Article by Mary Sauer, The Fresh Toast
Pain management is one of the most common reason doctor’s are prescribing medical marijuana. Treating chronic pain can be complicated and for some, cannabis provides an effective alternative that some argue comes with lower risks than more conventional treatment methods.
If one of the 20 per cent of Americans with chronic pain who is also considering marijuana as an option, here’s what you need to know about medical cannabis and how it may help deal with your pain.
Neuropathy is damage to the nerves and is commonly associated with diabetes. It can also result from a traumatic injury or repetitive use that damages nerves 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 noted an association between vaporized cannabis and reduced neuropathic pain. Additionally, researchers observed and recorded changes 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 non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) do effectively reduce inflammation, but long-term use has been shown to be 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 per cent of Americans suffer from regular migraines. Migraines are so much more than headaches and can cause debilitating pain.
Using medical cannabis 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 cannabis has the potential to be used preventively, reducing the frequency of migraines, in addition to serving as quick treatment of migraine pain.
Joint pain relief
For individuals with arthritis, joint pain can cause daily suffering that reduces their quality of life. Many individuals are advised to manage pain with lifestyle changes such as exercise and weight loss. While these methods are effective, they do take time.
Cannabis has been found to be a promising method of immediate relief from joint pain. Marijuana can provide some individuals the relief they need to feel empowered to pursue lifestyle changes that will improve the symptoms of their condition for the long term.