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Marijuana is Legal is California and Why Some Amputees Consider Using Marijuana for Residual Limb Pain

Posted by Bryan Potok, CPO on

Weed may be a controversial topic for some, but more and more studies show that medical marijuana does a lot for pain management. California was the first state to legalize the use of medical cannabis through the Compassionate Use Act of 1996. 56% of voters approved Proposition 215, which allows the use, possession, and cultivation of weed with a physician's recommendation for the treatment of the following: cancer, anorexia, AIDS, chronic pain, migraine, among all other illnesses for "which marijuana provides relief”. January first of 2018, residents of the Golden State can now use marijuana legally regardless of prescription.

Studies show that Marijuana can help amputees with the Residual limb pain (RLP).

What Is Residual Limb Pain?

In recent studies, medical marijuana has been proven to help amputees cope with residual limb pain (RLP). RLP is the pain felt on a residual limb due to a number of causes: infection, neuroma formation, surgical trauma, jumbled up nerves in the scar tissue, or amputation as a result of trauma. It manifests itself through cramping, aching, burning, or sensations of hot and cold. There are also some cases which show that post-surgical procedures such as amputation can result in phantom pain

How Can Marijuana Help with RLP?

Medical weed has now become a form of alternative medicine, especially for those suffering from RLP. It's also an alternative treatment for those who do not wish to take opioids and with good reason.

Benjamin Abraham, MD, of Cleveland Clinic’s Department of Pain Management, says that “Opioids are highly addictive. In the past decade, the number of deaths from painkillers, including opioids, has quadrupled to nearly 15,000 per year in the United States”.

Marijuana's analgesic, anticonvulsant, and antidepressant properties help alleviate pain, and also gives the patient a relaxed mental and physical state, all without the high risk of developing dependence. Stress and anxiety are lessened, which are two factors that often exacerbate discomfort.

3 Marijuana Strains Used for Residual Limb Pain

Depending on the amount of pain you feel, there are 3 main categories of medical marijuana strains that are suited for you:


Comes with powerful pain-relieving properties and also helps you sleep.


Helps you cope with emotional symptoms like irritability and depression.


Hybrid or combination of the above two.

Remember to work with your physician closely when it comes to discussing alternative medicine use. It's also best to secure an official recommendation or prescription from your health care provider to avoid encountering any problems with officials or getting flagged during a random check. Exercise due diligence and do your own research before deciding to consult with your physician regarding medical marijuana as an alternative means to relieve residual limb pain. Also, don’t be afraid to ask your doctor all the questions you may have before deciding if medical marijuana is the right treatment for you.

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1 comment

  • The article I just read makes it look like there is hope and something positive for people as myself who suffer with serious RLP and also depilitating migrains. Thanks for sharing the article. I am and I am not the only one suffering with RLP and at their wits end.

    cyndi on

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