How Does Marijuana Reduce Pain?

The power of marijuana and its effect on chronic pain

People have used cannabis as pain relief method for many years, but until recently, studies were few and far between. However, with the widespread acceptance of medicinal marijuana the legality and tolerance towards scientific research has made incredible headway in the field. A recent study has linked cannabis, through the endocannabinoid system, to the relief of inflammation and chronic pain. The Department of Neurological Surgery at the Oregon Health and Science University published one of the earliest studies showing the connection and effectiveness of cannabis in pain management. Medical cannabis targets the rostral ventromedical medulla, an integral player in the modulation of pain throughout 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 to your body significantly counteracts the effects of inflammation and activates the CB2 receptors positively as part of the defense and relief of chronic pain.

Even though the researchers performed the study on rats alone, the results provided a clearer thesis for cannabis effectiveness as a method of pain relief and a step towards human studies and trials in the future.

What is chronic pain?

Chronic pain is categorized as any pain that lasts for more than 12 weeks. Chronic pain may range in severity. From a mild nuisance to debilitating agony, chronic manifests itself in counless forms that include, but are not limited to: dull aches, a burning sensation, soreness, stinging and throbbing pains. Most individuals develop chronic pain from injuries and other known health conditions such as HIV/AIDS, cancer, and back injury, past surgery, migraine, arthritis or infections. Regardless of these causes, 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. According to Pain Research and Management data, one in five Americans — 18 years or older — suffer from chronic pain.

Mildly occuring chronic pain is treatable with the relatively benignant medication. However, severe cases are often treated with opiates and controlled narcotics. These medications offer effective relief, but their addictive qualities and toll they take on your body is not a laughing matter. Thes are among the key reasons that most physicians and patients are opting for medicinal cannabis over opiates for treating their chronic pain.

How cannabis alleviates pain

The effectiveness of medicinal cannabis in chronic pain management comes down to the endocannabinoid system and the way that it reacts while regultating or managing pain in your body. 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 a higher quality of life for individuals living their lives with inflammation or chronic pain. The current studies have shown that medicinal marijuana is more effective when used opposed to an opioid-based medicine. Marijuana 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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