Cannabis for Chronic Pain
One of the most common complaints that we hear from patients seeking quality medical marijuana consultations is relief from the agony of chronic pain. Unfortunately, the list of maladies that patients can suffer seems to be never ending and can include back pain, arthritis, migraine headaches, fibromyalgia, neuropathies, cancer pain and the list goes on. We often deal with patients who have been prescribed traditional pain-relieving drugs, including forms of prescription opiates by well-meaning physicians, however these efforts sometimes yield minimal to moderate results and occasionally leave patients with a chemical dependency on the very medicine that was supposed to help them get some relief from the constant suffering of chronic pain.
While tremendous advances have occurred in treatments of many diseases, conventional medicine has not kept pace with these advances when it comes to the relief and suffering for chronic pain patients.
How can patient help themselves in their times of need? First through an understanding of the differences between acute and chronic pain.
Acute pain is usually initiated quickly, for example by a sudden accident or due to tissue damage from an injury. It hurts when you break a bone! People often learn to understand and accept acute pain while the acceptance of chronic pain is usually slower. Most folks don’t usually wake up one day with the realization that their joint mobility has decreased by 50% because now they have arthritis. Both types of pain can be debilitating reducing a patients’ quality of life and both can impact your personal and professional relationships. However, treatment for each type of pain needs to be tailored to individual patients rather than blanket prescriptions to opioids, NSAIDS, anti-depressants and muscle relaxants.
The three main categories for chronic pain include:
- Myopathic/fascial pain (myofascial)
- Neuropathic pain
- Visceral pain
Arthritis, fibromyalgia, muscle pain, and tendonitis are all examples of myopathic and fascial pain. The patient is frequently subjected to pain in the feet, hands and legs, without any obvious signs of injury. This pain is usually due to sensitive nerve cell damage.
Patients, who are identified as diabetics, often have peripheral neuropathy due to nerve and vascular damage. They may face poorly controlled blood glucose levels that reflect a poor diet and have difficulty with weight control issues.
Visceral pain occurs when a patient experiences the chronic ache from internal organs. This type of pain is often found in patients with conditions like Chron’s disease, liver disease, dysmenorrhea, or kidney pain.
So, are there other choices or alternative to effective pain relief?
Many people are finding that medically supplied legal Cannabis products may be an answer to some chronic and acute pain conditions.
Humans are hardwired to handle most of the body’s assaults, both internal or external. One of those response systems, called the Endocannabinoid System, represents 600,000 million years of development of a network of receptors that are highly concentrated in the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) and nearly every other organ, muscle, bone, and even red blood cells. This system of receptors is known as the CB1 receptors. By contrast, CB2 receptors is an immune balancing system that live primarily in the peripheral tissues including the reproductive system. The Endocannabinoid System has a tremendous impact on your health by acting as a regulator of your physiology.
Due to diet, age, illness, genetics, and stress the Endocannabinoid System may be over functioning or deficient in the number of receptors available causing suffering and pain. Examples of these deficiencies include many of the chronic pain causing diseases mentioned such as arthritis, migraine HAs, fibromyalgia. Excess receptors lead to diseases like cancer, diabetes or insulin resistance.
Cannabis works on those pesky ECS receptors, helping to restore the health or “tone” of the Endocannabinoid System to a point where it can do its’ job by restoring those CB1 receptors and CB2 receptors that control pain and inflammation.
Plants are chemical factories and the Cannabis is one of the most well-known of these mini laboratories. Cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, amino acids, fatty acids are all manufactured in this incredible plant factory and these natural compounds that can be used to help patients receive pain relief.
Cannabis is effective in the both pain categories, acute and chronic pain including myopathic, visceral and neuropathic pain. What it boils down to is this. What component in that incredible plant is best for your kind of pain?
First you need to know the type of pain to best select the best cannabinoid components for that particular pain. What cannabinoids? What terpenes? What is the best way to take the cannabis product? How long will it last? Should it be an oil, tincture, edible, capsule, smoking, topical, smoking, vaping or rub? There are many ways to take this incredible plant. What is the correct ratio of cannabinoids for you? When should you take your medicine?
Look for the answers in our next post.
The AC Clinics.
"Are you interested in registering for the medical cannabis program in Maryland or Washington, D.C? Call now to schedule an evaluation with a compassionate physician in your area 1-800-462-0715!"