Medical Questions > Conditions and Diseases > TMJ Forum

TMJ and medical marijuana

I noticed a lot of people on this board have been having trouble with TMJ and I was once in equally bad shape. I wanted to share my experiences with medical cannabis for the treatment of TMJ.
I was diagnosed about 8 months ago and initially received a splint from my dentist. While the splint initially provided some relief, my nighttime grinding was so severe that the dentist couldn't keep up with the damage I was doing to the splint on a nightly basis. The daily headaches continued and the symptoms expanded and worsened. One day I woke up with double vision in my right eye that lasted for several days. My jaw and teeth were in so much pain that I had a hard time focusing on work or leisure.
Finally out of desperation, I obtained a recommendation for medical marijuana (I live in CA, luckily) a few weeks ago. I take a few puffs about an hour before bedtime, and I regain the ability to control my jaw muscles. I tell them to relax and they do. My mind clears of the worries and stresses of the day and I am filled with the sense that everything is going to be okay. I fall asleep almost instantly and when I wake up, my jaw is relaxed and loose.
Two weeks later, my teeth don't hurt and I no longer have a headache all day every day. I've stopped taking advil and aspirin (4-6 of each per day) and thus the nausea and acid reflux have abated. I don't even need my night guard any more! I am more productive at work and more engaged in personal and leisure activities.
I would like to end this account by reminding you that it is merely an anecdote -- one man's experience with medical cannabis for the treatment of TMJ. It would be wonderful to see a controlled longitundinal study done on TMJ treatment with cannabis, but thanks to our ridiculous federal drug policies, which consider marijuana more dangerous than cocaine or morphine, that is not currently feasible. If you are lucky enough to live in a medical marijuana state, I suggest talking it over with your doctor.
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First Helper yellowcrocs
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replied September 5th, 2008
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longitundinal study done
"My friend" tried cannabis as well, he cook it slowly in virgin olive oil in microwave to make it edible as he does not like to smoke.

The effects were - increased appetite, decreased pain, anxiety, some clumsiness.
It is quiet effective method to go through an aggravation of symptoms, especially when reduced appetite exist (Dysorexy).

I have met a person who is on appetite stimulant Marinol, (pure TETRAHYDROCANNABINOL) because he was constantly underweight.


I do not think that longitudinal study will be done with cannabis smoking. However, different type of medicine with active ingredients of cannabis, such as Sativex, which is now sold in Canada for MS (multiple sclerosis) pain, could be used in such studies.
Smoking cannabis poses potential liability issues due to carcinogenic effect of smoke.
I do not think any professional medical institution would attempt to use carcinogenic method of marijuana ingestion. However, again, other various methods exist for ingesting, either professional extracted, pharmaceutical grade sublingual Sativex spray, or perhaps some oil suspension of THC for the oral use to allow absorption through the stomach.
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replied September 20th, 2008
Carcinogenicity of Cannabis
has NEVER been studied in a representative population. The only studies that have been completed were performed in very heavy (20 joints a day) long term (10 years or more) marijuana smokers. That's nowhere near the usage of myself or anyone I have ever know for that matter. Even with this skewed population, the results were inconclusive at best. My recommendation wasn't written by an actuarian -- it was written by a trained, competent, and licensed physician. I think he understands the risk/benefit profile well enough to make a decision thats in the best interests of his patients. All things considered, opiate-based painkillers are much more dangerous.
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replied September 21st, 2008
Supporter
there is no argument there, Oranjello.
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replied April 29th, 2009
sooo
so whats the verdict here? is it better not to smoke mj when you have tmj? or its better to smoke mj if you have tmj?
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replied January 28th, 2010
Cannabis
Without Cannabis I don't know how I would deal with my TMJ pain. I was diagnosed with TMJ about 10 years ago. I started using Cannabis medically over the past few years. Without Medical Cannabis I am suffering with severe neck and jaw pain. If I take a few hits from my wonderful smoke free vapourizer I feel complete relief. I have tried many different strains over the years but have found Sativas over Indicas to be better for me. That is one thing the medical community doesn't quite understand. They say, hey take this pill, it's Cannabis but in pill form. This is not Cannabis, it's one of many active Cannabinoids in the plant. The different ratios of Sativa to Indica give different effects. These effects range from anti-depression right through to cancer treatment. That is why they say Cannabis could easily replace 90% of the medications on the market. Not so good for big pharma eh?! LOL Fudge those guys peddeling drugs that kill us. I want legal Cannabis. It works and there has never been a reported death from it's use, and that's going back thousands of years. They actually uncovered a 2700 Year old Mummy that had 2 oz of female sensimilla Cannabis, obviously grown for its psychoactive effect. So I have to say YES, smoke Cannabis if you have TMJ, and YES smoke Cannabis if you don't have TMJ. It is a wonderful preventative medicine and all around best medicine period. Put that in your volcano and vape it!! LEGALIZE AND REGULATE!
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replied January 28th, 2010
Without Cannabis I don't know how I would deal with my TMJ pain. I was diagnosed with TMJ about 10 years ago. I started using Cannabis medically over the past few years. Without Medical Cannabis I am suffering with severe neck and jaw pain. If I take a few hits from my wonderful smoke free vapourizer I feel complete relief. I have tried many different strains over the years but have found Sativas over Indicas to be better for me. That is one thing the medical community doesn't quite understand. They say, hey take this pill, it's Cannabis but in pill form. This is not Cannabis, it's one of many active Cannabinoids in the plant. The different ratios of Sativa to Indica give different effects. These effects range from anti-depression right through to cancer treatment. That is why they say Cannabis could easily replace 90% of the medications on the market. Not so good for big pharma eh?! LOL Fudge those guys peddeling drugs that kill us. I want legal Cannabis. It works and there has never been a reported death from it's use, and that's going back thousands of years. They actually uncovered a 2700 Year old Mummy that had 2 oz of female sensimilla Cannabis, obviously grown for its psychoactive effect. So I have to say YES, smoke Cannabis if you have TMJ, and YES smoke Cannabis if you don't have TMJ. It is a wonderful preventative medicine and all around best medicine period. Put that in your volcano and vape it!! LEGALIZE AND REGULATE!
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replied February 2nd, 2010
hey man, yeah I am also from California and have used marijuana in the past to deal with my TMJ... I'v stopped using though since I kind of felt it was a drain on my life overall, but if it works for you that is good... I found that it would take a lot to make my pain go away, so basically I would keep using more and more and its hard to be fully functional if you are using it all day.. also, I am pretty sure that smoking of anything can irritate the TMJ, so some may want to consider using tinctures or possibly a vaporizer, I've found that the edibles are too unpredictable and also take too long to take effect...

