Of the 29 states that currently have medical marijuana programs or recreational use laws, many allow use of the drug for patients with chronic pain. In fact, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine reported in January 2017 that chronic pain is the most common reason that patients seek medical marijuana. If you’re suffering from a condition that causes chronic pain and are considering medical marijuana for pain management, here’s what you need to know.
Is Medical Marijuana Safe for Chronic Pain?
Most research on the safety of cannabis for those with chronic pain found that it is safe and effective for treating these conditions. A 2015 Canadian study reported in the Journal of Pain found that individuals who used MMJ to treat chronic pain had fewer serious negative side effects, better pain relief and improved mood and emotional state. This was the largest study on the subject to date.
How Does Medical Marijuana Work Against Pain?
While the exact mechanisms of cannabis for pain relief aren’t fully understood, experts do know that cannabinoids such as THC and CBD act on cannabinoid receptors found throughout the body. Cannabis releases thousands of these chemical compounds when it is vaporized or smoked, so scientists theorize that some of the cannabinoid receptors play a role in pain control.
How Effective Is it?
Most studies have found that medical marijuana is at least as effective against chronic pain as the alternatives. In a systematic review of effectiveness studies that was conducted by Harvard University, six out of six general chronic pain studies and five out of five neuropathic pain studies found significant improvement of pain symptoms.
What Are the Benefits of Medical Marijuana for Chronic Pain?
Almost a third of Americans–more than 100 million people–have chronic pain, and the complex causes of pain mean it can be difficult to treat. Chronic pain is also the leading cause of long-term disability. While opioids have long been the most common treatment for chronic pain, the risk for addiction and the danger of overdose makes cannabis a safer option for many patients.
Whether you have been untreated or undertreated for chronic pain and are seeking relief or you are concerned about using opioids to treat pain and want an alternative, medical marijuana could be a solution. At New Concepts Medical PC in Wappingers Falls, we can help you make an informed decision on whether medical marijuana is the right treatment for your chronic pain. Contact us today to schedule your first appointment and learn more.