Does Using Cannabis for Diabetic Neuropathy Reduce Pain?

cannabis for diabetic neuropathy

Cannabis for diabetic neuropathy is a topic gaining increasing attention in the medical community, and for good reason.

Diabetic neuropathy is a debilitating condition that affects a substantial number of people living with diabetes. It leads to nerve pain and a range of distressing symptoms, such as burning, tingling, trouble sleeping, anxiety, and depression. While conventional treatment methods have their limitations, a growing body of research suggests that cannabis may hold promise in alleviating the pain and discomfort associated with diabetic neuropathy. 

In this blog, we will explore how using cannabis for diabetic neuropathy can help reduce pain and improve the quality of life for those affected.

How Does Using Cannabis For Diabetic Neuropathy Help Nerve Pain Symptoms?

Groundbreaking research by scientists at the University of California San Diego has shed light on the potential advantages of cannabis for managing diabetic neuropathic pain. In this controlled experiment with random allocation and placebos, 16 individuals grappling with painful diabetic neuropathy were involved. The primary goal was to assess the immediate effectiveness and tolerance of inhaled cannabis.

Each participant was given four separate doses of either a placebo, low-THC (1%), medium-THC (4%), or high-THC (7%) cannabis. Dr. Mark Wallace, the lead author of the research, noticed that the greater the concentration of THC, the more substantial the relief the participants reported. It’s important to note that the THC levels used in the study were not equivalent to the high-potency cannabis (10% THC or more) often linked to adverse effects.

A notable advantage of medical marijuana is its anti-inflammatory properties. Unlike steroids, which individuals with diabetes are advised to steer clear of due to potential side effects, medical cannabis presents a safer alternative for pain and inflammation management. People with diabetes frequently experience chronic arterial inflammation, and cannabinoids can alleviate this discomfort. Moreover, medical cannabis showcases neuroprotective characteristics, protecting against inflammatory responses initiated by glycoproteins in the bloodstream. This added layer of protection makes it a valuable choice for patients combating diabetic neuropathy.

The investigation gauged the intensity of pain and participants’ subjective sense of being “high” at various intervals following inhalation. The findings disclosed that although cannabis users did perceive a feeling of being “high,” they also reported substantial relief from pain. Their spontaneous pain assessments were lower, and they demonstrated heightened tolerance to stimuli such as a gentle brush stroke or a pinprick to the foot.

Notably, the pain-alleviating properties of cannabis endured for up to four hours after inhalation, with higher THC dosages resulting in the most substantial pain reduction. Dr. Wallace underscored the wealth of evidence supporting the positive impact of cannabis on neuropathic pain, although there’s a shortage of placebo-controlled investigations and limited exploration of varying THC dosages.

Diabetic Neuropathy Symptoms Are Treatable with Medical Cannabis

Medical marijuana, when used as a treatment for diabetic neuropathy, can effectively alleviate a range of distressing symptoms. These include the burning and tingling sensations often associated with neuropathic pain, difficulty sleeping, anxiety, depression, and inflammation. Research has shown that cannabinoid receptors are distributed throughout the brain, nervous system, and spinal cord on inflammatory cells. Activation of these receptors leads to decreased inflammation and relief from neuropathic pain.

How to Use Medical Cannabis for Neuropathy Pain Symptoms

While smoking medical marijuana may be one way to experience its benefits, it is essential to recognize the risks associated with inhaling smoke, as it contains carcinogens. Thankfully, there are alternative methods for ingesting medical cannabis that eliminate the need for smoking and the associated respiratory harm.

Here are some safe and effective methods for using medical cannabis for diabetic neuropathy treatment:

  • Inhalation: Vaporizers are an excellent choice for inhaling cannabis, as they release therapeutic compounds without exposing users to harmful pyrroles and high concentrations of carbon monoxide associated with smoking.
  • Concentrated Oils: Cannabis oils provide a concentrated dose of therapeutic compounds and are often used sublingually or in edibles.
  • Edibles: Consuming cannabis-infused edibles offers a discreet and convenient way to experience the benefits of medical marijuana without smoking.
  • Topicals: Topical applications, such as creams and balms, allow for targeted relief by applying the product directly to the affected area.
  • Suppositories: Rectal or vaginal suppositories offer a method of absorption that bypasses the digestive system, providing rapid and efficient relief.
  • Transdermal Patches: These patches slowly release cannabinoids into the bloodstream over time, ensuring sustained relief.
  • Sublingual Sprays: Sprays placed under the tongue allow for quick absorption of cannabinoids through the mucous membranes.
  • Beverages: Cannabis-infused beverages provide a refreshing and enjoyable way to consume medical marijuana.

Get Your Medical Marijuana Card to Start Treating Your Symptoms

If you are considering using medical cannabis for diabetic neuropathy symptoms, it’s essential to consult with a medical marijuana doctor and obtain a medical marijuana card where it is legally available. At Pause Pain & Wellness, we have clinics across Mississippi, including Oxford, Meridian, Flowood/Jackson, Tupelo, Olive Branch, Starkville, Hattiesburg, and Gulfport. Our team can provide guidance and support to help you access the relief you need. Contact us at 833-940-5060 to schedule your appointment.