I really wish it would be more accepted and better studied, the problem is that when you use marijuana you are opening yourself up to a lot of crap from the police and it can change your appearance a bit (around the eyes) to where even if you're not using it, it can be noticeable, such as if you get pulled over, as long as you have the medical mj recommendation you should be ok but if you're out of state (as I am now for college) it can cause problems... really its something that does have some benefits and needs to be studied legitimately, looks like things may be changing in CA with the legalization vote so that would be good
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replied March 4th, 2011
I too found marijuana to help tremendously. I was on a hefty dose of oxy for a while and it almost destroyed my life. Oxy is evil. Norco (extra str vicodin) also was better than oxy (not as addictive or strong) but still, I couldnt keep myself from running out before refill time. I could use a bunch of tylenol or something during those times, but the withdrawals were so bad, it honestly was not worth it. Don't get me wrong though! Vicodin/norco/lortab is still very very addictive even though it seems like child play compared to oxy/morphine

THEN I tried Mj. MJ has changed my life. I honestly would probably be wacked out on some heavy narcotic right now if not for mj. AND MJ works much better than oxy for my pain. MUCH BETTER. It's ok for instant relief but like the OP said It really shines at relaxing those muscles and making the pain dissapear over time.

Unfortunately I smoke it because I find vaping or eating uses WAY too much, and ends up being very expensive. Like the OP said, a few hits before bed and i'm good to go. Probably costs around 60 a month for my treatment. (I don't use for fun, only right before bed) Ends up being much cheaper than doctors/rx (even with insurance and co-pays!!)

I also need to note, that I have it pretty bad, I've had multiple surgeries, mouthguards, physical theorapy, I've tried almost every medicine used for pain/relaxation and have tried many other things. So MJ might not be the answer for mild cases of tmj/tmd. However for me!!! Its the best!

Last note: If you don't want to try or can't get any mj where you live, I would recommend Lyrica. (Lyrica worked so very well for me, but a lot of docs don't even think about using it for TMJ) Only down side, Lyrica is pretty bad on the weight gain, but so is mj Wink
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replied March 13th, 2011
My friend uses docgreens therapeutic healing cream, a cannabis topical lotion for her TMJ. She says it helps alot. DO other people here have experience with topical cannabis? There are minimal to no psychoactive effects, a pretty great interruption of pain and inflammation. I use it myself for headaches and cramps, and for sore muscles after over-exerting. I think it's a great way to get the medicinal benefits of cannabis while still being able to function. Plus, with a doctor's note, they ship right to your door in California.
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replied October 5th, 2011
I have been suffering from TMJD for 7 years. I have been diagnosed with TMJD at age 14. I am only 21 years old. I have moderate to severe degeneration of the joint and it most likely cannot be recaptured. I am in constant pain from wake to sleep. My jaw is so tight, I have headaches, ear aches and I can barely eat or talk sometimes.

So far, I have taken muscle relaxants, relafen, painkillers and other anti-inflammatorys to treat my pain. I have even tried splint therapy and neuromuscular dentistry. It costed 5 grand and lasted 3 months. I finally got recommended to try medical marijuana from a friend. So far, it has been one of the best and most helpful way to manage my chronic pain. I can eat, talk, sleep and most importantly LIVE. Most of the doctors I've asked said that there isn't really a 'fix'. There is no fix, just doing best to put less pressure on joints and making lifestyle changing managing the pain. Cannabis helps me do exactly that.. manage my pain.

I hate the social stigma medical marijuana has.. hopefully one day it'll change.
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replied November 16th, 2011
The only thing I would recommend to anyone with TMJ and TMJ headaches who is considering cannabis for this condition is to try to use methods that will reduce sucking when inhaling. Bongs and joints often require more puckering and greater tension on your than a small pipe (metal or glass. If you use a vaporizor I would try to push the vapor from the bag into your mouth rather than sucking it in. If you can afford to eat it than that would be good. Or to apply it in a cream. That said, with some people the relief they get will offset any of the stress put on the jaw while smoking or vaping because of the relaxation they recieve.
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replied March 24th, 2012
tmj relief
I am glad to hear tmj pain can be treated with mmj. I am in so much pain right now I could cry. I need to get a green card but for now I will make do with what I have on hand.
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