What makes medical marijuana better than prescription painkillers for chronic pain management? The largest use of medical marijuana is for chronic pain. Opioid narcotics used to treat chronic pain such as codeine, methadone and morphine are addictive. Tolerating chronic pain medication may lead to tolerance and the need to increase dosages to maintain effectiveness.
Many patients have found that medical marijuana can be used to treat chronic pain.
This allows them to significantly reduce or eliminate their dependence on opiates. THC and other cannabinoids reduce the pain-related acute reactions. They can relieve chronic pain caused by nerve damage and inflammation. Unfortunately, there aren’t many large-scale research studies that examine marijuana’s pain relief efficacy. There are many case reports that show marijuana is effective in relieving peripheral nerve pain, such as the phantom pain of amputation.
Marijuana blocks pain pathways within the central nervous system. However, it does so through a different neurochemical signalsing system to opiates. Because they act in two different ways, opiates as well as marijuana can be used together to provide complementary analgesic medication. The cannabiniods found in marijuana could directly affect injured tissues by decreasing inflammation around damaged nerves. This is an example of what happens to a patient with post-laminectomy syndrome. The surgical release of a compressed nerve can provide remarkable pain relief. After a few months or a year, one might develop scar tissue and persistent leg pain.
It is here that cannabis treatment shines. In case studies, medical marijuana has shown that peripheral neuropathy, which can be caused by diabetes, HIV, or post-surgical scarring, has responded well to medical cannabis. Allodynia, a form of neuropathic pain in MS patients, is also known as allodynia. It involves significant pain due to non-painful stimuli.
Opiates don’t have any clear indications of neuritis or neuropathy. However, topshelfbc marijuana has been shown to alleviate peripheral neuropathy caused by HIV and diabetics. THC can be used to treat phantom pain in amputees, causalgias and neuralgias as well as conditions such trigeminal neuralgia.
Chronic pain from cancer can also be treated with medical marijuana. Univ. University of Iowa discovered that oral THC of 5-10 mg was as effective for pain relief from terminal cancer as Codeine at 60mg.
One question is clear: Does marijuana relieve pain because patients don’t care anymore about it? Is it possible that the psychoactive effects of cannabis simply change a patient’s perspective about pain and allow them to “sideline” it? This allows the patient to focus on other things. Case studies show that patients who have taken opiates for chronic pain have reported a depression effect as well as side effects like constipation.
Is it bad for a patient suffering from debilitating diabetes or chemotherapy-induced neuropathy if medical marijuana partially relieves their pain by acting on inflamed nerves. Or is it better to allow them to concentrate on more enjoyable aspects of life?
An estimated 20% of Americans suffer from migraines. 35% of those suffering from migraines are women. In the 1800’s cannabis was the most popular migraine drug. Patients often say that smoking a joint can prevent migraine attacks from occurring once they first notice symptoms like visual disturbances or ringing in their ears.