Medical marijuana and phantom pain: Does it help?
Medical cannabis is one of the most controversial unconventional alternative treatments there is in the 21st century. Yes, medical cannabis is an alternative form of treatment for those who want to explore natural treatment options; or just someone looking for something other than pharmaceuticals. Among the many benefits that have been linked to medical marijuana, treating phantom pain has been added to the list.
Scientists believe that marijuana has the capability to treat phantom pain from different amputated areas of the body. Although research is still in its early stages, marijuana enthusiasts have confirmed these reports by huge numbers. Apart from the fact that you can only get your medical marijuana dosage from a certified medical cannabis doctor, there aren’t that many hurdles to prevent you from starting your treatment.
What is Phantom Pain?
This is the pain one experiences after a surgical amputation of the limb or another part of the body. Phantom pain is often mistaken to be a psychological condition given that patients claim to feel pain in the exact area where they were amputated – more like the amputated limb is in pain.
But, that is not the case, this pain is completely physical and hence much simpler to be treated. More often than not patients find it difficult to differentiate it from stump pain which is when the remaining part of the leg is in pain. The symptoms are usually very similar.
This begs the question of; what is marijuana and is it truly effective? The answer is a straight yes. Marijuana is quite effective in pain management and treatment which is what places medical cannabis in the frontline of natural treatment options.
Amputated individuals experience this pain in different levels depending on their age, level of amputation and whether they had any form of pain before the amputation. It is interesting to learn that more patients are neglecting opioids and subscribing to marijuana and CBD. The side effects of the former are quite hazardous and can cause long term health conditions.
Unfortunately, when left untreated for a long period of time – phantom pain can become a debilitating condition that can affect every aspect of your lifestyle, leading to a dependable lifestyle. The pain can spread to other areas of your body leading to a loss in feeling in other parts hence making simple tasks very difficult for you to do.
These struggles often lead to other health conditions such as depression, insomnia, and anxiety which are the most common symptoms of phantom pain. We have all heard of the amazing marijuana effects on pain and inflammation and without doubt anxiety and depression.
What Are the Types of Phantom Pain?
● Sensations of touch, itchiness, pressure, and temperature where the patients feel pain, tingles, and itchiness.
● Sensations of movement happen when victims feel like their phantom limb is moving.
● Sensations related to the length, posture, and volume of the phantom limb is when the patient feels that their leg is acting normally. How you might ask? They feel like the leg is as heavy as the other leg or you can lift it like you would your other leg.
These are the three types of phantom pain that explain why doctors would assume this is a psychological condition. These sensations seem very peculiar even to the patient’s which is the reason why many assume these sensations because they seem untrue even to them.
What Are The Causes of Phantom Pain?
There are different causes of phantom pain. For the longest time doctors believed that this pain originated from a defective nerve in the remaining part of the leg. After surgery, the phantom pain would be twice as much and hence this theory was thrown out the window.
Now, there are different theories being thrown around which is why it is very difficult to treat this pain. Apart from marijuana operation in the body which works effortlessly in pain management – doctors find it a titbit hard to recommend pharmaceuticals because of the many side effects that come with opioids.
It is believed that phantom pain occurs when the somatosensory cortex, which is the part of the brain that sends feelings to other parts of the body. When your limb is amputated, the part of your brain that is connected to the limb rewires itself and connects to another part. This means,
an action was taken at one part of the body, for example, the cheek, affects the amputated area such as the hand.
This means it is difficult to treat the causes of phantom pain. The best way to control them is by understanding your body and knowing which actions lead to the pain in the amputated area.
This is where the health benefits of cannabinoids come in. With the ability of marijuana to treat chronic pain, medical marijuana doctors have realized its capability in the treatment of phantom pain. Medical cannabis also helps with insomnia and anxiety which are the most common effects of phantom pain.