1.5 billion people — that’s how many suffer from chronic pain all over the world. Of this number, neuropathic (nerve) pain affects about 3 to 4.5 percent.
What’s more, 50 million chronic pain sufferers live in the United States. There’s also the 20 million who live with high-impact chronic pain. That’s the kind of pain that already limits life and work activities almost every, if not every day.
But there’s still some good news — in the form of marijuana for chronic pain.
You read that right. Marijuana, when used right, can help you reduce the symptoms of your pain condition.
Ready to learn how this medicinal plant can change your pain-packed life? Then let’s get right into it!
Safer Alternative to Opioids
With pain conditions being so common, there’s no wonder opioid prescriptions have skyrocketed. In 2017 alone, doctors issued 191 million of these prescriptions.
Granted, opioids like oxycodone and codeine have and continue to help people in pain. These commonly-prescribed drugs make the lives of pain sufferers more tolerable.
The thing is, their ability to activate the brain’s reward centers are so addictive. They have this power to trigger a greater production of endorphins (feel-good hormones). This, in turn, raises one’s feelings of happiness, albeit in a temporary manner.
It’s because of these effects that people misuse, even abuse opioids. So you know, opioid use in the U.S. have caused substance use disorders in 2 million people. What’s more, about two to three of 10 folks prescribed with these drugs misuse them.
In case you haven’t heard the news, opioid overdoses claimed almost 49,000 lives in 2017. In fact, these drugs have already caused approximately 400,000 deaths from 1999 to 2017.
Whereas there’s no record ever of anyone having died from marijuana overdose. That should already tell you why you should switch to medical marijuana for pain.
It’s the safer, more natural pain relief alternative to opioids you may have always been looking for.
How Marijuana for Chronic Pain Works
So…how exactly does medical marijuana for chronic pain work?
Were you aware that inside your body, there’s a system named after cannabis? That’s the endocannabinoid system. Scientists discovered we humans have it while they were studying cannabis.
Anyway, they named this system after marijuana because it produces the same substances. We’re referring to cannabinoids, which are chemicals integral to the body’s homeostasis process. Also, within the ECS are chemical messengers, known as “cannabinoid receptors”.
So, what is this homeostasis that cannabinoids and the so-called receptors affect? In essence, it’s the ability of the body to keep internal processes in balance.
That said, if anything inside the body is out of whack, like if you have a high temperature or are hungry, the ECS will know. It’s also this system and its messengers that tell the body about an imbalance in moods. Furthermore, it’s these chemical messengers that notify the brain and the body that you’re in pain.
The most important part? Many of the cannabinoids boast medicinal and therapeutic properties. There are two most researched though, including THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol).
By the way, THC is the compound that has psychoactive properties. In short, it’s the cannabinoid responsible for marijuana’s well-known “high”. Whereas CBD isn’t psychoactive, which means you won’t get high with it alone.
Both THC and CBD interact with the body’s cannabinoid receptors. They affect these messengers in different ways, but both have powerful analgesic effects. That means they help reduce all sorts of pain, including frequency and severity.
Marijuana for Difficult-to-Treat Pain
Relief from pain tops the list of reasons people seek medical cannabis. But marijuana’s CBD is now also gaining popularity as an anxiety treatment. In fact, it has even found amazing uses in treating ailments in dogs and other animals!
Going back to cannabis for chronic pain, many studies back this claim up. For instance, this study found that CBD is effective for managing difficult-to-treat pain. This cannabinoid’s lack of side effects, as opposed to opioids, were also noted.
Plus, the researchers also found how CBD can relieve symptoms of insomnia. That’s great news, seeing as sleep issues almost always occur with pain conditions. Researchers found that these sleep problems affect 90% of pain management patients.
Reducing Symptoms of Inflammatory Conditions
Marijuana has also shown positive symptom-relieving effects on arthritis. More great news, especially to the 53 million Americans suffering from this condition.
Research that was done on cannabis’ constituents, particularly CBD, found them to have anti-inflammatory effects. In a 2016 study, it took only four days for CBD to relieve inflammation on arthritic rats. Again, the researchers didn’t see any adverse side effects to the use of the CBD topical gel.
This other study showed how osteoarthritis patients can find pain relief from marijuana. Granted, the study involved rats with OA. But the fact that it relieved OA symptoms should be enough to prompt more research on this.
Effective Against Chronic Nerve Pain
A 2012 study discovered that cannabinoids help ease the pain of nerve conditions. The researchers said that these naturally-occurring chemicals in marijuana have analgesic effects. Furthermore, it helped reduce inflammation in nerve pain patients.
A more recent (2017) study confirms these findings. This study used both THC and CBD on the nerve pain sufferers though. According to the researchers, both have anti-inflammatory effects.
More than Pain Relief
Medical cannabis has also shown great promise in treating many other conditions. For instance, it has nerve-protecting and anti-oxidative effects, which can defend against dementia.
The pain-relieving effects of marijuana also have a positive impact on alcoholism. Experts say that more than a quarter of pain sufferers seek alcohol for pain relief. Pain relief from cannabis can then help curb alcohol and other substance abuse.
Enjoying Life Once Again through Cannabis for Pain Relief
The bottom line is, marijuana for chronic pain can help you manage your condition. It’s tried, tested, and proven to reduce debilitating, even life-altering pain. To top it all off, it’s much safer than alcohol or opioids, with much fewer side effects.
So, if you want something more natural to keep pain at bay, consider medical cannabis. The sooner you do, the sooner you’ll start feeling great again.
Unsure how and where to buy your medical cannabis buds? Then make sure you check our ultimate guide on picking out a bud dispensary!