For most of history, doctors and caregivers considered chronic pain to be an unpleasant if unavoidable symptom. Pain has a huge and cumulative impact on our health and wellness,
even our economy.
Distressing though this is, there’s more: With the
opioid epidemic belatedly recognized as a major health crisis in the United States, it’s more important than ever that we find a safe and sustainable response to chronic strain and pain. That’s why an increasing number of us are turning to one of humankind’s oldest pain remedies: marijuana for pain.
If you’ve wondered, “Does cannabis help with pain?” before, this article’s for you! We think you’ll find some truly exciting information here, including tips on how to get the very most out of medical cannabis.
Cannabis for Pain: The Roots of Pain
As we referenced a moment ago, the use of marijuana for pain has a surprisingly long history, stretching back literally
thousands of years to places such as ancient China, where physicians were prescribing cannabis to treat pain and inflammation, along with many other conditions we’d recognize today.
These days, a number of
clinical studies confirm what those ancient doctors already knew: That cannabis may be a game-changer in the treatment of pain, providing symptomatic relief while reducing our dependence on opioids and other harmful pharmaceuticals.
That said, not all pain is created equal. Researchers now recognize three major types of chronic pain:
Nociceptive Pain: Pain resulting from a physical injury; in some cases nociceptive pain can be treated with anti-inflammatory medications such as NSAIDs.
Neuropathic (or “Nerve”) Pain: While this pain can be caused by physical injury, it specifically to injury to a nerve. As such, it doesn’t typically respond to anti-inflammatories.
Central Pain: Sometimes called “mystery pain,” or central pain occurs in the absence of a physical injury. Fibromyalgia, an emerging and difficult-to-diagnose condition, is one cause of central pain.
Does Cannabis Help With Pain? The Role of Cannabinoids
While these three types of pain are all different, cannabis may have a role to play in addressing all of them. That’s because the plant contains a wide variety of cannabinoids, which we’ve
written about before. They’re the all-natural compounds such as THC and CBD that elicit various effects on our bodies and minds.
In addition to imparting the cannabis plant’s famous intoxicating effects, cannabinoids may
help to suppress inflammatory pain. CBD is not intoxicating, and it’s also been shown to reduce inflammation, along with a wide variety of other effects.
How might cannabis for pain work? Here are some idea-starters:
Nociceptive Pain: Because of the ensemble effect—through which cannabinoids and other compounds work in synergy—many clinicians recommend using products that contain a balance of THC and CBD. If you find the intoxication of THC distracting, a higher proportion of CBD will help mitigate some of that psychoactivity.
Neuropathic (or “Nerve”) Pain: Research done to date shows THC as the clear frontrunner for addressing neuropathic concerns. CBD research is still being done as it pertains to nerve pain. One study found that CBD might be effective against neuropathic pain. A separate randomized control trial suggested that THC/CBD spray clinically improves neuropathic pain in otherwise treatment resistant patients.
Central Pain: Though there are many questions about this mysterious pain, some studies suggest hope. In one experiment with fibromyalgia patients, all found that cannabis offered some level of effective pain relief. Another study came to much the same conclusion.
Cannabis for Pain: In Conclusion
Whichever cannabis product you employ, we suggest you use just enough cannabis to achieve desired results. We believe that once you find your ideal dosage, you’ll experience gentle, effective, and sustainable results.
Have further questions about cannabis for pain? Just
ask! We’re here to help.
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Please note that qualifying conditions vary by state, and the information relating to qualifying conditions may not apply to cannabis patients in all states. Product availability also varies based on state program restrictions and rules, so the products discussed may not be available in all states. Be sure to check with your local Green Goods location about the products available in your state!