Can I Get Medical Marijuana For Back Pain?
Yes, medical marijuana can be prescribed for back pain. Health Canada’s Marijuana for Medical Purpose Regulations (MMPR) do not limit which medical conditions can be treated with medical marijuana. This means that your doctor will make the choice to prescribe marijuana or not based on medical evidence and their own expertise. Several studies show that medical marijuana can have positive effects on back pain; some even suggest that cannabis can help the body repair itself after a spinal cord injury.
Medical marijuana is a well-known alternative treatment for acute or chronic pain thanks to cannabinoid agonists. Cannabinoids are a group of compounds including THC and CBD from the cannabis plant, as well as other substances that our bodies produce naturally. Agonists are substances that provoke a physiological response when in contact with receptors throughout the human body. Natural cannabinoid agonists help regulate sleep, appetite, mood, pleasure and pain, among many other things.
If your body is not producing enough cannabinoids on its own, medical marijuana can help supplement your body’s natural functions. This study published in Current Neuropharmacology is one of many finding that cannabinoid receptor agonists can help relieve pain. Cannabis has also been known to treat inflammatory and neuropathic pain that is otherwise stubborn and difficult to manage.
A recent article published in the Journal of Pain found very positive effects of cannabis on 42 patients with spinal cord injury or disease. The participants inhaled two doses of four to eight puffs of vaporized cannabis containing either placebo, 2.9 per cent THC or 6.7 per cent THC. The study showed a significant reduction of pain intensity among the cannabis users. The effects of medical marijuana on back pain remained significant even after controlling for subjective and psychoactive side effects (feeling high, etc.). Higher doses of THC did not greatly affect pain relief.
Some patients would prefer to use medical marijuana for its pain-relieving potential without undergoing psychoactive side effects. Fortunately, an animal study from Neurotoxicity Research found that nonpsychoactive CBD was an effective way to manage back pain in rodents. Remarkably, the rodents that were treated with CBD had less tissue injury than the control group, leading the researchers to believe that CBD could be a good choice for patients recovering from spinal cord lesions.
Medical marijuana is a fairly common way to treat back pain. A study presented at the North American Spine Society’s annual meeting found that 19 per cent of 184 back pain sufferers in Colorado were using medical marijuana to relieve their pain. Of those who used medical marijuana, 89 per cent reported great or moderate pain relief, while 81 per cent said that marijuana provided equal or greater pain relief than opiate painkillers. Doctor Michael Finn, co-author of the study, said that his findings warrant further research on the positive effects of medical marijuana on back pain. Currently, much of the best evidence for marijuana as a pain management drug comes from studies on multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.Back To FAQ