Medical Marijuana For Neuropathy Patients In Missouri
Does Neuropathy Qualify For Medical Marijuana In Missouri?
According to the Cleveland Clinic, neuropathy is a relatively common condition, with an estimated 25%-30% of Americans being affected by one or more forms of neuropathy and a staggering 60%-70% of individuals with diabetes. Patients suffering from sensory neuropathy can experience symptoms including tingling/numbness, extreme changes in sensations, loss of coordination and reflexes, and burning pain; patients suffering from motor neuropathy can experience symptoms including muscle weakness, twitching, or even spasms, inability or difficulty moving parts of the body, and loss of muscle tone and dexterity; while patients suffering from autonomic neuroapthy can experience symptoms including abnormal blood pressure or heart rate, problems with digestion including diarrhea and weight loss, and dizziness including nausea and vomiting.
These symptoms can massively inhibit a patient's ability to complete regular activities and lifestyles, and can lead to feelings of depression or anxiety. While many patients do not experience the level of relief needed through traditional treatment options and prescriptions, medical marijuana has been shown to benefit many, if not all, of the common symptoms associated with neuropathy. For those patients that want to continue to use conventional prescriptions and treatment options, cannabis has been found to increase the efficacy in these treatments, meaning you can continue to use other medications while using cannabis to boost the medicinal effects!
How Does Medical Marijuana Help Neuropathy?
Cannabis has been found to be an effective treatment for a variety of different forms of neuropathy, serving as an effective analgesic for intractable neuropathy. In comparison with other conventional pharmaceuticals used to treat neuropathy, cannabis was found more effective compared to gabapentin, anticonvulsants, and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.
Cannabis is so effective due to its interactions with the endocannabinoid system which is responsible for homeostasis, including the communication of pain throughout the body including background pain levels. The cannabinoids in cannabis work by activating or blocking the signaling through CB1 and CB2 receptors, both of which are significant in improving and modulating persistent neuropathic pain. Studies have indicated that CBD is effective alone or in concert with THC.
Furthermore, a number of studies have found that patients report secondary benefits from medical marijuana use, including better sleep and functional improvement. Due to the lack of federal research opportunities, medical marijuana research is still in its relative infancy, however the studies that are beginning to be released are revealing even more benefits that cannabis can offer patients suffering from neuropathy.
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What Is Neuropathy?
Neuropathy, which can also be referred to as peripheral neuropathy, refers to any condition that affects the normal activity of the nerves of the peripheral nervous system, a network of nerves that connects the central nervous system to the rest of the body. The result of misfunctioning nerves leads to symptoms of weakness, numbness, and stinging/burning/tingling pain usually in the hands and feet, although it can affect other areas of the body.
Peripheral neuropathy can stem from a number of different causes, including traumatic injuries, infections, metabolic problems, inherited causes and exposure to toxins; one of the most common causes of neuropathy is diabetes, although neuropathy can be associated with a number of different underlying conditions.
There have been more than 100 types of peripheral neuropathy that have been identified so far, each with unique symptoms and prognosis. Symptoms can vary depending on the type of nerves that are damaged:
Motor Nerves: these nerves control movement of all muscles under conscious control, meaning activities such as walking, grasping objects, or even talking can become incredibly painful and difficult
Sensory Nerves: these nerves transmit information, such as the ability to feel light touch, temperature, or even pain from a cut
Autonomic Nerves: these nerves control organ to regulate activities that are not controlled consciously, including breathing, digesting food, and heart and gland functions
Most neuropathic conditions affect all three types of nerve fibers, while others primarily affect one of two types.