The People's Perspective on Medicine

Does Cannabis (Marijuana) Ease Nerve Pain or PTSD?

Cannabis is now legal in many states. People are using it for hard-to-treat pain. Some data show benefit for nerve pain, but a new review is unenthusiastic

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:

Really Bad News About Ibuprofen, Naproxen and Other NSAIDS

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:

Show 1027: How One Doctor Changed His Mind About Medical Marijuana.

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?

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
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A few questions I had have been answered. Thank you. I will continue to explore my options.

I would love to use marijuana to treat the multiple health issues I deal with every day! I have Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Neuropathy, degenerative spinal issues (had spinal-fusion surgery in 2012) and chronic migraines….I’ve been in pain ever since I can remember. Opioids have helped, but you get the rebound effect after taking them for a while. I’m on high doses of Gabapentin and Lyrica, now….they help, but I experience “brain fog” a lot of the time, one of their side-effects that drives me crazy.
Unfortunately, I live in Texas…one of those ultra conservative states that is highly resistant to change. If our government was truly “…by the people/for the people” why would they knowingly keep such a good drug out of reach?!

I’ve been a pain patient on morohine for years. It’s allowed me to live a normal life…working, exercising, taking care of whatever I need to do in life. I haven’t increased the dosage in many years, & it continues to work well for me. However my biggest problem is getting to sleep.

I tried a indica strain of cannabis (purchased in a legal state) & found it works much better than sleeping meds. Also I was able to take less pain medication while using edible forms containing THC & CBD. If I had access to the cannabis regularly , I believe I could reduce the morphine dosage to a much lower level. However it’s doubtful that my backward state will ever legalize even medical cannabis, much less the rec option.

The money spent on arresting and jailing people for a pot is absurd. We could update schools and Animal Shelters with the funds that go toward trying to manage cannabis use.

People without chronic or severe pain will never understand what we go through to try and live active normal lives.

Thank you for inviting input from CBD oil users. We need to realize we are not alone in our quest for safer alternatives to chronic pain.

PTSD has much in common with disorders like bipolar, ADD, ADHD, genealized anxiety disorder and others. All are marked by a surfeit of nervous energy — or undesirable/inappropriate expressions of nervous energy consistent with various conditions or situations.

As a longtime mental health counselor, I can tell you for sure that mj is THE drug of choice to manage undesirable/inappropriate nervous energy. Manics use it relentlessly as it’s the only drug that gives them relief from all the crap that their busy little brains constantly produce and vex them with.

On top of that, mj does indeed provide pain relief as well. As a skier with multiple past injuries, mj allows my knees to conquer double-diamond runs at 70yo. Without the mj, it’s definitely a different story. Cheers!

There needs to be research on this before it is legalized and the THC definitely taken out. An ER doctor told me they have been seeing many people coming into the ER with chronic vomiting (CVS) and people come to the ER for IV fluids for dehydration, vomiting blood from the straining and unable to stop without medications such as anti-nausea medications. Dosages need to be determined as to what is safe if it is indeed safe.

Are there any chronic pain sufferers out there that find it difficult getting comfortable now that opiods are classified as addiction??? It is unfair to us who have been prescribed them to try to get comfortable. I never abused mine in any way and took them responsibly. Where are our voices??? No one seems to care about us sufferers who are left behind. I live in New Jersey and my pain management doctor even stated he wanted to go part-time because he said it was too much for him to listen to all the sad stories of people who really needed them to ease their pain. I have degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis of my lower lumbar spine and I am turning 53 and had my laminectomy at 31 which now has scar tissue in that area. I have tried epidurals, they never worked. I just cry everyday, I can barely take care of myself, can’t cook for my husband, can’t interact with my 8 grandchildren…I am so tired of what the government made it worse for me.

Quick fact: A recent analysis estimates 128,000 Americans die each year as a result of taking medications as prescribed-or nearly 5 times the number of people killed by overdosing on prescription painkillers. Deaths from marajuana: 0.

I developed trigger thumb a few months ago. An orthopedist gave me a cortisone shot, but when the inflammation and pain returned, I decided I didn’t want to risk bone deterioration over time by getting cortisone shots every few months. A friend sent me a sample of a CDB balm that’s THC-free and it really helps! I’m on blood thinners so I can’t use topical NSAIDs. The CDB balm both relieves the inflammation that causes the trigger thumb pain and it relieves the pain. I know it works because I forgot to take it to work two days ago and the pain and inflammation returned. While CDB interacts with many medications, it doesn’t appear to interact with my maintenance meds, so it’s my best option to relieve the inflammation and pain.

