Until recently, your options for treating pain were relatively limited. You had weak, over-the-counter solutions like ibuprofen and acetaminophen or you could choose heavy-duty prescription opioids. There was little middle ground in getting pain relief.
As a result, most healthcare practitioners have defaulted to prescribing opioid medications when it comes to pain conditions. These medications do provide powerful relief of most pain, but they also come with a host of side effects and significant risks. Patients have long wondered if there’s a better treatment option out there.
Recent research shows cannabis could be the treatment patients have been dreaming of. It’s likely the reason more people are turning to cannabis for pain relief.
Studies Suggest It’s Effective
The first question anyone asks when it comes to cannabis for pain relief is how effective it is. After all, if there was a better treatment available, why haven’t physicians been prescribing it?
The answer lies in the fact that cannabis has been illegal for a long time now. Research on its medical uses was precluded by its illegal status. Now, as more countries roll back criminal cannabis laws, research has been able to proceed. Studies are reporting some great results regarding its potential effectiveness in providing pain relief.
Cannabinoids, the active ingredients in medical marijuana, act on the human endocannabinoid system to potentially produce wide-ranging effects. Pain relief may be comprehensive. Cannabis even appears to have anti-inflammatory properties.
The research suggests medical marijuana may be as effective as opioid medications, if not more so. As more people discover just how effective cannabis may be for pain relief, more people are choosing it.
It’s Considered to Be Safer
Opioids are highly addictive. Lawmakers, doctors, and medical researchers have known that for a long time. It’s one reason many opioid substances are illegal and most are available only with a prescription. Best practice in medicine is usually to take people off opioid prescriptions as soon as possible.
This addictive quality makes opioids a poor choice for treating long-term conditions, such as chronic pain or nerve pain. Since patients are likely to need relief over the course of years or even decades, the likelihood of addiction is high. With addiction comes other risks, including organ damage and overdose.
Cannabis for pain relief is considered by many to be a much safer choice. Medical marijuana doesn’t seem to exhibit the same addictive properties opioid medications do. Over time, people may be less likely to become addicted to medical cannabis.
Further, studies suggest it’s impossible to overdose on cannabis alone. With these two major risks minimized, it’s clear to most people cannabis may be the safer choice for pain relief.
It Has Fewer Reported Side Effects
A couple of opioids’ more serious side effects have already been mentioned. Addiction, overdose, risk of death, and even organ damage are all risks associated with opioids. This is particularly true if they’re used over the long term to treat chronic health conditions.
Opioids also have some unpleasant short-term side effects. They can make you feel sick and depress the appetite. They also impair cognitive functioning, which can make you sleepy or confused. Opioid use can make it difficult to complete everyday tasks or even follow a conversation.
If you have to take high doses of opioids on a daily basis to achieve pain relief, you have to ask about your quality of life. Few people find their quality of life is improved with opioid treatments, although they may find pain relief.
Cannabis for pain relief, on the other hand, seems to have fewer side effects. Those it does have are minor. You may experience increased hunger or drowsiness. You might have red eyes or feel more focused and motivated.
It should be clear why more people are choosing cannabis for pain relief. It’s reported to be effective and safe, and it may improve your quality of life.