Marijuana for Pain: Does Cannabis Help with Back Pain?

does cannabis help with back pain

Does cannabis help with back pain? This is a question that arises due to the prevalence of back pain in the adult population. According to one study, up to 23% of adults worldwide suffer from chronic low back pain, with a recurrence rate ranging from 24% to 80% within a year. Lifetime prevalence estimates even go as high as 84% among adults. In the search for effective treatments, medical cannabis has emerged as a potential alternative for managing chronic back pain. Unlike traditional medications, medical marijuana offers the promise of pain relief without the potential side effects associated with conventional drugs. 

In this article, we will examine whether cannabis can help alleviate back pain and explore its potential benefits.

Does Cannabis Help With Back Pain?

Medical cannabis has gained popularity as a preferred treatment option for patients with chronic back pain. This alternative therapy offers several advantages over conventional medications, often with adverse effects such as nausea, stomach upset, ulcers, and gastric bleeding. Let’s explore some of the ways in which medical marijuana may help in treating back pain:

  • Pain reduction and improved quality of life: Medical marijuana has the potential to reduce pain levels to a degree that enables individuals to lead active lives. Additionally, it presents an alternative to potentially dangerous and addictive medications, providing an overall better quality of life for patients.
  • Alleviation of associated symptoms: Chronic back pain is often accompanied by secondary symptoms such as depression, insomnia, and anxiety. Medical marijuana may help eliminate or reduce these symptoms, offering a holistic approach to managing back pain and improving overall well-being.

What Back Pain Symptoms Can Medical Marijuana Treat?

The medicinal attributes of medical marijuana make it a viable option for easing symptoms connected to back pain. Let’s delve into some of these symptoms:

  1. Pain and muscle spasms: Research has demonstrated that marijuana has the ability to diminish muscle spasms and relieve pain effectively. Inhaling marijuana has been shown to lead to a significant reduction in pain intensity, making it particularly effective in addressing back spasms. Numerous states have sanctioned the use of medical marijuana for managing muscle spasms, which include cases of severe chronic or intractable neuropathic pain.
  2. Nausea and vomiting: Medical marijuana possesses properties that can help reduce nausea and vomiting. Traditional medications prescribed for back pain and chronic conditions often lead to these side effects. With marijuana’s dual effectiveness in treating both pain and nausea, many patients prefer it over other drugs. Moreover, chronic pain can contribute to depression, while medical marijuana can help alleviate depression symptoms and improve sleep.
  3. Inflammation: Marijuana exhibits potent anti-inflammatory properties, making it a natural choice for treating inflammation associated with conditions such as arthritis and degenerative changes in the spine. Given that back or neck pain often stems from degenerative changes, many patients opt for medical marijuana as an alternative for managing inflammation-related pain.

Are There Side Effects To Using Marijuana For Pain?

While medical marijuana can be highly effective in managing back pain, it’s essential to consider potential side effects. However, these side effects are generally mild and tend to dissipate as the treatment wears off. It is important to discuss them with your doctor. Here are some common side effects associated with the use of marijuana for pain:

  • Redness of the eyes: It is common for patients to experience redness of the eyes, which can be managed by using eye drops like Visine. Although it may be bothersome, it is generally harmless and temporary.
  • Short-term memory loss: Temporary short-term memory loss can occur as a side effect of marijuana use, but it typically resolves once the treatment wears off. Some individuals may be more susceptible to this effect than others.
  • Heightened sensory perception: Marijuana use can result in heightened sensory perception, affecting a patient’s sight, hearing, taste, and smell. While this side effect may vary among individuals, it is usually temporary and fades over time.
  • Fatigue: High-THC strains of marijuana can cause fatigue in some patients. However, this effect can be balanced by using low-THC strains or administering the medication at lower doses.

Get Your Medical Card for Back Pain Relief

In Mississippi, medical marijuana has been legalized for individuals with debilitating conditions, including cancer, Crohn’s disease, Alzheimer’s, and chronic pain. If you have a qualifying condition, obtaining a recommendation from a licensed physician is the first step. 

To expedite the consultation process, gathering supporting documentation such as medical records or a letter stating your diagnosed condition from your primary care physician is advisable. Additionally, when visiting one of our clinics to apply for your medical card, remember to bring a form of government ID and proof of Mississippi residence.
In cases where you have a qualifying medical condition but lack proper documentation, Pause Pain & Wellness can still assist you. By scheduling an appointment for evaluation, our team can assess your specific condition and refer you to the appropriate healthcare provider to establish an official diagnosis.