Problem of Chronic Pain
Chronic pain is a condition many of us struggle with everyday, it is classified as any pain lasting longer than 12 weeks. According to the world health organization one in five people in the world suffer from moderate to severe chronic pain. Dealing with chronic pain can be very difficult and finding a solution to our pain can be even more of a challenge. Many people are starting to use cannabis to treat pain because of its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. The Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) published a study done in 2015 which found that the use of cannabis to treat chronic pain and neuropathic pain can be very effective.
The reason it can be so effective is because the cannabinoids in cannabis interact with our endocannabinoid system by activating receptors on the surface of certain cells. The endocannabinoid system helps regulate and maintain a balance within our bodies. Some of these receptors are located on the surface of cells in the central nervous system as well as some in the immune system. The cannabinoids in cannabis interact with our bodies similarly to the endocannabinoids that are naturally produced in our body. One of the suggested purposes of the endocannabinoid system is the regulation of pain and inflammation.
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How it works
When someone is injured or dealing with pains due to a chronic disease the body send signals to specific nerves, depending on the location and cause of the pain, warning us that something isn’t right. The cannabinoids in cannabis seem to interrupt or slow the signal to these nerves and reduce inflammation in the body. It is speculated that people may have endocannabinoid deficiencies and that could be one of the causes of the overproduction of inflammation.
CBD and THC are the most well known cannabinoids and have been found to be beneficial in interacting with the receptors. CBD and THC have their own benefits but research suggests that they work synergistically and when combined they become much more effective. Dr. Ethan Russo and Dr. Geoffrey Guy of GW Pharmaceuticals were responsible for the research that helped manufacture Sativex (Used to treat neuropathic pain, spasticity, overactive bladder, and other symptoms of multiple sclerosis). They found that when THC and CBD are administered in a 1:1 ratio they were effective in treating peripheral neuropathic pain, muscle spasticity, cancer pain, rheumatoid arthritis pain, and sleep disturbances.
As time goes on we understand more and more about how cannabinoids can be beneficial to us but we have only scratched the surface and until the federal government can recognize the medical benefits we may never know its true potential. Current research has produced conclusions that support the idea that marijuana can help regulate and balance the body’s response to pain. Many people who have been prescribed opioids for chronic pain are having to deal with the risky and unpleasant side effects. Marijuana has the ability be a great alternative because of the way it interacts with our endocannabinoid system with a lot less side effects.