Numb fingers, pins and needles in your feet, burning in your shoulders. These could be signs of neuropathy, or nerve damage. Nerve damage isn’t uncommon; estimates put the number of Americans with neuropathy at 20 million.
Many times, neuropathy isn’t an isolated condition, but rather is connected to other health issues like:
Most people with neuropathy turn to over-the-counter pain medications like ibuprofen for relief. Some also rely on prescription medications to address pain and inflammation. Since cannabis has therapeutic value, could it help someone suffering from neuropathy? While there’s no cure for nerve damage, anecdotally cannabis does seem to help ease the pain and discomfort of those suffering from nerve pain.
Here are our three most popular questions about how marijuana could be part of a treatment plan for neuropathy. These questions were answered by knowledgeable members of the HelloMD community on our Answers page. Don’t see your question about nerve damage and marijuana below? You can post your question on the Answers page to get advice from a doctor, nurse or cannabis industry specialist.
Answer: @andrewvanmd Cannabis is very effective at treating neuropathy and neuropathic pain. I would start with a whole plant extract in tincture form, with a balanced amount of cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). You can adjust the CBD:THC ratio to achieve the desired results. Inhaled cannabis and topicals can also be helpful.
One of my relatives has been suffering from nerve pain. He says it's just his left side, and it feels like burning pins and needles. He did see the doctor, and the doctor said he has nerve damage similar to neuropathy, but they aren't sure what the cause is. They suggested he try cannabis! He has tried the Lord Jones High-CBD lotion but has not gotten relief. We are wondering if maybe a tincture will help? What dosage might be beneficial for him? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
Answer: @drelkind Applying cannabis to the skin will not provide significant absorption beyond a very local area so I would definitely try a tincture or similar preparation. When tinctures or lozenges are held in the mouth, effects may be noticeable within 10 minutes; when cannabis is swallowed it may take up to an hour for effects to take place. Starting with a CBD:THC ratio of 20:1 and varying the amount taken and the cannabinoid ratio (moving toward 1:1) may yield a preparation helpful in reducing the discomfort. Most patients find this kind of cautious experimentation useful for finding the best relief of their symptoms.
The doctors call it neuralgia. Will a transdermal patch help? I am in so much pain.
Answer: @VeronicaB Hi there!
If you are experiencing chronic pain/nerve damage due to shingles or neuralgia, you may be able to find some relief with transdermal patches. The advantage of using a transdermal patch for nerve pain is that the medicine is delivered through all seven layers of the skin and into the bloodstream to provide full body relief.
To use a transdermal patch, you will want to put it on a veiny area, and your body heat will naturally activate the patch. Once the patch becomes activated, it slowly releases small amounts of cannabinoids directly into the bloodstream to be carried throughout the body. Because this medicine is not ingested, the patch will bypass the liver and stomach acids, providing relief within 30 minutes. Depending on your body composition, cannabis use and level of pain, patches can provide relief anywhere from 8–12 hours. For severe pain, it is safe to wear more than one patch at once.
Please check out this article below that provides more information on transdermal patches for pain relief. Hopefully this helps your nerve damage and pain from shingles. I hope this information helps!
Photo credit: MMPR