Many ask what the benefits of medical marijuana for pain are as states like Maryland or Delaware continue to legalize marijuana for medical use. Doctors want to know how to recommend medical marijuana and are seeking evidence-based data about why their patients use it and how to safely recommend medical cannabis. The results of one study show 62.2% of patients who use medical marijuana are seeking relief from chronic pain.
How Does Medical Marijuana Relieve Pain?
One of the benefits of medical marijuana is that it can be quite effective for patients suffering from chronic pain. Many Americans will experience more chronic pain as they age due to conditions such as arthritis and this is where medical cannabis can help. One of the primary reasons that medical marijuana doctors and patients are drawn to medical cannabis is that it is safer than opiates. It is impossible to overdose on medical marijuana and it is far less habit forming. Many patients also look to medical marijuana as an alternative to things such as Advil or Aleve if they are unable to take these medications due to problems with their kidneys, ulcers, or GERD.
Medical marijuana appears to show great promise in relieving chronic pain for patients in some areas where there are not many alternatives. Medical cannabis can be effective in helping those with the chronic pain felt from conditions such as multiple sclerosis, and nerve pain in general.
Different Types of Pain
As we examine the benefits of medical marijuana for pain, it is important to understand the different types of pain that exist so we can better understand how cannabis helps.
Somatic pain is the most common type of pain. It sends signals by peripheral nerves to the brain and is characterized by dull and constant aches at the site of injury.
Neuropathic pain is often described as shooting or burning pain. This type of pain can send pain signals to the brain with even the slightest touch of the effected area because of the nerve damage that is often associated with this type of pain. Unfortunately, this type of pain does not respond to narcotics known to relieve other types of pain.
Visceral pain is characterized by a sense of deep pressure in the abdomen as it comes from specific receptors found in the gut. It occurs when injury or disease stretch the organs or tissues within the abdominal area.
Nociceptive pain is the type of pain you usually feel when you have any type of injury or inflammation. Nociceptive pain can be either acute or chronic.
Is Medical Marijuana Right For My Pain?
Unfortunately, there are still not many studies looking at medical marijuana and humans. This is primarily because of the federal classification of it as a Schedule 1 narcotic. This not only makes it difficult for patients to have access to, but also for researchers and doctors to study it.
However, studies have found that our nerves contain receptors for the cannabinoids found in marijuana in something called our endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system is a naturally occurring network of receptors spread throughout the entire human body. It was not until in the 1990s that researchers first discovered endocannabinoids, which are the natural cannabis-like molecules produced by the human body. Scientists began to realize that cannabinoids from plants like marijuana had an effect on the human body by mimicking our own naturally occurring endocannabinoids.
It is believed that cannabinoids like THC in marijuana block pain through these endocannabinoid receptors in your nervous system. Research suggests that cannabinoids provide mild to moderate pain relief like that of codeine and that the cannabinoid system naturally responds to medical marijuana in controlling pain. The effectiveness of medical marijuana to treat chronic pain is best proven by cancer patients who report a reduction in pain, nausea, and vomiting as well as an increase in appetite.
Do I Qualify For Medical Marijuana?
The states of Maryland and Delaware have created a list of qualifying conditions for patients looking to access medical cannabis. Chronic or severe pain are two of the qualifying conditions for a patient to access medical cannabis. The chronic or severe pain could be caused by a whole host of conditions but some of the many conditions we at Green Relief Health often see that cause chronic or severe pain include:
- Headaches or Migraines
- Pain from Cancer Treatment
- Pain from HIV/Aids
- Cancer Pain
This is not intended to be an inclusive list, but rather to give a brief survey of the types of conditions for which medical marijuana can provide relief.
Talking With A Doctor About The Benefits of Medical Marijuana For Pain
If you have chronic or severe pain and are able to document this pain through things such as your medical history, a doctor’s note, prescriptions, or study results than you are likely a good candidate for medical cannabis.
Whether medical marijuana will help your condition depends on many factors, though, that are best evaluated by a certifying provider. If you feel you may benefit from medical marijuana, the first step is to speak with a medical marijuana provider who can help guide you through the process.
It is preferred to speak with a provider that has a background in medical marijuana. Because medical marijuana is such a new form of treatment, many providers do not have training in cannabis and are not able to certify someone in Maryland or Delaware to utilize medical cannabis. However, providers that specialize in cannabis have completed additional training to learn about medical cannabis, how it works and ways it can help various medical conditions. You should ask any provider or doctor you are going to see if they have completed this kind of training.
If you are still unsure about the process or the benefits of medical marijuana for pain then contact us so we can help walk you through the process. Our team of compassionate cannabis professionals is here to ensure that you have the access you need to help with chronic pain.