Weed, also referred to as cannabis or medical marijuana, has become increasingly popular for many reasons. Amongst these, the topmost is for pain. However, there are numerous kinds of weed products available in the market including the best THC gummies, tinctures, vapes, and whatnot.
According to a study, about 87% of US users use weed for pain-related purposes. This percentage is rising every day as more people are exposed to it and the increasing legality of the many forms of weed.
However, while its use for this purpose is prevalent, it is not a one size fits all situation. Thus, there are many sides, thoughts, and limitations to weed helping with pain. This article will detail these below.
Everybody has experienced some kind of pain at one point; these all fall under different points in the intensity scale. It is our body’s way of telling us something isn’t as it should be. And while some may only last a while and thus be aided easily with medication, many do not.
Many turn to medical marijuana to relieve pain when it is intense or constantly recurring. These are usually a pain to treat via the traditional route as medications may not be too helpful and are mostly on the expensive side.
For example, According to the ACA (American Chiropractic Association), about 31 million of its citizens suffer from back pain at any time. This condition is by itself in tallied cost of lost work and treatment, racking up a whopping 253 billion USD annually according to the bone and joint initiative.
Currently, the percentage of humans with chronic pain surpasses those with diabetes, cancer, and heart problems. It is a top cause of long-term disability.
Do Doctors Recommend Medical Cannabis For Pain?
There have been improvements in recent years in the legal stand of cannabis in many states. Also, more research has gone into its use to treat pain. However, many doctors are hesitant to endorse it for treating many ailments.
In 2021, the IASP released a statement concluding that “there is not enough high quality human clinical safety evidence to allow IASP to endorse the general use of cannabis and cannabinoids for pain at this time.”
Regardless, many preliminary studies on humans and conclusive studies on animals have leaned toward the positive.
For example, NASEM, in 2017, reported a 40% reduction in pain in those who participated in a gold-standard clinical study trial. This trial was randomized, and participants included people with various types and intensities of pain. Additionally, the online community has many positive reports about its effects and benefits.
From user reports, various types of best weed strains may also work better than others to treat pain, and their mode of use may also change.
Doctors mostly prescribe this medication as an alternative to others. For example, opioids, narcotics, and benzodiazepines are drugs common for chronic pain. However, due to their high number of unwanted side effects, many who opt for cannabis can do away with them or reduce their doses to the minimum.
Conclusively, pain differs from one to another. While weed may help relieve a particular type of pain, it may not be helpful to another. Weed can ease certain pain types, especially those that are nerve and inflammation related.
Marijuana To Relieve Pain
Chronic pain is commonly described as pain persisting for up to three months. Most of the pains have their underlying causes as other major conditions that are hard to cure. Thus, getting rid of the pain is often not an option. To cope with it, it is crucial to relieve the pain. However, for many conditions like arthritis, there has been a very skeptical review of its effectiveness.
Nevertheless, medical marijuana use is rising and persists for many types of chronic pain. Among these are majorly neuropathic pain, which has given high positive results. Pains from migraines, cancer treatments, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, bodily injuries and inflammation, menstruation, etc., respond differently to cannabis. These also include localized pains like a headache or migraine pain.
Below are three of the most common pain cases in view;
1. Back Pain
Back pain is one of the most popular types of pain. Data from the American Chiropractic Association shows that 80% of all Americans have experienced this at least once. The Bone and Joint Initiative also reveals that about ten percent of all hospital visits stem from back and neck pain.
Thus, it is a very common form of pain. Back pain can come from a simple sprain, a strain, sciatica, or a ruptured disc. It can also result from arthritis, osteoporosis, a bulging disc, scoliosis, etc.
A doctor’s conventional treatment for chronic back pain may include injection therapies, pills for nerve pain, and anti-inflammatory medications. It may also be antidepressants or narcotic drugs, which can be addictive and, in some cases, surgery.
These treatments pose a lot of risks and side effects. Some of these are ulcers, nausea, stomach jingles, gastric bleeding, etc. Further, with surgery, there is potential for problems occurring down the road.
Thus, many are presently opting for medical marijuana as an alternative with fewer side effects.
Is Weed Helpful For Back Pain?