My wife had severe back pain so her doctor sent her to a pain clinic. They started her off with spinal injections which worked at first. The injections started being less and less effective so the doctor at the pain clinic put her on morphine. She was on morphine for a few years and slowly it became less effective. The doctors then prescribed norco in addition to the morphine plus a muscle relaxer. Quite the cocktail.

I did some research on morphine and found out that after using it over a length of time it actually starts to create pain, hence the addition of the other two drugs. The last time she went to the pain clinic to refill her prescription they told he she had an outstanding balance and could not fill her script. How do you refuse a person that is now dependent on this drug a refill. I have a medical marajuana card and my wife was able to ween herself off of morphine and norco without any I’ll side effects. She has been morphine and norco free for seven months now and the marajuana, in edible form, has kept her pain free.

People that know absolutely nothing about marajuana should not say anything. We have watched countless documentaries and have done quite a bit of reading on the subject. Professor Raphael Mechoulan from Israel is called the “Grandfather of Marajuana”. He has been researching marajuana for over 50 years and was the one that discovered that the human body has CBD receptors. More doctors are starting to realize the benefits of marajuana and CBD oils and tinctures, especially after the discovery of the discovery of the Charlottes Web strain.

I am 71 years old and in about the same shape as an old car of that same age that has been driven 50 or more miles a day for 71 years!
One of my Doctors told me “You have more Skelatal Problems than any Patient I have ever seen in my 30 years as an MD!”

I have taken just about every kind of Prescription Pain Relief Medicines made over the last 25 years! The only one that has really been any good is Oxycodone!

If I knew that Cannabis would help do away with some of this Ungodly Pain I would gladly use it instead of what I now have to take!

Cannabis has been around for Thousands of years and used for making Rope to Paper! In fact I think it is our Declaration of Independence that is written on Hemp Paper!

All of our Jails are over flowing with many Thousands of people in there for having over an ounce or two of the stuff! My own Nephew is in there now for a year for having 10 plants growing at his home!

I think it should be Legalized so that a person could grow themselves 5 or more plants or whatever amount is needed for their medical needs!

We are spending more money keeping people in jail for this stuff than we are on repairing all our worn out Bridges and such!

Strong Herb!

I have seen the severe negative effects it can have on a certain persons mind. Myself, It has never helped my chronic pain but mine comes from my pancreas. I have a diagnosis of PTSD and I can not imagine marijuana helping at all unless there was a pill that can take away from it. Sorry, but, all experiences around me have been negative.

I would really like to know if you ever tried the oil without the thc in it?? Sounds to me like you have NOT! If you don’t like the highs, you may want to try this because I suffer from so many things you wouldn’t believe, and this has helped me and all but 2 others out of a trial of 367 people… (not a controlled trial) Now that’s a lot of positive results off the oil without thc in it!!!
(PTSD/bi-polar/chronic pain/back fusion surgery/herniated disks in neck & back/bone on bone in knees/bad right hip/birth defects/etc. etc. etc…. Need I go on about me???)

I use medical marijuana for pain as well as for PTSD. Using different forms of marijuana has allowed me to sleep and walk again with minimal pain. It has also helped with my anxiety and other issues from the PTSD.

About 25 years ago, I owned a top national hunter horse, her back legs became so stiff, I considered ending her show career. A knowledgeable trainer recommended a chondroitin/ glucosamine supplement. I gave her a double dose for the first two weeks and then the recommended dosage for an 1100 pound equine. Long story short, the next time her farrier was shoeing her, he searched for me in the barn to ask me what I was giving her, he actually made me write down the name. He was unfamiliar with it. Months later an 80 + year old friend was advised to get knee replacement, I told him to try the Move Free brand sold at Costco, within n 2 weeks was pain free. He recommended it to a friend with a similar complaint who had the same outcome.

Marijuana is classified like it is because the FDA has a patent on many healing qualities of marijuana. They want to sell individual parts of the plant like most drugs are for big bucks rather than let the rest of us access the plant.

Marijuana itself has many components that are healing with few side effects as long as you use judgment when taking it.

I had neck bone spurs scraped off in 2007 and came out of it with painful nerve damage and I soon developed Fibro and fatigue. I am on an anti seizure medication since then, but it only gives me 50% relief and that’s only when I’m not having a weather change pain reaction. The side effects are really increadingly difficult. I cannot take opioids BC of constipation but also BC it does not help Fibro pain. I plan to try Medical Cannabis as soon as my state makes it legal but there is still so much opposition. I need to move to another state but cannot BC of my husband’s job. It’s sad life is passing me by BC I cannot get pain relief.

Pain is one thing, but PTSD is quite another. The THC may help mellow-out a person suffering with PTSD, yes indeed, because PTSD a mental issue.

There’s no question that Cannabis (THC and CBD) helps many people with different pain conditions.

