Living with chronic pain has a detrimental effect on your quality of life. Everyday tasks that used to seem easy and mundane, become overwhelming. Along with the physical discomfort, sufferers also report psychological symptoms such as anxiety, depression and severe feelings of helplessness.
Finding relief that allows you to function in your daily living is paramount to returning to your quality of life. To find relief from chronic pain, more and more patients are turning to medical cannabis which has shown some very promising results which will be discussed in this article.
What is Chronic Pain?
Pain that doesn’t resolve within three months is considered chronic. It can be constant, or intermittent; persistent or occurring with varying degrees of intensity throughout the day.
What Causes Chronic Pain?
There are many potential causes of chronic pain, unfortunately oftentimes the cause is unknown. It can be the result of an injury you can recall such as an inflamed joint, or surgery; or it can be a symptom of a disease like rheumatoid arthritis or fibromyalgia.
Chronic pain can also be an abnormal processing of pain that occurs even after the original injury has healed. Acute pain is meant to alert you to the fact that something is wrong, sometimes that warning system malfunctions and the pain continues.
Types of Chronic Pain
Musculoskeletal Pain: Pain affecting the bones, muscles, ligaments and tendons.
Neuropathic Pain: Pain that may have no obvious cause. It can be caused by damaged tissue, injury, malfunctioning nerve fibers, or abnormal brain processing.
Treatment Options For Chronic Pain
Treating chronic pain is a long and arduous journey. With so many people suffering from it, and so many treatment options available finding the right one, or combination of treatments can be a process of trial and error.
Opioids have been commonly prescribed for chronic pain, despite growing evidence that they may often do more harm than good. Other conventional treatments include:
- Dietary changes
- Chiropractic treatments
Cannabis for Managing Chronic Pain
A study published in June 2016, Medical Cannabis Use Is Associated With Decreased Opiate Medication Use in a Retrospective Cross-Sectional Survey of Patients With Chronic Pain found there was a 64% decrease in opioid use associated with patients using medical cannabis for chronic pain, along with decreases in medication side effects and an improved quality of life.
Another study published in June 2018, Medical Cannabis in Patients with Chronic Pain: Effect on Pain Relief, Pain Disability, and Psychological aspects. A Prospective Non randomized Single Arm Clinical Trial concluded that cannabis therapy in addition to traditional analgesic therapy is not only an effective tool for pain management but also for managing the psychological consequences of chronic pain.
The research is showing that cannabis can be an effective tool to add to your pain management toolbox. It can help decrease pain levels, manage side effects of other medications, and improve your quality of life.
Taking Cannabis For Chronic Pain
Cannabis can either be ingested or inhaled. For medical purposes, patients will usually ingest their medication, in the form of an oil or a capsule. Sprays and sublingual strips (similar to a Listerine mouthwash strip) are becoming more popular as well. Physicians will not recommend inhalation methods other than vaporization for more immediate and short-term symptom relief.
If you think medical cannabis may be right for managing your chronic pain, talk to your doctor or contact our clinic today for a consultation.