(5): 440-452.

Cannabis use for chronic non-cancer pain: results of a prospective survey. Ware, Mark A, et al.
Pain, 2003 Mar, 102(1-2): 211-516.

Cannabis for chronic pain: case series and implications for clinicians. Ware, Mark A., et al.
Pain Research & Management: the Journal of the Canadian Pain Society, 2002, 7(2): 95-99.

Cannabinoids and pain. Walker, JM, et al.
Pain Research & Management: the Journal of the Canadian Pain Society, 2001, 6(2): 74-79.

Cannabinoids modulate pain by multiple mechanisms of action. Richardson, Jennelle D.
The Journal of Pain, 2000 Jan, 1(1): 2-14.

Control of pain initiation by endogenous cannabinoids. Calignano, Antonio, et al.
Letters to Nature, 1998 Jul 16, 394: 277-281.

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