Cannabis is an effective way to target chronic pain, but this isn’t a revolutionary discovery. This medicinal plant has a long history of use, spanning thousands of years. From China to Egypt, there is archaeological evidence proving its use within traditional therapeutic practices. It has long been a common remedy for a myriad of different health issues – including pain.
You can break the experience of chronic pain into two parts: the physical sensation, and the emotional trauma. If you have ever experienced continuous pain, you’ll know how it will eventually develop into a psychological burden. It’s why anxiety and depression are so often associated with chronic pain. What can cannabis do to help?
The two primary cannabinoids in the plant THC and CBD, are the most studied, and thus far the most understood for their ability to reduce pain. In the many studies exploring THC and pain, THC is effective in low to medium doses. It is a proven anti-inflammatory compound with equally compelling pain relief.
In surveys looking at cannabis use for chronic pain, there is almost always an overwhelmingly positive response from the participants. Patients love the way cannabis reduces pain, improves sleep, and has fewer side effects than the alternative.
The other cannabinoid on the list, CBD, is non-intoxicating. It’s also capable of limiting the intoxicating power of THC, making it useful to consume in combination. The studies suggest that CBD has a complementary role alongside THC, and the two may work synergistically together. Cannabidiol may be an even stronger anti-inflammatory compound than THC, but it works through different biological pathways.
Although both compounds have demonstrated positive effects over the physical and emotional experience of chronic pain, together they work best. Over and over again the research shows that a little CBD seems to improve the effects of THC, and vice versa. This relationship, called the entourage effect, is so strong some pharmaceutical preparations of cannabis include equal parts of both compounds.
People have used cannabis for millennia to treat their health concerns from dental pain, to digestive cramping. Today little has changed. Chronic pain routinely sits at the top of the list for reasons people seek a cannabis prescription. It may be so popular because it targets not just the pain, but the emotional effects and the sleep disruptions as well.