Spinal stenosis is a painful condition characterized by back pain, tingling, and numbness in the hands, arms, feet and legs. With current pharmaceutical treatments having their limitations, many individuals have been turning to medical cannabis as a potential form of relief.
Cannabis is composed of numerous chemical compounds known as cannabinoids. The two primary ones are Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD). When consumed, these cannabinoids interact with the receptors in our endocannabinoid system (ECS) and modify neurotransmitter levels to help alleviate pain and inflammation which are common symptoms of spinal stenosis.
Treating Spinal Stenosis with Medical Cannabis
There are several ways medical marijuana can be used to relieve pain associated with spinal stenosis. In cases where arthritis or inflammation is the underlying cause, both THC and CBD have been shown to reduce inflammation by modulating the immune system’s response. Additionally, medical cannabis has been demonstrated to provide some relief for acute pain. A review from Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research has stated that patients who received intramuscular cannabinoid treatment experienced an impressive 95% reduction of acute pain compared to placebo.
Chronic pain is another symptom that may be alleviated by cannabis usage. The whole plant or a combination of THC and CBD may help reduce chronic pain; research has also suggested that this could also improve sleep quality and general quality of life. For those experiencing nerve pain such as peripheral neuropathy or sciatica due to their spinal stenosis, topical CBD may be beneficial in relieving those symptoms.
While cannabis may have therapeutic potential when treating spinal stenosis, it’s important to note that it should only be used under the guidance of a healthcare professional and not in lieu of traditional medications prescribed for the condition. In addition, due to its lack of long-term studies, children, pregnant women, and the elderly population should be especially mindful before using cannabis as a treatment option.
Understanding the Locations of Spinal Stenosis
Stenosis usually occurs in either the neck area – known as cervical spinal stenosis – or the lower back area – known as lumbar spinal stenosis. However anterior thoracic stenosis can also occur below the abdomen and present itself as tingling or weakness in that area. There are various factors that can contribute to this condition such as bone overgrowth or bone spurs, thickened spinal ligaments, osteoarthritis or congenital spinal stenosis amongst others.
Medical marijuana may offer some relief for people suffering from spinal stenosis but it’s important for patients to discuss any plans for cannabis treatment with their doctor before beginning use. Due to its lack of long-term studies on certain demographics such as children, pregnant women, and elderly individuals its best these populations consult their doctor before taking any steps towards using cannabis as a form of relief for their condition’s symptoms.