Can Weed Pens Help With Chronic Pain?

It’s no secret that cannabis is a useful option for the treatment of chronic pain. As long as humans have been cultivating cannabis for medicinal purposes, it’s likely they relied on this magical plant to treat chronic pain. But today’s medical cannabis landscape looks a lot different than what it did a millennium ago. THC vape pens, for example, are a recent phenomenon, but are they effective for treating chronic pain?

Chronic pain is one of the most commonly reported conditions in Canada. According to federal statistics, 18 percent of adult Canadians have experienced chronic pain, with that number increasing to 27 percent for seniors. Way back when Canada legalized medical marijuana in 2001, the government did so to treat chronic pain (among other conditions).

But now, THC vape pens are increasingly a popular medicinal and recreational item. Can they help Canadians reduce the symptoms of daily pain?

Research on Cannabis for Chronic Pain

In 2017, the National Academies Press released a long-awaited report on the medicinal value and possible risk of medical cannabis. This report looked at thousands of research papers to evaluate what cannabis can do medicinally.

The authors of this review came to several key conclusions — one of them was the use of cannabis for treating chronic pain. They determined that “In adults with chronic pain, patients who were treated with cannabis or cannabinoids are more likely to experience a clinically significant reduction in pain symptoms.” Although they don’t address THC vape pens specifically, this is still valuable insight based on years of research.

Since this publication, there have been several new discoveries about how cannabis targets pain. In 2019, scientists published an article in the Complementary Therapies in Medicine about what modern cannabis products do for pain. This study reported :

strong evidence that cannabis can significantly alleviate pain, with the average user experiencing a three-point drop in pain suffering on a 0-10 point scale immediately following cannabis consumption.

Another 2019 study found that cannabis is also useful for headaches and migraines, a common type of chronic pain. Participants in the study self-reported a nearly 50 percent decline in headache and migraine severity from inhaled medical marijuana. Which could mean from a joint, bong or pipe – but also might mean a THC vape pen.

Is Cannabis for Chronic Pain Better Than Opioids?

The conventional treatment for severe pain is opioid-based medications. Over the last few decades, opioids have led to millions of addictions, hundreds of thousands of overdoses, and countless families ripped apart. A majority of these addictions came directly from the use of a prescribed opioid for pain. 

Cannabis is getting a lot of attention for its ability to treat chronic pain and as an alternative to opioids. There have already been several assessments of American states with legal, medical cannabis, where the population seems to be replacing opioids with this valuable plant. When cannabis is readily available, most numbers suggest people start relying on it more than over-the-counter and prescription drugs.

First, cannabis is much safer than opioids in a very real way. Opioid addiction and misuse have caused tens of thousands of overdose deaths and several thousand more hospitalizations and emergency services responses. These numbers are only from 2016, and just in Canada alone. The numbers are far greater south of the border.  

But what about medical marijuana? The often recited statistics are worth repeating here – there have been no deaths directly related to cannabis consumption. Ever. Also, while all substances with intoxicating effects carry a risk of addiction, the risk for cannabis use disorder is much lower than for opioid use disorder. Plus, overusing cannabis carries no risk of deadly overdose. 

But is a THC vape pen, or other medical cannabis product just as effective as conventional opioids for pain? As we’ve seen, study after study suggests cannabis is beneficial for the treatment of chronic pain of all types. 

Researchers from the Taylor & Francis Group published a study exploring how patients are already replacing medications with cannabis. They survived 1,000 Americans reporting medical cannabis consumption in 2019 to find out how effective it was.

Their study indicated 65 percent of participants were seeking therapeutic relief of chronic pain with cannabis. More remarkable was that out of the chronic pain patients, 82 percent said medical cannabis was so effective they could reduce over the counter pain medications. Plus, 88 percent said they had stopped taking opioids. 

In terms of safety profile, cannabis is safer than opioids in every single way. But now, the research is also telling us it’s perhaps equally as effective, if not more so.

The Benefits of THC Vape Pens for Chronic Pain

THC vape pens are an effective way to target chronic pain for several reasons. For starters, they are easy to control to deliver repeatable and consistent doses. From a vape pen, a typical puff delivers between 2.5 to 5 mg of THC, while longer pulls can reach up to 10 mg of THC. These are relatively low doses of THC, but small doses build over time for powerful results.

With each inhale you have the ability to build a treatment that works for your pain level and daily routine. It’s easy to pivot if you need more or less medication at that moment. High-dose edibles, which can have doses of 100 mg of THC or more, aren’t always suitable if you have to go to work or run errands. That’s why a THC vape pen comes into play.

Plus, small puffs are useful for on the go treatment. Many patients prefer to take larger doses before bed and in the morning, but use THC vape pens to maintain pain relief throughout the day. It’s a discrete method of keeping the pain manageable. 

Safer and Preferred by Patients: THC Vape Pen for Pain

With a better safety profile, fewer side effects, and no risk of overdose, THC vape pens are an increasingly popular item to treat pain. By now, the research into cannabis and pain is well established. Cannabis effectively reduces pain across a wide spectrum of pain types – from migraines to inflammatory to cancer-related. If you are experiencing chronic pain and would prefer to steer clear of conventional opioid treatments, cannabis is well worth trying.