Medical marijuana is becoming increasingly popular as an alternative to traditional chronic pain medications for pain-killers including opioids. This is because marijuana is known to relieve people from certain types of chronic pain and this may include pain that results from inflammation and nerve damage. Chronic pain affects more people nowadays than heart disease, cancer, and diabetes combined. In the United States, the most common cause of long-term disability is chronic pain. Although the use of marijuana is very effective for treating chronic pain, most of the products that have marijuana are not approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). To confirm the effectiveness and safety of the use of marijuana, there will be a need for more evidence and studies. Anecdotal evidence, however, suggests that marijuana and or its chemical compounds may help relieve some chronic pains.
There are different strains of marijuana available, and the effect of each differs on the user. Some of the strains of marijuana include cannabis indica, cannabis sativa, and hybrids. Since there is limited research on the use of these marijuana strains for pain and other medical issues, strain recommendation of them is not proven medically yet. According to research, the researchers found out that indica strains are effective for sedation, pain management, and sleep and sativa strains are effective for improving energy and mood. Indica is also effective for joint pain, non-migraine headaches, neuropathy, spasticity.
What is Chronic Pain?
In a simple definition, any pain that lasts for a very long time (such pain typically lasts for about 12 weeks or longer) is termed a chronic pain. Chronic pain differs in severity from a slight nuisance to debilitating agony. It may also come in different forms like stinging, soreness, throbbing pain, dull ache, burning sensation, and much more. In some people, chronic pain occurs as a result of a known health condition or an injury such as arthritis, migraine, HIV/AIDS, cancer, past surgery, back injury, or infection. In contrast, many other people may develop chronic pain with no backing reason whatsoever.
No matter the cause of the chronic pain, the fact remains that it is a common phenomenon that affects a large percentage of the population. In fact, 18.9 percent or 1 in 5 Canadians above 18 years are affected by chronic pain (according to Pain Research and Management).
Although the use of good medication can be used to treat mild chronic pain, more severe cases are typically treated with prescription opiates. Although this medication is effective for relieving pains, it is highly addictive, and it comes with many negative side effects. Since there are many negative effects on the use of opiates, many people are now turning to medicinal marijuana for the treatment of chronic pain. This is because medicinal marijuana is very effective and it does not have negative side effects and addiction like opiates.
Cannabis is Effective for Treating Chronic Pain
The effectiveness of medical cannabis as an analgesic is simply because of the endocannabinoid system; this system is said to play a perfect role in the way the body manages and regulates pain. Although the way this works is not fully understood, there are many bodies of research that is going on demonstrating the effective use of medical marijuana. It is also known to treat chronic pain safely. Marijuana has different chemical compounds that help to relieve nausea, pain, and other symptoms. There are several hundreds of these chemical compounds, but those that help in the pain relief process are the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and the cannabidiol (CBD).
According to a general saying that the most important characteristic of an analgesic or a pain-killer is its ability to relieve pain and medicinal marijuana excels in this regard. A study conducted by some researchers in Harvard University reviewed 28 randomized medical trials, every patient suffering from pain experienced significant improvements from each of their symptoms and this lead to the conclusion that the use of medical marijuana for neuropathic pain, chronic pain, and spasticity is fully backed up by high-quality evidence.
Marijuana has a Lower Risk of Addiction
As already pointed out, one of the reasons why the use of opioid traditional pain medication is getting eradicated is due to its addiction. The number of people hospitalized in different countries is getting increased every year, and this is getting out of control of the governments of these countries. On the other hand, the use of medical marijuana could be a much safer option for these people. In addition to the fact that it is more effective than opioid when it comes to pain relieving, it has a lower addiction potential, and it is a great way to help people with pain reduce their opioid use.
According to research printed in the Journal of Pain, it is found that the use of medical cannabis in patients with chronic pain is 64 percent lower than the use of opioid. Above all, there is strong evidence that backed up the use of medical cannabis for relieving chronic pain and it can better the quality of life of these people with chronic pain. Current studies show that it is more effective than opioid and it comes with fewer health risks, side effects, and addiction potential.
In conclusion, some studies have shown that marijuana and opioids are both effective for chronic pain relief and some report the importance of using marijuana for chronic pain. Some others also confirm that marijuana is as effective as an opioid, which is one of the active pain-relieving drugs. In comparison to opioids, the side effects of marijuana in treating chronic pains are usually minimal. However, since there are still regulations on the use of marijuana for treatments in some states, the quality of the marijuana-based products and their exact composition cannot be guaranteed. This evidence shows that marijuana may help treat chronic pain.
Since there are different strains of marijuana available, if one of them does not reduce symptoms, you can go for another strain which may work. However, it is advisable to keep the dosage low especially if you are new to the use of marijuana. Also, make sure you discuss the benefits and risks with your doctor before using it as a chronic pain treatment and get the medications legally from a reputable outlet.