If you suffer from peripheral neuropathy, you know just how debilitating it can be. While the State of Oklahoma does not have a list of specific qualifying conditions that may be treated with medical marijuana, they do have a list of common conditions that include neuropathy.
What is Peripheral Neuropathy?
Your peripheral nervous system is a large part of your body’s communication system. This vast network transmits signals between your brain and spinal cord, known as your central nervous system, and everywhere else in your body. When you suffer from peripheral neuropathy, that nerve signaling system has been interrupted.
This interruption causes:
- Necessary nerve signals to stop transmitting.
- Transmission of nerve signals when they are not supposed to be.
- Nerve signals to send the wrong message.
Symptoms can start out mild, but become progressively worse over time. The severity of your symptoms depends on the type of nerve fibers affected and how damaged they have become.
You are Not Alone!
It is estimated that more than 20 million people in the United States suffer from some form of neuropathy. Some medical experts believe the number is considerably higher. Fortunately, cannabis has been proven very effective in treating this painful condition.
Why So Many People are Afflicted?
Peripheral neuropathy has many causes. You are probably familiar with some of the more common causes, such as diabetes, carpal tunnel syndrome, and chemotherapy-induced neuropathy, but there are many others. These include:
- Exposure to toxic chemicals
- Auto-immune diseases, particularly Sjogrens’ syndrome, and lupus
- Hereditary conditions
- Vitamin deficiencies
- Inflammatory infections
- Certain medications, specifically those used to treat HIV/AIDS and cancer
- Protein abnormalities
- Kidney disease
- Trauma caused by a physical injury
- Bell’s Palsy
Sometimes the cause of your peripheral neuropathy can be undetermined. This is known as idiopathic neuropathy.
How Cannabis Treatment Works
While nerve damage is irreversible, medical marijuana protects the myelin sheath that covers your nerves, thereby preventing more nerve damage. It does this by reducing oxidative stress. Cannabis also acts as an anti-inflammatory by reducing your body’s production of molecules called cytokines. Cytokines actually signal your body to produce inflammation.
A Safe Natural Alternative
Numerous studies have shown medical marijuana treatment for peripheral neuropathy to be far superior to traditional medication that can cause any number of untoward side effects.
Some of these studies include:
- A headache and neuropathic pain study that showed medical marijuana treatment to be a tolerable and effective neuropathic agent.
- A diabetes-related neuropathic pain study revealed that THC treatment had significantly reduced the participant’s pain levels.
- Chemotherapy-induced neuropathy patients treated with medical cannabis in a third study showed activation of their body’s CB-1 and CB-2 endocannabinoid receptors, which effectively reduced their painful symptoms.
Types of Medical Marijuana Treatment
Peripheral neuropathy patients have several administration options available to them:
- Traditional – Inhalation via pipe or rolled in cigarette papers.
- Extracts/Oils – These can be smoked or inhaled by vaporizing.
- Consumables – If you don’t like the idea of inhaling, capsules, teas, and tinctures are a great alternative. If you need the extra calories, brownies and cookies are a win-win.
- Topicals – These are available in creams, lotions, and oils.
How to Begin Neuropathy Treatment in Oklahoma
If you are suffering from peripheral neuropathy and are 18 years of age or older, your first step is to meet in person with a licensed physician. If you are a minor, your parent/guardian/caregiver must also be present, and you will need to see two different physicians in order to get a second opinion.
After your first appointment or two appointments, if you are under the age of 18, you may then meet with a physician online in a telehealth platform. If the physician recommends medical marijuana treatment, this is what will happen next:
- He or she will issue you a letter of recommendation.
- You must obtain proof of residency, identification, and a full-face color photo.
- You must then submit all of the above through the OMMA (Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority) portal to apply for a medical marijuana card.
- You must complete this application within 30 days of receiving your recommendation letter.
- You must pay an application fee of $100.
- If you are on Medicare, the fee is reduced to $20.
Are you Suffering from Peripheral Neuropathy?
Signs and symptoms may include:
- Numbness, tingling, and pain in your hands or feet. This can also spread into your arms or legs.
- Lack of coordination or frequent falls.
- Sensitivity to touch.
- Burning, stabbing, or throbbing pain.
- Pain during normal activities.
- Lack of dexterity.
- Muscle weakness.
MD Berry understands how challenging it can be to get the treatment that is both safe and beneficial for your specific needs. Our licensed physicians will evaluate your symptoms and answer all of your questions.
What are you waiting for? Schedule your appointment today!