Chronic pain is the number one ailment that causes people to seek out medical marijuana. According to the Pain Alliance of Europe, nearly 1 in 5 Europeans suffer from chronic pain. A similar report in the States was released by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, which states that chronic pain affects 1 in 5 Americans.
With an increase of chronic pain cases worldwide and the rapid rate at which opioid addiction is growing, it makes sense that many people are turning to alternatives, such as cannabis. Survey data and scientific research suggest that medical cannabis is very effective for managing pain.
This is a ground-breaking claim that opens up the door for additional research and treatment options for patients. For years, cannabis has been a Class B (UK) / Schedule 1 (US) drug considered to have no medical value, but the world is now discovering how misguided that is.
HOW DOES CANNABIS HELP?
Cannabis products work in a unique way to suppress pain. Cannabinoids (such as THC and CBD) are the active chemical compounds in cannabis that are being investigated for their therapeutic potential. Peripheral nerves in our bodies that detect pain are full of cannabinoid receptors, and doctors believe they work with the cannabinoids in marijuana to change pain perception.
Another very promising quality that cannabis possesses is the fact that it manages pain in a completely different manner to traditionally prescribed medicine. For example, opioids bind to opioid receptors in the body to mask sensations of pain and cause feelings of euphoria. This binding leads to addiction, the cause of many overdoses and deaths throughout the years.
Since cannabis has no bearing over our opioid receptors, and does not fully bind to the receptors it does interact with, many theorise it could be an effective alternative.
CANNABIS VS OPIATES
Prescription drug abuse (and heroin addiction subsequently) is a widespread problem that’s been exacerbated by a system of over-prescribing medications, lack of treatment options, and cannabis stigma.
A large number of recent studies are showing that patients can use cannabis instead of prescription pills to dramatically reduce their dependence on opioids, while simultaneously managing their pain and feeling healthier overall. As a matter of fact, cannabis may decrease opiate use by 64% on average.
Undoubtedly, there are many factors that will affect the way cannabis works for each individual. The strain you pick, how you consume it, and how much you use will all come into play. However, the notion that cannabis can be an effective method of managing pain is growing in credibility.