by Skyler Cannabaceae

I recently had a (sort of?) fan on Facebook ask me what I know about the treatment of diabetic neuropathy with cannabis. Here is what he said:

Before I was a cannabis journalist and before I started working with organizations, I was a private caregiver on the East Coast. The Cannabis Salvation Collective (CSC) was started because my clients were often not able to afford their cannabis medicine and I knew that many people who are very sick would have a tough time as well. I knew that I would not be able to afford to help more people if it were just me, so I founded the CSC to help everyone who was in pain or suffering from any medical condition that I knew cannabis could help in safely getting what they need so they would not be sitting in pain like I was before cannabis.
Ed Rosenthal
picture from his commercial site,
Quick Trading Company
For a while now, I have not had time to do much research, something that used to be some of the most enjoyable times for me. I thought about Ed Rosenthal, legendary grower and the author of “Ask Ed”; a column in High Times magazine where horticulturalists growing cannabis wrote in with questions and Ed would answer them. Ed’s advice proved to be invaluable to growers the world over as they forged ahead, ignoring the strict prohibition, and grew their cannabis.

Every time I picked up a new client, I would start researching their particular medical condition and find out what strains or phenotypes would work best for their needs. It was not always the case, but for a good while now there is nothing that has inspired me more than the thought of someone suffering when it would be so easy to help them.

A few months ago, I thought of starting a column, initially for the blog, but hopefully to eventually be published in a respectable cannabis publication. I want to thank Phil for stepping up and giving me my first challenge.

Dear Phil,

I have to admit that when you asked about cannabis use for diabetic neuropathy, nothing came to mind. I went through the research and found out a few things. The bottom line is that it turns out that what you heard was true. Cannabis does indeed help to treat diabetic neuropathy.

In going through the research, I found that one of the first things they talk about to treat diabetic neuropathy is to reduce the effects of the diabetes that caused the nerve damage in the first place. To that end, I found a study published in the American Journal of Medicine last year. The study tracked 4,576 male and female participants aged 20 to 59 across all backgrounds and ethnicity between 2005 and 2010. They placed the subjects into three categories to identify their frequency of cannabis use: never used cannabis, used cannabis in the past and currently use cannabis.

The study found that insulin and glucose levels were lower for current users than for past users. The levels were lower still for past users than for those who had never consumed cannabis at all  This means, as the study’s authors note, “marijuana use [is] associated with lower levels of fasting insulin and HOMA-IR, and smaller waist circumference.” Making sure that your diabetes is well under control should help to reduce the symptoms of your neuropathy.

As for the treatment of the specific neuropathic pain, a study conducted by researchers from Oxford University in Dec. 2012 using MRI found that while cannabis use does not actually reduce pain, “cannabis appears to mainly affect the emotional reaction to pain.” The study notes that the results are highly variable; some people respond very well, others very poorly.

I can tell you that it works very well for my own neuropathic pain. As for whether it will help you, the only answer is to try and find out, but the indications are good.

Warm regards,

Skyler Cannabaceae
The Cannabis Salvation Blog