How Medical Cannabis Can Help with Sciatica

sciatic pain in lower back

Sciatica, which refers to pain caused by a problem with the sciatic nerve, can be debilitating for many Canadians. Anything that irritates this nerve can cause pain, ranging from mild to severe, and it is usually caused by a compressed nerve in the lower spine; some experts estimate that as many as 40% of people will experience sciatica at some point in their lives.

While the problem usually begins in the lower back, sciatica pain can be felt in the hip, buttocks and extend all the way down the leg (usually just on one side). Those who are at the highest risk for sciatica are patients who have occupations that require them to do a lot of lifting or prolonged sitting as well as patients who are obese or who have diabetes.

Treatments Options

With such a large percentage of the population experiencing sciatica at some point in their lives, it is no surprise that there are a wide variety of treatments available. These range from over-the-counter and prescription painkillers, to stretching and exercises, physical therapy and for extreme cases surgery.

More recently, medical cannabis has become a viable option for those experiencing sciatica.

Since nerve pain can be difficult to treat, opioids have been commonly prescribed. Opioid drugs, however, are not without some serious risks which include addiction and fatal overdose. A research paper published in the Harm Reduction Journal, recommended that physicians who had patients that they were treating with opioids should evaluate them for a medical cannabis trial and prescribe that instead, if appropriate.

The Research

Another article in the Journal of Opioid Management reported that medical cannabis could also be used together with opioids in order to allow the patient to have less frequent and/or lower doses of opioids to manage their pain.

More recently further studies have confirmed that medical cannabis may be an effective method for treating nerve pain. One such study found a correlation between THC and the reduction between certain connections in the brain. The results suggested that THC may alleviate pain from sciatica by disrupting signals between the pathways in the brain that process pain.

For those concerned about the psychoactive effects of THC, they may find some relief for their sciatica by taking CBD which as anti-inflammatory properties. CBD may help to reduce pain by reducing inflammation at the site of the injury.

Is Cannabis the Right Treatment for Your Sciatica?

If you think that cannabis may be a good option for you in treating sciatica pain, it is important to first have a proper diagnosis by a medical professional. If it is determined that medical cannabis is a good treatment option, you will then work with a cannabis counsellor to help determine the correct ratios of THC and CBD as well as the most suitable delivery method.

For more information on medical cannabis and treatment for sciatica, contact us today.


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There are no referrals necessary to book an appointment with one of our physicians.


  1. Gillot C. (2017) Sciatica: What you need to know Retrieved from: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/7619.php

  2. WebMD (2018) Prescription Medications and Treatments for Nerve Pain Retrieved from: https://www.webmd.com/pain-management/prescription-medications-treatments-nerve-pain#2

  3. Collen M. (2012) Prescribing cannabis for harm reduction Retrieved from: https://harmreductionjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1477-7517-9-1

  4. Elikottil J. et al (2013) The Analgesic Potential of Cannabinoids Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3728280/

  5. Weizman L. et al (2018) Cannabis analgesia in chronic neuropathic pain is associated with altered brain connectivity Retrieved from: https://n.neurology.org/content/91/14/e1285

  6. Ko G. et al (2016) Medical cannabis – the Canadian perspective Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5053383/