Cannabis For Pain

An increasingly common substitute for conventional painkillers like opioids is medical cannabis. Cannabis may reduce some forms of chronic pain, such as inflammation- and neuropathic pain.

More individuals are affected by chronic pain now than by diabetes, cancer, and heart disease combined. The most frequent reason for long-term impairment is chronic pain. Anecdotal evidence indicates that cannabis or its constituent parts may be able to reduce certain kinds of pain. Cannabis comes in a variety of forms or strains, and each one may affect a person slightly differently.

In this blog, we examine the top cannabis varieties for treating chronic pain.

How does it work?

Cannabis includes substances that might ease symptoms including pain, nausea, and others. Cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are the parts of cannabis that the majority of research concentrate on for pain treatment.

THC to CBD Comparison

THC resembles the cannabinoid substances that the body naturally produces. THC activates the cannabinoid receptors in the brain when it is ingested or inhaled by individuals.

This increases the reward system in the brain and lessens pain. THC is a psychoactive substance because it attaches to cannabinoid receptors and causes a “high,” or altered state of consciousness.

Although it interacts with pain receptors in the brain to have pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties, CBD does not get you high.

Backed by Research

Numerous studies have recently examined how cannabis affects chronic pain. More studies are required since some employed only certain components of the cannabis plant while others used the full plant. When the entire plant is used there is what is known as an entourage effect, where the components interact together to have prospective cosynergistic effects.

Several trials yielded promising outcomes, according to a 2015 overview of studies on the use of cannabis and cannabinoids for different types of chronic pain problems. According to the researchers, cannabis or cannabinoids may be helpful in treating certain forms of chronic pain, such as neuropathy (nerve pain).

According to a 2016 study, using cannabis to treat cancer pain reduced opioid consumption by 64%, increased quality of life, and reduced adverse drug reactions. Participants also used fewer prescription drugs as a result.

Benefits for different forms of chronic pain have been documented in smaller trials. For instance:

  • 70 per cent of the 17,000 cancer patients who used cannabis reportedly improved their pain and overall health.
  • After taking the medication, people with persistent migraines reported fewer attacks.

More studies are required, particularly into the usage of various strains, doses, and delivery techniques, in the field of cannabis use for chronic pain.

According to a July 2018 Australian research, using cannabis did not lessen pain symptoms or the need for opioid drugs. However, the majority of the reports from drug users who took it recreationally served as the basis for the conclusions.

It’s possible that using cannabis only for medical reasons will have distinct effects.

Cannabis vs. opioids

Opioids are potent painkillers that work by affecting the neurological system. As a result of their high level of addiction, withdrawal symptoms are frequent.

In 2016, opioid-related drug overdoses claimed the lives of about 116 Americans every day, and 11.5 million Americans alone abuse prescription opioids annually.

Which is Better?

Opioids are addictive; medical cannabis may provide an alternative. Nearly 3,000 medicinal cannabis users were polled, and it was discovered that 30% of them had taken opioids during the previous six months.

Eighty-one per cent of those surveyed agreed or strongly agreed that cannabis was more beneficial when used alone rather than in conjunction with opiates.

Additionally, 97 per cent of respondents indicated that they agreed or strongly agreed that using cannabis might reduce their reliance on opioids.

What Have We Learnt?

Numerous studies have shown that using cannabis to treat chronic pain has advantages.

When compared to opiate side effects, cannabis usage often has few negative consequences. The precise content and quality of a product, however, cannot be assured because of the lack of research for the majority of cannabis-based medicines for pain based indications.

The data thus suggests that cannabis could be useful for treating chronic pain.

Since there are several cannabis strains, even if one does not lessen symptoms, another one could. Generally speaking, people should keep their dosage low, especially if they are new to cannabis use.

Those who intend to use medicinal cannabis should speak with their physician in further detail about the advantages and disadvantages and make sure they get their medicine lawfully and from a reliable source.


  1. Medical Cannabis Use Is Associated With Decreased Opiate Medication Use in a Retrospective Cross-Sectional Survey of Patients With Chronic Pain
  2. Effect of cannabis use in people with chronic non-cancer pain prescribed opioids: findings from a 4-year prospective cohort study
  3. Differential Effects of Medical Marijuana Based on Strain and Route of Administration
  4. Cannabinoids for the Treatment of Chronic Non-Cancer Pain: An Updated Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials
  5. FDA Approves First Drug Comprised of an Active Ingredient Derived from Marijuana to Treat Rare, Severe Forms of Epilepsy
  6. Medical Marijuana for Treatment of Chronic Pain and Other Medical and Psychiatric Problems: A Clinical Review
  7. How does marijuana produce its effects?
  8. Discriminating the Effects of Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica: A Web Survey of Medical Cannabis Users
  9. Cannabis as a Substitute for Opioid-Based Pain Medication: Patient Self-Report
  10. Effects of Medical Marijuana on Migraine Headache Frequency in an Adult Population
  11. Patterns of Use of Medical Cannabis Among Israeli Cancer Patients: A Single Institution Experience
  12. Marijuana and the developing brain
  13. What is the U.S. Opioid Epidemic?
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