As the world develops and people become more aware of what chemicals they are putting in their bodies and generally becoming much more health-conscious, there has been an increase in research into ‘natural’ medications and what are the best types to use. The research is not only coming from members of the public but also from medical professionals. In America, 11 states have now legalized the use of medical marijuana with at least 5 more looking to legalize it. In recent years, the subject has become much more popular and controversial amongst different communities more people are starting to wonder what the benefits are of using marijuana for medical purposes. Although there are many uses for medical marijuana, studies show that around 60% of the population who use medical marijuana do so for chronic pain.
Replacement for Opioids
The most common drug for chronic pain is the use of opioids. Although opioids are generally very strong and can only be taken in certain dosages and are used for specific conditions. Many health care professionals are now saying that according to the patient’s needs and severity medical use of marijuana may be able to completely replace the use of opioids or at least lessen the dose significantly, although, this is still under research and currently there is not a sufficient amount of scientific evidence to completely back this up. This being said it is estimated that around 2.1 million Americans reportedly use medical marijuana or cannabis either solely or alongside their opioid prescription, however, by using it alongside the opioid it means that the original dosage can be lessened. Chronic pain is a major reason for adults to seek medical care in the US however it can be very expensive, time-consuming and can be challenging to treat. Medical use of marijuana has shown to be a cheaper, easier, and safer way to control the pain. Since legalizations, there has been a considerably fewer number of opioid-related deaths.
How Does It Help Medically?
There are different types of marijuana or cannabis available on the street market, so if you are looking to start using marijuana for a medical purpose it is first important to understand why you would use it and what is it made up of? Cannabis-based medicines contain cannabinoids derived from the cannabis plant, the two main phytocannabinoid components in the cannabis plant are THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol), these are the two main components of any cannabis-based medication or a combination of them both. These compounds react to the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) which is the system related to our internal pain system. When dealing with the pain relief you would be looking for a higher percentage of pure CBD oil rather than THC since THC is where you get the ‘high’ from however CBD is the highest reactor to pain.
Studies have shown throughout the world that there is a very high percentage of the population who suffer from chronic pain and use medical marijuana, claim that marijuana has eased the pain for them more than the prescribed medication. Alongside this, they have suffered fewer side effects than what they had suffered from pharmaceutical medications. The science behind this is that the CBD reacts directly with the biology of our bodies which recognize pain. This is known as our CB1 and CB2 receptors which are located throughout various structures of our bodies. When someone is diagnosed with chronic pain there is a lot of research and ‘trial and error’ which constitutes to getting a diagnosis and then a prescription. However, with medical marijuana it is a much simpler process, once the diagnosis is complete by a licensed medical marijuana doctor, it can then be advised how much or what type of marijuana is best suited for the individual, however, since marijuana is a plant and made of only a couple of components the prescriptions are not much different. Nearly all studies have shown an increase in quality of life and symptom management for patients who change from opioid control to marijuana.
Medical marijuana has other benefits than relief from chronic pain. There are benefits such as:
People reported that the use of marijuana and CBD helped with their sleep. Whether it was falling asleep, staying asleep, or the control of nightmares whilst sleeping. Dealing with Chronic Pain often leads to interrupted or lack of sleep
Quality of Life
Chronic pain often means that the patient misses out on many aspects of day to day life. Studies show that these patients, after using medical marijuana were able to once again, enjoy the little things of life. Allowing them to then feel more productive and motivated as they were able to spend time with their family or do the things they had to stop due to the pain they were suffering in. This also includes any side effects that can be experienced when taking pharmaceutical medication were diminished, since using marijuana have little to no side effects.
Components of Marijuana
The components of marijuana itself are a benefit to bear in mind. Many who were included in the study expressed their relief over being able to control their pain without the worry of, overdosing, addiction, foreign or chemical-based components being ingested. Many people found comfort in that they were able to know what exactly it was they were putting in their bodies and were able to choose the strand of THC/CBD.
Different Ways to Take the Medication
Some people do not like taking tablets or find that they are physically unable to take tablets. With medical marijuana there are a couple of options on how you can take the pain relief, resulting in people feeling much more confident and comfortable to do so. You can smoke, vapourize, or use a pure oil of marijuana.
Of course, until further research is conducted into using medical marijuana it is hard to pinpoint whether it would be beneficial for you or your symptoms. There is also the concern that medical marijuana is not yet legal across the world – so first you should check as to whether it is legal or what your options are regarding this. There are negatives and positives to using marijuana for chronic pain as there is with everything in life – however as research and studies develop it is clear that there are more positives than negatives.