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Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy

Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy is a medical condition characterized by the inflammation of the peripheral nerve system. It affects 1-2 per one million people, so it’s rather rare. Studies have shown the use of marijuana has helped patients manage pain associated with this condition. It has also contributed to decreasing the inflammation, therefore slowing down the evolution of the disease.

Overview of CIDP
Overview of Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy (CIDP) is a very rare condition that affects peripheral nerves, causing weakness and sensory loss, as well as the loss of reflexes. CIDP occurs when the myelin sheath covering the nerves gets damaged.

Scientists believe the cause of CIDP to be a dysfunction of the immune system. The myelin sheath is perceived as a foreign body. Therefore the immune system attacks it to neutralize it and kick it out of the body. Myelin is wrapped around nerve axon, insulating it so that electric impulses can travel faster and without losses. Whenever myelin is damaged, electrical impulses are slowed down or even lost.

CIDP patients suffer from various symptoms such as numbness, pain, tingling, loss of reflexes and weakness. They can barely walk, and they are prone to foot drop.

The standard CIDP treatment includes corticosteroid medication, useful for reducing the inflammation, IV immune globulins, which help the immune system thanks to their specific antibodies, and plasma exchange, very useful for excreting nocive antibodies from the blood. If they don’t receive treatment, about 30$ of CIDP sufferers will end up in a wheelchair. When diagnosed and treated very early, CIDP can be managed by limiting or slowing down the nerve damage.

Findings: Effects of Cannabis on Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy

Studies have revealed that cannabis is a highly effective treatment option for dealing with neuropathic pain caused by CIDP and other similar medical conditions. Moreover, the cannabinoid found in marijuana has the potential of limiting the progression of this disorder.

Cannabis has proven its effectiveness in significantly alleviating pain is patients diagnosed with various types of neuropathic and nociceptive pain. It appears to work even in the case of illness that has proven to resist all other treatments (Boychuck et al., 2015) (Ware, et al., 2010). According to Wilsey et al., 2013, even small doses of cannabis have the ability to significantly decrease the levels of neuropathic pain. There are studies that show the long-term use of cannabis is safe. Subjects of a one-year long study have been found to be on the same level with non-cannabis users, regarding the occurrence of severe side effects (Ware et al., 2015).

Cannabis works by suppressing the over activity of the immune system, hence being potentially useful in delaying the evolution of CIDP. The cannabinoids in cannabis Sativa have an effect on both the CB1 and CB2 receptors of the immune system regulating the system. According to various studies, the administration of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), one of the most important compounds in cannabis, can trigger the suppression of inflammatory responses. This would allow the body to recover from the attacks of its immune system that occur in conditions like CIDP (Nagarkatti et al., 2009).

States That Have Approved Medical Marijuana for CIDP

Illinois is the only state in which medical marijuana is legal and approved for the treatment of Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy. Nonetheless, Arkansas, North Dakota, and New Mexico have approved it for the treatment of painful peripheral neuropathy, while New York has approved it for all types of neuropathies. In Washington D.C., medical marijuana is approved for the treatment of any condition, as long as a DC-licensed doctor recommends it.
Some states will consider allowing medical marijuana for the accurate indication of Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy with the recommendation from a licensed medical doctor. These states include California, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island and Washington.

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