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, there are numerous treatment options available for you. One of these is the now popular medical marijuana. Although research is still ongoing, experts have found that medical marijuana is 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 treat and manage multiple health conditions.
The two most prevalent extracts of the cannabis plant are: Cannabidiol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). In a 2015 study, researchers found that medical marijuana is indeed capable of alleviating chronic pain.
Although both extracts have proven useful, THC is the psychoactive constituent of marijuana (causes a “high” feeling), making CBD a preferable form of medical cannabis. Numerous studies have found that it contains various therapeutic properties that make it an ideal treatment option for multiple health disorders, including chronic pain.
While most chronic pain conditions cannot be cured, medical marijuana makes the pain more manageable. A recent review states that CBD contains anti-inflammatory properties that make it possible to alleviate chronic pain.
In the same token, it can influence various receptors in the body, thereby influencing the Endocannabinoid System (ECS), resulting in a significant reduction of pain levels. Similarly, a recent review by the European Journal of Pain found that CBD can alleviate chronic pain caused by arthritis.
Besides the pain, CBD can also deal with other symptoms of chronic pain, such as anxiety and depression. According to researchers, CBD interacts with various body receptors in the brain, such as serotonin, which regulate mood swings and other anxiety-related behaviors.
Therefore, medical marijuana is an effective treatment option that alleviates debilitating pain and treats 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 treatment option for chronic pain include:
- Its anti-inflammatory properties alleviate the debilitating pain.
- Unlike other chronic pain medications such as opioids, it doesn’t cause severe side effects.
- Reduces anxiety.
- Promotes restful sleep.
- Generally, it improves the patient’s quality of life.
Interested in Learning More?
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