What Is Sinusitis?
Sinusitis is inflammation in the sinuses. It happens when the body responds to an infection. The infection may be fungal, viral or bacterial. It may also occur in response to allergies or to injuries to the sinuses or nose. It can happen to any person at any age and is a common side effect of infection. It can also become a chronic condition that occurs often in one person. This is usually due to sinus malfunction or chronic illness that can cause sinusitis such as severe allergies and cystic fibrosis.
The symptoms of sinusitis are pretty straightforward and make it relatively easy to diagnose. Symptoms that are similar to a cold include coughing, sneezing and runny nose. Sinusitis can also cause severe headaches as the pressure builds up in the sinuses. Other symptoms include loss of sense of smell, malaise, sore throat and fever. Very rarely a sinus infection can cause a skin infection, meningitis, bone infection or abscess.
Treatment for sinusitis will depend on its severity. In some cases, it can be treated at home. In others, it will require prescription medications, particularly antibiotics. Home treatment includes sinus flushing, steam breathing, warm compresses applied to the sinuses, use of a humidifier and drinking plenty of water. If this does not relieve the condition, antibiotics to rid the body of infection are often indicated. Home treatments can continue along with use of prescription medications, though over-the-counter medications should be okayed with a physician to ensure they do interact with prescription medications.
When antibiotics are necessary, they are the only medications that can remove the infection from the body. However, other medications can be taken to help relieve the discomfort of a sinus infection, including medical marijuana. Medical marijuana can help relieve almost all of the symptoms of sinusitis, though expelling mucus and reducing its build up is better left to other medications unless or until future research indicates marijuana is an appropriate medication for such.
Medical Marijuana and Sinusitis
Medical Marijuana and Sinusitis Congestion
When it comes to congestion, expectorants are the favorite medication. Thus far, medical marijuana has not been found to serve as an expectorant. However, medical marijuana has been shown to be a bronchodilator. This can help individuals who have sinusitis and difficulty breathing breathe a little easier. The build up of mucus, sore throat and postnasal drip can make it hard to breathe. Of course, medical marijuana should not be smoked if one is having difficulty breathing. A physician can suggest a better method of ingestion such as eating the medication or using a vaporizer.
Medical Marijuana and Headache Associated with Sinusitis
Medical marijuana can have a similar effect as codeine in that it can relieve as much pain as codeine in cancer patients, according to one study. It is a known pain reliever. However, many pain relievers are not successful in relieving headaches. That is not the case for marijuana. Individuals with some of the most painful headaches possible — migraine and cluster headaches — have had positive results using medical marijuana to relieve their headache pain.
Medical Marijuana and Sinus Pain from Sinusitis
As mentioned above, medical marijuana is an analgesic. It can relieve nerve pain, headache pain, muscle pain and more. Trials have shown it can reduce dependency on opiates by replacing their pain relieving effects. They can relieve pain in chronic pain sufferers. They can even provide relief for treatment resistant pain. Sinusitis can cause pain in the nose, face, throat, ears and head. Medical marijuana can relieve that pain in people who respond well to it. Of course, alternative methods to inhalation should be discusses with a doctor to reduce the risk of further irritating the throat and sinuses.
Medical Marijuana and Reduction of Inflammation in Sinusitis
One area of study right now in medical marijuana research is medical marijuana and inflammation, particularly in Crohn’s disease. There is evidence that medical marijuana can relieve inflammation in individuals with digestive disorders. There is also testimony by marijuana users that it can relieve skin inflammations and other inflammatory ailments. Since inflammation accounts for some of the pain and discomfort associated with sinusitis, relief of that inflammation with medical marijuana can help relieve the other symptoms.