I would much rather endure the side effects of marijuana than those of pharmaceutical drugs. If laughing, getting munchies or sleeping is as bad as it gets then there you have it!
As for THC , euphoria is another. (Keep in mind no one has ever over-dosed or died from marajuana) Also, when you get a script from your Doctor, you get a pill that basically is one pill fits ALL! Meaning not all of us are same weight. So little patience in finding the “Right Strain” is key. Most people think one who uses this “Natural Plant” , is just looking for a buzz!
Not true. You can opt to use CBD OIL w no THC content.

I think the marijuana industry is trying to create all sorts of reasons to use Cannabis in whatever form for increased profits. Thats the name of the game “increase the profit margin”. It was like Cocaine way back in 1800’s “good for what ails ya”. It was used in cough syrups, ointments..even soft drinks. There are many instances of a “cure all” substance like Sharks fin coming along everyday. Until we have irrefutable evidence that marijuana in whatever form (thc removed etc:) I remain skeptical.

I am a 70 yo female with Addison’s Disease.
Four years ago the medication ( Cortisone Acetate) I have taken for 20 years was suddenly unavailable and a different ( hydrocortisone ) substituted by necessity .
I began experiencing sharp pains in my jaw and jabbing pain in my lower legs and numbness in my feet.
I was able to obtain Cortisone Acetate from a Canadian pharmacy which resolved the jaw pain but the lower leg and foot problems continued.
After examinations and tests I was put on Gabapentin which did not seem to reduce the pain but did leave me dopey and half asleep.
While visiting Washington State I purchased CBD oil and have used it for a year and a half.
I could not tell if it was working or not until I neglected to pack it on a trip to the East Coast. After two days I once again had stabbing pains in my legs and my feet became numb.
I take a dropper full of the CBD oil sublingually at bedtime (15 MGM)
which has been sufficient to resolve my symptoms … and I have not had increase the dose or frequency .
I have shared this information with some ( more) elderly friends who suffer from nerve pain and each of them has found relief with the same lack of side effect.
I am a nurse by training . Had this drug not been outlawed for so many decades it could have provided an effective and safe pain relief in addition to saving many lives ruined by opioids.

I’m a medical marijuana user for chronic degenerative lumbar pain. For almost two years I depended on opioids until I took stock of the fact that I was using ever increasing amounts of opioids to achieve a barely tolerable comfort level. I talked to my doctor about becoming certified for medical marijuana so went through the process of securing a medical MJ certificate.

I started using tinctures that were high in CBD but soon realized the synergistic aspect of adding THC worked so much more effectively.

CBD oil, made from hemp with a THC content of less than 0.3% is legal in all states & that’s what I use during the day especially when I know I’m going to be driving. CBD oil made from marijuana is generally more effective & a tincture ratio of 4:1 or even 1:1 is my preference for sleeping or home use. Being high is not the objective; being comfortable is.

It’s not inexpensive but I do get the relief I need w/o feeling I’m on a slippery slope using increasing amounts of opioids.

Regular epidurals & the occasional Aleve, along with marijuana are my way to go.

You say this is legal in all states……….where would I purchase this oil? I have severe pain in my lower back, hips and legs which for the most part has been bothering me for more than 20 years. It is getting worse and ibuprofen is the only thing that I have to help (and it does) with the pain, but I am scared to take it because of side effects. I am very interested in trying this oil.

I don’t know people make claims to support whatever makes them high. I can make claims too but it’s still hearsay. Politicians now support pot because it buys them votes. I don’t care about claims with harmless remedies like soap in the bed, but you are talking about a psychoactive drug and people DO like to get high. Then again we are headed straight into World War 3 in a year or so … so what difference does it make what is legalized. Just legalize ALL drugs no matter what.

CBD is a component of marijuana that does NOT make you high. It only alleviates pain. It has no psychoactive properties. My husband takes it for nerve pain in his back while he decides if he wants to have back surgery with all its risks. He has a very high tolerance for pain and does not like to take drugs, but it’s the only thing that lets him live a somewhat normal life. This country would do well to allow more research into this product to help lower the rate of opioid addiction. We are grateful we live in a state where he can get the pain relief he needs without opioids.

Oh Luke, what a sad outlook on life! Cheer up! Cannabis is well-known for helping with pain, seizures, and lots of other conditions. But I would never suggest legalizing the ‘other’ street drugs. Just be sure the Cannabis is not negating the effects of any other drugs you’re taking, the only real drawback. Also, if you don’t like the ‘high’ then put the Cannabis Oil in capsules and use it as a suppository as that way it bypasses the liver so there’s no ‘high’.

Don’t worry about WWIII…God’s got that all locked up (read your Bible prophecy) and things turn out great for believers. Bless you!

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