Medical marijuana is becoming more popular. Marijuana is being utilized as an alternative therapy for a wide range of medical issues, both physical and emotional, more than ever before. Sure doctors are now prescribing medical marijuana and healthcare professionals for chronic pain, osteoarthritis, and back pain, as well as independently sought out by persons suffering from chronic back pain.
The stigma (or echoes of prior stigma) associated with marijuana, on the other hand, persists. There isn’t much information regarding “marijuana as a therapy for back pain” since marijuana was banned for much of our adult life (and didn’t have the same marketing push and distribution as popular prescription pain drugs). Many concerns regarding medical marijuana and how to utilize it for pain management remain unanswered for those looking for alternatives to pharmaceutical pain medicine.
What Is Marijuana, Exactly?
The dried cannabis flowers (buds) and leaves are marijuana. Cannabinoids are natural chemical components found in marijuana, and these chemicals (such as THC or CBD) have therapeutic qualities and may be used to treat various ailments. Natural cannabinoid receptors in the human body respond to the cannabinoids in marijuana and interact with the body to lessen pain, reduce inflammation, help with anxiety and depression, enhance mobility (feeling more flexible and able to function), and more.
Chronic Pain: What Causes It?
Pain receptors are absent in a limited number of persons. On the other hand, most individuals have a vast network of neurons that fire in reaction to painful stimuli, sending messages to the brain telling us to take action. Immediate, acute pain response is elicited by unexpected occurrences like injury or surgery, which usually lessens as the damage heals.
On the other hand, chronic pain is more complicated, with several causes. Because pain perception gets buried in parts of the brain involved in learning, memory, and emotion, pain may continue long after an injury has healed. Pain may also be linked to chronic illnesses such as arthritis or fibromyalgia, as well as physical anomalies that strain muscles and pressure nerves, such as spinal curvature. Chronic discomfort may also be caused by poor posture, repeated activities, or obesity. Many types of cancer may do the same. Chronic pain might sometimes occur for no apparent reason.
Chronic pain impacts many aspects of life and may lead to additional issues such as sleeplessness, depression, and anxiety. Chronic pain patients lose more days at work than healthy people, and many of them cannot work at all. Relationships may also be harmed.
Chronic pain may be addressed with various physical therapy and pharmaceutical combinations. Over-the-counter pain relievers such as aspirin or ibuprofen may help with certain types of persistent pain. Opioids, however, are used to treat more severe pain. These powerful prescription pain relievers are incredibly addictive, have dangerous adverse effects, and have a higher risk of overdose or death when coupled with other sedatives or alcohol. Opioids may not be as beneficial for chronic pain as they are for acute pain.
Because of the hazards and side effects of opioids and other pain drugs, an increasing number of chronic pain patients seek safer, more effective options — and a growing body of research shows that cannabis might be the answer.
What we know about cannabinoids and their use in pain management
There isn’t much data on how cannabis may aid long-term (chronic) pain management. We know that cannabinoids interact with receptors in our bodies. We also know that our bodies produce cannabinoids naturally. We don’t know precisely what they do or how to utilize them to aid with pain management.
We already know that cannabinoids may help you feel less ill in your stomach (nausea) and avoid throwing up (vomiting). We believe they may also assist you in getting a better night’s sleep. A few studies have shown that they may help with nerve pain.
Cannabinoids, according to most experts, should only be taken as a last resort for pain relief after you’ve exhausted all other options.
No pain drug can eliminate chronic pain. When you use cannabis to treat chronic pain, the idea is to make it easier for you to go about your daily activities.
Marijuana’s Advantages over Prescription Painkillers
Healthcare professionals and regulatory organizations heavily regulate opioid and narcotic prescription pain medicine. Physicians are reducing narcotic pain medicine dosages, substantially reducing pill counts, and sometimes refusing to prescribe opioids or sending chronic pain patients away. The problem is very convoluted, much like the drug epidemic. Marijuana may be a good alternative or additional “medicine” to use with pain medication for someone with back pain which is weaning off prescription pain medication (or wants to avoid it entirely).
Always with your doctor or healthcare provider before combining prescription or over-the-counter medications with marijuana.
Marijuana vs. Prescription Pain Medication: Some Key Advantages
Effective Opioid Doses Can Be Reduced. According to research published in Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, combining marijuana with opioids may reduce pain dramatically. Regarding marijuana with opioids, the study claims that “the combination may allow for opioid therapy at lower dosages with fewer negative effects.”
Natural to the core. Marijuana is a natural, raw plant. Prescription opioid pain medicine is synthetic, and it may have various undesirable side effects that can damage your health over time.
There are fewer side effects. Marijuana has fewer and less dangerous adverse effects than opiate painkillers or other synthetic medications (like NSAIDs and Tylenol). Pain medication has been related to heart attacks, seizures, diarrhea, nausea, and other side effects. Anxiety, elevated heart rate, dry mouth, and a possible increased risk of stroke are just a few of marijuana’s adverse effects.
It’s not as addictive. With the present opioid crisis, it’s evident that opioids are highly addictive and may have a firm grip on patients and other users. Marijuana, although potentially addictive, is less so than painkillers. Marijuana users who use it regularly might build a habit, develop cravings, and suffer withdrawal symptoms. Marijuana addiction, on the other hand, is significantly less common and has much milder symptoms.
Dangerousness is reduced. For long-term patients, prescription pain medication may be highly addictive, develop tolerance, and cause withdrawal symptoms. Although marijuana is said to be addictive, tolerance-building, and has withdrawal symptoms, it is not to the same extent as opiate painkillers. Furthermore, you cannot die from an unintentional marijuana overdose.
Cannabinoids: How to obtain them and where to get them
While healthcare practitioners cannot prescribe cannabis, they may sign an authorization form allowing you to purchase cannabis from a registered producer directly. It also implies that you can produce a modest amount of your own.
Cannabis may also be purchased straight from dispensaries. To buy cannabis from a specialist shop, you do not need a paper signed by your healthcare physician.
Before cannabinoids are suggested for medicinal usage, further study is needed to ensure that they are a safe and effective approach to managing chronic pain.