Cannabis & Pain – an old-fashioned ‘alternative’ treatment option

Cannabis medicine has gained increased focus and importance in recent years with regards to pain management and treatment. Not only is cannabis commonly sought out as an alternative to traditional pain medications, but also as a treatment option for conditions known to be treatment resistant, and more critically as a tool to be used in opioid use reduction strategies and in reducing opioid related deaths. 

The sensations of pain are a natural result of the body’s response to the experience or perception of injury or illness. Damaged cells signal the brain, resulting in the sensation of pain. 

SYMPTOMS & IMPACTS OF PAIN

Anxiety

Cramps

Depression

Joint Stiffness

Limited Mobility

Loss of Stamina

Muscle Stiffness

Nausea / Vomiting

Reduced Flexibility

Reduction in Strength

Sleep Disturbance

Spasms

Swelling

Difficulty Performing ADLs

Difficulty Managing Relationships

Difficulty Sustaining Employment

Increased Pain Sensitivity (Hyperalgesia)

Increased Perception of Pain Severity (Allodynia)

 

The body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) plays a role in the process of pain signalling. This pain signalling can be suppressed or blocked by activating the CB1 receptors of the ECS. Cannabinoid medicine treatment can also result in noticeable improvements in sensations of mobility pain, and pain at rest.

In countries and jurisdictions where access to cannabis medicine products has been legalized and/or decriminalized, pain is among the top conditions prioritized by health care providers specializing in cannabinoid medicine treatment. 

 

COMMON CAUSES / SOURCES OF PAIN

Arthritis

Back Injury

Bleeding Tumor

Cancer

Chemotherapy

Diabetic Neuropathy

Endometriosis

Fibromyalgia

Hormonal Changes

Immune System Changes

Infection

Inflammation

Intestinal Blockage

Lymphoedema

Multiple Sclerosis

Migraine

Nerve Damage

Phantom Limb

Previous Injury

Stroke

Urinary Blockage

Deep Vein Thrombosis

Biopsies / Lumbar Puncture

Surgery

Steroidal Medication Bone Damage

Burning Around Injection Sites

 

Pain can have many causes both known and unknown, and can often be the result of a variety of interconnected factors.

CHRONIC PAIN

Worldwide, chronic pain is among the most common factors in patient reported years lived with disability. Individuals experience chronic pain differently in both severity and duration. For many the source of their pain may be elusive and remain undiagnosed. These sensations of pain can at times be constant, or experienced in unpredictable intervals or waves. 

NEUROPATHIC PAIN

When a patient suffers nerve damage from an injury or illness, pain signaling can persist well beyond the healing time of the initial injury itself. Patients with neuropathic pain may experience persistent or episodic sensations of burning, tingling, sharp, or stabbing/shooting pain. Studies have shown that cannabinoids have the potential to cause a significant reduction in neuropathic pain symptoms. 

CANCER RELATED PAIN

Pain related to cancer can often be the result of tumors applying pressure to soft tissue, organs, nerves and/or bones. Pain is also an associated side effect of common cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery. Patients using cannabis medicine have reported varying levels of reduction in cancer related pain.

 

TRADITIONAL MEDICATIONS FOR THE TREATMENT OF PAIN

NSAIDs (Ibuprofen, Aspirin, Naproxen)

Opioids (Codeine, Morphine, Oxycodone, Buprenorphine)

Anti-Seizure (Carbamazepine, Valproate)

Muscle Relaxants

Medicated Topical Creams

Paracetamol

Tramadol

Gabapentin

Pregabalin

Antidepressants (Amitriptyline, Venlafaxine, Duloxetine)

 

OPIOID USE REDUCTION

The primary focus of pain treatment is to improve overall pain management and to limit the impacts on an individual’s activities of daily life. With this focus in mind and with the information available at the time, many doctors all over the world for the past several decades have prescribed opiates for the treatment of pain more and more frequently and in higher doses. This has resulted in what many characterize as a crisis of opioid related use disorder and mortality. 

This growing crisis has driven a fundamental need to source effective and evidence-based treatment options for reducing the pain management community’s reliance on prescription opioids. Cannabis medicine has proven not only to be an effective alternative to beginning the use of high-dose opioids in the first place, it has also been shown to be useful as an opioid-sparing medication. By reducing the overall opioid dosage potency required to achieve pain symptom management, the use of cannabis medicine along with opioids can reduce daily dosage needs, and thus potentially reduce the occurrence of opioid-related overdose and death. 

In jurisdictions where access to cannabis has already been granted, there is often a correlated reduction in the total number of opioid prescriptions given by health care providers, as well as a reduction in the duration of dosage supplied. Researchers have also noted reductions in the prescribing of other drugs such as gabapentin and pregabalin.

 

ADDITIONAL TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR PAIN MANAGEMENT

Regular Exercise

Frequent Stretching

Physiotherapy

Occupational therapy

Relaxation / Meditation

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Acupuncture

Injections

Surgery

Nerve Signalling Devices

 

While studies are still ongoing, additional research is needed to fully understand the therapeutic potentials and possible side effects of cannabis medicine as a treatment option for pain and as an opioid use reduction tool.

CANNABIS PRODUCTS AVAILABLE IN INDIA

Infused Edible Oils

Topical Creams

Hemp Oil

Full Spectrum Infused Oils

Gel Capsules

Tinctures

 

To begin your cannabis medicine journey today, book an appointment now with the Savikalpa Virtual Clinic for an online doctor consultation, or request more information from a member of our highly trained clinic staff (eclinic@savikalpa.com).

We pride ourselves on being one of India’s most qualified sources of fast, friendly, and professional access to cannabinoid medicine online!


Interested in learning more? Send us your questions (eclinic@savikalpa.com). It is our mission to educate patients in any way we can, and we would be delighted to hear from you.


Research regarding cannabis, pain and opiate use reduction:


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