Did you know pain is the most common reason people seek medical care? The annual healthcare costs related to pain are over $300 billion. Three hundred billion dollars. That is more money than heart disease, cancer and diabetes combined. If that alone doesn’t get you thinking, I’m not sure what will. According to a landmark report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, “There is conclusive or substantial evidence that cannabis or cannabinoids are effective for the treatment of chronic pain in adults” (Project CBD).
Cannabis has been used for chronic pain, joint pain, migraines, nerve pain and more since the Ancient times. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) controls inflammation which is a major source of pain. By activating the specific receptors in the ECS, cannabis can aide in reducing pain and inflammation. Have you used cannabis for pain or inflammation purposes? Did it help you? Recent surveys estimated that more than 90 percent of medical marijuana users have used it for pain relief. Chronic pain sufferers appear to prefer cannabis flower over the man-made marijuana, according to a recent review article (Project CBD).
The FDA has approved two synthetic forms of THC known as Marinol (dronabinol) and Cesamet (nabilone). Both are only available by prescription and commonly come in pill form. The two have been approved for treatment of chemo-related nausea. Marinol has been approved as an appetite stimulant for HIV patients but not cancer patients. Unfortunately, neither have proved to be effective for treating chronic pain. So far, they do not appear to be popular amongst patients (Project CBD).
There is another pharmaceutical cannabinoid product out there called Sativex (nabiximols). Sativex is a natural and plant-derived tincture that contains both THC and CBD. It has been successfully used as an oral spray in England, Canada as welll as other countries for multiple sclerosis pain, spasticity and nerve pain. Although Sativex has not been approved in the United States, let’s hope we will hear more about it in the future.
As always, medical marijuana should be used with caution. It is important to consult with your doctor or primary healthcare provider about your treatment options. There are other treatment options out there outside of the norm and over-the-counter medications. Medical marijuana continues to prove it’s benefits time and time again. Patients have many options in the medical marijuana world. Just one option alone could make a difference for you. It may take a few tries to determine the best treatment options for you, but it is possible and worth it. We are always here to help you.