Despite opioids being the primary pharmaceutical analgesics for treating pain in the U.S., alternatives like cannabis are gaining more interest and attention, especially due to its analgesic effects.
Not only can chronic and acute pain cause physical, mental, and emotional damage, but it can also significantly interfere with people’s well-being and quality of life. Can you relate?
According to one study that focused on chronic and acute pain across 42 countries, it was found that 20.6% of young people experienced chronic pain that resulted in headaches, backaches, or stomach issues. Nowadays, unfortunately, chronic and acute pain are at the forefront of many people’s lives, but alternative medicines like cannabis continue to gain popularity.
So far, cannabinoids like THC and CBD have demonstrated medicinal and therapeutic properties through numerous clinical trials and studies, but how can this holistic herb help treat pain?
Chronic Pain Versus Acute Pain
Acute pain and chronic pain range in severity and intensity, and they share similarities and differences. For example, acute pain tends to arise suddenly with the cause of it being something specific. Usually, this type of pain is sharp, but on average, it doesn’t stick around longer than six months or so. There are several causes of acute pain, and some of the most common ones include surgery, burns or cuts, broken bones, labor and childbirth, and even dental work.
Chronic pain is a different story though since this type of pain is unfortunately ongoing and usually lasts longer than six months. To top it off, even after an illness or injury that caused the pain goes away or has healed, the pain itself can continue and persist. According to the Cleveland Clinic, chronic pain is linked to numerous medical diseases and conditions such as cancer, arthritis, migraines, fibromyalgia, and back and nerve issues. However, it’s possible to experience chronic pain even if there’s no prior injury, illness, or body damage.
The Ongoing Relationship Between Cannabinoids & Pain
Although there are over 100 cannabinoids found within the cannabis plant, Cannabidiol (CBD) has demonstrated its plethora of medicinal and therapeutic benefits starting with its analgesic properties.
According to one report, it was revealed that cannabinoids are effective and safe when treating neuropathic pain, and additional evidence points to cannabinoids being potentially used as analgesics for helping treat this type of pain. Neuropathic pain is unique because it can be acute or it can become chronic, and thus far, it has been confirmed that cannabis provides clinically significant analgesia.
RELATED: Cannabis And Pain Management: Is Alternative Plant Medicine Becoming The New Norm?
Due to cannabis’s analgesic properties, health issues like migraines, back and nerve pain, arthritis, gastrointestinal cramps, muscle spasms, and other ailments can be potentially treated.
In addition, Multiple Sclerosis is one condition that affects millions yearly, and it causes back and muscle pain and unpredictable spasms. Fortunately, though, cannabinoids are forging a path as being a helping hand for MS patients. One study revealed that cannabinoids are effective for lessening pain, muscle spasticity, and tremor for MS patients.
RELATED: Former MTV VJ Karen “Duff” Duffy Talks CBD And Chronic Pain
Besides Americans, Canadians have taken an interest in cannabinoids and their medicinal value as well. For instance, numerous Canadian hospitals in Quebec allow patients to consume cannabis via vaporizers for pain relief, and several hospital pharmacy departments even control and dispense cannabis akin to opioids for treating pain.
Noteworthy Findings About Cannabinoids and Pain
Thus far, there’s evidence surrounding cannabinoids’ ability to provide pain relief in cancer patients through binding to the body’s CB1 receptors. Then, within tumor-afflicted mice, cannabinoids showed their efficacy in increasing the threshold at which pain is perceived. Although the latter discovery focused on mice subjects, the study’s findings shine a light on the possibility of the results being applicable for humans too.
Despite opioids being the primary pharmaceutical analgesics for treating pain in the U.S., alternatives like cannabis are gaining more interest and attention, especially due to its analgesic effects. To avoid potential adverse side effects, inefficacy, and/or the risk of addiction, more individuals are pursuing cannabinoids rather than opioids.