While medical cannabis can be used to treat a variety of health conditions and symptoms, it’s most commonly prescribed to alleviate chronic pain. Research has proven that both THC and CBD provide effective relief from pain and can be a safer choice than conventional medicine.
Is medical cannabis right for treating your chronic pain? Read on to find out.
What is Chronic Pain?
Chronic pain can be defined simply as any pain that lasts for a long time (typically about 12 weeks or longer). It can range in severity from a mild nuisance all the way through to debilitating agony and may come in many different forms, including a dull ache, stinging, soreness, burning sensation, throbbing pain and much more.
Most people typically develop chronic pain as the result of injury or a known health condition, such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, past surgery, back injury, arthritis, migraine or infection. On the other hand, some people may develop chronic pain for no discernible reason whatsoever.
Regardless of the cause, the fact remains that chronic pain is an incredibly common phenomenon that affects a significant part of the population. In fact, almost 1 in 5 (18.9 percent) Canadians over the age of 18 are affected by chronic pain, according to research published in Pain Research and Management.
Although mild chronic pain can usually be treated with relatively benign medication, more severe cases typically require prescription opiates. While this medication does provide effective pain relief, it’s also highly addictive and associated with many negative side effects. With this in mind, it’s little wonder that patients and physicians alike are increasingly turning to medicinal cannabis when it comes to treating chronic pain.
Cannabis for Chronic Pain Relief
The efficacy of medical cannabis as an analgesic is due to the endocannabinoid system, which is thought to play a key role in how the body regulates and manages pain. While the exact mechanisms of how this works are not yet fully understood, there’s an extensive body of research demonstrating that medical cannabis be used effectively and – perhaps more importantly – safely to combat chronic pain. How?
Effective Relief for Different Types of Pain
It goes without saying that the most important attribute of an analgesic is its ability to provide pain relief and medicinal cannabis excels in this regard. In a Harvard-led study, researchers reviewed 28 randomized clinical trials and found that in every pain-related study patients experienced significant improvements to their symptoms, leading the authors to conclude that “Use of marijuana for chronic pain, neuropathic pain, and spasticity due to multiple sclerosis is supported by high-quality evidence.”
Lower Risk of Addiction
As noted, one of the key risks of traditional opioid-based pain medication is addiction, which could be at least partially to blame for Canada’s recent burgeoning opioid problem. The number of people hospitalized due to opioid poisoning increased by 30 percent between 2007/2008 and 2014/2015, according to figures collated by the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction.
Medical cannabis could be a much safer option. Not only does it provide the same or even better pain relief than opioids, the addiction potential is substantially lower and cannabis can even help patients reduce their opioid use. Research published in the Journal of Pain found that medical cannabis use was associated with 64 percent lower opioid use in patients with chronic pain.
In summary, there is strong evidence that medical cannabis can provide relief and better quality of life for people living with chronic pain. Current research indicates it as at least effective as opioid-based medicine and comes with far fewer side effects, health risks and addiction potential.
Treat Sleep Issues with Cannabis
Canabo Medical Inc. has identified a few strains of cannabis that work well for treating sleep issues. The company has recently launched an online self-referral program for individuals with sleep issues.
Each patient is unique and should be assessed by one of Canabo’s Cannabinoid Specialists to get the correct strains and amount of cannabis.
By: Jareth Trigwell