While cannabis has been around for centuries, understanding its potential medicinal benefits has only recently started to become more mainstream. In recent years, there’s been a lot of research into the plant as an alternative treatment for a range of health concerns. Studies have shown that it may help with issues as varied as chronic pain, arthritis, epilepsy, cancer, multiple sclerosis, anxiety, and depression. It may also provide relief from symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.
What Is Carpal Tunnel?
The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway between the wrist and hand made up of tendons, ligaments, and bones. The median nerve, which provides feeling for the fingers and motor function for the hand and wrist, passes through here. If there’s any pressure on this nerve, or the nerve becomes compressed, it can cause a condition known as carpal tunnel syndrome or, more simply, carpal tunnel.
Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
The most common symptoms of carpal tunnel include pain, tingling, numbness, and burning sensations in the hand and fingers. These symptoms typically come on gradually and can worsen over time.
Other symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome may include:
- Shock-like sensations: These feelings can occur in the thumb, index, middle, and ring fingers
- Weakness in the hand: You may find it more difficult to hold things and may drop objects more often. You might also struggle to perform tasks using the affected hand.
- Radiating pain/numbness: The pain or numbness can travel up your forearm toward your shoulder.
Carpal tunnel syndrome can also cause difficulty sleeping, especially if you sleep with your wrists bent, placing prolonged pressure on the median nerve. The pain can be so severe that it wakes you up. You may also have trouble falling back asleep.
What Causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome to Occur
The following issues can squeeze, compress, or otherwise irritate the median nerve, leading to the development of carpal tunnel syndrome:
Performing the same hand and wrist movements over and over can aggravate the tendons, which may lead to swelling and pressure on the median nerve.
Bending the wrists excessively forward or backward for long periods can increase pressure on the median nerve.
Hypothyroidism, also known as underactive thyroid, is a condition in which the thyroid produces too little thyroid hormone. Some people with this condition may experience a thickening of the tendons in the carpal tunnel, narrowing the passageway and causing carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms.
Hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy can lead to water retention and swelling. At the same time, they can soften ligaments — including the carpal tunnel — throughout the body, increasing the risk of pressure on the median nerve.
Other Health Conditions
Certain other health conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes, can increase your risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome.
Some people have smaller carpal tunnels than others. As a result, their risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome is greater.
Can Weed Provide Relief for Carpal Tunnel?
Treatment options for carpal tunnel syndrome vary depending on the severity of the condition. Minor cases may require only rest, wearing a splint, or performing hand and wrist exercises. A doctor may also recommend pain relievers or anti-inflammatory medications (over-the-counter or prescription) to help manage pain and swelling.
Cannabis offers a potential natural alternative to conventional medications in the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome. While it isn’t a cure for the condition, it may relieve several symptoms.
Chronic and neuropathic pain are among the most common reasons people use cannabis. Cannabinoids (THC, CBD, and others) interact with various receptors throughout your body to produce a range of effects, one of which is pain reduction.
The cannabinoids in cannabis may play a role in alleviating pain in multiple ways. First, they can block the release of pain signals, offering mild analgesic effects. Second, they can improve your mood, which could reduce your perception of pain.
Research shows that cannabis may have anti-inflammatory effects. Cannabinoids and other compounds in the cannabis plant may help to reduce inflammation and swelling around the carpal tunnel, taking pressure off of the median nerve and alleviating symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, including pain, tingling, and numbness.
Some strains of cannabis, typically Indica or Indica-dominant varieties, can provide relaxing, sedative effects. These strains may make it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep. The pain-relieving properties of weed may also ease sleep issues caused by carpal tunnel syndrome.
Ways to Use Weed for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
There are numerous different types of cannabis products on the market today, many of which could help you find relief from carpal tunnel syndrome. Options include:
- Smoking fresh flowers
The best cannabis products for carpal tunnel will depend mainly on your needs and preferences. For example, smoking and vaping offer quick relief. However, they do involve inhalation. While vaping is gentler on your lungs than smoking is, these methods may not be right for you if you have breathing concerns or want to be more discreet.
Edibles — cannabis-infused foods and drinks — provide a less conspicuous alternative. The effects take longer to kick in, but they generally last longer than the effects of smoking or vaping.
What if you want to avoid the high that comes with cannabis use? Topicals provide an alternative. Instead of inhaling or ingesting weed, you can apply an infused cream, lotion, or balm to your body at the site of your discomfort. The cannabinoids absorb into your skin and bind with receptors there, giving you localized relief from pain and inflammation. Because THC and other cannabinoids don’t reach your bloodstream, you don’t have to worry about getting high.
Try Cannabis as a Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Natural Treatment Alternative
If you want to try weed for carpal tunnel syndrome as an alternative to conventional treatment methods, your first step should be to speak with your health care provider. Next, you’ll want to find high-quality cannabis products from a trusted dispensary. That’s where VidaCann comes in.
At VidaCann, we offer the highest quality cannabis products in Florida. You’ll find a range of fresh flowers, vapes, edibles, topicals, and more to help treat carpal tunnel syndrome and a variety of other health concerns as well. Not sure which products are right for you? Our knowledgeable budtenders are here to offer advice and recommendations. Check us out online or visit your nearest VidaCann dispensary today!