Chronic pain has been bothering nearly 20% of the United States population, and patients have started looking for alternative methods of relieving the condition since the conventional treatments come with many side effects.
Both research and anecdotal evidence point towards cannabis as a better alternative to deal with chronic pain; hence, medical marijuana is often prescribed to patients suffering from the same. If you are also considering using cannabis to relieve your chronic pain problem, here are a few ways how it can help:
For any drug to be effective against pain, it must possess anti-inflammatory action and cannabis does just that by interacting with the human endocannabinoid system. However, unlike other over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs, medical cannabis doesn’t usually induce side effects, such as irritation of the stomach and an increased risk of ulcers.
Acts on Joint pain
Doctors often recommend many lifestyle changes such as moderate exercise and a low-fat diet to counter the pain experienced by patients suffering from arthritis. Of course, these recommendations are effective and work well in the long-term; however, they fail to bring immediate relief from pain.
This is where cannabis wins hands down, courtesy of cannabidiol (CBD), the non-psychoactive phytocannabinoid responsible for the drug’s effective anti-inflammatory properties.
Reduces Neuropathic Pain
In simple words, neuropathy is defined as “damage to the nerves”, resulting from diabetes or other traumatic injuries. It is often treated with opioids and therefore researchers are always keen on exploring other safer options.
According to a 2017 study published in the journal of pain research, vaporized cannabis can reduce neuropathic pain considerably, while also reducing the risks of side effects brought upon by consumption of opioids.
Reportedly, 12% of the American population – including both children and adults – deals with regular migraines. Many people often use the words ‘headache’ and ‘migraines’ interchangeably; however, if you ask a migraine patient for the difference between the two terms, you’d be surprised to know about the debilitating pain caused by the latter.
A 2016 study, published in the journal Pharmacotherapy, found that patients suffering from chronic migraine enjoyed a better life when given medical marijuana. The participants not only reported immediate relief from pain, but also a reduction in the frequency of migraine outbreaks.
Reduced risk of addiction
Using narcotics to treat chronic pain often comes with a host of side effects including addiction. Furthermore, the human body has a tendency to develop tolerance to narcotics, because of which the dosage has to be often increased to get the desired results.
Many pieces of research point toward the fact that cannabis can serve as a better alternative to opioids. Notably, not only can medical cannabis prevent patients from taking an opioid pain reliever in the first place, but it could also be used to lower the risk of relapse in patients already undergoing treatment for an opioid use disorder.
In a nutshell, both scientific research and anecdotal reports suggest that cannabis is a strong anti-inflammatory agent with fewer side effects and less turnaround time – the qualities of a ‘great’ chronic pain reliever.