Conventional pain killers and prescription painkillers can have harsh side effects along with the potential for addiction. For this reason, many people look for alternate methods to manage pain. And, for pain, medical marijuana has been drawing a lot of attention. As a safe, non-addictive alternative, medical cannabis has a lot to offer. In fact, the most common application for medical marijuana is for pain relief.
11 Facts About Cannabis
- Using marijuana to relieve pain is nothing new. Cannabis has been used for thousands of years in many countries around the world for various medical applications. We have a long history with this herb. And, although most general practitioners don’t prescribe herbs for their patients’ ailments, modern pharmaceuticals are derived from plants and herbs. Aspirin comes from bay leaves. And, obviously opioid painkillers came from plants originally. Cannabis was used as a natural pain remedy and also applied topically for wounds. Many ancient cultures were familiar with it. Hemp flowers mixed with olive oil was a Polish concoction that people used for stiff joints and wound dressings. Throughout history, marijuana has been used to treat serious ailments. There are medical records of cannabis dating from as far back as 4000 years ago in ancient China.Even Emperor Shen Neng used it to treat his rheumatism.
- Ancient cultures used cannabis for thousands of years for women’s health. Several different cultures used it for help with labor pains. Not only was it used to ease the pain of contractions, it was also used in complicated births to relax the mother. It was the ‘go-to’ herb for this purpose in Egypt, China, India, and Arabic nations.
- It seems that people prefer marijuana to prescription pharmaceuticals. The International Journal of Drug Policy published a report that had surveyed 271 Canadian medical cannabis patients. Cannabis was preferred over prescription drugs by 63% of the consumers.
- Some lawmakers are leery about cannabis. However, there was a study in 2015 that came out in JAMA Internal Medicine, reporting that medical cannabis laws reduced the instance of fatal overdose associated with opioid use. Because cannabis is nontoxic, overdose is impossible. This makes it —far and beyond— the safer choice.
- Current pain remedies work well with acute pain (pain from a sudden injury). However, medical cannabis is especially effective with chronic pain. This is the kind of pain that is difficult to treat. As a result of over-prescription of pain treatments that can be addictive, addiction rates and fatal overdoses are skyrocketing these days.
- Cannabis treats inflammatory pain as well as pathological pain. There is growing evidence to suggest that the compounds in marijuana treat both inflammatory and pathological pain. Pathological pain happens when there is nerve damage either from a disease, surgery, or an accident. Alternately, inflammatory pain is usually caused by autoimmune diseases such as arthritis or multiple sclerosis. These two primary types of pain can be very difficult to treat effectively with pain therapies. And finding pain therapies that are also safe is nearly impossible.
- After 80 years of negative propaganda and misinformation, marijuana has a bad reputation. Of course, this is mainly due to the psychoactive effects of THC. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the psychoactive element of cannabis that causes the famous high. It’s still one factor that prevents it from being studied more seriously as a pain treatment. Many medical researchers avoid studying it because of its illegal status in the United States. For many in the professional world, marijuana’s psychoactive effects are taboo. However, the psychoactive effects from alcohol and other pain killers are not.
- Recently, scientists have been exploring the pain-fighting effects of cannabis by mixing its compounds with pharmaceuticals. The idea behind this is that it may be possible to lower the doses of both compounds to create a more effective pain relief. In spite of this, many patients feel that cannabis stands alone as an effective pain killer.
- Although more research is needed on this subject, it is thought that high doses of THC may actually cause some types of pain to worsen. Therefore, Cannabis may possibly only reduce pain up to a certain threshold. After you cross that threshold, you may become more sensitive to certain types of pain. Furthermore, this threshold could be different for each individual. Getting the dosage right will depend on the type of pain, how the herb is being used, and how each person metabolizes it.
- What do hot peppers and marijuana have in common? There is a compound in hot peppers called capsaicin. This spicy compound is a pain reliever. Capsaicin communicates with cell receptors in the body. Consequently, these cell receptors have been named capsaicin receptors. And, when capsaicin makes the connection with these cell receptors, it controls pain and inflammation. THC and CBD (cannabidiol) engage with capsaicin receptors to ease inflammation and pain. However, CBD does not cause the psychoactive response. CBD balances the psychoactive effect of THC.
- Pain relief may be boosted by the combination of THC and CBD. Are you looking for more effective pain relief? It may be helpful to opt for a strain of cannabis that contains both THC and CBD. Research has shown that these two compounds work together synergistically and help to balance each other out. Aroma molecules in marijuana, called terpenes, along with other chemicals could also provide additional pain relief and relaxation. If you’d like to crank your pain management up a notch or two, you could consider opting for diverse strains with different chemical profiles. Medical cannabis is a unique, harmless herb that can be tailored to fit your individual requirements. Enjoy!