Mar 31, 2016 5:36 AM

How can medical marijuana help with… Arachnoiditis?

Definition of arachnoiditis.

A protective membrane that surrounds the nerves of the central nervous system, including the brain and spinal cord, is called the arachnoid. Inflammation of that membrane, caused by bacteria, viruses, spine trauma or injury, is known as arachnoiditis. Inflammation can sometimes lead to the formation of scar tissue and adhesion that can make the spinal nerves "stick" together. This causes sudden and unbearable pain seizures, which are hard to predict and thus control. Chronic pain is also common, including neuralgia, which is often mistakenly diagnosed as ischemic or oncologic pain. All this adds an emotional factor to the condition, as the patient becomes continuously cautious, or even paranoid, of new pain outbreaks.

How can medical marijuana help?

Arachnoiditis is extremely difficult to treat. Treatment is limited to overcoming pain and alleviation of other symptoms. Surgical intervention does not give good prognosis, and only provides temporary relief. Epidural steroid injections to treat pain eruptions have been discouraged as a treatment by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, due to reports that they worsen the condition. Since there is no known cure, the only option for many patients is to rely on pain management techniques, one of the least risky of which may be medical marijuana. It has been documented in cancer-related studies, that cannabis provides a decent analgesic effect, with moderate addiction risk, and little or no side effects. Cannabidiol has also proven to demonstrate progress in relieving inflammation and easing the tingling and numbing sensations, which are often associated with arachnoiditis.

Many physicians tend to treat physical symptoms of arachnoiditis (primarily, the pain), and forget about psychological counterpart of the disease. Fear of pain outbreaks and fear of immediate death during the most severe of such outbreaks is an emotional problem for some patients. Medical marijuana, in addition to the analgesic effect, also calms emotions and would thus help treat arachnoiditis from both perspectives.

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