Cannabis has proved beneficial in treating and relieving a number of aches, whether physical or psychological. More and more people are resorting to cannabis as the drug continues to find its legal space in many states across the United States. This is, in fact, a positive sign as people look to move away from harmful painkillers, that can even put a life in jeopardy.
In this post, we are going to look at a few facts on the relationship between cannabis and pain. So without further ado:
1) Cannabis was used by many ancient cultures to relieve labor pain
Childbirth is perhaps the most painful condition a woman goes through in her life.
Although cannabis isn’t used for relieving labor pain these days, it was seen as a women’s health aid for millennia in many ancient cultures- Egypt, China, India and some Arabic countries. The drug was used to ease pain in complicated childbirth, besides relieving pain and contractions in labor.
Talking about history brings us to our second point…
2) Cannabis has been effective at treating pain for thousands of years
Would you be surprised if we tell you that the Aspirin you often find yourself consuming every now and then was originally made from medicinal plants?
The use of cannabis has been well-documented in many ancient texts. In Poland, for instance, hemp flowers were mixed with olive oil and used to heal wounds.
Notably, some of the first recorded ‘accolades’ of cannabis come from over 4,000 years ago in ancient China. In fact, Emperor Shen Neng often recommended it as an effective treatment for rheumatism.
3) Cannabis is an asset for patients battling chronic pain
The term ‘chronic pain’ is basically used to refer to a persisting, long-term pain caused by an illness or old injuries. Most of the chronic pain patients are prescribed opioid painkillers, which can be ‘disastrous’ as they are highly addictive.
The US is already in the midst of an opioid crisis and it’s high time that we made a complete transition to cannabis.
4) High doses of THC may worsen pain
In the above-mentioned points, we talked about the benefits of cannabis mainly because of its non-psychoactive compound, cannabidiol (CBD). Now let’s take a look at how THC can work with pain.
A number of studies in laboratories and animal models have shown that THC can generally treat both neuropathic and anti-inflammatory pains. However, owing to the stigma prevalent around THC (even after the legalization of recreational marijuana in 10 states), the psychoactive effects of the compound are still considered an “unwanted side effect” in clinical settings. Therefore, not much ‘human-based’ research has been conducted that could stamp the efficacy of moderate doses of THC (alone) for treating pain.
Cannabis is believed to be biphasic. We are using the term ‘belief’ because there is a dire need of research to confirm these ‘presumptions’. It has been seen, in some people, that cannabis helps reducing pain if consumed to a certain threshold; once the threshold is crossed and high doses are taken, the pain can instead worsen.
5) Cannabis is both anti-inflammatory and anti-pathological in nature
While inflammatory pain is typically immune-related, pathological pain is a result of damage to the nervous system, irrespective of whether it is from a disease, an accident or a surgery.
In either case, treatment can sometimes be difficult with safe therapies, thus switching over to cannabis should be an ideal choice, as backed by some preclinical research here.
6) Patients prefer cannabis to prescription pain medicines
A 2017 study — published in the International Journal of Drug Policy — which surveyed 271 Canadian medical cannabis patients, found that 63% of the respondents said that they use cannabis over prescription drugs.
Notably, of those, 30% of respondents said that they prefer the herb over prescription opioid painkillers.
Since the survey was conducted a year before the federal legalization, the figures may seem rather underwhelming.
7) Opioids and cannabis may be fused in the future
At first look, it may seem that combining opioids and cannabis would be catastrophic. However, it isn’t like mixing, say, 10 mg with 10 mg – it’s more like mixing 5 mg with 5 mg to create 10 mg. So you see, combining the two to make a single drug will reduce each other’s potency and result in safer, less addictive medicines for patients.
Most people, however, are happy with cannabis alone. So the need to combine the two may not be felt anytime soon.
8) CBD + THC = Better pain relief!
If you are unable to find any relief from CBD, try changing your strain to the one that contains both CBD and THC. The two compounds work synergistically to relieve pain, suggests preliminary research.
9) The common pain-relieving properties between cannabis and hot peppers.
You’ll be surprised to know that hot peppers can provide some pain relief, courtesy of a compound named capsaicin, which is also responsible for their spicy kick.
It has been seen that capsaicin stimulates certain cell receptors in the body that control pain and inflammation. When these receptors were first discovered, they were given the same name as the compound, capsaicin receptors.
Research has suggested both CBD and THC interact with capsaicin receptors in the body – this is one way how cannabis relieves inflammatory pain
Cannabis is a one-stop solution for ‘defeating’ all your pains. In case, high CBD strains do not bring you the expected relief, try using a strain that has some THC in it. However, always remember, THC is psychoactive in nature and should be taken very carefully.