How Does Marijuana Reduce Pain?

The power of medical marijuana in chronic pain

A more recent study has proved the effectiveness of cannabis in relieving inflammation and chronic pain through the endocannabinoid system. People have used cannabis as pain relief method for many years, but until recently, studies were scarce. The Department of Neurological Surgery at the Oregon Health and Science University published one of the first studies showing the effectiveness of cannabis in pain management. Medical cannabis targets the rostral ventromedical medulla, which plays important role in modulation of pain in the endocannabinoid system. According to the study, inflammatory and chronic pain blocks the CB1 and CB2 receptors and alters the effects of RVM. Introduction of more cannabinoids significantly counteracts the effects of inflammation and activates the CB2 receptors positively as an important part of the defense and relief from the chronic pain.

Even though the researchers performed the study on rats alone, the results provided a clearer thesis for cannabis effectiveness as a pain relief method and perhaps they will prove it further in the future with human studies and trials.

What is chronic pain?

Chronic pain is any pain that lasts for more than 12 weeks. The pain ranges in severity from a mild nuisance to debilitating agony and manifests in various forms, such as dull ache, burning sensation, soreness, stinging and throbbing pain. Most individuals develop the chronic pain due to injuries or some known health conditions like HIV/AIDS, cancer, and back injury, past surgery, migraine, arthritis or infections. Chronic pain might arise without any discernible reason. The causes of chronic pain are numerous, and the pain affects a significant percentage of the world population. Actually, one in every five people (18.9 percent) 18 years and older suffers from chronic pain – according to Pain Research and Management data.

Mild chronic pain is treatable with the relatively benignant medication; the severe cases require prescription of opiates. The medication offers effective relief but it is more addictive and has many side effects. That is among the key reasons why most physicians and patients are opting for medical cannabis when it comes to managing chronic pain.

How cannabis alleviates pain

The effectiveness of medicinal cannabis in chronic pain management relates to the endocannabinoid system, which plays a crucial role in regulation and management of pain in the body. Even though studies have not shown how that works, they have shown that medical cannabis safely and effectively combats chronic pain. Compared to opioids, medical cannabis is safe and provides better pain relief. The addiction potential is very low and it may help a patient reduce his/her use of opioids. A study published on the Journal of Pain showed that patients who use the drug reduce their opioid use by around 64 percent.
There is adequate evidence that medicinal cannabis offers relief and more quality of life for
individuals living with inflammation or chronic pain. The current studies have shown that is more effective when used as an opioid-based medicine. It comes with lesser side effects, addiction potential and health risks. Because every patient is unique, our physicians will recommend the right amount of cannabis and what strains are best suited for your unique situation.

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