Medical Cannabis for Chronic Pain Management: Is it Effective?
The use of medical cannabis for chronic pain can be traced back to over 4000 years ago. Initially, Chinese physicians used it to treat several types of pains associated with childbirth, rheumatic pain, malaria, and even constipation.
Chronic pain is one of the most common reasons people seek medical care. It interferes with day-to-day activities, has been linked with poor or perceived health, and reduces the quality of life, leading to anxiety or depression among sufferers. According to figures from the CDC, about 20 percent or fifty million Americans suffer from some form of chronic pain.
Normally, your doctor will prescribe pharmaceuticals like analgesics and opioids to help fight pain. However, opioids, although derived from natural sources, are not completely safe to consume. Thankfully, medical cannabis for chronic pain comes to the rescue to save you from the addictive effects of opioids.
This article will discuss how medical marijuana for chronic pain works and how you can access it to help improve your well-being.
Before moving forward, make sure you get Illinois Cannabis Card to reap the benefits of this miracle compound.
What exactly is Chronic Pain?
Chronic pain is a long-standing pain that lasts beyond the usual recovery period (longer than 12 weeks) or appears with a chronic condition, such as arthritis. You may have chronic pain “on” and “off” or persistent. It may impact people that they can’t work, eat properly, participate in physical activity, or enjoy life to the fullest.
Chronic pain can be divided into two main types:
- Nociceptive pain, (linked to tissue damage)
- Neuropathic pain (related to nerve damage).
There is no clear explanation as to why the pain persists in many cases. People often associate pain as a sign of a disease in the body.
Fortunately, medical cannabis for chronic pain is an effective natural remedy due to its safe nature. It also fights off inflammation, elevates your mood, and helps you doze off peacefully.
Let’s dive into the details about medical cannabis for chronic pain and how effective is it?
Medical Cannabis for Chronic Pain Management
Over the past few years, medicinal cannabis has increasingly become a topic of conversation in the cannabis community regarding its analgesic properties.
In the United States, a study stated that almost 62% of people who sought medical cannabis used the herb to treat these persistent aches and discomfort.
So, the question that arises here is how does cannabis work for chronic pain?
According to research, the cannabis plant acts directly on your endocannabinoid system. This system includes a vast network of chemical signals and receptors throughout your brain and body. For instance, the CB1 receptors in the brain outnumber many of the other receptor types in the brain. These receptors regulate things by direct feedback, whether hunger, temperature, or alertness.
CBD and THC activate different cannabinoid receptors in your body that stimulate or inhibit brain chemicals and cause certain effects. It is important to mention that not only does CBD help the user experience relief, but THC is equally important. Both cannabinoids act together in the entourage effect, emphasizing the positive attributes of each other and suppressing the negative effects.
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How THC and CBD May Help in Chronic Pain Relief
Cannabis plants are complex, and various varieties have a set of differences. Still, almost all of them consist of two medicinally active components, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). These components have exceptional pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties.
While both components are natural pain killers, THC causes euphoria and the feeling of being high or intoxicated; on the other hand, CBD is a non-intoxicating component.
Therefore, a balanced combination of THC and CBD is the key to getting the most out of it. CBD lowers the psychoactive effects of THC, so you can relish the healing properties of marijuana without necessarily getting high.
In addition, striking a balance between the two can help you address chronic pain by calming your immune system and reducing inflammation.
To get the maximum benefits of medical marijuana, you can ingest it in the form of edibles, inhale it or use it topically in the form of oils and creams.
Clinical Significance of Cannabis for Pain Management
For many years, there have been countless studies addressing the effectiveness of medicinal cannabis in treating chronic pain.
One detailed study evaluated chronic pain patients’ perspectives on medical marijuana. The study included 984 chronic pain patients, including neuropathic pain, back pain, arthritis, post-surgical pain, headaches, and abdominal pain. In this study, two-thirds of patients reported pain relief as the main outcome of marijuana use.
Another small study published in the journal of pain showed a 64% drop in opioid usage amongst chronic pain patients who used medical cannabis for chronic pain. In addition, the noteworthy point was that these patients experienced fewer side effects and of course, improved quality of life.
In a recent thorough review of current data on the health influences of cannabis and cannabinoids, the National Academies of Sciences concluded that ‘adult patients with chronic pain treated with cannabis/cannabinoids were more likely to experience a clinically significant reduction in pain symptoms.’
The above studies show that medical cannabis for chronic pain is a great remedy for patients. However, more studies are needed in this regard.
Is Medicinal Cannabis Legal?
You might be wondering that medical cannabis for chronic pain is effective but is it legal in your state? The answer is, while cannabis looks likely to be a helpful tool in chronic pain management, its legal status cannot be ignored. However, in many countries, there is a general movement towards legalizing cannabis for medicinal purposes. In the US, cannabis may be used for medical purposes in around 33 states. Illinois is one of those states where medical cannabis is legal for medicinal and recreational purposes.
However, we will still recommend getting an Illinois Cannabis card to get the benefits of marijuana to the fullest.
The Best Marijuana strains for Chronic Pain Relief
Grab one of these beneficial and best marijuana strains for pain after getting your hands on a Medical Marijuana Card in Illinois.
There are two main types of marijuana, Cannabis Sativa and Cannabis Indica. Before deciding which strain will benefit you the most, you must know the difference between these two.
You will usually experience more of a head high with a Sativa strain. Sativa strains fill the user with energy and euphoria and might help you focus on certain tasks. Sativa strains typically have more THC than CBD and are best for daytime use. If you are a heavy cannabis user, you might favor a Sativa strain during the day to help give you a boost in the morning, kind of like a coffee.
Indica strains are particularly good at calming and sedating the user. People with anxiety and sleep disturbances most commonly use Indica strains. When smoking an Indica strain, you can expect to feel a relaxing effect—followed by an intense body high. Naturally, Indica strains have a higher CBD content than Sativa strains.
Or you can also opt for a hybrid strain that combines both Indica and
Best Marijuana Strains for Pain
Sour Diesel is a Sativa dominant strain means it will give you an invigorating high and boost your mood. Sour Diesel is often used for chronic pain and nausea but is praised for its help with anxiety and stress due to its paranoid-free effect!
Bubba Kush is an Indica dominant strain and has gained popularity throughout the United States. As this strain’s effects kick in, you will start to experience a relaxing body-melting sensation that remains mild enough to keep you up and attentive. It makes Bubba Kush a superb choice for daytime or nighttime use – providing you with chronic pain relief.
Pineapple Express is a hybrid strain, which means it is a cross between both Indica and Sativa. The aroma of this strain is often reported as fresh apple and mango, with a taste of pineapple, pine, and cedar. This strain is known to relieve pain while providing a long-lasting energized buzz suitable for a productive afternoon with no interruptions because of aching joints.
Access Medical Cannabis for Chronic Pain Relief
While medical marijuana comes with many benefits, it can be difficult to access as it is not legal in all states. However, buying medical marijuana is easier if you have a written recommendation letter from a licensed cannabis doctor or healthcare professional. You may also want to register for the Illinois Medical Cannabis Program for a hassle-free cannabis experience.
At Medical Cannabis Doctors, if you think you have a qualifying condition and your physician is not willing to certify an Illinois medical marijuana card. Contact us, and we will assist you right away.
Or you can access the Illinois Cannabis System online at https://icts.illinois.gov for free assistance. Visit us to learn more about How to get a medical cannabis card?