Pain management is the most common reason doctor’s are prescribing medical marijuana. Treating chronic pain can be complicated and for some, marijuana provides an effective alternative that comes with lower risks than more conventional treatment methods.
If you are part of the 20% of Americans facing chronic pain and you haven’t yet turned to marijuana as an option, here’s what you need to know about the way medical marijuana can help you deal with pain.
Neuropathy is damage to the nerves and it is commonly associated with diabetes. It can also result from a traumatic injury or repetitive use that damages a nerve over time. Typically, neuropathy is treated with pain relievers, including over-the-counter options and opioids.
In 2017, a research study published in the Journal of Pain Research established an association between vaporized cannabis and reduced neuropathic pain. Additionally, researchers were able to observe and record changed in pain relief based on the dosage of cannabis used.
Inflammation in the body can cause pain and reducing inflammation is one strategy for increasing comfort in individuals dealing with chronic pain. Over-the-counter NSAIDs do effectively reduce inflammation but long-term use is associated with irritation of the stomach and increased risk of ulcers.
In 2010, Future Medicinal Chemistry published a research review examining the existing evidence of how cannabis can work as an anti-inflammatory drug. According to this research, marijuana interacts with the endocannabinoid system and creates an anti-inflammatory response in the body.
Including both children and adults, 12% of Americans suffer from regular migraines. Migraines are so much more than headaches and can cause debilitating pain.
Using medical marijuana is a new option for a hard to treat condition. In 2016, the journal Pharmacotherapy published research on the use of medical marijuana by patients with chronic migraines. The study found that marijuana has the potential to be used preventatively, reducing the frequency of migraines, and as a quick treatment of migraine pain.
Joint Pain Relief
For individuals with arthritis, joint pain can cause daily suffering that greatly reduces their quality of life. Many individuals are advised to manage pain with lifestyle changes like exercise and weight loss. While these methods are certainly effective, they take time.
Cannabis has been found to be a promising method of immediate relief from joint pain. Marijuana can give individuals the relief they need to feel empowered to pursue lifestyle changes that will improve the symptoms of their condition for the long term.
Reduced Addiction Risk
One of the common problems with treating chronic pain is the tendency to develop tolerance to narcotics. A tolerance can require changing dosages or medications to achieve the desired results. In many cases, regular opioid use for pain relief can result in dependence or addiction.
Promising research is emerging that points out the potential of using marijuana to help treat opioid addiction. Not only is the use of marijuana for pain relief able to prevent individuals from taking an opioid pain reliever in the first place, but it may also be used to lower the risk of relapse in individuals being treated for an opioid use disorder.