How well does marijuana work against pain or post-traumatic stress disorder? That is a question many patients and physicians would like answered. Now that opioids have been vilified, people in chronic pain are desperate for other options. That’s especially true now that NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like diclofenac, ibuprofen, meloxicam and naproxen have been linked to so many adverse reactions. See this link for details:
Systematic Cannabis Reviews:
Researchers examined the evidence for benefit and harm from cannabis in a pair of systematic reviews published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Medical marijuana is legal in 28 states. Most of the adults using this botanical medicine take it to alleviate pain.
To learn more about its use for neuropathic pain you can listen to an interview we did a while back with David Casarett, MD:
The systematic review in the Annals of Internal Medicine (Aug. 15, 2017) found that there have been too few studies of cannabis to determine how well it works. Moreover, the studies that have been done are not of the highest quality.
There does seem to be support for using medicinal marijuana for nerve pain, but not for other indications including PTSD (Annals of Internal Medicine, Aug. 15, 2017):
“In this systematic review, we found insufficient evidence to draw conclusions about potential benefits and harms of cannabis use in patients with PTSD. Two recent systematic reviews came to similar conclusions, and these reviews, along with 3 additional observational studies, do not provide enough rigorous data to comment on the potential benefits and harms of cannabis use in patients with PTSD.”
The Catch 22 of Medical Marijuana:
Part of the problem is that research on cannabis has been limited by government restrictions and lack of funding. Many of the existing trials were conducted in Europe where presumably scientists have had more flexibility.
The reviewers note that “methodologically strong research in almost any area is likely to add to the strength of the evidence.”
Cannabis Stories from Readers:
Bonnie is a health professional with personal experience:
“As a health professional and admittedly a user of medical marijuana in a tincture form, I have first hand experience to the efficacy of it. I have multiple lower back injuries, including herniated discs, spinal stenosis, arthritis, and degenerative discs.
“A doctor informed me a lot of this is genetic in nature – my twin brother is going through similar miseries. Also, an MVA in 2008 pretty much put me on the road to permanent back problems and pain. I now use a cane for support, but without the tincture, the nerve pain would be intolerable.
“NSAIDS upset my stomach, and narcotics are out of the question because of the terrible constipation they cause in addition to the slower bowel motility from nerve compression. Yes, I am a definite advocate for medical marijuana.”
LuLa in Southern California on CBD oil for seizures:
“My son has ‘intractable seizures,’ meaning they are extremely difficult to control. The top neurologists in a large HMO put him on 3 different seizure medications. His seizures were under control but his blood work showed problems, including easy bruising. He also lost tons of weight (so skinny that his bony little bottom would get bruised just sitting on a wooden chair).
“His behavior deteriorated drastically. I finally got him on medical marijuana oil with CBD (the component used for seizures) and it made a HUGE difference. I just give him a dropper full twice a day and we’ve been able to cut his pharmaceutical drugs in half. I will continue to decrease them even more, very slowly and carefully.
“This oil does NOT have THC in it (the component that gets you high). His blood levels are back to normal, as is his weight, his behavior has improved and he hasn’t had any seizures in nearly 30 months. It’s been a God-send for us!”
Susan in Vero Beach saved a vacation:
“Once I had a severe case of plantar fasciitis that was so painful I could barely walk. A puff of marijuana from a marijuana cigarette (I was in Amsterdam where it is legal) completely took the pain away within 30 seconds and I could walk without pain. It was miraculous.
“The pain-relieving property lasted about thirty minutes. I was walking around Amsterdam, so every thirty minutes I would take another puff and be pain free! I enjoyed my vacation because of it; otherwise, I would have had to stay in bed and go nowhere.”
What are your thoughts about cannabis or cannabidiol oil for pain or hard-to-treat seizures?