Physical pain is one of the most commonly cited reasons for why people seek out medical cannabis. Cannabinoids like THC and CBD are believed to have significant analgesic (pain-relieving) properties that could potentially make them an effective treatment for several kinds of pain.
According to the CDC, over 50 million Americans suffer from some form of chronic pain. If chronic or intermittent pain is bothering you, medical cannabis may be able to help.
How THC and CBD Relieve Pain
THC and CBD treat pain by interacting with cell receptors inside the body and brain to provide relief from both mild and chronic pain. More specifically, these cannabinoids produce their effects by interacting with protein cell receptors inside the body’s inner endocannabinoid system (ECS).
Many people are surprised to find out that the human body actually produces and uses its own kind of cannabinoids called endocannabinoids. Endocannabinoids like anandamide and 2-AG are constantly interacting with the ECS in order to help the human body maintain homeostasis (balance) by regulating mood, sleep, appetite, pain, and more.
Cannabinoids found within the plant like THC and CBD similarly interact with cell receptors in the ECS to produce a range of effects in both the brain and body. However, different cannabinoids interact with cell receptors in different ways. For instance, while THC produces its euphoric and analgesic (pain-relieving) effects by directly interacting with CB1 and CB2 cell receptors inside the ECS, CBD produces anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects through indirect interactions with a range of other receptors.
These cannabinoids produce analgesic effects in different ways. Some researchers even believe that cannabinoids are capable of working synergistically with each other to produce more potent effects in a phenomenon called ‘the entourage effect.’
Could Cannabis Flavonoids Be the Future of Pain Relief?
While cannabinoids like CBD and THC certainly have a role to play in pain relief, the secret to cannabis’s analgesic properties may actually lie in its array of flavonoids. Flavonoids are compounds found in nature that give plants like fruits and vegetables (and cannabis!) their color.
Cannabis contains several unique flavonoids called cannaflavins that may do more than just cannabis its color. Research suggest that flavonoids, including cannaflavins, may actually have anti-inflammatory properties.
Moreover, in 1986, researchers found two specific cannaflavins, Cannaflavin A and Cannaflavin B, to have analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects that could be up to 30x stronger than those produced by aspirin. The research and development of cannaflavin-based pain-relievers is still in its early stages, however, some researchers believe that cannaflavins could be the future of medical cannabis.
What Type of Cannabis Products Are Best for Pain?
The best consumption methods on the type and the location of the pain, as well as your own preferences.
If you need immediate relief, vaping and sublinguals allows cannabinoids to quickly enter your bloodstream and produce pain-relieving effects within minutes. If you require longer-lasting pain relief, edibles and capsules may be a better choice as their effects can last up to 8 hours. Meanwhile, localized pain resulting from inflammation or skin damage can be treated with topical lotions, creams, and salves.
Visit one of our locations for a variety of cannabis products that can help alleviate your pain today.
Which Products Should You Use for Pain Relief?
Many people think that high-THC is the way to go for pain relief. Research suggests that for some people, however, lower THC options work extremely well. To find the right products for you, speak with our on-site pharmacist.