Chronic pain is a debilitating condition, but millions of Americans live with it every day. This condition is notoriously difficult to treat using standard medical techniques, so in the past, most people simply had to learn to cope. However, experts are increasingly recognizing the effectiveness and safety of using medical marijuana to relieve chronic pain.
Understanding Chronic Pain
Pain serves an important function since it is essentially the body’s way of warning the brain that something is wrong. This early pain, which occurs in response to an injury or other stimuli, is known as acute pain. However, sometimes pain lingers long past its original function. This is when it turns into chronic pain, which most medical professionals define as pain that lasts three to six months or longer.
Chronic pain can stem from a variety of causes. The most common are old injuries or surgeries that never healed quite properly. Older people often experience arthritis pain due to changes in their joints. Certain illnesses, such as cancer or autoimmune diseases, can result in chronic pain. Other conditions, such as fibromyalgia, have no obvious cause but can still be debilitating to people who suffer from them.
Opioid Pain Killers VS Marijuana for Chronic Pain
Treatment for chronic pain can vary significantly depending on the cause. An office worker who is suffering from lower back pain due to poor posture might simply need to do some strengthening exercises and get a more ergonomic workstation, while someone with an improperly healed injury may need surgery to correct it.
There is no cure for many chronic pain conditions, so most treatment focuses on managing symptoms. This can be difficult to do safely, however, since many traditional medications have significant drawbacks. Safe long-term doses of over-the-counter medications, such as acetaminophen, often aren’t strong enough to control chronic pain. Opioids are effective at controlling chronic pain, but they are also highly addictive. The widespread use of opioid medications for controlling chronic pain may play a role in the serious opiate addiction crisis that is affecting communities across the United States.
Does Cannabis Help Chronic Pain?
Research into the use and effectiveness of medical marijuana is still ongoing, but so far results are promising. Numerous peer-reviewed studies have shown that chronic pain patients report less pain and a better quality of life when using medical marijuana to control their symptoms.
There was a study done by the University of Michigan in March 2016 that examined the effectiveness of medical marijuana. They found that medical marijuana can reduce opioid use by 64 percent, improve quality of life and decrease the side effects of certain medications.
There was another study done that involved 2,200 people in Minnesota. The results of the study showed that 60 percent of people stated that they were able to get relief from chronic pain after using medical marijuana for five months. Forty-three percent of physicians surveyed stated that medical marijuana has a positive effect on patients who suffer from chronic pain.
One of the major benefits of medical marijuana compared to other treatment methods is that it is very safe. The risk of addiction is very low, and there are a variety of different strains available.
How Does Medical Cannabis Relive Pain?
The pain-relieving qualities of marijuana come from compounds called cannabinoids, which occur naturally and are similar to essential pain-control chemicals found in the human body. THC and CBD are the most well-understood cannabinoids. When consumed, these compounds bind to receptors in the brain and nervous system to moderate pain signals, appetite, and other essential bodily functions.
THC is the more well-known of the two, largely because THC is psychoactive, which means it is more popular among recreational users. CBD has many of the same pain-relieving properties of THC, but it is not psychoactive so it does not create a “high” feeling. Most patients experience the best pain relief with strains that contain both compounds, but many people also find excellent pain relief with treatments that only contain CBD.
The versatility of these compounds also means that they can be taken in a variety of forms. Some people prefer to smoke their medical marijuana, but many patients prefer to take it in edible forms or as an oral spray.
If you suffer from chronic pain, medical marijuana might be a safe and effective way to ease the pain and regain control of your life. Contact us today to see if you pre-qualify for medical cannabis use and learn more about the process.