8 Things You Need To Know About Cannabis And Chronic Pain
Over 100 million Americans suffer from one type of chronic pain or another. Chronic pain costs an estimated $600 billion annually in treatment and lost productivity.
Pain poses such a serious, widespread problem in the United States that it’s one of the most common reasons people apply for a medical marijuana card. Thankfully, people are now increasingly more aware about the side effects of common painkillers and are going the green route instead to treat their pain.
Here 10 things you need to know about cannabis and chronic pain:
- Americans need a new alternative to opioids: Chronic pain affects more people than those affected by cancer, diabetes, and heart disease combined. Despite this, the government still spends too little money on finding better alternatives to manage pain. Currently, opioids as well as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines still remain the top prescription medications for treating chronic pain; medicines which have had serious side effects on the population. And this is why people are turning to cannabis.
- Cannabis is an ancient remedy for pain: While most people think that cannabis is new medicine, it’s not: it’s actually been used for thousands of years as a natural remedy for several illnesses including pain. Back then, cannabis wasn’t a controlled substance so ancient physicians were able to mix it into teas or medicine to treat pain as well as other ailments. In fact, the first documented use of cannabis to treat ailments dates back to 2737 BC, by Chinese Emperor Shen Neng.
- Pain patients prefer cannabis to opioids: A new study of over 3,000 MMJ patients revealed that a majority of patients prefer using cannabis to opioids to help them manage their pain. In the findings, 97% of respondents also said that they either agree or strongly agree that opioid painkiller use could be reduced by consuming cannabis, while 92% said that they prefer cannabis to treat their conditions.
- Not much is known about THC for pain: Over the last few years, CBD has become increasingly popular as the cannabinoid of choice in pain management. CBD oils, tinctures, and strains have become the medicine of choice for chronic pain patients. But although THC could also have a positive effect in treating pain, policymakers and medical researchers haven’t done many studies on the impact of this cannabinoid for pain because the fact that it gives you a psychoactive high turns them off and they don’t do the studies because they see it as an undesirable side effect of the medicine.
- THC might make some kinds of pain worse: Despite the fact that pain is one of the most common reasons that people use MMJ, it’s critical to choose the correct strain and avoid taking too much THC. This is because in some cases, THC may actually make you more sensitive to certain types of pain due to its biphasic effect.
- Microdosing may be right for you: In cannabis, microdosing isn’t exactly a new concept. It basically means taking smaller amounts of medicine for relief as opposed to taking more. Studies show that low dose cannabis can be significantly better at treating neuropathic pain. Instead of smoking an entire blunt, you may want to consider taking just a puff twice or thrice a day to help you manage pain.
- Cannabis can treat pathological and inflammatory pain: Research suggests that the various compounds found in cannabis are effective in treating pathological and inflammatory pain. Examples of pathological pain include those that cause damage to the nervous system, such as pain from surgery, accident or disease. On the other hand, inflammatory pain is usually related to the immune system; such as pain caused by multiple sclerosis or arthritis.
- Cannabis use reduces risk of opioid overdose: Studies show that states that have medical cannabis laws in place were successfully able to reduce fatal overdoses caused by opioids. Cannabis is a much safer alternative for treating pain with no side effects, and it’s impossible to overdose on it. In 2015 alone, over 15,000 people have died from prescription opioid overdoses Cannabis is valuable pain medicine and using it instead of opioids can save the lives of people.
Have you used cannabis to treat pain? How has it helped you? Share your experience with us in the comments below.