Published on March 17, 2023

Can Cannabis Help With Chronic Pain?  

Key Takeaways –

  • Cannabis has been used for centuries to treat certain medical conditions, including chronic pain management.
  • A growing body of evidence suggests that cannabis and its active compounds may be beneficial in treating pain and various other conditions.
  • Cannabinoids like THC and CBD interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) to reduce pain perception.
  • Cannabis may be used to treat chronic pain in adults, with medical and recreational cannabis plants being effective for some patients.

With a growing number of patients and medical professionals noting its therapeutic potential, cannabis is becoming more mainstream as an option for managing chronic pain in America.

Evidenced-based research has determined that medical cannabis can be used to treat a wide range of severe chronic pain, such as neuropathic suffering, fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis.

In addition, it has been shown to lessen the inflammation associated with these conditions considerably.

While more research is needed to fully understand how medical cannabis can help those suffering from chronic pain, there are already indications of its effectiveness in providing symptom relief.

Dive into this guide to explore how medical cannabis users can reduce chronic pain and how it may be an effective form of relief for those dealing with persistent discomfort.

How Does Cannabis Work to Reduce Pain?

Cannabis has long been used to treat pain, but how does it work? Recent research suggests that cannabis may be as EFFECTIVE as opioids in treating chronic pain [2].

Cannabis contains two main active ingredients: THC and CBD. THC is the psychoactive component of cannabis, while CBD is non-psychoactive and can provide relief from INFLAMMATION and other symptoms.

Studies have shown that THC and CBD can REDUCE pain by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system. This system helps regulate various functions such as sleep, appetite, and mood [3].

When THC binds to cannabinoid receptors in the brain, it can reduce pain SIGNALS sent to the brain. Similarly, when CBD binds to these receptors, it can reduce inflammation which can help relieve pain.

In addition to reducing pain signals sent to the brain, cannabis may help manage other SYMPTOMS associated with chronic pain, such as anxiety or depression.

Research suggests that cannabis may increase serotonin levels in the brain, improving mood and reducing stress levels. 

Decreased opiate medication use: Some studies have also shown that cannabis may reduce the need for opiate medications [4]

This is important, as many people with chronic pain turn to prescription opioids for relief, which can be DANGEROUS and habit-forming.

What Conditions Could Benefit from Medical Marijuana Use?

Medical cannabis use has been used to treat various CONDITIONS for centuries. In recent years, more and more states have legalized the use of medical marijuana for the treatment of chronic pain.

In Texas, marijuana is available through the Compassionate Use Program for those with certain qualifying conditions [1].

Conditions that could benefit from marijuana use INCLUDE pain, nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy (cancer pain), multiple sclerosis, nerve pain, epilepsy and seizures, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety and depression, glaucoma, muscle spasms and Crohn’s disease.

Pro Tip: Medical cannabis laws vary between states, so make sure to check with your local laws before using cannabis for medical purposes [5].

Is There Any Evidence That It Works?

Research suggests that marijuana can be an effective treatment for these conditions because it contains compounds called cannabinoids that interact with brain receptors to reduce inflammation and pain [6].

Cannabinoids also act on the body’s endocannabinoid system, which helps REGULATE moods and emotions.

In addition to reducing pain, research suggests that marijuana can effectively treat symptoms of ANXIETY and depression [7]. Studies have also shown that it may help reduce seizures in people with epilepsy.

Is Cannabidiol (CBD) Better Than THC For Chronic Pain Relief?

The debate of whether Cannabidiol (CBD) or Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is better for pain relief has continued for some time.

The answer to this question is not simple, as both compounds have their OWN advantages and disadvantages when treating chronic pain.

THC seems to have a greater effect on the way the mind PERCEIVES pain, while CBD may work to ease pain at the local source.

A study published by the Annals of Internal Medicine found that when it comes to chronic pain, products with a higher THC-to-CBD ratio had better relief results [8].

However, CBD does not cause any psychoactive effects like THC, so it may be preferred by those who want to AVOID feeling “high.”

When considering which compound is best for treating chronic conditions, it is important to consider your INDIVIDUAL needs and preferences. 

While THC may provide more effective relief in some cases, CBD may be preferable for those who want to avoid any psychoactive effects.

Ultimately, deciding which option works best for you and your condition is up to you.

Are There Any Side Effects To Using Cannabis To Treat Pain?

Cannabis has been used for centuries to treat pain and other medical conditions. While there are many benefits to using cannabis as a treatment, it is important to understand the POTENTIAL side effects of using this drug include:

  • Physical and mental health risks
  • Breathing problems
  • Changes in blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate
  • Dizziness or drowsiness
  • Facial flushing
  • Impaired memory and learning ability
  • Mood swings
  • Chest pain and heart rhythm irregularity
  • Hyperactivity and/or aggressiveness
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Headaches
  • Psychic dependence
  • Infections

Before you think about cannabis as a remedy for your condition, it is highly suggested that you speak with your medical provider to evaluate the potential benefits and risks. 

This will help guarantee that any TREATMENT plan or regimen is secure and efficacious.

Conclusion

Ultimately, it is evident that medical cannabis has the potential to be a valuable treatment for individuals with certain eligible conditions.

While research supports this use of marijuana, it’s imperative to comprehend any undesirable side effects or associated risks before utilizing this drug.

Moreover, talking with your healthcare provider prior to embarking on any type of cannabis therapy will guarantee you are using the safest and most successful methods available. It is crucial to obtain quality cannabis products from licensed vendors, like a Mission Organic.

Medicinal marijuana can efficiently remedy those struggling with chronic pain or any other medical condition it may qualify for. 

However, being aware of its possible advantages and drawbacks is crucial to guarantee that the best choices are made in relation to your wellbeing.

Sources –

  1. Compassionate Use Program | Department of Public Safety. Texas.gov. Published 2015. Accessed February 25, 2023. https://www.dps.texas.gov/section/compassionate-use-program
  2. Pain. Published 2023. Accessed February 25, 2023. https://www.cdc.gov/marijuana/health-effects/chronic-pain.html
  3. Fine PG, Rosenfeld MJ. The Endocannabinoid System, Cannabinoids, and Pain. Rambam Maimonides Medical Journal. 2013;4(4). doi:https://doi.org/10.5041/rmmj.10129
  4. on I. Is marijuana safe and effective as medicine? | National Institute on Drug Abuse. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Published April 13, 2021. Accessed February 25, 2023. https://nida.nih.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/marijuana-safe-effective-medicine
  5. MARIJUANA LEGALITY BY STATE. DISA. Published 2023. Accessed February 25, 2023. https://disa.com/maps/marijuana-legality-by-state
  6. and E, Health, Board, Evidence A. Therapeutic Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids. Nih.gov. Published January 12, 2017. Accessed February 25, 2023. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK425767/
  7. Stoner S. Effects of Marijuana on Mental Health: Anxiety Disorders Considering Locked vs. Unlocked Treatment Facilities.; 2017. https://adai.uw.edu/pubs/pdf/2017mjanxiety.pdf
  8. The Effects of Cannabis Among Adults With Chronic Pain and an Overview of General Harms: A Systematic Review: Annals of Internal Medicine: Vol 167, No 5. Annals of Internal Medicine. Published 2017. Accessed February 25, 2023. https://www.acpjournals.org/doi/10.7326/m17-0155

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