What’s the Evidence for Using Cannabis to Reduce Pain?

In recent years the demand for medical cannabis has grown exponentially, and it’s showing no signs of slowing down. Currently, 36 states as well as Washington D.C. and the U.S. territories of Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands have medical cannabis programs in place.

One of the biggest reasons people seek out medical cannabis is for pain management. Many studies are investigating whether cannabinoids can treat varying causes or types of pain. Currently, the research remains inconclusive and anecdotal.

However, as more states continue to legalize medical cannabis, the demand for more information and research will grow. The increased attention towards medical cannabis will likely allow science to catch up.

Do People Use Medical Cannabis For Pain? If Yes, Why?

The pharmaceutical industry will likely see the revenue brought in by painkillers grow to $5.9 billion by 2023. With the vast supply of painkillers on the market, you might wonder why people are turning to cannabis.

‌When it comes to managing pain, a new study shows 93% of patients prefer medical cannabis over opioids, mainly because:

  • Cannabis helps them decrease their opiate dose
  • Cannabis helps them avoid the side effects of opiates
  • Cannabis has relatively more tolerable side effects of cannabis

 

‌Researchers have indicated the leading cause of accidental death in the United States is from a prescription drug overdose. On the other hand, there are no recorded deaths due to cannabis overdose.

How Does Medical Cannabis Interact With Your Body?

The cannabis plant contains trichomes that produce the chemical compounds known as cannabinoids and terpenes. Cannabinoids are what cause the physical and mental effects of cannabis in the body, while terpenes are responsible for the plant’s aroma.

The human body contains two known cannabinoid receptors that make up the endocannabinoid system — or the ECS. Discovered in the 90s, these receptors are known as CB1 and CB2. Most ECS receptors are located in the nervous system, but a few of them can be found in the immune system.

The ECS is responsible for maintaining balance in the body and regulates sleep patterns, mood, memory, appetite, and fertility.The ECS also reacts with the various cannabinoids found in cannabis plants.

The cannabinoids discussed in the recent studies include

  • Cannabidiol (CBD) — which can be used to help relieve pain, alleviate anxiety, treat neurological disorders, and clear up skin issues.
  • Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — which can help reduce nausea, chronic pain, and inflammation.
  • Cannabigerol (CBG) — which has potential neuroprotectant, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Cannabichromene (CBC) — which can reduce nociceptive pain.
  • Cannabinol (CBN) — which may positively impact energy, mood, appetite, focus, pain, and immunity.

Some terpenes have also been found to help with pain. These terpenes include:

  • Myrcene
  • Caryophyllene
  • Pinene

‌Which Types of Pain Can Cannabis Help You Relieve?

‌Medical cannabis is used to help many different types of pain. The pain can range from mild to severe and acute to chronic. Specifically, some of these types of pain include:‌

  • Migraines and headaches
  • Neuropathic pain
  • Joint pain
  • Spasticity
  • Pain from cancer
  • Neuropathic pain
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Arthritis

Which Medical Cannabis Strains Can Help You Relieve Pain?

Research on CBD for pain relief has had some promising results, so you may want to reach for a CBD-dominant strain to manage your pain. CBD can sometimes be more concentrated in hemp — which is cannabis that contains at most 0.3 percent of THC

In general, there are three types of cannabis plants that are used most commercially: Cannabis indica, Cannabis sativa, and several combinations of the two — called “hybrids.”

In one small study, participants found that the indica strains especially helped with managing certain types of pain. However, the conclusions you can draw from this study are limited. It relied on participants self-reporting their experiences after using cannabis at home. That is, the dose each individual took may not have been the same. 

In a 2016 study, patients with chronic cancer pain reported an improved quality of life from using medical cannabis. In another study, 70% of cancer patients reported improvement in pain and overall well-being while using medical cannabis. Other studies have found that patients reported a decrease in chronic migraines after using medical cannabis.

What Are the Side Effects of Medical Cannabis?

More research that is focused on determining the side effects of medical cannabis for people with various health conditions is needed. Also, the possible side effects can vary depending on the product, and they can include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Increased appetite
  • Increased heart rate
  • Sedation
  • Reduced coordination

You should consult your doctor before trying medical cannabis and have them monitor you while you’re using it. Everyone’s body chemistry is different, so some people can have unexpected reactions to medical cannabis. It can take several tries to find the best strain and dosage to help your pain.

Where Can You Buy Medical Cannabis in Florida?

With an online dispensary and 21 physical locations, VidaCann is one of the largest medical cannabis retailers in Florida. We can provide you with high-quality cannabis products catered to your needs. We manufacture and cultivate our products, including cannabis flowers, concentrates, topical products, and vaporizers.

‌For more information, visit one of our convenient locations to speak to one of our professional budtenders. We will help you choose the best products for your pain management needs.

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