Some medical studies conducted exclusively for back pain sufferers have shown some positive effects of medical marijuana use.
At the University of Colorado, a study was conducted with 200 people. All 200 people had chronic back pain resulting from degenerative conditions.
They consumed marijuana (weed) once or twice a day. This study showed a positive 89% reported a moderate pain reduction. 81% also ranked the effect above that of narcotics to relieve pain.
Some of the ways weed may help with back pain are;
- Firstly and most importantly, it helps lower pain levels to a point you can live actively
- Secondly, improve overall life quality by freeing you from potentially addictive drugs that may also be dangerous.
- Further, good quality weed is a natural substance without additives or chemicals. Thus, many argue it is better for the body in the long run.
2. Arthritis Pain
According to WHO, a good percentage of the world suffers from more than 100 types of arthritis. Here, what they all have in common is pain.
The tune for arthritis pain is not as high as back or cancer pain, but it is present. This is because there are so many kinds of arthritis with differing symptoms and requirements.
When improperly taken care of, it can lead to permanent damage or stiffness. An example of this is joint damage is rheumatoid arthritis.
Thus, opting for alternative treatment for other chronic pain types is relatively easier. With arthritis, there is an absolute need for a doctor’s guidance.
Is Weed Helpful For Arthritis Pain?
There have been few trials on the effects of weed on arthritis pain which have leaned positive.
Some of the ways cannabis may help arthritis pain are;
- In addition to other medications, it can help reduce inflammation and give pain relief.
- A common symptom of some arthritis types is stiffness. Cannabis can help boost the mood and energy required to move and exercise the body.
- Improve the overall quality of life.
3. Cancer Pain
For cancer, many doctors advocate the inclusion of cannabis into the treatment regimen. This popular vote is largely due to its effectiveness without the adverse effects common to its more legal counterparts.
Cancers’ default chemotherapy treatment comes with a lot of after-effects. These effects range from searing pains to insomnia and low appetite.
Is Weed Helpful For Cancer Pain?
So far, there are a few studies that show positive results. It is also one of the few exceptions where two FDA cannabis base approved drugs are in use. Mobile and dronabinol are synthetic versions used by cancer patients.
Some of the ways weed may help with cancer pain include;
- Cannabis acts as an antiemetic and helps reduce the side effects of chemotherapy. It may improve appetite and ease nausea, insomnia, and PAIN.
- Some experts mention cannabis can help reduce nerve damage from radiation and chemotherapy. This less damage helps curb neuropathy and its ensuing pain.
- It has the advantage of being a particular drug with the effects of many conventional drugs. Thus, there are fewer risks of unwanted drug interactions.
How Does It Help The Symptoms Of Chronic Pain?
The working formula of weed lies in its THC and CBD content. THC is similar to the natural cannabinoid in our bodies.
Thus, with intake, it picks at the brain’s cannabinoid receptors, after which it sends a reward response, reducing pain.
Similarly, CBD also lends its relieving and anti-inflammatory properties.
Chronic pain comes with a wide range of symptoms, depending on the underlying cause.
Some symptoms weed may help you alleviate are;
Pain And Muscle Spasms
One of the common uses of marijuana is muscle spasms. Many studies have been conducted on it, and some have reported a reduction in pain intensity by up to 45% within the first 20 minutes of administration. Presently, many states in the US have approved it for this purpose (muscle spasms). For example, in Pennsylvania, weed is licensed for treating severe chronic and intractable pain. It more particularly targets those that stem from a neuropathic origin.
Nausea And Vomiting
As opposed to conventional treatments that abet nausea and vomiting, medical marijuana does not. Marijuana does not have this as a side effect of its pain management. Thus, it eliminates nausea and pain, making more patients prefer it to opioids and similar medications. Some states have approved the use of medical marijuana for this purpose.
Chronic pain is not something everyone can bear in good spirits. Often, the pain and its medications lead to depression and insomnia. This fact gives weed an edge over other medications as it also helps to improve mood and sleep quality. Presently, medical marijuana is used in cancer treatment. Cancer patients use it as a way to improve appetite and also to lower chemotherapy side effects.
