There is a growing number of studies which show the amazing power of the cannabis plant, while previously, studies of this kind have been limited as it was illegal in North America and much of the world.
Yet, these limitations are currently being reduced to a great level, and scientists have more freedom to take a look at the effects of cannabis and its effects on health.
The cannabis phytochemistry contains more than 85 substances called cannabinoids. The human nervous and digestion systems have endocannabinoid receptors, so the body produces its own cannabinoids that are responsible for emotions, movements, sleep, and appetite.
Terpenes are another family of cannabis compounds, which are also related to pain treatment. Cannabinoids and terpenes have powerful anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, and the body can metabolize these phytochemicals. The psychoactivity of cannabis made all its varieties illegal, including hemp, which does not have this property.
The “high feeling” is because of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which is only one cannabinoid. However, most cannabinoids aren’t psychoactive but provide medicinal effects.
The second widespread cannabinoid in this plant is cannabidiol (CBD) which can be derived from cannabis strains with low THC content, like Charlotte’s Web, for therapeutic use.
Cannabis is especially reliable in the treatment of pain. As quickly as CBD gets in the bloodstream, it is attached to the cannabinoid receptors in the peripheral nerves and blocks the pain signals from reaching the brain.
Despite blocking pain, cannabinoids also relieve inflammation that causes it, and also strengthen the immune system to support the healing.
This process also includes beta-caryophyllene, another non-psychoactive cannabinoid, which has a different molecular structure than most other cannabinoids. It soothes inflammation and blocks neural pain reception, and is also found in cinnamon, black pepper, basil, and oregano.
A study conducted at the University of Michigan found that using medical cannabis to manage chronic pain reduces the need for opioid painkillers:
“Patients using medical cannabis to control chronic pain reported a 64 percent reduction in their use of more traditional prescription pain medications … patients also reported less side effects from their medications and a 45-percent improvement in the quality of life since using marijuana to manage discomfort …
We are learning that the higher the dosage of opioids people are taking, the higher the risk of death from overdose … patients in this study rated cannabis to be similarly efficient as opioids for those with different pain severity.”
This confirms the effect of the cannabis use as opioids replacements, as the legalization of medical marijuana in the States, lowered the number of overdose deaths by 25%, which is very important discovery, as 30% of Americans struggle with chronic pain.
The positive impacts of cannabis in the treatment of pain have been supported by many testaments of patients, scientific studies, and institutions such as Oregon Health and Science University School of Medicine. Opioids are very addictive and there is a higher risk of overdosing, so there is a great need of non-addictive treatments. United Press International writes:
“Opioid use and addiction has actually become an epidemic in the United States due to medical professionals over-prescribing opioid medications to treat chronic pain … ’emerging data show that drugs that target the endocannabinoid system may produce analgesia with fewer negative effects compared to opioids.”
Yet, all agree that medical marijuana is safer to use than ibuprofen. A study carried out at the Université de Montreal included 215 participants. It estimated the security of using medical marijuana to treat chronic pain, and except for one exception of negative reaction, all other participants experienced improvements.
Namely, “Medical marijuana use over one year was associated with improvements in pain, function, quality of life and cognitive function.”
Moreover, fibromyalgia is a serious neurological condition, characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, as well as mood swings, memory issues, sleep, and fatigue. The normal treatment includes antidepressants, acetaminophen, prescription pain relievers, and anti-seizure medication. Yet, numerous patients self-medicate using cannabis.
The findings of a survey from 2014 from the National Pain Foundations suggest that 62% of fibromyalgia patients claim cannabis helped them treat the pain and other symptoms.
On the other hand, just 8-10% of them found the traditional drugs reliable and 22-32% a little efficient.
Medical cannabis was also scientifically found to be helpful in the case of diabetic neuropathy or multiple sclerosis.
The Cannabis Patch
Cannabinoids do not need to be taken just by smoking or vaping marijuana, as this plant can be used topically, ingested, or injected, depending upon the cause and place of the pain.
In November of 2016, Cannabis Science in California released their “pain patch” for transdermal delivery of medical cannabis.
This patch was marketed to be able to relieve fibromyalgia and neuropathy pain, but it can be used when it comes to other diagnoses also. This adhesive spot must be applied to the painful area, and cannabis quickly gets absorbed by the skin and gets in the blood stream.
The news release stated:
“… the patch provides a regulated release of the medication into the patient, usually through either a porous membrane covering a reservoir of medication or through body heat melting thin layers of medication embedded in the adhesive which will be containing high strength cannabinoid (CBD) extract that slowly enters into the bloodstream then permeates the central nervous system.”
The company believes that these pain patches are just “the tip of the iceberg”, and are presently researching the other applications of this plant.
Mary’s Medicinal currently sells both transdermal medical cannabis patches and transdermal pens, and they can be purchased in Oregon, Colorado, Nevada, Arizona, Washington, and Michigan.
Keep in mind, pain is not a cause, however a symptom, so in order to soothe it, you need do find the cause. Try to manage stress, change your lifestyle and diet, and use the incredible properties of medical cannabis!
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