If you or someone you love is dealing with chronic pain, you know how difficult it can be to find relief. While some patients choose to treat their chronic pain without drugs, most Americans rely on pain management medications like opioids. Even though many prescription pain medications work for short-term discomfort, they can be addictive and hinder the quality of life for those with chronic pain. Fortunately, cannabis has been shown to work as a treatment for pain – without the adverse side effects of other medications. In this article, we will go over how cannabis for chronic pain management works and help you take back control of your health.
Chronic Pain Explained
One of the most common reasons patients see a doctor is to address pain. While everyone experiences acute pain from time to time (like when you get hurt), chronic pain is ongoing and usually persists beyond the typical healing time of three months. Chronic pain arises when a nerve or the nervous system experience changes that cause pain signals to start firing. The feeling can range from dull, achy, and sore to burning, throbbing, and beyond.
Ongoing pain often develops as a result of an injury or health condition like surgery, cancer, back injury, infection, or a migraine. Some people develop pain for no apparent reason. Whatever the cause, chronic pain is a widespread phenomenon that affects the quality of life for millions of Americans.
How Cannabis Can Help Relieve Chronic Pain
Medical cannabis can be used to treat a range of health conditions and symptoms, but it is most often prescribed for pain relief. One of the reasons cannabis works so well is because of its effect on the endocannabinoid system, which plays an essential role in how the body manages and regulates pain.
While the exact mechanisms behind the analgesic properties of cannabis are still being fully understood, the research suggests that it is safe and effective for battling persistent pain. In a randomized review of 28 clinical trials, Harvard researchers found that patients experienced a significant decrease in their symptoms when using cannabis. Researchers think it works on different types of pain through a combination of actions: It’s an anti-inflammatory agent and an endocannabinoid system activator, and it helps mitigate neurotransmitters that are associated with pain.
Benefits of Using Cannabis for Chronic Pain Management
Patients who choose cannabis have often had trouble with other forms of prescription drugs. Even when traditional pain medications work, they may cause awful side effects like nausea, constipation, and drowsiness.
Opioid-based medication is highly addictive, and its overuse is contributing to a nation-wide opioid crisis. Medical cannabis can be a much safer option that can bring pain relief that’s as effective or even better than some traditional drugs. With cannabis, patients don’t need to worry about addiction potential, and it can even help them tapper their opioid use.
Chronic pain is debilitating, and it reduces the quality of life for those who live with it. If you are interested in cannabis for chronic pain management or to reduce your consumption of prescription drugs, make sure to stay in communication with your health team. Speak with your doctor before and after treatment with medical marijuana to discuss your progress and your specific health goals.