Colorado has been one of the leading states in the medical marijuana revolution, which has now swept 21 states and the District of Columbia. Medical marijuana is often recommended for chronic pain conditions, so it would make sense that people might want to take it for TMJ.

However, there is very little research to support this use. Although there are positive signs in the research that exists, it will be a long time before we are able to say for sure whether this is a good TMJ treatment.

Little Scientific Research

Because marijuana is illegal at the federal level, little research is done on its medicinal effects, especially with respect to TMJ. Most of the research has been done using artificial cannabinoids, which mimic the effects of marijuana’s active ingredients, and they’ve been done almost entirely in rats, which limits their applicability.

But the studies do show that these seem to be successful as a jaw pain treatment. One study, for example, showed that a synthetic cannabinoid agonist–i.e., a chemical that binds with the same receptors and cannabis’ active agents–gave TMJ pain relief equivalent to morphine. Other studies have looked less directly at the effectiveness found that pain control of electroacupuncture was due to stimulation of cannabinoid receptors, and that cannabinoid agonists could enhance other TMJ treatments.

And when cannabinoids are studied for similar conditions, osteoarthritis of the knee and neuropathic pain, they also give good results.

Anecdotal Success

As with all TMJ research, laboratory research is only part of the story. We should also look at anecdotal evidence, especially in places where formal evidence is lacking. In online forums, people report varying levels of success with cannabis for TMJ,  which is corroborated on this other forum. Some people seem to have good success. Others have little or no success. Some even experience increased pain.

The evidence shows that medical marijuana is a long way from being a true medical treatment for TMJ. Hopefully in the future, better studies will give us more information about the usefulness of this treatment option for TMJ.

For an effective way to treat TMJ call the TMJ Therapy & Sleep Center of Colorado at (303) 691-0267 to schedule an appointment today!