You’ve likely heard some good things about medical cannabis. This treatment can be used by people with a wide variety of medical conditions, including chronic pain. In fact, one of the most common reasons to use medical marijuana is to treat chronic pain.
Unfortunately, for most sufferers, there is no cure for most cases of chronic pain. This means you’ll be looking for a long-term treatment plan. For years, opioid medications have been the go-to for physicians in North America, but the negative consequences of these treatments are now more apparent than ever. The ongoing opioid crisis has led to a search for a solution, and some believe medical marijuana could be the solution.
Since opioids are highly addictive and their effectiveness diminishes over time, they were always a poor choice for treating chronic pain. Is medical marijuana any better?
How It Works
The human body produces substances known as endocannabinoids. These are similar to the active substances found in medical cannabis. When a person takes cannabis, the cannabinoids act on the endocannabinoid system to produce their effects.
This system is extensive and affects almost all of the major systems in the body, including the nervous system. As a result, it may influence digestion, heart rate, and even brain functioning.
Potentially Treating Chronic Pain
Studies suggest medical marijuana may be an effective painkiller, on par with opioid treatments usually prescribed for chronic pain and other similar conditions.
How are these effects produced? The endocannabinoid system is tied into the nervous system, which means cannabinoids can act on the nerves and muscles in the body. Generally speaking, cannabinoids and similar substances may decrease nerve activity.
This means the brain may stop receiving pain signals from the muscles and nerves. Pain may thus be decreased, and the patient may experience increased mobility and relaxation. Tense and inflamed tissues can pinch nerves, resulting in pain. Medical cannabis may soothe these tissues and relieve the pain.
Treatment over the Long Term
For most patients, there is no cure. Sometimes, a person may not even know what the root cause of their pain is. Others may have a condition such as fibromyalgia, which causes chronic pain as one of the symptoms.
Pain patients thus need safe treatments to use over the long term. Chances are you’re going to be taking the treatment you choose for years on end. Medical cannabis may be a good option given this long-term view of pain management.
Why do researchers and patients consider medical marijuana to be a better choice than opioids or other medications? As already mentioned, the decreased risk of addiction is a major bonus. Opioids also tend to lose their effectiveness over time, which means the patient needs to take a higher dose or additional medications.
Medical marijuana doesn’t seem to lose its effectiveness nor does it seem to have the same addictive properties. It’s considered to be much safer and potentially more effective over the long term, which is why chronic pain sufferers may want to consider it as part of their treatment regimens.
Potentially Treating Difficult Pains
Some types of chronic pain are notoriously difficult to treat. Nerve pain is one such type of pain. In these cases, doctors will often recommend stronger medications in order to better control the pain.
Medical cannabis might actually provide better relief for even the most difficult-to-treat types of pain, and often at lower doses than other treatment options.
Solving the Opioid Crisis
Medical marijuana research suggests cannabis is just as effective, if not more effective, when it comes to treating pain. As a result, many people are now calling for doctors and other healthcare professionals to shift their practice and authorize more patients for medical marijuana use.
You may be able to get more effective treatment with fewer risks by incorporating medicinal cannabis into your treatment regime. What are you waiting for?