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Some date the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes as far back as the 8th century in many ancient civilizations. It wasn’t until the 19th century when western medicine began to use it for therapeutic purposes. In America, marijuana is not legal on the federal level, however many states have legalized it for medicinal use.

This may be good news for people suffering from chronic pain and nerve disorders such as neuropathy and radiculopathy. Many are turning to medical marijuana as an alternative to other pain-relieving medications such as opioids.

Marijuana, or cannabis, contain many components (cannabinoids), with the two main ones being cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

THC is a psychoactive compound. It resembles chemicals that are naturally present in the body that stimulate the brain’s reward system, and thereby reduce pain. THC can also produce a euphoric state of mind, or “high.”

CBD does not produce a high, however it interacts with the brain’s pain receptors and can produce anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects.

Some believe that marijuana can be effective in treating chronic pain that is often associated with damaged or impinged nerves. These people maintain that active ingredients in medical marijuana can block certain neurotramsmitters from delivering pain messages to the brain, while protecting nerves, and promoting nerve recovery.

One of the benefits of medical marijuana that its proponents tout is that it is non-addictive, unlike opioids. However, there can be side effects of medical marijuana which should be weighed against its pain management potential.

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