At a cellular level, close to how NSAIDs are, CBD is anti-inflammatory. It is a good choice for arthritis pain because of its anti-inflammatory properties. Thus alongside arthritis, it is a good natural match for tackling degenerative changes in the spine. From various studies, degenerative changes of the lumbar, cervical, or thoracic spine are the leading cause of back and neck pain. Marijuana is, therefore, a quick pick for treating pain due to inflammation.
How To Use Weed For Pain?
Weed can either be taken internally or absorbed topically. Under these, apart from inhaling or raw juicing, the others are by-products of processing the weed and thus may vary in effectiveness.
While inhalation is the fastest way to get it working, it is ill-advised. This caution is because it comes with a lot of potential risks to your lung health. Inhaling can either be through smoking or vaping, and its effects are seen in one or two minutes. This immediate effect keeps it a favored method.
To use the inhalation method, experts recommend always taking only a single puff, and waiting a few minutes, at least ten, before deciding on more.
These are liquids, usually oils, that you can measure and place under the tongue. This placement allows for fast absorption into the body via the mucosal membrane. Its effects usually kick off 10 to 15 minutes after dosing.
This takes the longest time to come into effect. The time results from its passage through the digestive tract before absorption. However, it has the perks of easy dosage and a better taste. Further, its effects last longer, making it great for improving sleep. It includes the best CBD gummies Canada, pills, capsules, etc. Juicing is also a part of edibles, in which case, you juice the weed and add it to your diet as a supplement.
These are applied directly to the skin. It may come as skin patches, masks, or, more popularly, creams. These topicals have a localized and restricted effect. Further, although relatively popular, its effects are not vetted as it also typically contains many additional ingredients. Topicals can be applied repeatedly a day and have no intoxicating effect.
Weed Strain To Use For Pain
There are always questions about which strain of weed to buy for pain relief. Weed has a lot of strains and types but can be broadly classified into two for pain use. These are; high THC and low CBD, and high CBD and low THC.
These two have different effects and work differently for everyone. From observation, strains with higher THC work better for pain relief. In contrast, strains with higher CBD are more effective in inflammatory cases.
Unfortunately, the higher the THC, the higher its ability to induce psychoactive effects. Thus, a good combination of both types may work best. Frequent users also confirm they rely on more than one weed strain, mixing it up according to their lifestyle and preferences.
The higher CBD and lower THC for daytime use and the higher THC and lower CBD strain for nighttime use. This method will help keep you active and functional for the day and sleepy for the night.
However, there is little research on specific strains, and thus no one recommendation is backed scientifically.
Before choosing a medical marijuana strain, we recommend consulting with a healTHCare professional.
Below are some good weed strains you can select from to relieve chronic pain:
This is a high CBD and low THC strain. It is good for use at any time during the day as it has very low psychoactive effects. ACDC contains about 24 percent of CBD and only about 1.2 percent of THC. It is a good mood and energy booster.
Kush is high in THC and low in CBD weed strain. It contains up to 23 percent THC and one percent CBD. The Indica strain is best to reduce muscle spasms while also alleviating pain.
As a Sativa strain, it is a good body stimulator, working well against fatigue, tension, and pain. It is a high THC and low CBD marijuana strain and thus used cautiously. Candyland contains about 24 percent THC and one percent CBD and CBN.
A second recommendation from the indica family, bubba is a high THC medical cannabis strain. The CBD content of this strain is negligible as it only takes up about 0.1 percent. It is effective for sedation, sleep, and pain reduction.
How Much Cannabis Do I Need To Relieve Pain?
The amount of weed you need to take for pain relief depends largely on many factors. Its ability to reduce pain is controversial due to conflicting medical studies. Many things contribute to this. On the one hand, there are different types of pain. And on the other, your brain and body respond uniquely.
Still, it is a consensus that cannabis can help improve the overall life of a chronic pain sufferer.
It does this by improving their mood, function, and energy regardless of whether it reduces the pain. This instance makes it more of a coping tool.
The basic rule to mind in using cannabis is to start low and go slowly. Take along a professional, if possible, to help you through.
Experts recommend you begin with the lowest THC and small doses. You can then spread your increase over several days or weeks. Do this till you get your perfect dose.
