The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that over 50 million people live with chronic pain and an additional 19.6 million suffer from high-impact chronic pain. With a nationwide opioid epidemic, many physicians and patients are looking for ways to cope with pain safely. The use of marijuana to reduce pain and discomfort has been popular for thousands of years and is considered one of the 50 Chinese fundamental medicinal herbs. Recently, with cannabis becoming available for recreational or medicinal use in numerous states, patients are discovering its many health benefits. Pain management and the reduction of inflammation are just two of the crucial uses for medical marijuana.
THC in Marijuana Reduces Pain
In a recent study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, it was revealed that numerous patients suffering from chronic neuropathy pain were evaluated with three different potencies of marijuana. The highest strain’s concentration had 9.4 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) cannabis. Other strains had 2.5 percent and 6 percent THC. The participants were allowed a single puff of marijuana three times per day for five days. At the end of the study, the patients were asked to evaluate their pain and it was found that they all experienced a significant reduction in discomfort which clearly showed that marijuana is a powerful analgesic.
The Endocannabinoid System and Cannabinoids
Within all mammals is what is known as an endocannabinoid system. The system is made up of receptors known as CB1 and CB2. The receptors serve many roles in the body such as regulating the immune system, gastrointestinal system, nervous system, and the endocrine system. It has been found that the cannabinoids such as THC and cannabidiol (CBD) readily bind with the receptors. The receptors work as neurotransmitters. The person feels less pain and, if the pain is caused by inflammation, the cannabinoids help reduce the inflammation in the body to bring much-needed relief.
Marijuana to Treat Pain
Clinical studies around the world continue to be promising by showing that cannabis does effectively treat pain for many conditions that do not respond to available and conventional treatments, such as neuropathic, inflammatory, and oncologic pain.
Here are just a few painful conditions that respond well to the cannabinoids found in marijuana:
- Joint pain
- Gastrointestinal pain caused from Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and colitis.
- Multiple sclerosis
- Parkinson’s disease
Marijuana remains illegal on a federal level and numerous states have not deregulated the use of cannabis for medical and recreational use. In such locations, pain sufferers often have no access to THC laden marijuana. However, CBD hemp oil products that contains less than 0.03 percent THC is widely available online and at local stores throughout the nation. CBD acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory that activates the body’s serotonin system and effectively eases pain caused by inflammation such as arthritis. Even topicals, such as lotions that contain CBD, have been shown to reduce swelling and pain when rubbed on the afflicted area.