Ehlers-Danlos syndrome is a rare genetic condition that weakens the body’s collagen and causes joint and nerve pain. In short, people with EDS have weaker collagen, the substance that protects joints and skin from damage. Weak collagen contributes to a host of painful symptoms that are very difficult to treat without resort to extremely powerful and addictive medications.
Sufferers of EDS can display a wide variety of symptoms, although the most common complaints are fragile skin, arthritis, extreme fatigue and frequent joint dislocations. Sitting or standing for long periods of time becomes nearly impossible with EDS. Loss of sleep because of the chronic discomfort attached to the condition is another commonly reported symptom. Muscle aches, severe bruising and “phantom nerve pain” are also very commonly reported by sufferers of EDS.
There is no cure for EDS. Most doctors prescribe opiates and other addictive substances in an effort to “manage” the chronic pain and discomfort that comes with EDS. Genetic therapy, which could provide a solution, is still in its infancy and cannot offer much hope in the short-term to EDS sufferers. Managing the chronic pain of EDS is the only option for patients, but the painkillers that doctors routinely prescribe are often worse than the disease itself. As a result, many sufferers of EDS have become addicted to painkillers which seem to be their only option to control the constant discomfort of their condition. Many EDS sufferers would rather bear the discomfort and agony of their condition than become addicted to and dependent on powerful opiates to alleviate the pain and discomfort.
Recently, medical cannabis has come to the fore as a non-addictive alternative to opiates and traditional painkillers. Cannabis has many pain-alleviating properties, as well as being a potent anti-inflammatory agent. The pain-alleviating qualities of cannabis are highly prized by EDS sufferers, but cannabis also acts as a mild muscle relaxer, which can significantly lower the incidence of bruising and dislocation reported by EDS sufferers. The anti-inflammatory properties of cannabis can help to significantly reduce muscle, joint and nerve pain associated with EDS. Medical marijuana also helps with the persistent insomnia that many EDS sufferers report as an ancillary symptom of the condition.
The recommended ingestion method of medical marijuana for EDS patients is orally via a tincture or another concentrated form of cannabis. Smoking cannabis is almost universally discouraged by doctors because of its potential to damage lung tissue. Vaporizers, which are quite legal according to Illinois marijuana laws, are the next-best option, allowing patients to carefully control their intake without damaging their lungs.
EDS patients who are looking for an alternative to opiates to manage chronic pain should talk to their doctors and research the potential of medical marijuana to improve their quality of life. If EDS effects you or someone you care about, you should investigate the healing potential of medical marijuana.