Can Medical Marijuana Help Treat Neuropathy?

Medically reviewed by Dr. Brian Kessler, MD

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Neuropathy involves a range of conditions that damage the nervous system. The nervous system is a vast network of nerves that send electrical signals between the body and the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord). Oregon Health & Science University estimates that between 20 and 30 million individuals in the United States suffer from peripheral neuropathy, but many go undiagnosed.

New research into the treatment of neuropathy is focused primarily on gene therapy and spinal cord stimulation, but limited research is being done to look into different cannabinoid formulations in treating neuropathy.

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What Causes Neuropathy?

There are over 100 types of neuropathy, and the symptoms differ based on the type of nerves damaged, whether it be motor, sensory, or autonomic nerves. Neuropathy can be caused by several things, including but not limited to:

  • Alcohol abuse
  • Chemotherapy
  • Hereditary genetic defects
  • HIV-related neuropathy
  • Hormone imbalances
  • Injuries
  • Lack of vitamins
  • Toxins
  • Tumors

Neuropathy Signs & Symptoms

Individuals with neuropathy may experience one or more of the following symptoms depending on the types of nerves that are damaged:

  • Numbness
  • Burning, stabbing, freezing, or tingling pain
  • Muscle weakness, especially in legs, feet, arms, or hands
  • Unusual or increased sensation or extreme sensitivity to touch
  • A feeling that you’re wearing socks or gloves when you’re not
  • Difficulty walking, running, or controlling arm movements
  • Trouble with balance and coordination
  • Difficulty holding things
  • Foot dragging, also called foot drop
  • Unusually high arches
  • Curled toes (hammer toes)

Medical conditions that can lead to the development of neuropathy can include but are not limited to the following:

  • Arthritis
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Chronic inflammatory demyelinating peripheral neuropathy
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney and liver failure
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Sciatica 

How Cannabis Can Help Alleviate Neuropathy

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Phytocannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system have multiple ways of regulating the body’s response to neuropathic pain. Pain is produced from pro-inflammatory agents, such as cytokines and histamines. Meanwhile, cannabinoid receptor agonists, like THC, have demonstrated the ability to block pain and reduce neuro-inflammation. Pain can also be reduced by increasing the body’s natural endocannabinoid levels, for example, using CBD to boost anandamide levels.

An analysis of three systematic reviews on patients with neuropathic pain caused by either diabetes, multiple sclerosis, HIV, rheumatoid arthritis, or cancer pain found that using Sativex, an oral mucosal spray with a one-to-one ratio of CBD and THC, did not produce statistically significant results when compared to the placebo. However, other research has found that patients using cannabis receive more significant pain relief than those taking a placebo by 30% or more. 

In addition, studies have found that the method of administration and the formulation of the cannabis product used are important factors in whether or not an individual will feel pain relief from neuropathy. Methods of administration for inflammation, for example, can include smoking or vaporizing, edibles, tinctures, and topicals or transdermal patches. 

Because the research on cannabis and neuropathy indicates that CBD and THC may be beneficial in relieving symptoms, a product with an equal ratio (1:1) of the two cannabinoids is recommended to start. 

Individuals new to cannabis edibles or tinctures should begin with 2.5mg of THC and 2.5mg of CBD. Patients can then titrate up to 5mg of each cannabinoid if a higher dosage is necessary. 

It is important to note that more research is needed to determine how different cannabinoid and terpene ratios play a role in the effectiveness of using cannabis for neuropathy. Likewise, clinical research remains limited, so patients should exercise caution and speak to their doctor before introducing cannabis into a neuropathy treatment regimen.

Legality and Doctor’s Recommendation

To determine if peripheral neuropathy is a qualifying condition in your state, you can head to our Laws & Regulations section for the medical cannabis rules for your state. In addition, many doctors may consider the symptoms of neuropathy to fit the definition of chronic or severe pain, which is a qualifying condition in most, if not all, medical cannabis states.

If you find that your state recognizes neuropathy, conditions that may cause neuropathy, or chronic or severe pain as a qualifying medical condition, you can seek a doctor’s recommendation to register for your state’s medical marijuana program.

How NuggMD Can Help

NuggMD’s growing telemedicine platform for medical marijuana currently serves patients in 22 states. By connecting over 1,000,000 patients with knowledgeable and friendly medical marijuana doctors, we are fully committed to assisting patients on their medical marijuana journey.

We believe that all individuals have the right to explore what medical cannabis can do for them and our doctors are eager to guide you on your wellness journey.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Cannabis & Neuropathy

Do terpenes help with neuropathy?

Certain terpenes found in cannabis have been demonstrated in research to show some effects in relieving neuropathy. These terpenes include but are not limited to: alpha-bisabolol, alpha-terpineol, beta-caryophyllene, camphene, and γ-terpinene.

What cannabis product is best for neuropathy?

Inhalable cannabis products with an equal ratio of CBD and THC appear to be the most ideal for relieving neuropathy. It is important to remember that not everyone has the same response to using cannabis, so different individuals may need different doses, ratios, or products to ease neuropathy symptoms.

What cannabis strain may help with neuropathy?

Cannabis strains that could be beneficial for relieving neuropathy include higher CBD chemovars, such as AC/DC, Harle-Tsu, Ringo’s Gift, and Sour Tsunami.


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  2. Ho C, Martinusen D, Lo C. A Review of Cannabis in Chronic Kidney Disease Symptom Management. Canadian Journal of Kidney Health and Disease. 2019;6:205435811982839. doi:10.1177/2054358119828391
  3. Lee G, Grovey B, Furnish T, Wallace M. Medical Cannabis for Neuropathic Pain. Current Pain and Headache Reports. 2018;22(1). doi:10.1007/s11916-018-0658-8
  4. MacCallum CA, Lo LA, Boivin M. “Is medical cannabis safe for my patients?” A practical review of cannabis safety considerations. European Journal of Internal Medicine. 2021;89:10-18. doi:10.1016/j.ejim.2021.05.002
  5. Mücke M, Phillips T, Radbruch L, Petzke F, Häuser W. Cannabis-based medicines for chronic neuropathic pain in adults. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. Published online March 7, 2018. doi:10.1002/14651858.cd012182.pub2

The information in this article and any included images or charts are for educational purposes only. This information is neither a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional legal advice or medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about laws, regulations, or your health, you should always consult with an attorney, physician or other licensed professional.

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