Once you have established your dose regimen, ensure to incorporate breaks regularly into it. These breaks keep your body from desensitizing to the weed. It also reduces the addictive risks of cannabis which is something to be mindful of.
Some of the factors that may affect your marijuana dose are your lifestyle, whether active or inactive, the food you eat and when, and genes.
The chemistry of your body and its tolerance may also contribute to a higher or lower dosage.
The method you use to take weed is also an important factor. If you opt for swallows like capsules and pills, start with one to 2.5 mg of THC. To inhale, experts recommend using a balanced ratio of CBD to THC. You can also opt for products with higher CBD.
Side Effects Of Using Weed For Pain
While weed may be helpful to treat chronic pain, like any other medication, it poses some health risks. There are some side effects to consider before deciding to opt for weed as your pain relief route. On the upside, these effects are few and short-lived. That is, the effects wear off after stopping its use.
Still, it is important to know, prepare and discuss extensively with your physician before proceeding adequately.
A common side effect of marijuana use is red eyes and becoming too high.
Many patients report redness of the eyes as a side effect. This reddening is not dangerous to the health and can easily be rectified with eye drops.
However, being too high is usually an effect of too much THC. Being too high can lead to a racing heart, impaired thinking, poor coordination, feelings of fear and anxiety, etc. Therefore, use caution.
Another side effect is tiredness. This effect is mostly seen in strains with very high THC content instead of CBD.
Memory loss for short intervals is another side effect, affecting some more than others. The sensory perceptions of taste, hearing, smelling, etc., may also heighten inexplicably from use but wear out after.
How To Get Medical Marijuana (Weed) For Pain
Are you suffering from chronic pain? Purchasing good medical marijuana is a good step forward. To do so, talk to a licensed physician to do a thorough examination and recommend which best fits you.
Always inform your doctor of your choice to begin using weed to help manage your pain. This is necessary in case there is any need for conventional medication adjustment.
Weed may not totally replace traditional drugs as some are necessary for other purposes, for example, in some types of arthritis.
Before purchasing, make sure it is a reputable and reliable source. Buying from a regulated market helps. Check on brand reputation and reviews. Even if it is a strict CBD product, ensure it has a lab test certificate. The choices are many; thus, arming yourself with knowledge of what to buy and how to buy is necessary.
Opioid vs. Weed; The Better Option
It is a widely used and, in the same vein, heavily overdosed drug as its highly addictive. In 2019, it took the better part (two-thirds) of the 70 thousand-plus cases of drug overdose leading to death. Many users are thus presently looking for alternatives to reduce their dependence on it. Cannabis as a pain medicine can replace it either entirely or in part.
Synthetic And Medical Cannabis
In this article, there is repeated mention of weed, cannabis, and marijuana. These terms all refer to the same thing, which is medical marijuana. Medical cannabis refers to the whole plant and all of its extracts.
On the other hand, synthetic marijuana is an artificial copy of the original plant. They are referred to as K2 or spice. They intend to imitate the properties of the plant and are not real cannabis. Synthetic weed is highly defective and should be avoided. This weed type is not recommended for any direct medical treatment or recreational purposes at this moment as its side effects can be fatal.
Alternatives To Weed
Weed is not for everyone. While it may not work toward the end goal of relieving pain for some, it is simply not meant for others.
This group includes teenagers, children, pregnant or nursing mothers, and anyone with mental health concerns. Depending on your location, medical cannabis laws may also hinder access to it.
For pain management in these sets of persons, opting for more conventional pain medications is preferable.
Conclusion: Can Marijauna Relieves Various Pain?
Weed can be a safe and effective way of pain management. It may help reduce or improve the ability to cope, thereby improving overall living. However, you should be mindful of potential side effects and dosing risks.
We recommend starting with small amounts and having minimal doses of THC to reduce risks. Alongside, it is essential to take breaks.
Since there is no ironclad prescription yet on a dose, some trials and errors may be necessary to find one that suits your peculiar system and pain. Find one that gives enough ground between relieving pain and its poor side effects.
If one cannabis plant strain doesn’t do the trick, another may do. Weed may not help everyone with severe pain. If you choose to use it, we recommend you discuss it in depth with your doctor before proceeding.