Cannabis has been used for centuries to alleviate pain, and recent research has shown that it can be an effective treatment for both acute and chronic pain. Acute pain is typically caused by injury or surgery, while chronic pain is often associated with conditions such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis and cancer. Using cannabis pain management it can help alleviate both types of pain through its interaction with the body’s endocannabinoid system.
How does cannabis relieve pain?
Cannabis contains compounds called cannabinoids, which interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a complex network of receptors and chemicals that helps regulate many physiological processes, including pain sensation, mood, appetite, and sleep. The two primary cannabinoids found in cannabis are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).
THC is the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis, and it is responsible for the “high” that users experience. THC binds to cannabinoid receptors in the brain and nervous system, which can reduce pain perception and increase feelings of euphoria and relaxation.
CBD, on the other hand, is a non-psychoactive compound that does not produce a high. CBD interacts with the ECS in a more indirect way, by modulating the activity of other chemicals in the body that help regulate pain, inflammation, and other processes.
Together, THC and CBD work synergistically to produce a wide range of therapeutic effects, including pain relief.
What Does Research Say About Cannabis Pain Management?
There is a growing body of scientific evidence to support the use of cannabis for pain management. Studies have shown that cannabis can be effective for relieving pain associated with a variety of conditions, including chronic pain, neuropathic pain, cancer pain, and arthritis.
One of the most well-known studies on cannabis and pain was conducted by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in 2017. This report reviewed more than 10,000 scientific studies and concluded that cannabis is effective for treating chronic pain in adults.
Another study, published in the Journal of Pain in 2015, found that cannabis was effective for reducing chronic pain and improving quality of life in patients with neuropathic pain. The study also found that cannabis was well-tolerated and did not cause significant side effects.
Research has also shown that cannabis can be effective for reducing pain and inflammation associated with arthritis. A study published in the European Journal of Pain in 2016 found that topical CBD reduced pain and inflammation in rats with arthritis. A small study conducted in 2019 also found that cannabis oil was effective for reducing pain and stiffness in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
Cannabis Pain Management Options
Cannabis can be consumed in a variety of forms, including smoking, vaping, edibles, tinctures, and topicals. Each method of consumption has its own advantages and disadvantages, and patients should work with their healthcare providers to determine the best method for their individual needs.
Smoking and vaping are the most common methods of consuming cannabis for pain relief. These methods allow for rapid onset of effects. However, smoking and vaping can irritate the lungs and may not be appropriate for patients with respiratory conditions.
One of the most promising cannabis products for pain relief is RSO (Rick Simpson Oil), which is made from a strain of cannabis that is highly potent but also contains a high-level of CBD. RSO oil or tablets can be taken orally or applied topically, and it has been shown to be effective in reducing pain and inflammation. It was initially created as a medicinal therapeutic for cancer and other chronic conditions. A drop as small as a grain of rice is generally all that is needed to be effective.
High THC products, on the other hand, are more commonly used for acute pain relief. THC is the psychoactive compound in cannabis that produces the “high” associated with cannabis use. However, it also has pain-relieving properties and can be effective in reducing acute pain. High THC products are typically smoked or vaporized, and they can provide rapid relief from pain.
Edibles and tinctures are another popular way to consume cannabis for pain relief. These products are ingested orally and can provide longer-lasting effects than smoking or vaping. However, as edibles have to pass through the digestive system, the effects can take longer to onset.
Topical cannabis products, such as creams and balms, are also gaining popularity for pain relief. These products are applied directly to the skin and can provide targeted relief to specific areas of the body. However, the effects of topicals are generally mild and may not be as effective for severe deep pain. Many users find that a combination of edibles or inhalable products along with topicals provide the best relief.
Overall, cannabis pain management can be an effective treatment for both acute and chronic pain. RSO oil is a promising product for chronic pain relief, while high THC products are more commonly used for acute pain. However, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional before using cannabis for pain relief, as it can interact with other medications and may not be appropriate for everyone.