There is a growing number of studies which show the miraculous 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 restrictions are currently being reduced to a great extent, and scientists have more freedom to examine the effects of cannabis and its effects on health.
The cannabis phytochemistry consists of more than 85 compounds known as cannabinoids. The human nervous and digestive 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 human 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 due to THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which is only one cannabinoid. However, most cannabinoids aren’t psychoactive but provide medicinal effects.
The second prevalent 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 effective in the treatment of pain. As soon as CBD enters 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 involves 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 study found that the use of medical cannabis to manage chronic pain reduces the need for opioid painkillers:
“Patients using medical marijuana to control chronic pain reported a 64 percent reduction in their use of more traditional prescription pain medications…[patients] also reported fewer side effects from their medications and a 45-percent improvement in the quality of life since using cannabis to manage pain…
We are learning that the higher the dose of opioids people are taking, the higher the risk of death from overdose… patients in this study rated cannabis to be equally effective [as opioids] for those with different pain severity.”
This confirms the effects of the cannabis use as opioids replacements, as the legalization of medical marijuana in the States, reduced the number of overdose deaths by 25%, which is very important discovery, as 30% of Americans suffer from chronic pain.
The positive effects of cannabis in the treatment of pain have been supported by numerous testimonies of patients, scientific studies, and institutions such as Oregon Health and Science University School of Medicine.
Opioids are highly addictive and there is a great risk of overdosing, so there is a great need of non-addictive treatments. United Press International writes:
“Opioid use and addiction has become an epidemic in the United States due to doctors over-prescribing opioid medications to treat chronic pain…’emerging data indicate that drugs that target the endocannabinoid system might produce analgesia with fewer side effects compared to opioids.”
Yet, all agree that medical marijuana is safer to use than ibuprofen. A study conducted at the Université de Montreal involved 215 participants.
It estimated the safety of the use of medical cannabis to treat chronic pain, and except for one exception of adverse reaction, all other participants experienced improvements.
Namely, “Medical cannabis use over one year was associated with improvements in pain, function, quality of life and cognitive function.”
Furthermore, fibromyalgia is a serious neurological disorder, characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, as well as mood swings, memory issues, sleep, and fatigue.
The typical treatment includes antidepressants, acetaminophen, prescription pain relievers, and anti-seizure medication. Yet, numerous patients self-medicate using marijuana.
The findings of a survey from 2014 from the National Pain Foundations indicate that 62% of fibromyalgia patients claim marijuana helped them treat the pain and other symptoms.
On the other hand, only 8-10% of them found the traditional drugs effective and 22-32%a little effective.
Medical cannabis was also scientifically found to be useful in the case of diabetic neuropathy or multiple sclerosis.
The Cannabis Patch
Cannabinoids do not need to be absorbed only by smoking or vaping cannabis, as this plant can be applied topically, ingested, or injected, depending on the cause and location 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 in the case of other diagnoses as well. This adhesive patch should be applied to the painful area, and cannabis quickly gets absorbed by the skin and enters the bloodstream.
The news release stated:
“…the patch provides a controlled 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 potency cannabinoid (CBD) extract that slowly enters into the bloodstream and then penetrates the central nervous system.”
The company believes that these pain patches are only “the tip of the iceberg”, and are currently researching the other applications of this plant.
Mary’s Medicinal already sells both transdermal medical cannabis patches and transdermal pens, and they can be purchased in Oregon, Colorado, Nevada, Arizona, Washington, and Michigan.
Remember, pain is not a cause, but 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 amazing properties of medical cannabis!