DOCTOR AND PATIENT - TALKING MEDICAL MARIJANA FOR DEGENERATIVE BACK PAIN
Hey there, welcome to Ask Dr. P, where we answer your questions about medical Marijuana.
I’m Dr. P... I specialize in the area of medical marijuana and what that means is that I walk patients through; how to safely use Marijuana for their particular conditions. So let’s get on today’s question, it came from Paul of Pleasanton, California and here’s what he writes:
Dr. P, I was diagnosed with degenerative Disc Disease several years back. Most of the time I have a dull, nagging pain in my lower back, but say for instance I sit in one position for too long, then I’m a goner; it turns into very sharp stabbing pain that can sometimes last for a couple days at a time.
During meetings at work, I have to continuously stand up to stretch my back, even on road trips. When I got to see my kids and grandchildren, I have to make repeated stops to stretch my back. Actually, the position that provides me with the most relief is lying on my bed with a pillow under my knees, but practically speaking, I can’t afford to lie in bed all day long. Over the last years, I’ve run the gamut of treatments to relieve my back pain.
I started off by applying ice packs and heating pads, I then tried over the counter medications like Tylenol, Advil, and Aleve ... you name it. I’ve been prescribed Norco , but it gave me side effects like nausea and constipation.
"Norco is a medication combination used in moderate to severe pain. It contains an opioid pain reliever - hydrocodone and a non opioid pain killer (acetaminophen). Hydrocodone works to change how your body feels and responds to pain in the brain. Acetaminophen can also cause a fever. MISUSE OF THIS NARCOTIC MEDICINE MAY CAUSE ADDICTION, OVERDOSE, OR DEATH, especially in children or other other person using the medicine without a prescription."
I’ve had epidural steroid injections too , but those only provided temporary relief. I‘ve consulted with a surgeon about the possibility of getting surgery, but to be quite honest, I’d really like to hold off until I’ve exhausted all other possible options. I’ve been considering using medical marijuana - I want to know what are your results I can expect.”- Patient Paul
"Injections of Epidural steroids are most commonly used in radicular pain, which is a radiating pain transmitted away from the spine by irritated spinal nerve. Irritation of a spinal nerve in the lower back , such as lumbar spinal stenosis, cervical spinal stenosis, herniated disc, and foraminal encroachment, all causes back pain that goes down the leg.
Epidural injections are used as a minimally invasive procedures to treat nerve compression in the neck, or cervical radiculopathy, which cause pain. Complications of epidural steroid injections are elevation of blood sugar, insomnia, bleeding - spinal canal, and bacterial or fungal infection of the spinal canal."
Doctor to Patient Paul: This is an excellent question, and in fact chronic pain, especially that from the back, is one of the most common conditions that I treat in my practice. Now to answer your question, I want to start off by giving you some insight on some research that was done. This particular study was done fairly recently in 2014.
Before I dive in, I want to give you a little bit of background information so you fully understand what I’m talking about. Back pain from Degenerative Disc Disease is due to inflammation okay? And this inflammation is due to a breakdown in the components of the intervertebral discs. These intervertebral discs as the name implies, they’re round disc, they’re filled with jelly like material and what it does is that it acts like a cushion - between the bones in your spine so that, say, when you turn your back, you don’t have bone rubbing up against the bone.
Now in this particular study, to mimic the Degenerative Disc Disease, in rats what these researchers did was; they took a needle and they punctured the intervertebral disc in these rats, now I know there’s a little bit of animal torture going on here, but the reason they did it was to cause a breakdown in the components of the intervertebral disc.
Then, what they did was they split the rats up into 3 different groups okay? So the first group, they injected with 13 nanomoles of marijuana extract, the second group they injected with 16 nanomoles of marijuana extract and then the third group, they injected with 120 nanomoles.
When they looked at the spines of these rats on an MRI, what they found was that the group that was injected with 120 nanomoles of marijuana actually had significantly less breakdown in the components of the intervertebral discs, and the researchers believe this is because the marijuana has very potent anti-inflammatory properties.
Now, what do I see in the humans in my practice?; first and foremost, my patients come back to me saying that the marijuana has either dulled or helped to eliminate their back pain; this then allows them to do activities like travel over long distances, whether it’s by plane or by car.
It allows them to sit at a desk and work on a computer for an extended period of time. The other thing is, it allows them to stay asleep, they’re no longer awakened in the middle of the night with their pain. The most surprising thing though; is that patients come back to me saying that they have managed to completely come off the pharmaceutical medications that they were on, and instead are controlling their back pain just with marijuana on an as needed basis.
Paul, I hope you find this information valuable and I hope it’s also helpful to anybody else out there that’s looking for information on treating their back pain with medical marijuana. Now I am eager to hear from you; I have a wealth of information about medical marijuana. I want you to ask me your questions in the comment section below and I’ll try my best to answer them in a future video blog.
420 Evaluations Online: Thought recreational use of marijuana is legal in California, until 2018, there is no where to buy it. Recreational users should ask themselves if their use is actually to treat anxiety, pain, PTSD or some other condition.
A 420 evaluation is free and takes only a few minutes time. Patients don't pay a fee until a licensed doctor recommends medical marijuana. 420EvaluationsOnline also supplies Cannabis ID Cards and cultivation permits for use at dispensaries, online delivery services, cooperatives, cannabis clinics and other access points.
Paul from Pleasanton, CA asks about using medical marijuana for his back pain from degenerative disc disease. He's a real trooper who's suffered from his back pain from degenerative disc disease for years. It varies from dull nagging to sharp stabbing, and has tried everything the doctors have offered.
"The clinical potential and demonstrated benefits of Cannabinoid-related compounds (found in Medical Cannabis) for spinal injury and neurological issues is simply undeniable at this point." - Dr. Gabet
Scientists have been talking for decades about future therapies that will free the disabled from their wheelchairs. However mainstream medicine has found that a solution to spinal injury is very elusive. Since Medical Marijuana legalization, a wealth of good data has become available: clinical trials, studies and testimonials - from doctors and patients that attest to the benefits of MMJ....
"1 Results indicate that CBD offers a new therapeutic strategy to treat inflammatory bowel diseases." Dr. W. Rivers
"2 This review findings suggests that cannabidiol may have utility in treating a number of human diseases and disorders of the immune system and inflammation." Dr. H. Walters
"3 Our results suggest that CBD, which has recently been approved for the treatment of inflammation, pain, and spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis in humans, may have significant therapeutic benefits against diabetic complications and atherosclerosis." Dr. M. Rajesh
"4 It does not work like typical pain meds by affecting the central nervous system; it works at the neuro-synapse. (ROOT OF INFLAMMATION PROCESS)" Dr. Frankel
“5 CBD (FOUND IN MEDICAL MARIJUANA) works against pain primarily in the peripheral nervous system (INFLAMMATION)."
Medical Marijuana is now commonly indicated for:
1 Bones, fractures, other physical trauma
2 Nervous system, feelings; pins and needles, burning, stabbing, tingling
3 Adjunct therapy for cancer or other very painful conditions
4 Inflammation, old injuries, arthritis, and phantom pain