In the studies that have been done so far on the use of marijuana as a form of medical treatment, it has been found out that the medicinal use of marijuna can be beneficial as a pain relief treatment for various medical conditions. Conditions which include – muscle spasms due to paraplegia and multiple sclerosis, myelomalacia induced chronic back pain, and sciatica nerve pain.
This article will look at sciatica as a medical condition, and explore the available treatments for this condition with emphasis on use of marijuana or cannabis as a medical option for sciatica nerve pain.
What is Sciatica?
The location of the sciatic nerve is towards the base of the spine in the lower regions of your buttocks. From this place of origin, the sciatic nerve extends all the way down to your feet.
The sciatic nerve is your body’s longest and largest nerve. The nerve is made up of an innumerable collection of nerve tissue, which branches out from its place of origin towards the full length of the lower half of your body, through your buttocks down to the bottom of your both feet.
In the event, that the sciatica nerve is pinched or pressed in one way or another, it results in the medical condition referred to as Sciatica. Generally, the source of pressure on the sciatic nerve is a condition characterised by a degenerative spine, which may include – a slipped or a herniated disc, or bone spur. These conditions may cause the nerve passages to narrow down, resulting in the compression or pinching of the sciatic nerve.
Causes of Sciatica
Sciatica can be caused by many different medical conditions, most of which are are related to the spine, the major ones include –
A Herniated or a Slipped Disc
Discs are located between each vertebrae of your spine and work as cushioning pads for the spine. Sometimes external pressure from the vertebrae leads the center of the disc, which is filled with a gel-like substance to herniate or swell. When this happens, the herniated disc can press or pinch the sciatic nerve.
Degenerative Disc Disease
Degenerative disc disease is usually common in older people as this condition is associated with the natural wearing away of the dics. The wearing down of the vertebrae shortens the height of the dics, which results in the narrowing down of the nerve passage. This narrowing down of the nerve passageway, which in medical terms is referred to as ‘spinal stenosis’ can lead to sciatica.
This medical condition related to the spine refers to the slippage of one vertebrae, which as a result makes the two vertebrates uneven. What this does is, narrows the exit point of the sciatic nerve.
The medical condition, more common in aged people, results in the formation of bone spurs, that is bones with jagged edges, which can compress nerves located in your lower back causing sciatica.
Symptoms of Sciatica
The common symptoms of sciatica are –
- Pain, which can be moderate to severe in any part along the stretch of your sciatic nerve from lower back, to your buttock and down to your leg.
- The feeling of numbness and weakness in your lower back, buttock, leg or your feet.
- Pain that increases with any kind movement, or excessive pain resulting in the loss of movement.
- The feeling as if your legs, feet or your toes are being pinched by pins and needles.
- Unable to control your bladder or bowel.
Can Marijuana help with Sciatic Nerve Pain?
The literature or medical research studies done on the subject – that the medicinal use of marijuana can be specifically used to treat Sciatica is not yet available. However, there are studies and medical journals that show the medical viability of the use of medical marijuana in relieving neuropathic and chronic back pain induced by spinal injuries.
Medical marijuana for sciatica nerve pain can be used to provide relief from the many symptoms of sciatica which may include –
Neuropathic and chronic back pain
The use of medical marijuana is a medically proven medication that can be used to provide relief from chronic back and neuropathic pain. The journal relating to the treatment for people suffering from chronic back pain arising from an injury to the spinal cord that was published by the National Library of Medicine in the year 2006 clearly shows.
Another study done in 2010, using medical marijuana with a composition of 9.4% THC, showed that it significantly brought down the neuropathic pain level when taken 3 times a day.
Pain induced sleep disturbances and fatigue
Sciatica can often be excruciatingly painful, which can interfere with your sleep leading to sleeplessness, and eventually fatigue. Medical marijuana can provide relief from this excruciating sciatica nerve pain, improving your quality of sleep and time. Better sleep and less apin means less fatigue.
A study done in the United States in the year 2008, showed that in comparison to using a placebo, using THC in specific doses significantly improved the quality of sleep and duration and decreased the interference of pain causing sleep disturbances.
Dealing with anxiety and depression
Having a medical condition that is characterised by incessant pain can often lead to anxiety and depression, and sciatica is no different. As a medicine for pain relief and for mental health the use of medical marijuana has proved to be more beneficial than various opioid pain relievers.
Using Marijuana for Sciatica.
If you want to try using medical marijuana for sciatica nerve pain, you need to consider the type of marijuana strain that you will be using and more vitally THC to CBD ratio. THC and CBD are known to be powerful pain relievers. The most effective ratio of THC to CBD has been found to be 1:1 for the relief of neuropathic pain, which is typical of sciatica nerve pain.
In case if you have concerns with the intoxication aspect of marijuana then you can increase the ratio of CBD to THC. The higher the ratio of CBD to THC, the lower the intoxication effect of marijuana.
There is no denying the fact that medical marijuana is a proven medication for pain relief as many studies have shown, however, before using it, it is always wise to consult your doctor or your physician.