Pain Management with Cannabis Therapy

strains for pain, uses for medical marijuana
“Vintage doctor’s swag – craps dice advertise Tylenol with Codiene” by Woodly Wonderworks via Flickr

 

The control or relief of chronic pain is constantly on the minds of those who suffer from it. Pharmaceuticals may offer relief but often this respite may only be a short term fix. Not to mention the many annoying side effects which can occur as well as the cost of the drug. As the person’s body becomes accustomed to the pharmaceutical pain killer, stronger doses are needed, leading to addiction or even death.

 

Pain is generally a symptom brought on by a disease and not a disease unto itself. But all too often, pain is a constant for those who have experienced a serious injury or are combating a life threatening disease. For those who suffer from pain on a daily basis, whether it be chronic pain or acute pain, cannabis can not only bring relief but improve the quality of life.

Cannabis is a viable alternative to chemical pain control. Both the THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and the CBD (Cannabidiol) found in Cannabis are anti-inflammatory agents and interact with cannabinoid receptors which are located in various areas of the human body to help alleviate the pain being experienced, without the harsh side effects of pharmaceuticals. Cannabinoid receptor type-1 (CB1) are located all over the body with the highest concentration in the central nervous system where pain is controlled. Cannabinoid receptor type-2 (CB2) can be found in areas of the body which help control immune functions of the body and where pain is also controlled. Cannabis has been found to block these receptors and diminish the sensation of pain in many clinical studies.

The active components of cannabis imitate the human body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) which produces endocannabinoids. Endocannabinoids help keep biologic functions – sleep, pain, appetite to name a few – in balance. Should a person’s body go out of balance due to an illness or stress, these endocannabinoids work to restore that balance. But if a body’s ECS is unable to restore that balance by themselves the active components of the cannabis plant can assist.

There is no one strain of cannabis which is better than another for pain relief. Though, the strains which are higher in CBD appear to have a greater ability to decrease the sensation of pain. But the presence of THC may be necessary for the CBD to work effectively. While, CBD can provide many health benefits without the lethargy or euphoria of THC, it has been found that CBD is more effective when THC is present.

But a person’s physiology and how the cannabis is introduced to the body can have an impact on the effectiveness of the cannabis. Some people prefer to rub a cannabis infused ointment on the afflicted area while others may prefer to smoke or vape the cannabis. Another alternative would be edibles – food which has been made with the addition of cannabis. If a person lives in a state with medical marijuana or even legal (retail) marijuana, then consulting the budtender at a dispensary for recommendations would be the best step to take.

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