The term neuropathy refers to any general disease or malfunction of the nerves. Any part of the body can be affected by neuropathy. Neuropathic conditions are classified by location in the body and by the types of nerves affected.
The different types of neuropathy are named accordingly. Peripheral neuropathy refers to nerve issues within the peripheral nervous system in areas such as the arms and legs. Cranial neuropathy refers to damage to any of the twelve cranial nerves that exit, such as migraines. This can include specifically optic and auditory neuropathies affecting visual and auditory sensory perception.
The nerves within the involuntary nervous system, which control the heart, circulation, digestion, sexual response, and perspiration, can be damaged and cause what’s known as an autonomic neuropathy. Neuropathies can be specifically restricted to one nerve, a group of nerves, or focalize to one area of the body.
Nerve damage can be caused by injury or physical trauma, and infections, diseases, and vitamin deficiencies. Diabetes, cancers, and autoimmune disorders are related to neuropathic pain. Genetic disorders, alcoholism, toxins, and poisons can all generate neuropathy. Drugs and medications may cause neuropathies, but some neuropathic pain has no apparent cause. This is referred to as idiopathic neuropathy.
Since most neuropathies can be traced to an underlying infection, disease, or other medical conditions. Doctors will attempt to treat these first. Infections causing neuropathic pain might be treated with antibiotics, but according to the CDC 1 out of every 3 antibiotic prescriptions are unnecessary. Infectious bacteria and viruses are becoming rapidly and increasingly resistant to antibiotics and overusing them will undermine the drug’s ability to treat life-threatening infections.
Patients with spinal cord injuries, or compressed and entrapped nerves from tumors, may need surgery to treat their condition. In most cases though, neuropathy is the result of an underlying condition like injury or disease. Check out our other articles on Alzheimer’s disease and Arthritis to understand how other conditions are being treated by medical marijuana.
Medications prescribed to treat and manage conditions and symptoms of neuropathic pain include over-the-counter pain relievers such as Tylenol and ibuprofen, antidepressants such as [SSRIs] and [SNRIs], anticonvulsants, and of course the ever so popular [opioids]. Adverse effects and events associated with these drugs are broad and numerous. NSAIDs are linked with an increase in the risk of heart failure and Reye’s syndrome, as well as causing at least half of all ulcers. Antidepressants cause mental health issues, problems with sleep, weight, sexual dysfunction, and commonly induce anxiety and even aggression. In children, they have serious risks of causing suicidal ideation and depression.
Some patients may be prescribed anticonvulsant and epileptic medications to manage or treat neuropathic pain. These types of drugs, such as Keppra, cause abnormal behavior and mental problems. Somnolence, the desire to sleep too much, is associated with the drug, as well as depression, anxiety disorders, and suicidal ideation.
Only about have of neuropathic pain patients report relief with opioids. Regardless, some clinicians still prescribe them frequently. Some physicians are facing lawsuits for knowingly overprescribing dangerous opioids. According to the CDC, between 1999 and 2015, more than 183,000 deaths were related to prescription opioids, and in 2014 some 2 million people in the U.S. had an addiction and abuse problems with prescription opioids.
Neuropathic pain, or pain stemming from our nerves, is different than nociceptive pain in that it comes from damage to our nerves as opposed to body tissue. Most treatments that may work well to remedy normal acute or chronic nociceptive pain from conditions such as inflammation, don’t work for neuropathic pain.
In some conditions, such as MS (multiple sclerosis), both pain processes are present and it can be difficult to distinguish and treat them. Research suggests that opioids are effective in no more than half of patients, and also that stimulating the endocannabinoid system works more effectively than opioids in managing neuropathic pain.
Phytocannabinoids, cannabinoids derived from plants such as marijuana, are able to treat neuropathic pain because of their ability to modulate endocannabinoid receptors. Researchers are suggesting that deficiencies in endocannabinoid receptors may be the cause of some conditions. In these conditions, cannabis may be able to provide relief of symptoms of pain, inflammation, anxiety, depression, and even seizure, by balancing the endocannabinoid system. Medical marijuana is safely and effectively treating conditions like MS, fibromyalgia, epilepsy, and arthritis where no other medications have truly helped before.
Linked below are strains of medical marijuana reported to help with neuropathic pain problems. Consult with a physician and medical marijuana professional about what may be best for your conditions.
· [[Afghani Grand Daddy]]
· [[Akimbo’s Snow Grapes]]
· [[Alaskan Thunder Bolt]]
· [[Azure Haze]]
· [[Banana OG]]
· [[Bart Simpson OG]]
· [[Big Bang]]
· [[Blue Angels]]
· [[Blue Tara]]
· [[Blue Wonder]]
· [[California Hash Plant]]
· [[Cherry Bubba]]
· [[Cherry Cough Syrup]]
· [[Cookie Monster]]
· [[Corder Kush Platinum]]
· [[Blue Jay Way]]