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Back Pain & Marijuana

Chronic back pain can be neuropathic, caused by nerve damage that produces a sharp pain. Back pain can also come in a nociceptive form that is caused by some disease process in the tissue. Nociceptive pain is felt like a dull ache or severe pressure. Back pain can also be linked to spinal or back injuries. Chronic back pain can lead to opiod deficiency, anxiety, lack of sleep and depression. Conventional treatments for back pain, such as with over the counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication like ibuprofen, naproxen etc., can help. It can, however, cause nausea, gastric bleeding, and ulcers. Opioids such as Vicodin can be effective in treating the pain, but the addictive potential of these types of medication is tremendous. As early as 1975, scientists found that THC effective in relieving pain of cancer patients. In 1999, the Institutes of Medicine listed conditions such as neuropathic pain, acute pain, cancer pain, and spinal cord injuries as conditions that medical marijuana could help relieve. It appears that there are cannabinoid receptors throughout the spinal cord and nervous system. The receptors can be modulated by the THC and CBD found in cannabis. There are over 60 other cannabinoids that contribute to the relief of pain in cannabis as well. A recent study, at the University of Colorado Spine Center, followed 200 patients who suffered from degenerative disc problems as well as other back pains. 89% of patients said that medical marijuana greatly or moderately relieved their pain and 81% said cannabis worked as well or better then narcotic painkillers.

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