As much as we all strive to live healthy and happy lives, the truth is that ailments are somewhat inevitable. Consequently, we tend to experience various health issues, most of which are accompanied by chronic pain.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), chronic pain conditions affect approximately 50 million U.S. adults. This indeed shows how prevalent and severe these conditions are.
Worse still, studies also suggest that chronic pain can contribute to other severe physical and mental conditions. Therefore, it’s no secret that living with chronic pain can indeed be quite frustrating and overwhelming.
Luckily, if you or a loved one has been experiencing chronic pain, medical marijuana may provide a solution. Although research is still ongoing, experts have found that medical marijuana may be capable of alleviating chronic pain.
Below is a brief elucidation of everything you need to know about medical marijuana as a treatment option for chronic pain.
What Is Chronic Pain?
The truth is that we all experience aches and body pain occasionally. In most cases, this occurs when we suffer from an injury, since pain signals travel from the injured area to the brain—this is how your body alerts you of possible injury.
In this case, the pain usually becomes less severe as the injury continues to heal. That said, chronic pain is entirely different from typical pain. Also known as persistent pain, chronic pain is the type of pain that persists for up to 3-6 months despite taking medication or treatment.
Some of the symptoms of chronic pain include:
- Muscle aches
- An intense, burning sensation in the affected area.
- Joint pain.
- Anxiety and mood swings.
- Sleep problems.
Causes of Chronic Pain
It is believed that chronic pain is caused by inflammation or when nerves become damaged. Similarly, it can be caused by other underlying health conditions such as:
- Osteoarthritis: This is a common type of arthritis that usually occurs when the body experiences wear and tear, and it usually develops when the protective cartilage between bones wears.
- Fibromyalgia: This is a health disorder that affects your tissues and muscles, causing widespread pain all over your body.
- Back pain: This is a common cause of chronic pain usually caused by muscle strains or arthritis of the spine.
- Rheumatoid arthritis: A type of arthritis that causes severe inflammation of the joints.
Medical Marijuana and Chronic Pain
Medical marijuana, also known as medical cannabis, is quickly gaining traction in the medical world. It refers to the various extracts from the Cannabis Sativa plant that are used to potentially treat and manage multiple health conditions.
The two most prevalent extracts of the cannabis plant are: Cannabidiol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Although both extracts may useful in alleviating chronic pain, THC is the psychoactive constituent of marijuana (causes a “high” feeling), making CBD a preferable form of medical cannabis. CBD may contain various therapeutic properties that make it an promising treatment option for multiple health disorders, including chronic pain.
While most chronic pain conditions cannot be cured, medical marijuana could make the pain more manageable thanks to its potentially anti-inflammatory properties. In the same token, it can influence various receptors in the body, thereby influencing the Endocannabinoid System (ECS), possibly resulting in a significant reduction of pain levels. Similarly, CBD may also be able to alleviate chronic pain caused by arthritis.
Besides pain, CBD may also deal with other symptoms of chronic pain, such as anxiety and depression. CBD may interact with various body receptors in the brain, such as serotonin, which regulates mood swings and other anxiety-related behaviors. Therefore, medical marijuana and its derivatives could be effective in alleviating debilitating pain and treating other symptoms such as anxiety and sleep problems.
Benefits of Medical Marijuana for Chronic Pain
Some of the advantages of using medical cannabis as a possible treatment option for chronic pain include:
- Its potentially anti-inflammatory properties which could alleviate the debilitating pain
- Unlike other chronic pain medications such as opioids, it doesn’t cause severe side effects
- It may Reduces anxiety
- It could promote restful sleep
- Generally, it could help to improve the patient’s quality of life
Interested in Learning More?
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