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Prepare Your Old Hookah: Cannabanoids to Address Radiating Pain

Prepare Your Old Hookah: Cannabanoids to Address Radiating Pain

Neuropathic pain is recognized as numbness, burning, tingling sensations, lancination, itching and crawling sensations. Symptoms may be focal or radiating along either side of the body. Neuropathic pain can be a result of infection, trauma or disease of nerves in the extremities or the central nervous system. Approximately 200 million people regularly experience neuropathic pain worldwide.

Traditional western medicine is of variable effectiveness, usually prescribed as a combination of anti-inflammatory agents, opiates, anticonvulsants or antidepressants. These medicinal agents are all associated with side effects and in combination frequently cause moderate gastrointestinal distress, diminished mental acuity and alteration of motor skills, tolerance and dependence.

Cannabis has been known to be a very good analgesic for neuropathic pain since the late 1800’s. Medicals scientists have identified chemical receptors in body with which cannabanoid compounds interact. These receptors, distinct from opiate receptors, account for the increased analgesia with cannabis in persons already using other prescription analgesics. Notably, our body also creates its own endocannabanoids (some similar to endorphins) that interact with these cannabanoid receptor sites. The existence of the endocannabanoids and receptors offer a conceptual framework to explain the effectiveness of various marijuana strains with differing chemical constituent concentrations.

In Great Britain, Sativex®, a cannabis based product, has been approved for the neuropathic pain occurring in Multiple Sclerosis. In the U.S., Cesamet®  (nabilone) and Marinol®  (dronabinol) are synthetic THC available for appetite enhancement in cases of end-stage AIDS and for post-chemotherapy patients. However, as pain medications that exhibit limited effectiveness compared to the full chemical spectrum of cannabanoids in natural plant sources. Additionally, Cesamet®  and Marinol® prescription in pain care is considered an “off-label” use, thereby not covered by insurers or associated with very expensive co-payments.

Given the inconsistent and sometimes marked ineffectiveness of combinations of NSAIDs, opiates, anticonvulsants and antidepressants in pain management, most western physicians should be exhilarated about cannabis, a natural plant product. However, most clinicians defend the problems of opiate abuse and diversion as well as nominalize the relevance of adverse effects of all of these products via their traditional biases.

Contact us for additional information regarding pain management and cannabis.

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