Chronic pain is a difficult condition to manage. Many cases have no identifiable cause, and almost all cases require long-term treatment. The best most patients can hope for is effective management of the condition. A cure is very rarely achieved. If you have chronic pain, it’s likely you’ll continue to deal with it for the remainder of your life. You’ll have good days and bad days, but the condition is unlikely to ever truly go away.
Like most patients, then, you’ll want to find the most effective treatment for managing your condition. Could that be medical cannabis?
The Usual Treatment
Until recently, the treatment of choice for most healthcare practitioners was opioid medications. These medications come with a host of dangerous side effects and are incredibly addictive. Nonetheless, they are effective painkillers and many patients find them effective at managing pain, at least for a while.
Over time, people become accustomed to opioids, which means they become less effective. When dealing with a life-long condition like chronic pain, this inevitably means taking ever-higher doses and possibly even more than one medication to achieve effective pain management.
With the opioid crisis, healthcare practitioners and patients alike are revisiting the use of opioids as the first-choice treatment for chronic conditions like long-term pain management. There must be something better available.
There May Be Something Better
Recent research has suggested medical marijuana could be the solution for chronic pain management. Studies show cannabis may be just as effective as opioids. In fact, cannabis’s reported painkilling properties could make it an even more effective painkiller for some people.
Medical marijuana for chronic pain management may also have some other advantages. For one, cannabis doesn’t seem to have the same side effects opioids have. In fact, it’s reported to have relatively few side effects. Those side effects are usually benign, ranging from increased hunger to red eyes to drowsiness. More serious side effects are rare.
Further, medical cannabis side effects also depend somewhat on the strain. Indica strains may be more likely to cause drowsiness than sativa strains, for example.
What Makes It Effective?
Why do patients report that medical marijuana for chronic pain management is so effective? The answer lies in how the human body responds to cannabinoids, the active ingredients in medical marijuana. The human body has an innate system designed to handle similar chemicals. The endocannabinoid system is tied to the nervous system, providing wide-reaching effects.
One of medical marijuana’s primary potential effects is to relax both body and mind. A physical state of relaxation may be achieved when cannabinoids act on the cardiovascular system, inducing muscle relaxation and the relaxation of blood vessels. On a mental level, cannabinoids may work on the brain to promote feelings of calmness. Depending on the strain, you may feel peaceful and sleepy or wide-awake and focused.
As you can see, medical marijuana for chronic pain management is a somewhat more holistic treatment. It seems to act on not just one part of the body, but on multiple systems. It may directly affect the mind as well, providing more comprehensive relief.
Is It Right for You?
As with any medical treatment for almost any condition, there’s a degree of personalization at play with medical marijuana for chronic pain management. It won’t necessarily be the right treatment for every single person, but it could be the right treatment for you.
Depending on your medical condition and your own unique body chemistry, there may be a medical marijuana strain that could help you achieve more effective management of your chronic pain condition. If you’re hoping for a better treatment with fewer side effects and lower risks, give medical cannabis a try. Remember to keep an open mind and experiment. You could just find the perfect treatment and get control of your life back.