Chronic pain is defined as pain that lasts over 12 weeks. On the other hand, acute pain is a normal bodily response to illness or injury. In many cases, chronic pain can last as long as months or even years.
Data from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) says that a staggering 25.3 million people have suffered from some kind of pain each day for the last 3 months. An additional 17.6% of American adults experience “severe levels” of pain. Chronic pain can be caused by injuries in the musculoskeletal system (affecting the joints, bones, and muscles), chronic disease, nervous system dysfunction, or autoimmune disorders.
Pain, whether acute or chronic, is the most common reason people ask for medical cannabis recommendations. It’s no surprise, since cannabis and the cannabinoids in the plant are proven to be effective in treating chronic pain.
Here’s how Marijuana can help the most common forms of chronic pain:
Chronic back pain: Studies say that 84% of American adults will go through chronic back pain at some time in their lives. Back pain affects the lower back, and typically occurs as a result of injuries, osteoporosis, wear and tear, or arthritis. Other causes of chronic back pain include slipped or bulging discs, spinal fractures, degenerative disk disease, and structural deformities.
Cannabis can ease the pain associated with chronic back pain. A study from the University of Colorado’s Spine Center assessed 200 patients with degenerative disc issues or back pain. Out of the participants who turned to cannabis for back pain, 89% reported that it provided them with relief either moderately or greatly. Another 81% said that it worked as well as, or even better.
Marijuana strains for chronic back pain
Chronic headaches: Research says that 50% of the American adult population will suffer from headaches during a year, although over 90% will have a lifetime history of headaches. Chronic headaches are defined as those that occur at least 15 days a month, for three months in a row. Chronic headaches come in many forms: tension headaches, migraines, eye strain headaches, and cluster headaches.
A study of 127 people with chronic migraines and cluster headaches found that cannabis works even better than prescription medicines. The participants were given a medication made with THC and CBD, the two primary compounds in cannabis. The researchers found that the medication was extremely effective in treating migraines, with patients reporting a 43.5% reduction in their pain. It also reduced the severity of cluster headache pain.
Marijuana strains best suited for migraines
Chronic joint pain: Adults are more prone to chronic joint pain as we get older. However, infection and injury can also increase the risk for developing chronic joint pain. Arthritis is the leading cause of chronic joint pain, a condition which affects more than 51 million Americans. Other common forms of chronic joint pain include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, repetitive motion injury, tendinitis, and bursitis.
A study conducted by China’s Second Military Medical University revealed that the CB2 receptors of arthritis patients are unusually high. This is why cannabis is very effective in fighting joint inflammation by activating the pathways for CB2 receptors. Patients with arthritis suffer from severe forms of inflammation, but this is where cannabis comes in handy thanks to its proven ability to deactivate inflammatory proteins in the body – especially THC.
Marijuana strains best suited for gout arthritis
Chronic nerve pain: Nerve (neuropathic) pain affects 1 in every 10 Americans. It usually occurs as a result of nerve damage due to medications which can remove the nerve’s exterior coating, which is designed to provide protection. Other common forms of chronic nerve pain include sciatica, diabetic neuropathy, carpal tunnel syndrome, postherpetic neuralgia, and trigeminal neuralgia.
A 2010 study found that “a single inhalation of 25mg of 9.4% tetrahydrocannabinol herbal cannabis three times daily for five days reduced the intensity of pain, improved sleep, and was well tolerated.” Another 2015 study revealed that when cannabis was compared to traditional medications for neuropathic pain, cannabis was more effective in reducing pain when taken at a low dosage (1.29%) and medium dosage (3.53%). Microdosed or low dose THC may be the best remedy for chronic nerve pain patients.