Those who suffer from chronic pain will try just about anything to make it go away. They will cycle through the entire painkiller wall at a pharmacy, try every ointment available, every aromatherapy, chiropractic and acupuncture treatment their one friend swears by – they’ll try everything. So, it is good news that one of the most effective, natural treatments for chronic pain is speedily being accepted into the mainstream, alongside new legislation in certain countries and states.
That natural treatment is none other than cannabis. While the plant has earned itself a reputation over the last 60-odd years as a “stoner” substance, cannabis had a long and storied history as a traditional medicine. And with legalization in places like Canada, Colorado and California, people are once again warming up to the idea of using cannabis for its pain relieving properties.
There are a few ways you can utilize cannabis for pain relief: there is, of course, the standard smoking or vaping option; you can try CBD oil infused tea made by an artisan tea maker; you can try edible confectionaries, baked goods and even food additives; or you can try topical ointments made with cannabis. The choice, ultimately, is yours.
With some options, a “high” is not necessary. Topical cannabis treatments are not accompanied by psychoactive feelings, nor are cannabis teas, since only CBD (the non-psychoactive property in cannabis) is extracted when steeped in liquid. Smoking, or taking edibles will result in a “high”, although the experience between the two will be different – edibles have been described as having more body-focused effects. In any case, you should feel pain relief.
The efficacy of cannabis as a pain reliever goes beyond folk wisdom, as well. This study, appearing in the Canadian Medical Association Journal and subjecting participants to a thorough crossover trial, concluded that cannabis reduced the intensity of pain, as well as improved sleep. Another systematic review from the peer-reviewed Pain Medicine Journal found cannabis to be efficacious for the treatment of chronic pain.
Cannabis works by tackling nociceptive (inflammatory) pain and neuropathic (nervous system) pain. It does this by activating serotonin receptors, increasing CB1 receptors, reducing inflammation and activating opioid receptors. Some studies suggest that trying cannabis options high in CBD is the best way to glean the most pain relief from cannabis, although the jury is still out.
In short, if you’ve tried it all and come up short – or even if you haven’t tried it all – cannabis is a fantastic, natural option to work into your pain relief regimen. Do your own research, and find out what applications, methods and strains might work best for you; everyone reacts differently to different stimuli, and it’s important to get a sense of your tolerance, proclivities, etc. before you dive in.
Cannabis is a promising pain reliever, one that is enjoying some much overdue acceptance. With the advent of legalization in certain areas, people are more willing to explore the benefits of cannabis, and studies have shown that the plant’s alleviating properties are not mere folk treatment. Chronic pain can indeed be solved by chronic.