Few parts of the body have as significant an impact on our mobility as the back. Whether we are running, jumping, or simply sleeping, the many bones, muscles, and nerves that make up the back play an important role in keeping us upright and functioning.  

Chronic back pain, therefore, has a significant impact on a person’s quality of life. Back pain can arise because of injury or disease, and there are often few therapies or medications that have a positive impact. 

Medical cannabis for back pain has been used to great effect by many eligible patients across the UK. Medical cannabis can help treat back pain caused by fractures, ruptures, sprains, and congenital disorders, providing hope to people who have spent many years in pain.

What causes back pain?

The back is an intricate and complex part of the human body. We often take it for granted until injury or illness affecting the bones, muscles, and nerves interferes with our functioning and mobility.  

Broadly speaking, the back consists of the spine, spinal nerves, and a number of different muscle groups. The spine is made up of 33 bones (vertebrae) that stack together to protect the central spinal cord. It is broken up into five sections: the cervical spine, the thoracic spine, the lumbar spine, the sacrum, and the coccyx. Injury to your back can affect any of these sections, or the three major muscle groups (superficial muscles, intermediate muscles, and intrinsic muscles) that provide structure and support movement.

There are a number of different conditions that can cause back pain. Some patients may be born with conditions such as scoliosis, which causes an abnormal curve in the spine. Others may be involved in a serious accident that causes a compression fracture or dislocation. 

Lower back pain is often caused by a herniated disk, which occurs when a disk that normally protects the vertebrae becomes misaligned or ruptures. Any time you lift something heavy without proper technique, you risk incurring a sprain or rupture, which can leave you bed bound for weeks.   

Regardless of the cause, back pain tends to be debilitating and interfere significantly with a person’s mobility and quality of life. 

Medical cannabis: an overview

Medical cannabis is a type of prescription drug that is derived from the cannabis plant. Cannabis has long been used in a medical setting. However, it was not until 2018 that it was legalised for medical purposes in the United Kingdom, having been added to the Dangerous Drugs Act 1920 and the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

Like all types of medication, there are strict rules that govern the manufacturing and prescription of medical cannabis. It is grown in a highly regulated environment, meaning it is very different to the type of cannabis that you might find on the street. Only certain clinicians (those listed on the Specialist Register of the General Medical Council) may prescribe the drug to patients, and patients must have tried at least two other types of medication before they are deemed eligible. 

Medical cannabis is commonly prescribed to help treat a range of physical and psychological conditions, including chronic pain, anxiety, insomnia, and more. It does so by activating or inhibiting the endocannabinoid system, a complex signalling system that is found throughout the body.

Treating back pain with medical cannabis

The complex anatomy of the back means that what can seem like an innocuous knock quickly becomes an on-going, painful issue. Your doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatories, physical therapy, or even surgery, with little reprieve from the pain.

In the United Kingdom, medical cannabis can only be prescribed if a patient has tried at least two other forms of treatment. Medical cannabis for lower back pain should not be pursued to treat an acute, recent injury. Rather, it is a recommended option for those who have spent years searching for a way to relieve their chronic pain.

The cannabis plant contains more than 100 different cannabinoids, two of which are commonly found in medical cannabis products — delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). THC, in particular, is the active ingredient most often found in medical cannabis for back pain. THC acts on CB1 and CB2 receptors, inhibiting the release of the neurotransmitter glutamate and the release of proinflammatory substances from mast cells.

Many patients have found that using medical cannabis for lower back pain helps reduce the impact of chronic pain on their daily lives. If you have spent years battling back pain, we encourage you to start your journey by answering a few short questions on our website to determine your eligibility for a consultation at MyAccess Clinics. If you do meet the prerequisites, our experienced and compassionate specialists will conduct a detailed consultation to determine whether this treatment method is right for you.

To find out more about medical cannabis for back pain, contact our friendly team today.