Medical Conditions

How Medical Marijuana Helps Treat Sciatica

  • Sciatica is a condition characterized by chronic pain in the hips and legs caused by nerve compression in the lower back.  
  • Compounds found in medical marijuana called phytocannabinoids have been shown to help relieve pain and improve sleep and mood in some sciatica patients.
  • Phytocannabinoids can be used as a supplement to the body’s own naturally-produced endocannabinoids to reduce inflammation response and pain signaling. 
  • A wide array of medical marijuana strains and cannabis-infused products suitable for the treatment of sciatica are available at medical marijuana dispensaries nationwide. 

Can medical marijuana and other cannabis-infused medicines help relieve pain due to sciatica? Some medical marijuana doctors say yes. Moreover, several U.S. states now offer medical marijuana cards to sciatica patients.

In this article, we’ll explore how medical marijuana may offer a safe, effective, and natural alternative to traditional sciatica treatments.

What is sciatica?

Sciatica is an extremely painful condition stemming from sciatic nerve compression in the lower back. This compression is generally the result of bone spurs or herniated discs. When nerves are compressed, the pressure can cause painful sensations that radiate into the hips and legs. 

This often excruciating condition can result in loss of mobility, sleeplessness, anxiety, and depression. Patients suffering from severe sciatic pain are frequently unable to work and find it impossible to enjoy any semblance of social life.  

Many U.S. citizens of a certain age will experience a bout of sciatica in their lifetime. The condition can also affect younger individuals if they’ve sustained lower back injuries. In some cases, the condition can be cured with non-invasive measures if it’s detected in a timely manner. 

Many patients find relief with over-the-counter pain killers, topical analgesics, physiotherapy, and muscle relaxants. However, more severe cases require the administration of opioids, cortisone injections, and sometimes surgery.

How does medical marijuana help sciatica patients?

Anecdotal evidence of the efficacy of medical marijuana to treat sciatica is mounting. Many sciatica patients have reported that medical marijuana enabled them to reduce or end the use of highly addictive and dangerous opioids. 

Additionally, medical marijuana is known to have an uplifting effect and may attenuate both depression and anxiety issues that often accompany chronic pain. Moreover, patients suffering from sciatica often find the relentless pain causes sleep disturbances. Fortunately, cannabis is widely known for its sleep-inducing properties.

How does medical marijuana help treat sciatica?

Compounds called phytocannabinoids produced in the resinous flower clusters of the female cannabis plant interact with the body’s innate endocannabinoid system (ECS). When phytocannabinoids enter the brain, they effectively reduce the signaling between the regions of the brain that process pain response and mood. 

This phenomenon was discussed in a study published in an online issue of Neurology in 2018. The study was specifically designed to examine radicular pain, a type of pain known to radiate from the spine into the hip and leg areas. 

Haggai Sharon (MD, Tel Aviv Medical Center) concluded that: 

“Pain is a complex experience that involves both the senses and emotions. Our study results link pain relief from THC with a reduction in the connections between areas of the brain otherwise heavily connected, suggesting that THC may alleviate pain by disrupting signals between these pain processing pathways.”

These researchers utilized THC in the study. THC is the intoxicating compound in marijuana that causes a high. However, the non-intoxicating cannabinoid, CBD also appears to have a profound effect on promoting sound sleep as well as reducing stress, anxiety, and depression

In some cases, nerve compression is caused by inflammation. In addition to helping to modulate pain signaling and improving sleep and mood, cannabinoids may help to reduce inflammation-causing nerve compression in the lower back. 

Is medical marijuana safe for the treatment of sciatica?

Cannabis has been safely used as a pain remedy for thousands of years. When used properly, most medical marijuana patients enjoy positive results.

However, some individuals may experience intense feelings, anxiety, and paranoia after consuming cannabis products that are high in THC. These intense reactions may exacerbate sciatic pain in some sciatica patients.

Additionally, smoking and vaping may induce respiratory issues. If the patient finds these methods cause coughing, then smoking and vaping should be avoided. 

How is medical marijuana used to treat sciatica pain?

Patients suffering from sciatica symptoms have a plethora of medical marijuana delivery methods at their disposal. Prior to embarking on a medical marijuana treatment plan, patients should consider their lifestyle, exactly what symptoms they wish to treat, and the severity of the condition.

Some methods of delivery ensure fast symptom relief, while others offer longer-lasting effects but lower potency. 

For individuals seeking fast pain relief, smoking, vaping, and dabbing cannabis flower or cannabis concetnrates is the most expedient method of delivery. Cannabinoid inhalers also provide nearly immediate effects and extra discretion in public settings.

A multitude of cannabis strains are available for smoking, vaping, and cooking.  Each strain contains a unique cannabinoid ratio and offers varying medicinal benefits. Several marijuana strains for treating sciatica pain are listed below. However, patients are advised to discuss their condition with a qualified medical marijuana doctors to help determine the optimum combination of cannabinoids for their condition. 

Although the onset time is considerably slower, oral delivery methods such as cannabis oils, edibles, capsules, and tablets offer precise dosages. Additionally, the effects of these oral cannabis products are generally far more consistent. However, their potency level is considerably lower than inhalation methods. 

There are also sublingual (under the tongue) cannabis tinctures available. Tinctures are known to provide similar, albeit much faster effects than other oral treatments as the cannabinoids are absorbed directly into the bloodstream via the lining of the mouth.

Cannabinoid patches also provide accurate dosing and long-lasting effects as the cannabinoids are released over a period of time and quickly enter the bloodstream through the skin.

Medical marijuana products are available in a multitude of formulations and potencies. Some products are higher in non-intoxicating CBD, while others contain higher levels of THC. 

Presently, products containing THC are still categorized as a Schedule I Illegal Substance by the federal government, and can only be purchased in state-sanctioned medical marijuana dispensaries.

However, hemp-derived CBD products with trace amounts of THC are now legally available anywhere in the U.S. Anyone can buy CBD products online and have them delivered to their home without the need for a medical marijuana card. Additionally, other beneficial, non-intoxicating cannabinoids such as CBG, CBN, and CBC are also legal and available for purchase online.

Although anyone can buy CBD and some states permit the recreational use of marijuana, patients suffering from sciatica should avoid self-medication. The condition is serious and treatment should be supervised by an experienced medical marijuana doctor. 

The Best Marijuana Strains for Sciatica

Some of the best marijuana strains for Sjogren’s syndrome patients include:

If your nearby medical marijuana dispensaries do not carry these strains then ask a knowledgeable budtender to suggest strings with similar cannabinoid and terpenes profiles to those listed above.

How To Get Medical Marijuana for sciatica 

If you are a resident of a legal state and want medical marijuana to help treat sciatica or other medical conditions, you will first need to consult with a certified doctor in order to get your med card

To get started, simply fill out the MMJ patient registration form, press submit and a physician or clinic representative will contact you as available.

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Sign Up for Medical Cannabis Today!

For potential patients, if you’re ready, we make it easy to connect with a medical marijuana doctor nearby or online. If you are interested in getting certified, please fill out the MMJ patient registration form below and press submit to get started. See if you qualify today!

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