Chronic pain is a primary condition that qualifies for medical marijuana in most US states. A 2019 study notes that about two-thirds of medical cannabis patients in the US used cannabis for pain.
The continuous legalization of cannabis in several US states has paved the way for advanced medical research. There’s now strong clinical evidence supporting the use of medical marijuana for various types of chronic pain.
Most medical studies show the usefulness of cannabis for treating chronic pain. Other symptoms which qualify for medical marijuana include cancer, neuropathy, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, migraine, and others.
Research on medical cannabis is good news for sufferers of chronic pain. Conventional medication for chronic pain usually results in side effects. Furthermore, prescription medications don’t work for everyone and often come with a higher risk of addiction.
Cannabis and Chronic Pain
In the 1990s scientists and doctors started to understand how cannabis interacts with the human body.
During this period, researchers discovered that cannabinoids are also naturally produced by the human body.
Afterward, researchers discovered an entire system of receptors in the body (the endocannabinoid system) that interacts only with cannabinoids.
Over recent years, medical researchers discovered that the endocannabinoid system is essential in regulating primary bodily functions such as mood, metabolism, learning and memory, sleep, immunity — and pain.
We all understand that endocannabinoid receptors oversee two major types of pain including nociceptive pain (which harms the body, such as a burn) and neuropathic pain (which results from damage to nerves that transmit pain signals).
Scientists have discovered endocannabinoid receptors in different areas of the peripheral and central nervous system and most aspects of the pain pathway. Other endocannabinoid receptors are influential in reducing and regulating inflammatory pain.
Medical Studies on Chronic Pain and Cannabis
Several studies have been conducted on the effectiveness of cannabis and cannabinoids in the treatment of pain, including chronic pain.
According to a 2015 systematic review of 28 studies, it was noted that “there was sufficient proof to support the use of cannabinoids to treat chronic pain.”
A 2010 study on cancer pain incurable with regular prescription medications found that combining CBD and THC resulted in massive pain reduction. According to the study, 43% of subjects showed greater improvement. This is a significantly essential finding because it shows that full-spectrum CBD products are more effective than CBD isolate.
A 2008 study examining the effects of smokable cannabis for neuropathic pain noted that cannabis resulted in significantly less pain.
Another study by British researchers on the effects of Sativex, a cannabis-based drug, showed that cannabis significantly reduced pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis.
A 2016 study analyzed the benefits of medical cannabis in people with different types of treatment-resistant chronic pain. Researchers discovered that not only does cannabis reduce pain, but it also reduced the use of prescription opioid medications.
There is a need for more clinical trials on the effects of medical marijuana on chronic pain sufferers. However current research already shows how cannabis is effective in the treatment of chronic pain.