For individuals that live with chronic pain, the impact on their quality of life can be difficult to handle. This long-lasting discomfort doesn’t mean you are just dealing with the pain—you may also be prone to everything from sleep and appetite disruptions to depression. Recently, a popular topic in medical communities is whether cannabis and its constituents could effectively be used to help people who suffer from chronic pain.
Many people use cannabis for pain, including chronic pain. However, the formal research into the topic is just getting off to a good start to give all of us a deeper understanding of how and why cannabis may help with bodily discomfort. Below is a closer look at the prevalence of chronic pain, current research that supports cannabis use for chronic pain, and more.
A Look at the Prevalence of Chronic Pain
Chronic pain is defined as ongoing pain that lasts for at least three months. It is so prevalent in the United States that it is considered one of the biggest reasons people are in ongoing medical care. Some estimates say that as many as one in four adults is dealing with chronic pain. People can have chronic pain that is related to a number of different conditions and illnesses, such as:
- Inflammation in the joints
- Nerve damage from repeat or prior injuries
- Scar tissue pain
- Pain related to cancer
Can Cannabis Help with Pain?
Numerous anecdotal reports show cannabis to be an effective option for pain. Further, pain management is said to be the top reason people say they use marijuana for medical purposes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many states that have passed cannabis for medical use have listed chronic pain as one of the conditions that can allow a prospective patient to get approved for use for cannabis as medicine as well. Therefore, there is substantial support for using cannabis and cannabinoids for pain among the general population and by certain in-place legislation.
The Research Behind Cannabis and Pain
While many people generally accept and even report that cannabis helps with pain, scientific research to date is a bit lacking. Part of the reason there is not a lot of science behind cannabis use for pain is that the plant has not been legally allowed to be examined in medical studies over the years due to its legal status. However, the changes made in these legalities over the last few years have brought some impressive bits of research to light. Today, there are a handful of studies that show how cannabis may be beneficial for certain types of pain.
A review published in 2020 gathered data from different available studies to show the potential for cannabis used to help with different types of pain. The review found seven placebo-controlled trials that included 298 patients cumulatively that suffered from pain related to multiple sclerosis and neuropathic pain, both of which can cause chronic discomfort. Cannabis use did offer a statistically significant difference in participant pain scores.
The review also mentioned that there were study findings in support of using cannabis for non-cancer-related types of pain and possibly musculoskeletal pain. And, the researchers went on to say that cannabis offers some improvement in outlying symptoms associated with chronic pain. For example, patients with chronic pain often struggle with depression, but cannabis users with fibromyalgia had mild increases in scores related to mental health.
How Does Cannabis Help Chronic Pain Sufferers?
Cannabis may help chronic pain sufferers in more ways than one, and we are truly just now gaining a better understanding. Different cannabinoids found in cannabis may affect different areas that are involved with chronic pain. For example, THC may support individuals with neurological pain by disrupting pain signals normally transmitted by the nerves. However, something like cannabidiol may help support people with chronic pain by targeting areas of inflammation.
The secondary benefits of cannabinoids for chronic pain sufferers are also important to note. As noted in the aforementioned review, individuals with chronic pain tend to be at a high risk of other secondary symptoms like fatigue, depression, lack of appetite, and poor sleep quality. Cannabis may offer a viable therapeutic support option for targeting these secondary issues.
For example, CBD/CBN Sleep Gummies may be a good option for individuals who have trouble sleeping due to pain. Both cannabidiol and cannabinol (CBN) are known to offer some level of sleep support. Likewise, something like CBD:CBG 1:1 Cherry Pie Terpene Profile Vape may be a good option for someone who struggles with feeling stressed or depressed due to ongoing issues with pain. CBD has shown mood-regulating properties and cannabigerol (CBG) may offer its own therapeutic support for some types of pain.
FAQs About Chronic Pain and Cannabis
How much cannabis do you use for pain?
How much you need can vary significantly according to different factors, such as what type of product you are using and the exact cannabinoid concentrations. For example, if you are trying high-THC flower for pain, you may only need to smoke a little to see the desired impact on your comfort levels. However, if you are using a lower-THC flower or even a hemp-based CBD product, you may have to try a small dose in the beginning and adjust that dose as needed to see the best outcome.
Which consumption method is best for pain?
Consumption methods can be a matter of preference, but certain methods of cannabis use may be preferred due to the timing of effects. Inhaled cannabinoids from smoked flower or vapes take effect within a few minutes, which can be preferable if you need fast relief. By contrast, ingested cannabinoids from products like gummies or capsules can take around an hour to kick in but may provide more sustained levels of relief.
Final Thoughts from Southern Sky Brands
As the Mississippi medical cannabis plans are brought to fruition, more people will have access to cannabis for chronic pain related to debilitating conditions. For now, be sure to take a look at the hemp-based products available from Southern Sky Brands.