Finding Comfort: Cannabis and Pain
According to recent research, 63% of medical marijuana patients consume cannabis to combat their chronic pain. It’s no wonder, either. Opioid overdoses are on the rise, and as it stands, it’s considered an epidemic in America. Opioids are the go-to for pain relief. Car accident? The doctor prescribes opioids. Surgery? You’re probably getting opioids.
It’s not that people shouldn’t get pain relief, but it’s easy to live in your box of self-created comfort and think, “I can’t be addicted to opioids. My doctor prescribed them to me. Why would he prescribe me something that would hurt me?” Some people may even know they are addicted to opioids but simply can’t tame their urges.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, American deaths from opioids rose from 21,088 in 2010 to 47,600 in 2017, remaining steady in 2018 with 46,802 deaths. In 2017, 14,139 of those deaths were from prescription opioids, not illicit ones.
The data makes it clear to see: chronic pain sufferers need an alternative, less risky option than opioids. Cue cannabis!
How does cannabis work to relieve chronic pain?
The reason cannabis works for pain relief is because of our body’s endocannabinoid system. Cannabis has not been approved by the FDA to cure or treat any disease, and we aren’t claiming it will treat your chronic pain, but research points to the plant as a powerful pain reliever and tool to keep in your toolbox.
The endocannabinoid system is a biological system found in every human being and every animal. The endocannabinoid system comprises two kinds of receptors (that we know of so far), the CB1 and CB2 receptors.
These receptors interact with cannabinoids to help our body feel its best. Cannabinoids are compounds found in the cannabis plant, that includes hemp! There are over 100 known cannabinoids, though researchers feel confident there’s more to be discovered.
You’re probably most familiar with the cannabinoids CBD and THC, though you’ll hear about CBN, CBG, CBC, and others, too. We are learning more and more about these powerful cannabinoids; for so long, the focus has been on CBD and THC, and while important, they aren’t the only stars of the show.
- CBG stands for cannabigerol, thought to help digestive conditions
- CBN stands for cannabinol, thought to improve sleep
- CBC stands for cannabichromene, thought to have anti-inflammatory properties
Each cannabinoid interacts with the endocannabinoid system differently. THC, for example, interacts perfectly with the CB1 receptors. You’ll find CB1 receptors throughout the body, but they’re most prominent in places like the nervous system, the spinal cord, and the brain stem. CBD doesn’t directly engage with either receptor; instead, it works by reducing inflammation in the body.
How do I consume cannabis for pain?
There’s no one method of consumption; it simply depends on your preferences. Lots of chronic pain patients like smoking because it’s fast, effective, and powerful. If you’re in this camp, we have a large selection of flower so you can find exactly what you’re looking for. Thankfully, we can deliver it to you - so don’t even worry about getting off the couch.
If you’re not a fan of smoking, try an edible like a Dollar Dose apple lozenge. It features 5 milligrams of THC and is formulated with an Indica cultivar, which typically is thought to promote rest, relaxation, and recovery. That’s not a hard and fast rule, but you’ll appreciate what Dollar Dose has to offer.
Many pain patients report edibles to have a more profound impact on pain because of the way THC is metabolized through the digestive system. The effects of an edible can take longer to feel than smoking, but the end result is often more effective.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with new products. When it comes to chronic pain, you’ll want something heavy-hitting like an indica or a hybrid. Sativas are great, but they tend to be more of a mental stimulant than anything, so they may not tackle chronic pain like an Indica will.
What does science say about cannabis and chronic pain?
Like we mentioned, the FDA has not approved cannabis to cure or treat any disease. That being said, there are plenty of studies that point to cannabis’ potential to relieve pain.
How much cannabis should I consume?
Because everybody is different, nobody can answer this question for you. If you’re a new cannabis consumer, your mantra is “go low and go slow.” Etch that into your brain, and don’t forget it until you’re more experienced! Less can be more when it comes to cannabis, so don’t consume too much and ruin your perception of it forever.
If you take too much THC, you might feel paranoid and experience symptoms like a racing heart. This is nothing to be concerned about; you will be okay. Meanwhile, your buddy next to you who smoked even more than you is doing fine.
There’s a lot of different reasons why people are more prone to experiencing these effects from THC, including:
- Your sex
- How much you had to eat that day
- Your weight
- How much cannabis you consumed
- Your state of mind before consuming cannabis
I don’t want to get high, so cannabis isn’t for me.
Thankfully, if you’re seeking relief from chronic pain, cannabis presents you with a few different options!
Not only can you consume hemp-derived CBD products which don’t create a psychoactive effect, but you can also administer topicals directly to your skin. This topical stick by Liquid Flower has THC in it, but because you aren’t consuming it, you won’t get high. Topicals are the perfect choice for chronic pain sufferers because you can control exactly how much and where you want to apply them.
Don’t worry about overdoing it; use what you need but test a small amount on one patch of skin to make sure you won’t experience an adverse reaction to any of the additional ingredients.
Need alternative relief from your chronic pain? We’ve got you. Place an order with us and get the cannabis essentials delivered straight to your door in 90 minutes or less!
If you're looking for more information about Cannabis and Health check out our blog: Cannabis And Anxiety: 8 Products That May Help With Anxiety.